Dying for Jesus (as a church pastor)

I have a feeling this will get a lot of hits from all my friends throughout Gracepoint Ministries…and a lot of comments from those who know me in our Davis and Berkeley churches (and my Mom in SoCal!). 

Well, I’ve done it.  I dyed for Jesus.  Many people have been telling me to dye my hair for a while now but I’ve resisted all of their taunts.  My philosophy is to not mess with God’s doing–short height, extra 20 pounds, handsome face, and gray hair.

Some people have the blessings of avoiding gray hair even as they age and it’s not fair when I see my wife Susanna and Pastor Ed who has avoided this inevitable.  But it was with pride that I held onto verses like: (I hope those of you who took Wisdom Literature during our Gracepoint All College Training School remember these two key verses!)

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.

Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Far be it that I remove the crown of glory gained in a righteous life!  (BTW, I gained it when my children entered into teenage years but I won’t disclose which of my two children gave me more gray glory…)

So why did I finally do it?  It happened when I had a 1-on-1 conversation with my son on a drive back from getting a haircut a couple of months ago.  He asked me if I’d do it for the sake of the Gospel.  Being a good pastor, I cited Apostle Paul’s example in 1 Cor. 9:23 “I do it all for the sake of the gospel”! That’s when he persuaded me:  “If you are ministering to college students, then you shouldn’t look like you’re ministering to the elderly.”  Okay, you got me.  I guess one of these days I’ll get to take back my crown of glory, but for now, I’ll do the righteous thing and dye…

Last night, Taylor had the honor of dying my hair and he took these “before” and “after” pictures to commemorate the occasion.  He emailed them to our family saying, “Dad is a new man! Congrats to my 35 year (looking) old pops! He’s so good looking that he almost looks like he could be my dad!”  Son, you are too righteous; may you gain a crown of glory when you have teenage kids just like you. 🙂   

[Before] With crown of glory...

[Before] With crown of glory…

[After] ...a righteous life!

[After] …a righteous life!

August 12, 2015 at 8:30 am 7 comments

Koinonia Live (K-Live) Y’all!

March 7, 2015.  3pm and 8pm.  405 W. 22nd St., Austin TX 78705.  Be there or be square (or a truncated icosahedron)!  It’s way more exciting than Buckyball chemistry or even Buc-ee’s!  For those of you non-Texans out there, Buc-ee’s is a ginormous rest stop where all the members of Gracepoint Berkeley Church can take a restroom break, get cheap refills on sodas, try samples of goodies, and fill up 50 minivans all in less than 5 minutes!  You won’t find that in California–and no smog taxes here either!

K-Live Austin 2015If you have any friends within 1 hour of Austin, TX, invite them to come and see!  Tickets are free and can be reserved at:  KoinoniaLive.org

And if they live more than an hour away, have them drive out here, stopping at Buc-ee’s and joining us!

Here are some fun video trailers that some of our folks made:

March 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

Gracepoint Church’s Bald Fellowship

We among Gracepoint Ministries strive to embrace the Acts 2 model of true fellowship and we’re especially inspired by how in the early church, “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44).  But I think we baldly went where no man has gone before–and I’m not talking about the moon here, although he’s in this picture too!  We all did this for one of our dear brothers as a demonstration of camaraderie and brotherly fellowship on the occasion of his birthday (he had a lot more hair back then when we were college students at Berkeley).

Some of the bros look pretty nice (like Pastor William Kang who is heading up our Gracepoint Davis Church).  But some look more like Klingons than anointed ministers of the gospel (like me, Patrick, and Pastor Ed Kang!).  I’m not complaining because I (and Pastor Timothy of Gracepoint Minneapolis) grew a few inches taller here! 🙂

There were many captions that we could have put on this including Daemin’s favorite memory verse from Leviticus 13:40 “If a man’s hair falls out from his head, he is bald; he is clean.”  Wait a minute: One brother missing is Mr. Disgracepoint himself, Pastor Daniel Kim.  Daniel, where are you?

Gracepoint Church's Bald Fellowship

Gracepoint Church’s Bald Fellowship

October 7, 2014 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Longhorns at Gracepoint Irvine Church?

A month ago, I got an email from Ray Choi who is now heading up Gracepoint Irvine Church, one of our new church plants starting up this Fall.  I couldn’t help but to reply to Ray and Sieun, correcting them on the strange hand sign for longhorns; their longhorn sign looked like the animal had a very long nose, very sadly mutated.  If they’re going to pastor that new church well, they need to teach their members how to do the sacred longhorn sign properly.  Susanna and I had the chance to serve with them when we were back in our Berkeley church a couple of years ago, but alas, I didn’t teach him how to do that sign. 😦

Mutant Longhorns at Gracepoint Irvine Church

Mutant Longhorns at Gracepoint Irvine Church

Some of you might have seen the recap video earlier this year from the most incredible Bladium night at All College Training School (ACTS) where the oldies won and how in the moment of sheer delight, I was caught on film doing the longhorn sign.  The caption read, “Shameless plug for Longhorns!” but truth be told, that was a proud plug for Longhorns!  In fact, that just came out very naturally; what’s in the heart comes out naturally…didn’t Jesus say that somewhere?  Anyway, you can see that magical meeting of Sophomores vs. Gracepoint pastors & deacons  (btw, notice in that picture on the Gracepoint Ministries leadership team that I happened to wear burnt orange…and that was before we moved out to Austin!):

http://www.gracepointvideo.org/2014/05/acts-bladium-sports-night-re-cap/

August 13, 2014 at 11:02 am 2 comments

Supersized in Austin, TX

As I said in a recent Sunday sermon I preached in Gracepoint Berkeley Church, everything here in Texas is super-sized!  That’s the way I like it at McDonalds; as you can see from this picture, there’s a menacing statue of a longhorn (UT Austin’s ubiquitous idol that makes the Israelites’ golden calf look like a toy from a Happy Meal).longhorn_mcd

Taylor (our personal trainer) has been telling me that I should not go for super-sized fries anymore even if it is a better deal.  He sternly tells me, “Dad, your belly is getting big.”  But I want to remind him that everything in Texas is super-sized and who am I to tell God that I should be medium-sized?  After all, when I feel full, I feel God’s pleasure…or is it more theologically correct, God’s lament?

Truth be told, Susanna and I have been exercising on the treadmill fairly regularly.  Since July 5, I’ve totaled 32.8 miles!  (Yes, 3-significant figures…because every figure is significant!)  This is a treadmill that the deacons of Gracepoint Ministry gave us as a gift when we left Berkeley; thank you, I will post a picture of us running on it soon!

This Wednesday, I will be speaking at Koinonia Austin’s New Student Welcome Night!  Of all places, it will be in the Hogg Auditorium.  (Ok, no jokes about that!) :)  Here’s a flier to get the word out and for y’all in California to pray for us!

Austin_NSWN_2013

August 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm 8 comments

Gracepoint Berkeley 2 Davis 2 AUSTIN!

Gracepoint Davis and Berkeley church members, I’m so sorry!  WelcomeToTexasI know some of you have been eagerly waiting for an update to my blog and you’ve had to wait a whole year!  But what a year it’s been–We are now in the great state of Texas!!  I’m sorry, but I LOVE Texas and it’ll take me several posts to convince you that TEXAS is the greatest!  Where else can you enjoy a warm 96 degree weather at 9pm? 🙂

Leading up Gracepoint Austin Church for the past 3 months has been a real blessing.  Susanna and I came out to scout out Austin 5.5 years ago after which I emailed our powerpoint report to Pastor Ed & Kelly and told them that we would love to volunteer to come out for that church plant.  At that time, we knew that Pastor Manny & Sunny would be the best but we wanted to be on deck!  And now we’re here and Pastor Manny & Sunny are back in California starting up Gracepoint LA!  (Actually, I took my first college course at UCLA Extension–a microbiology class when I was a High School student; yes, I was a macro-nerd even back then!)

I just wanted to post some pictures since y’all want to see how we are doing and how we are suffering for the Gospel.  Please pray for us!  I’ve had to suffer through Lasertag.  I’ve had to suffer through Whirlyball.  Man, it’s hard being a college minister but I love it!😉

lasertag

Whirlyball

August 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm 12 comments

A New Chapter in Berkeley

This morning was a new chapter in our lives as we helped Kristen move into her college dorm.  But before we left home, as we usually do when a family member heads out for a long trip, we sent her off with a time of prayer.  It just seems like yesterday when Kristen was a toddler and when I had to go off to business trips (collecting x-ray diffraction data at synchrotron sources–sorry for nerding!), she would pray, “God, please let Daddy come back safely and the airplane won’t crash.”  Susanna and I would giggle and our little daughter would be offended that we laughed during a sincere moment of prayer.  Now, our daughter is off to college and I’m praying, “God, please let Kristen come back safely!”  I’m sure she would have giggled if I had prayed such a prayer this morning!

Yes, Taylor is really sad that his dear sister is moving out of the house…

As we were loading up the minivan with her belongings, it brought back memories of 1985 when I left home to head to UC Berkeley.  Before I drove off, my dad read Isaiah 41:10:  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.   I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  I could not help but to turn to that passage this morning to read it for her.  So there we were this morning for this send-off prayer and as soon as I started, “Kristen, I want to share with you Isaiah 41:10,” Susanna starts to tear up.  And then Kristen starts to tear up.  And yes, truth be told, I start to tear up…

I started to tear up because at that moment, I recalled how true this passage has been for me from the moment my dad read it when I started that new chapter in my life.  The past 27 years have been filled with many fears and times when I was dismayed.  But God has strengthened, helped, and upheld me with His righteous right hand.

This morning, perhaps a part of me was also fearing this new chapter.  Will she be safe from all the potential harm, physically and spiritually?  Maybe I should have enrolled her in Taekwondo or something…  Maybe I should have had more Father-Daughter talks where I would preach on about the wickedness of boys and men…  Well, she had a rascally younger brother so I guess she knows a little bit of that already.

And now, as I think about how Isaiah 41:10 would help Kristen’s fears, I am being ministered to by this passage yet again for my fears at this new chapter of my life.  I need to surrender our daughter into the righteous right hand of our Heavenly Father who will surely strengthen us and help us through it all…

Since some new ministries are getting to know us (Koinonia, Klesis, [make]new fellowship, CrossTalk), I’m putting up some links below from our old chapters just for fun:

August 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm 2 comments

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About Joong “Jonathan” Lee

This weblog contains thoughts & reflections as I pastor Gracepoint Austin Church (previously at Gracepoint Davis and Berkeley Churches) and engage in various ministries.

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