I’m tired of telling people that they’re sinners

This is part 4 of 5, of Sam Lam’s reblog series on how the church deals with outsiders. Here, Sam reflects on the value of leading with Jesus, instead of leading with sin. He states, “We’re supposed to rebuke our brothers and sisters who sin. I know that. But we can never reach that point until we welcome those people to Christ. Only then do our words about sin hold value. The more valuable message we should be telling first is about Jesus and salvation. That’s the love we are supposed to give.”

Write a blog on a log, Sam I am

That’s it. I’m done with it. I’m sick and tired of telling people that what they’re doing is a sin. It means nothing.

(Actually, that’s not really true. But you’ll get my point as you continue to read.)

But as the world keeps changing and my fascination with human behavior continues to grow, I start to notice how the Christian faith somehow connects with the world. But actually in many, how it fails to communicate with the world.

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The irony of Christians against same-sex marriage

This is part 3 of a 5 part reblog series taken from Samuel Lam’s “Write a Blog on a Log” dealing with questions of faith and fear, inclusion and exclusion. Sam has an unusually nuanced and fair approach to issues like homosexuality, bullies, salvation, and fundamentalism. This third post reminds us that, if we speak even in the tongues of heaven but do not have love, we are nothing more than noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

Write a blog on a log, Sam I am

There’s an irony when it comes to the same-sex marriage deal among Christians who oppose it because the Bible says marriage should be between a man and a woman. My bigger issues is that that is not the big issue. The biggest issue I see is that there is no love.

The most important thing Jesus told us is to love God and love God’s people. God’s people is everybody. This is the priority.

Yet I see people who are against same-sex marriages condemning those who see it differently, throwing Scriptures all around and claiming that their view is right and everyone else is wrong.

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I’m coming out for the LGBT community: A love letter from me

This is part two of a five part reblog series taken from Samuel Lam’s “Write a Blog on a Log” dealing with questions of faith and fear, inclusion and exclusion. Sam has an unusually nuanced and fair approach to issues like homosexuality, bullies, salvation, and fundamentalism. This second post was written as an open letter to the LGBT community. In it Sam expresses the tension he experiences as a follower of Jesus’s example of love on the one hand and his membership in the evangelical church on the other. He comments, “The reason why I probably was never vocal for or against homosexuality is because I am Christian. I was afraid to voice an opinion on it because I didn’t know what was the right view. Go with the Bible and scold those who are gay? Or do what Jesus did and love people unconditionally no matter what? Either way, I was afraid to be wrong.”

Write a blog on a log, Sam I am

Preface: This was something that had been stirring in my heart for the past couple weeks. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I felt that I needed to write this post… or at least put it out there. 

I am not actually gay. But having grown up in the Bay Area, having gay friends and really observing as an outsider, I wanted to share my thoughts on it. I haven’t been vocal about it in the past and part of it came because I wasn’t sure what to say. Now after some thinking, praying and reflection, I feel that at some level, I think I get it.  

I probably will get some negative responses to this and that’s fine with me. I might get positive ones too. This message comes from the heart and I write this out of love. 

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When I first even got a glimpse…

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Understanding people who are misunderstood because they’re so different and just like me

This is part one of a five part reblog series taken from Samuel Lam’s “Write a Blog on a Log” dealing with questions of faith and fear, inclusion and exclusion. Sam has an unusually nuanced and fair approach to issues like homosexuality, bullies, salvation, and fundamentalism. This first post was written shortly after the 2013 Rose Parade and features Sam’s thoughts on the “Jesus Scare Freaks.”

Write a blog on a log, Sam I am

Growing up, we disliked bullies. But if we understood what they were going through, would we view them differently?

Yesterday I was at the Rose Bowl Parade and I started to observe the people there. I tend to do that a lot when I am around a lot of people. It’s not something I do to judge, but rather this is my opportunity to see how the world of different people and how they interact with each.

Also, I like to observe people because a part of me has always had the heart for people who are misunderstood. The thing about it is that as I grew up, mainly during my college years, I interacted with a lot of different people. Part of my upbringing at that time as a college ministry leader was to understand that there are ways to reach out to people. How could I reach to…

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Act Like Men: My Experience at the ALM Conference

By Samuel Lam

This weekend I attended ‘Act Like Men’ and it was pretty good. Here are the details about what it is and what they are about.

But before I went, I stumbled across this blog entry that told me about what the conference was like two weeks ago. It broke my heart.

So with that in mind, I was hoping maybe they’d change. Or maybe it was just a misinterpretation. Or maybe they were like that. I don’t know. I have never heard any of these speakers speak before, so I didn’t want to go in with an unfair pre-judgment.

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What I ended up with this weekend was an affirmation about what I need to be doing with my life as a follower of Christ. I came away remembering what I must do, what I must avoid, and what I have at my fingertips with God.

Continue Reading Here

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This post is part of a series of reflections written by the men of Trinity Church in response to the ACT LIKE MEN Conference and the topic of Mens Issues within Christianity.

Other posts include:

“Links in the Family Chain” by Michael Au

“What Stuck With Me” by Johnny Cabrera

“Day One Reflections” By John K. Lee

“Terrified and Excited by What’s to Come” by Samuel Lam

“Modern Warfare” by Jeff Kepeli

Is God in Your Bellybutton?

By Christine Hung

One early morning during my quiet time with the Lord, my son, who was about 3 or 4 at the time, crawled quietly into my lap.  Attired in a fuzzy one piece pajama, two fingers in his mouth, and his hair sticking straight up, he looked at me and asked, “God is everywhere, right?”  Even at that age, Eli was a deep thinker.

“Yes Eli, God is everywhere,” I replied absentmindedly.

“Then God is in my bellybutton!”  His response was serious and resolute, as if he was finally able to put a matter to rest.  As if he had been contemplating the complexities of the question all night.  I laughed out loud and kissed him on his head. Continue reading

Act Like Men: Building Links in the Family Chain

Over a hundred men committed to Jesus during an alter call on the first night of Act Like Men.
(Photo by @BrandonHilstad on Twitter)

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By Michael Au

This Act Like Men conference gave me great hope and faith.

I really liked Matt Chandler’s message on “Standing Firm in the Faith” and Mark Driscoll’s message on, “Be Strong.” Connecting both messages revealed to me that standing firm in the faith is essential if I am to leave a godly lineage (my future children, grandchildren and so on).

Continue reading

Act Like Men: What Stuck with Me

This post is part of a series of reflections written by the men of Trinity Church in response to the ACT LIKE MEN Conference and the topic of Mens Issues within Christianity. 

Other posts include: 

 

Catterfly Still Processing

This past weekend I attended the second day of the Act Like Men Conference, a large traveling event that made its So Cal stop in Long Beach, CA. Before I get to my real takeaways, here are some of my initial musings.  (Please read the following few thoughts with sarcasm.)

man-yelling-at-himselfApparently, men respond well to being yelled at.

Men like to insult, boo, and laugh at each other.

You must introduce each speaker at a men’s conference with no less than his name in big letters, and in the background steel being sharpened and sparks flying.

And finally…if you want to have a legit contemporary worship band, you need to have at least one guy with a British accent.

To be serious for just a few moments, I intended to wait a couple of days before sharing my thoughts, because I figured anything I can still recall two days later…

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Act Like Men: Day One Reflections

By John K. Lee

It’s a little past Midnight.  I just got back from the first day of the Act Like Men conference and I don’t know how to feel about what I’d just experienced.  Pastor James Macdonald appeared to be the point man for the evening.  Until this conference, I’d never heard of this gentleman, but his alpha male charisma and hipster wardrobe instantly gave off an air of casual gravitas that I could see people being drawn to.  While I must admit that all of his raspy, drill sargent-esque, RAH, RAH, RAH got me riled up, he struck me as a hulking Goliath where I relate more to underdogs like David.

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Famed evangelist, Greg Laurie, would follow.  He did his usual thing–solid gospel message punctuated by an altar call.  Pepper in some spirited praise music, and everything was tied up with an introduction to, and some witty banter between, the entire roster of speakers from today and for tomorrow.  That was the end of the first session.

Leaving the Long Beach Convention Center, I felt a little numb.  Though I wish I walked away having learned more about manhood, the truth is the whole time I’d been thinking about the man whom God originally entrusted with this task–my father.  The only reason I was taking the unpleasant stroll through memory lane was because I knew there would be no Day 2 of the conference for me.  Instead, I’d be seeing my father for the first time in almost two years.

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On Becoming a Bona Fide Minimalist(?)

By Anh Trinh

People who sit near me during church service will know that I tend to doodle in my note book. It’s been a habit since my early days in grade school. There’s no elaborate psychological explanation to this. I simply get bored…very easily. My apologies to Pastor Albert. It’s not that the sermons are not engaging but I thrive on visual stimulus quite often. Plus, it helps me to remember the meat of the sermon. It’s basically food for my long-term memory. Below are a few pen sketches I managed to scribble up during the last couple of sermons.

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As I was sketching and listening, I realized how timely the message was in accordance to our recent move. Jenny and I realized that we were in possession of a lot of “stuff” that were not essential to our lives anymore. As I was cleaning out my office area, I started to find myself throwing out things without much hesitation. That may not be a big deal to some but it is for me. I grew up with parents that really latched onto things. They are not hoarders per se but they come from a generation where things didn’t come easily to them and they deeply relished on the things that came into their possession. As a result, a lot of that behavior and mindset was passed onto to me. It took me almost 20 years to start breaking out of this mold. Continue reading