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Archive for the ‘Race Matters’ Category

After being gone from LA for a whole year I have noticed some things about the city that I was born in which contrast with Kansas City.

1.  Cars – There are a lot of hybrid cars on the road in LA.  I do not remember seeing even one in Kansas City, but over the past couple of days I’ve seen a multitude of Prius cars.  Seems LA is more energy concious with gas prices being about fifty cents more than KC.

2.  Ethnic diversity – The predominant ethnic makeup of KC is white and black.  But coming to LA I have seen a lot more Asians and Mexicans.

3.  Nice weather – Who could forget the nice weather of So. Cal.  With temperatures in the 60s during winter, this is a welcome change to the 20s of KC.

4.  Geography – I have forgotten how beautiful the landscape of So. Cal is.  With the many mountains surrounding the region, it is truly a magnificent sight.

5.  Food – Last but not least is the food.  LA food is in my opinion one of the best places to get food.  With an assortment of diverse foods this is the place to be.  I recently had some amazing Carne Asada Tacos from Estrella and a Carne Asada burrito from King Taco.  I really enjoy the Mexican food here.

These were some of the observations that I’ve had seen returning to LA.  It truly is a beautiful place.

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Yesterday, we had our first Korean EM Harp and Bowl at IHOP.  Harp and Bowl is the intercessory worship model that IHOP uses, which utilizes music and prayer together.  It comes from Rev. 4-5 where the harps are playing at the same time the bowls of prayers are being filled up.

There is a deep need for an increase in the spirit of prayer both in Korea and in the Korean churches in America.  Many of them are looking to IHOP to lead the way in how to sustain prayer and also be enjoyable.  Therefore, having the Korean Harp and Bowl meeting yesterday was a historic day as many Koreans will be coming to be encouraged that this kind of prayer is not only possible, but fun.

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Today in my revival class, we began talking about the global revival that hit at the turn of the 20th century.  Korea was one of the places where God moved in an extraordinary way.  In 1907, Korea was transformed by the power of God as many were getting saved.  During this time, the “Korean-style” all together prayer meeting was birthed.  A pastor of a church decided to lead a prayer meeting, and instead having people pray one at a time, he let the entire congregation pray at once, and overflowing passionate heart cries for God erupted.  And to this day, it has filled many Asian churches and continues to be the distinctive Korean prayer style.

But one of the most interesting points of this revival is the location of where it started.  It began in Pyongyang before the North and South split.  That is just an amazing fact, that God birthed the revival of Korea in what is today the capital of North Korea.  This causes me to believe that with God all things are possible.  He is more than able to bring revival to Korea again, and reunify both North and South.  What if another historic revival is just around the corner?  Do we have vision for that or believe that it can happen?  It truly is our time to pray.

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This past weekend I watched a couple korean movies and have drawn some interesting insights into its culture.  Each of the movies had a similar theme of friends who grew up together in high school whose lives entailed studying, fighting and trying to make sense of life.  Here are some insights:

– There is an oppressive Confucius hierarchical system that causes those in authority to abuse their power.  This was reflected in three groups: Father-child, Teacher-student, and Senior-Freshmen.  The ones who are older demand respect and often end up abusing their position with shame, violence, and taking the lower person’s possessions.

Pressure to perform – there is usually one main test before graduating high school which determines “one’s future” and what college they can enter.  Many times students study hours and hours and end up using drugs to stay awake. 

Repressed sexuality – because of the stress of high school academics and abuse by the hierarchical system, there is a desire for an outlet.  And sex many times becomes that outlet.  Which leads to Korea being one of the highest abortion rates in the world.

Lack of vision – although the koreans are very driven and busy, the motivation for living seems very wayward and depressed.

Redeemed qualities – But I do see some things that God can redeem in Korean culture.  When the motivation to perform shifts from fear (under the hierarchical system) to love, the discipline and dedication will skyrocket beyond what it is today.  When the people of Korea realize that God really loves them as a father and that they are loved as they are, they will be one of the most passionate followers of Jesus, even unto martyrdom.  So Lord, bring revival to Korea.

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Four Asian-Americans sat around the living room table at Jess Shao’s house as he talked about how as a 40 year old Chinese-American male, he is able to reveal to the Father’s heart in a way that was unique to who he was.  He shared how he went to Taiwan on a ministry trip during this past summer and settled in his heart that he actually had things to offer as an Asian-American male despite his weaknesses.  He noticed that the Taiwanese young men began to flock around him and just want to hang out with him.  He wasn’t giving a sermon or praying for them, but just his presence was healing the pains of their hearts incurred by former relationships with older Asian males.  Just by his life he was able to reveal the Father’s heart to them.

As Jess shared, I saw an Asian-American man who was confident in his ethnic identity and allowed God to be manifested through who he was created to be.  It led to me to desire to have this confidence and understanding as well.  I want to see that God created me as a Korean-American male for a purpose.  It was a joy for him to fashion me in this way.  And ultimately, I want others to experience God through my entire life, especially my ethnic background.

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Today, the country of Samoa announced that it would change driving from the right hand side of the road to the left.  This is the first nation since 1970 to do such.  The government announced a two-day holiday to help ease the transition as there were ambulance trucks along every major intersection in case of collisions.  However, the change in driving occurred with relatively few problems.  Many people came out onto the streets just to watch the cars drive.

This change occured to end the import of more expensive American cars, with cheaper right-wheeled cars.  Thus, it is a victory for all the left-handed people of the world.  Now the people of Samoa will join other South Pacific nations in driving on the left side of the road.

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Just a disclaimer, I’m not left handed, but today I empathized for all the left handed people of the world.  In a society led by “rightys,” it is easy to forget that there are others in the world who are not.  So on behalf of all the “rightys” please forgive us.  Here are some quirks from daily life that we so easily pass by because we live in a “righty” led society.

1.  In computer labs, the mouse is placed on the right side of the keyboard.  And there are absolutely no computers with the mouse on the left hand side.  Can anyone say “discrimination!”

2.  In high schools and colleges, the chairs with move-able tables attached are on the right side.  Very few are made for left-handed people.

3.  In America, we drive on the “right” side of the road in obvious “oppression” of the left side.  And it is easy to take “right” turns, but to take a “left” turn you must wait for the on-coming traffic to pass.  Hmm…anyone notice a pattern here?

4.  In politics, we describe conservative as being “right” wing.  This still has connotations of the “right way” and stable status quo of government.  But the “left” is seen as liberal and a bit “out-there” related to political perspectives.

But as a born “righty” I bless you “lefties” in the world and say that we appreciate your uniqueness and the diversity that you bring.  And don’t feel the pressure to become a “righty” though being the minority.  Stay true to who God made you to be.

And to all the “rightys” let us not forget the “leftys” in our midst.  Let us notice and be aware of the difficulty it must be to live as a minority.  Encourage those who are not like us, in who they are.    Furthermore, we also need the encouragement to be confident in who we were created to be and not feel pressured to become a “lefty.”

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