Thursday, March 13, 2008

Men Who Have Made a Profound Impact on Me

I have spent a considerable time the past year wondering "how in the heck did I come to be this way?" Well, with some reflection and thought, I felt that it would be good for me to put forth a short list (I hope) of names that I find myself either quoting or referencing (i.e. benchmarking or compare/contrasting and against/from):

- Rev. Bob Wiebe (retired, pre-Charter RCMP 25-year veteran, 2nd career minister with the C&MA, worked "homicide" among the toughest Indian Reserves in Canada, my mentor and former regional developer of the Western Canadian District of the C&MA, the toughest man I know)

- My Father (an old school Chinese church planter/pastor who "walks slowly and carries a big stick", God-fearing, well-versed in the old ways of the motherland, grew up fatherless, attended Alliance Bible Seminary in HK; Canadian Theological Seminary in Regina, SK, currently running with the name "Ambrose Seminary"; Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL; International Theological Seminary in Los Angeles, CA)

- Uncle Jack Yee (my god-father, a "man's man", taught me to "roll with the punches", self-made, self-taught, from GED to University he pushed himself, from sweat shop to one of the "O.G." supers at BART, taught me the ways of the Giants and Niners, a pillar at SFCAC - deacon for life, though we don't see each other as often now when we do there is always "the nod of acknowledgement")

- Rev. "Uncle" Louie Mar (my 2nd Dad, retired ATF special agent, 2nd career minister/missionary/church planter, taught me to love people and repent, showed me the value of transparency in leadership and accountability, softened my heart to see things "with the eyes of Jesus")

- Brian McLaren (helped me re-locate Jesus and re-imagine my journey with Jesus, gave me words to articulate my frustration, taught me the value of existing and embracing liminal space, introduced me to systems thinking)

- Dr. Stanley Grenz (rescued me from the Gen-X confusion and exposed the seismic postmodern shift in culture, connected with me using Star Trek Next-Gen speak, taught me to graciously appreciate different theological positions, introduced me to theological thinking, passed on the mantle of "post-everthings" to me ~ Leslie Newbigen, Frost & Hirsch)

- Dr. Tim Keller (taught me the gospel and the pastoral task of finding Jesus in everything, introduced me to biblical theology, passed on the wisdom of Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones to me, taught me "generous humility", taught me how to preach)

- Dr. John Piper (taught me God's sovereign grace, passed on the wisdom ~ "religious affecftions" ~ Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans to me, taught me pastoral authority and pastoral humility in ministry, taught me why I should preach)

- Dr. R.C. Sproul (taught me to think deeper theologically - systematically and biblically, connected me with the early church fathers, taught me the importance of doctrine and orthodoxy, taught me weird Latin terms, made me passionate about "doctrine and life", taught me the weight of a sermon, passed on the wisdom of Augustinian Orthodoxy, John Calvin and the reformers to me)

- Dr. John C. Maxwell (taught me that Wesleyan-Ariminians do truly love Jesus, set the standard and bones of organizational management and leadership, the ebb and flow of trajectory-oriented leadership, the art of "keeping it together", passed on the wisdom of UCLA's Coach John Wooden to me)

- Mark Driscoll & Company (taught me to love the Bible, to love Jesus, to love my wife, to love my family, to love the people Jesus would love, to love the handful of "!@#$%*@#$@s" at my previous church, contextualized pastoral boldness and prophetic ministry, taught me the spirituality of the UFC ~ which I've always been acutely aware of, gave me clarity and direction in the ambiguity and blur that the Pacific Northwest culture is so fond of embracing and espousing)

There are definately other names that I could add to this list: my current senior pastor (a leadership guru), Rev. Daniel Cheung (my sifu/mentor/guide/Yoda figure), Dr. David Wells (who taught me the difference between technique and theology), Dr. Samuel Ling (who clarified my Chinese/American confusion), Rev. Jack To (my homeboy and sounding board currently in San Diego), and Mr. Chuck Johnson (my grade 8 social studies, softball coach, and pro "tough love" advocate).

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