Sunday, November 19, 2006

Striving for Serious Difference

As a member of CSAF, I have been thinking about what are AFer's values over all these years. Can they be friendship, discipleship, membership, or leadership? An important word captures them all - fellowship, from which generates the power of love, sharing, acceptance, and support.

In various ways, I believe we are all striving to live a difference-making life. Thus, CSAF can be recognized as a place where mature, gifted, and resourceful working-age Christians are striving to make a serious difference in the world around them.

Recently, I read the following famous poem from (Author unknown):

I dreamed I had an interview with God.
“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.
“If you have the time” I said.
God smiled. “My time is eternity.” “What questions do you have in mind for me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?”
God answered ... “That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.”
“That they lose their health to make money ... and then lose their money to restore their health.”
“That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future.”
"That they live as if they will never die, and die as though they had never lived.”
God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while.
And then I asked ... “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”
“To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved.”
“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others.”
“To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”
“To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them.”
“To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.”
“To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply have not yet learned how to express or show their feelings.”
“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”
“To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”
"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.
"Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"
God smiled and said, “Just know that I am here ... always.”

Yes, God has always been there. He will guide our way. All we need is to keep growing spiritually and continue striving for a life that makes a serious difference.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

To Re-brand or Not to Re-brand CSAF

CSAF is not alone in attempting to rebrand itself with a name change, and there can be all kinds of reasons for doing so, and for not doing so. Indeed, many cities around the world have already gone through, or are considering, changes of identity. For instance, Peking was renamed to Beijing, Bangalore to Bengalooru, Saddam City to Sadr City, etc. These cities were wiped from the global map, primarily because such moves are a long-overdue reassertion of local identity, or their society simply needs to forget all negative memories of the past. But an identity change does not necessarily guarantee an overnight transformation unless the underlying values that define their original greatness are properly protected and strengthened.

Since its inception decades ago, CSAF has been "earning" its reputation through an intersection of three distinctive attributes: spiritual maturity, gifted talents, and resourceful freedom. Any time this group of working-age adult Christians are motivated spiritually to labor together in one accord, there will be no limit to its collective impact both inside and outside the church. But any time we wavered in our purpose, vision, and trust in God, CSAF became wanderers in the "wilderness", as we probably are today.

Being conscious of age, an outsider may see the notion of "Adult Fellowship" as a negative factor deterring the younger counterparts from joining in. But the challenge to any fellowship group is idleness, not age. Being an adult fellowship implies our maturity, thoughtfulness, and experience. A youthful adult would say, "I am old enough to worry, but young enough to care less." It's just a matter of perspective.

CSAF should pass on its values, not just a fancy name. And we should give our younger counterparts a better example to follow in the future. It's the quality of our ministry and the vigor of our attitude towards God that really count. In the long run, a name is no more than just a name, but good work will inspire more good work.

Aging is a natural process we all need to face. The secret hinges on how well you age and what kind of legacy you want to leave behind. A good name may help if and only if we can really live up to the ideologies that the name implies. Unless the new identity or name is bestowed from above by God, like Jacob being renamed to Israel, there will not be any magic bullet to effect a face-lift for CSAF. To all who are willing to fellowship with us, we at CSAF would like to say one thing with a warm smile, "Welcome to AF!"

Finally, I was surprised to discover that a simple Abercombie & Fitch (a.k.a. A&F) tee-shirt carries a huge $35 price tag. Apparently, the A&F brand has a trendy reputation among teenagers that allows its products to command a high premium as a symbol for "casual luxury". Likewise, CSAF can be a premium "brand" in the Kingdom of God as a symbol for "serious difference", so long as we remain focused on "branding for God" as opposed to "branding for ourselves".

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How Do You Spell Success?


"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

The salvation story is a simple, concrete, and credible truth, emotionally filled with love, totally unexpected from God Almighty, and absolutely significant in human history.

Without a doubt, I consider God's salvation a BIG SUCCESS.

這一生最美的祝福 (The Gift of Knowing You)

Music by Sandy Yu (Lyrics: Mandarin - Jessica Lee, English - Jeff Nelson, Cantonese - Victor Cheung)

[ Hear this song on the Web : ]

[ Free music download (size = 2.10MB) : ]


When I see the stars at night, how my heart is drawn to You.
And their light shines Your grace on me, how I long to be with You.
I lift my voice in praise, I will love You with my life,
For Your beauty and Your goodness never end.
Nothing compares to knowing You, You are the treasure of my life.
Trusting in Jesus Christ my Lord, my richest blessing in the world.
In the valleys or on high, You are with me all the time.
Thank You Lord, for the gift of knowing You.


Copyright 2003 Stream of Praise Music