Like Mother, Like Son (Poems by Alex Tran)

I was flipping through some of my old documents and ran across this collection of poems. I wrote them for my mom last year as a Christmas present.

Contrary to popular belief, I do occasional give Christmas presents. ;)

Each poem has a different rhyming scheme. I don’t remember which is which, but Wikipedia was my source. ;)

Who Am I?

I’ve been banging my head against the same wall for awhile now. It happens to be the wall that is Celebration Church Online.

It is my ministry.

One that I can’t help but believe God has uniquely equipped me to handle. The opportunity to disciple the nations. An opportunity that I am passionate about; one that excites me. An area that my heart longs to be fully invested in.

But it is a ministry that, despite my best intentions, has not developed beyond the state it started at back in September 2008.

I keep asking myself: can you be passionate about something that doesn’t bear any fruit?

It is that question/wall that I haven’t been able to get past. It’s caused me to doubt whether I’m even the right guy for the job. To wonder if I’m really passionate about it or if it’s just something I’m trying to believe into existence.

All I see is failure at the lack of fruit.

Can you be passionate about something that doesn’t bear any fruit?

As it turns out, that question is about 12 steps ahead of where I’m at. It’s not the right question to be asking right now.

While my sole focus has been on “fruits of my ministry” it has missed the fruits of God’s ministry in my life.

Could it be that all this head banging isn’t because I’ve failed or I’m not passionate but an elaborate plot by God to open my eyes and have me take a hard look at myself? To put less of a focus on what my ministry is doing, but on what God is doing within me?

Because that’s what it sure feels like.

It has been a time of re-evaluating who I am.

What does this compact, Asian fellow named Alex Tran bring to the table? How does his Asian afro hair, chicken legs and crooked pinkie combine into a person that is perfectly prepared to serve God’s Kingdom?

Maybe this is a coming of age post? ;)

The scene in the Matrix where Neo realizes he’s the One.

I look over my shoulder and I see myself from a couple months ago. There’s a clear distinction between who I was then and who I am now.

Today, I have a much keener sense of my spiritual identity. I am more confident at what I bring to the table.

To my Church Online peeps

You rock!

When I talk about Church Online not bearing any fruit, I’m talking about my inability to expand Church Online past what it’s been since the start. The lack of new initiatives, the lack of spreading the word about its existence, the lack of providing a better service experience, etc.

Really, the lack of stewardship on my part.

The lack of fruit does not mean lack of your life or others being changed by God.

I know that Church Online has touched lives and brought some of you closer to God. I don’t doubt the spiritual fruit that has come from Church Online.

To chat with some of you and to be able to see that relationship with God deepen has been a great privilege. I truly cherish knowing Church Online was able to play a small part in that.

When I feel like I’m failing and don’t see any growth over the past year, you are a constant reminder that Church Online is bearing spiritual fruit; that fruit isn’t always measured in what new initiatives you launch.

Dear BlueLily, Janet, Kathy, Becky and everyone else touched by Church Online,

Thank you for being an encouragement to me.

I love you all!

Same goes to Sarah, Brent, Becca, Daniel and Tova for putting up with my antics. ;)

Christine Caine’s “Must Haves” to Sustain Your Success in Ministry (Part 3)

Here’s the final part to Christine Caine’s talk to the staff at Celebration Church. Read Part 1 and 2 here and here.

Passion is Not a Job or Obligation

  • You’ll go further on fumes of passion than one million dollars.
  • With passion, you’ll get more buy in from people and volunteers.
  • At this level, no one is going to stir passion up for you.
    • Got to learn to do it on your own.
  • Need a gut-level gladness.
  • Passion is a heart issue. It is internally regulated.
    • Colossians 3:23
    • If the heart is established, it cannot be shaken.
      • Only things that can be shaken will be.

It’s About the Bigger Picture

  • Not about position in church.
    • Instead a “whatever attitude.” In it for the bigger picture.
  • Constantly keep bigger picture in mind. Constantly die to self.

Don’t Live a Compartmentalized Life

This point is related to how do you juggle so many things at one time. If you’re involved in full-time ministry, sometimes it’s hard to separate “church life” from “home life.” Christine touches on this point; saying not to view your life as compartmentalized.

  • Your life isn’t compartmentalized (e.g. church life, spouse life, extracurricular life, etc.), it’s interconnected.
  • There’s no conflict when your heart is established (interconnected, not compartmentalized).
    • You are not taking away from one or the other.
  • You don’t have multiple lives (e.g. church, spouse, friend). You have one life.
    • A life in Christ. Everything orbits around that.
  • Don’t build extraordinary churches on ordinary commitment.

You Lose Passion When . . .

Brian Houston reminds the staff at Hillsong that he would take passion, an attitude of gratitude and submission over gifts and talents any day.

  • Get bored.
    • You forget your first love (Revelation 2:4).
    • You think it’s all about you and not the bigger picture.
  • Isolate yourself or become lonely.
  • Insecure
    • In a church that ebbs and flows, your ability to be flexible and navigate those ebbs determines your longevity on the team.
    • Lots of people leave because of insecurity; they’re not getting the spotlight.
      • Equivalent of an adolescent temper tantrum.
    • Stay secure in Christ.
  • Laziness
    • Psalm 127:1
    • There’s always work involved in building God’s house.
  • Procrastination
  • Lust
    • Desire to have something that’s not yours to have (now or ever).
    • Keep eyes in your own lane.