Archive | September 2006

If you’ve had a drink of 7-up within the last three to four months or so, you may have noticed that its packaging/bottling now says, “Now 100% Natural”.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what was in it before?  

Regarding the “unfailing love” question, the thing that really throws me for a loop is the preposition “of” in “of my unfailing love”.  If it didn’t have the “of”, it’d probably be easier to digest.  Like if it said, “You are my Unfailing Love,” that’d be easier to understand.  The “of” suggests that it comes from us imperfect people which makes it hard to comprehend.

I’d still like to hear more thoughts on my second question too (the line “When you and I choose to believe” in the song “Made to Worship”).

I’ve been really diggin’ “Amazing Grace” on the new CD!  I’m pretty confident Hanley (Xanga: randomranting) and Aaron Lee would like it!  Take a listen!

The new chorus:

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love
Amazing grace


Does anyone want to see ApologetiX: The Christian Parody Band in Diamond Bar on Sunday night?

http://www.apologetix.com/concerts/concerts-details.php?concert_id=133893

Date:
Sunday, October 1, 2006

Time:
6:30pm
(please plan to arrive 15-30 minutes prior)

Location:
Northminster Presbyterian Church
400 Rancheria Road
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Sponsored by: Stanton and Marissa Letscher

Directions:
Exit Hwy. 57 at Temple. Head east to Golden Springs Road. Take a right a Golden Springs. Go approx. 1.5 miles, turn left on Rancheria Rd. The church is at the corner of Golden Springs and Rancheria.


If Spike Lee really cares about the poor, he should make a documentary on the poor of the world and those in other crises (Africa, Middle East, etc.).  The poor in America are soooo rich compared to the poor in the rest of the world.  This is not to say I don’t feel for them.  They just don’t know what really bad is.  If they think they’ve seen the “stuff” hit the fan, they “ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”


The Padres beat the Diamondbacks 12-4 tonight (Thursday night)!

FIGHT ON and BEAT THE (Washington State) COUGARS!

There’s one more thing I forgot to rant about yesterday…

On Sunday or Monday morning, I saw a brief clip of a journalist interviewing Spike Lee about the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.  She asked him, “Who’s at fault?”  He went on to say that the local government, state government, and federal government were all to blame.  She then asked him if he thinks President Bush cares about black people or something along those lines.  Spike said something along the lines of, “President Bush doesn’t care about all poor people.  Black. Brown.  Asian.”  I thought, “WHAT THE HECK?!  You don’t even know him personally!”  We all know Dubya and his administration are far from perfect.  You can’t say that about a person if you don’t even really know him.  I’m going to get Reggie Miller (even though he’s a Bruin) to show Spike what’s up!!!  If someone saw that same interview and/or can give me a link to the transcript of it, that would be sweet!

Fast-forward to Monday Night Football on ESPN.  The New Orleans Saints and the repaired Superdome are the biggest things to hit New Orleans since Mardi Gras.  One disturbing thing I heard during the broadcast was that people who lost everything and don’t currently have jobs purchased season tickets.  I’m not sure that’s the most prudent thing for people to be doing even though the team is the area’s lifeblood right now.  But that’s my opinion and they’re more than entitled to spend their money however they please.


The Los Angeles Dodger$ rocked the Colorado Rockies this afternoon 19-11 in the stratified air of Coors Field.  James Loney, subbing for a wounded Nomar (pronounced No-MAH by some of us) Garciaparra, drove in 9 runs today!  I’m actually glad they put up 19 runs today because that probably means their bats will be quiet until the end of the season as they go to PacBell/SBC/AT&T Park to play the San Francisco Giants to watch their hopes get drowned in McCovey Cove.

The San Diego Padres open up a four game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at Bank One Ballpark.  GO BLUE!!!  Padre blue that is!

Rants ‘n’ Praise

Before I start my random rants (LOL), here’s the quote of the day:

“UCI (University of California, Irvine for those of you who aren’t from California) is cool I guess.  Elmer overrated it too much.” -James Homan (Xanga: MarsBlackman)


Rant #1: Automobiles that don’t have a sporting pedigree should not try to look the part (from the factory).

Example #1: 2007 Toyota Camry SE – Sure, they’re great practical cars (which is why they’re selling so well) – Yes!  Sports cars – No (I know it has a 268 hp V6, it still isn’t a sports car by any means)!  That body kit is hideous!



That is just wrong!!!  But wait!  There’s more!

Coming to a NASCAR track near you in 2007 (the first one below is just a promotional vehicle, the others will actually be seen on the track…I just noticed this vehicle has the old front end on it):

#55 – Michael Waltrip

#83 – Driver TBA (interesting…this photo shows the car with the old front fascia)

#22 Dave Blaney (old front shown here as well)

#36 Jeremy Mayfield


Rant #2: Toyota Corollas and their drivers (no offense to those of you I personally know who drive one)

There’s just an uncanny combination of Toyota Corollas and their drivers that seem to be a tried and true formula for bad driving.  Maybe it’s because I’m driving in the San Gabriel Valley that I see so many heinous acts of bad driving.


Rant #3: People not knowing when to go at 4-way stop signs

All I have to say is it’s not that hard, folks!  Just go in the order ya’ll got there. If you go there at the same time, the person to the right goes.  Pedestrians always have the right-of-way.  It bugs me when the pedestrian stands at the corner and lets the vehicle before you go and then crosses when you want to go.  He or she is entitled to go before they even let the car in front of you go.  When pedestrians are crossing, some exceptions can be made to speed up the flow of cars going in the same direction as the pedestrian.  Again, part of this may be related to the fact that I live and drive in the San Gabriel Valley.  Enough said.

You are more than welcome to correct me if I’m wrong.

California DMV Handbook – pages 16 and 17, Entire handbook in PDF format – HERE


Rant #4: The Los Angeles Dodger$

It’s amazing to see their fans get so pumped up for a run at “almost, not quite”.  I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs.  They beat the lowly Colorado Rockies tonight 6-4 to close to within 1 game of the San Diego Padres in the NL West/Worst and hold onto the NL wild card lead by 1 game if the Phillies win (the Phils are in the top of the 13th inning while I’m writing this…and they did!).  I’m going to become a big San Francisco Giants fan this weekend.  Not that I need to; the Giants will want to beat the Dodger$ anyway.  The Giants usually give the Padres a hard time like the Pads give the Dodger$.  The Padres close the season with 4 games at the BOB (Bank One Ballpark) against the Arizona Diamondbacks who they’ve played well against lately.

EDIT: I shouldn’t call it the NL Worst anymore because the teams leading the NL Central actually have worse records than the Padres and Dodgers.


PRAISE GOD for His gift of music, especially that which gives Him all glory, honor, and praise!


I got the new Chris Tomlin album, See the Morning, on Monday thanks to Family Christian Bookstores.  They sold the special edition CD online which included a bonus live worship CD as well.

Here are the songs I like the most on the new album:
1) Everlasting God
2) Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (original lyrics with a new twist/chorus)
3) How Can I Keep from Singing
4) Made to Worship
5) Let God Arise

The Special Edition CD (only available through Family Christian Bookstores) also includes acoustic versions of “Enough”, “Made to Worship”, “How Can I Keep from Singing”, and an original demo of the song “Over Me”.

The Live Worship bonus CD has live renditions of “Famous One” (sounds like they took it from Passion: Our Love Is Loud), “Enough” (also from Passion: Our Love Is Loud), “Not to Us” (from Passion: Sacred Revolution), “Be Glorified” (I don’t know what album this came from…probably another Passion album I’ve never listened to), and “Raise Up the Crown” (sounds like this came from Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern).

UPDATE: If I ever meet Chris Tomlin, this is what I would ask him.

1) What exactly did you mean by “my unfailing love” in the chorus of “Unfailing Love”?  I don’t understand how humans’ love for God can be totally unfailing since we’re naturally sinful and depraved.

Praise You God of earth and sky
How beautiful is Your unfailing love, unfailing love
And You never change
God You remain the Holy One
Of my unfailing love

2) What do you mean by “You and I choose to believe” in the chorus of “Made to Worship”?  God chose us.  We didn’t choose Him.  Please help a knucklehead like me understand.  For clarification, I’m a believer of “limited free will”.  Call me close-minded or whatever you want.  That’s how I roll, yo.  You can try a Google search for “limited free will” and see what you come up with.

You and I were made to worship
You and I are called to love
You and I are forgiven and free
When You and I embrace surrender
When You and I choose to believe
Then You and I will see who we were meant to be

What do ya’ll out there in Xanga-land think about these two questions?

Thanks and praise to God not for Chris Tomlin, but for music our God can use to help His creation worship its Creatior and acknowledge Him as Lord of all!

Warning: Long entry ahead!

From my previous entry earlier tonight:
As I arrived on Friday night, I was looking forward to seeing some of my new friends again.  I didn’t see Armando/Mondo (I’m still not totally sure what his name is.  Jerry, a lil help here?) or Tony while I was there.  The first person I went to was Hernando from El Monte.  He was a person I had met on Wednesday night and I remembered that he mentioned on multiple occasions how he could really use a watch.  At the end of the night, I told him I might have one I could give him.  I found a simple digital watch at home that was given to me 5 or 6 years ago that was still totally brand new with the transparent plastic protective sticker over the face.  Because of its age, the battery was toast a long time ago.  So I went to the Sears in Glendale on my lunch break and had the battery replaced and the time set on it.  It was such a pleasure to give this to him and see how it totally made his evening-at least I thought it did since he seemed to be looking at it so many times.  Before I left to return to the bungalow I went to say good-bye for the night and he asked me to set the alarm for him to 5:30 AM (why that time?  I have no idea!).  What I don’t want ya’ll to think is that what I did was extraordinary.  Just look at the donations many of you/your families contributed to help our friends.  A *huge* thanks to Auntie Denise for coordinating that effort (Please thank your mom for me and all of us, Christi and David)!  I also know there were quite a few impromptu donations of backpacks and other useful items that some of ya’ll made for our guests as well.  Don’t think for a moment they go unnoticed!  Your friends are grateful for you and what you’ve given and your Father in heaven is pleased to see you care for His (His being all) people in this way.

Here is a detailed account of God humbled me today and showed me how selfish I can be and reminded me that I definitely am a sinner…a sinner who has been justified by grace alone through faith in Christ alone (I taught on the background information on Paul’s epistle to the Romans today for 9th grade Sunday School).

After Sunday School (around 1 PM PDT), I was to take my Uncle Milton home since my parents didn’t go to church today (for an invalid reason in my opinion).  Before we went home, there were a few miscellaneous things I had to take care of first.  While I was walking around the courtyard, I saw a familiar man who had been to our church the last two Decembers during the time a homeless winter shelter was located at our church for roughly two weeks.  I asked some of the guys if they had seen one kid I was looking for.  They asked me if I wanted to go with them to visit Janson (Xanga: jAnSoNsaysWsUp) at the hospital.  I told them I would not be able to because I had to take my uncle home.  Off to the side, I noticed that this familiar man had taken a seat on a bench to eat lunch.  Gabriel Yeung (Xanga: yEunGeEE), Jesson Foo, and a third person (I actually don’t remember who else was there) were talking to this person.

Since the guys were talking to him, I thought, “That’s great that they’re talking to him.  It’s cool if I don’t go over and say, ‘Hello,’ because they’ve got it under control.”  The more I thought that I don’t need to go over and greet him, the more I began to think, “Loren, you need to go over there and say, ‘Hello.'”  So I went not because I whole-heartedly wanted to, but because I thought it’d be the good, proper “Christian” thing to do.  So I walked over, said, “Hello.”, shook his hand, and verified that I remembered his name, Hernando, correctly (I wasn’t 100% sure at that time.  After all, I hadn’t seen him since December 2005.).

The discussion at hand revolved around trying to figure out how we were going to get Hernando “home”.  I use quotation marks because (just in case you may not have figured it out already) Hernando is a homeless man.  His friend dropped him off in the morning so he could worship with us today.  I later found out he came last Sunday as well…and that my Uncle Milton had given him a donut this morning.  Gabe asked, “Who lives in San Gabriel?”  The only answer we really had was the Mark family (Wilson, Patty, Kimmie, Kristen, Willy…just to make it clear out of the countless Marks at our church).  For some reason, I had this gut feeling that I would somehow be asked to take him home.  Someone asked (I forgot if it was Gabe or Hernando) me where I lived and I replied, “Monterey Park.”

This is where my sin really crept up on me and reared its ugly head.  I was soooo hoping that nobody there would equate that San Gabriel is on the way to Monterey Park.  I figured the prospect of taking Hernando home would inconvenience me.  Here’s what I had originally planned on doing with my afternoon.  First, I was going to fill up on gasoline at the Shell or Chevron station on the corner of Golden Springs and Brea Canyon.  Next, I was planning to take Dan (the name of the car I drive) to the car wash (I know. I know.  Why don’t you just do it yourself?  It takes me about 90 minutes to do what I would call a satisfactory job washing Dan and I don’t even wax him.  So at the car wash (think the 1970s song…j/k), they would be able to wax him up and they also have an underbody wash when he’s going through so “where the sun doesn’t shine” on him would get cleaned by these jets that shoot water upward (this was GREAT for after off-course excursions experienced on track days).  The car wash I speak of is the one on Nogales and Gale.) and then I would just chill at home with my uncle.  As ESPN’s college football analyst Lee Corso would say, “NOT so fast, my friend!

Hernando said, “San Gabriel’s on the way to Monterey Park.”  I thought, “It looks like I’ll be taking him home.”  So after a second or two, I said, “Yeah, I can take you home.”  If that isn’t “ultimate ownage/Pwn4ge”, I don’t what is.  After that, I said, “I don’t know if you remember, but I gave you that watch two years ago,” or something along those lines.  He said, “Yeah!  I remember you.”  He has since upgraded his watch!  I didn’t look at it, but I saw its band and figured it was a bit nicer than the digital wristwatch I gave him.  My plan was definitely not God’s plan this afternoon.  So I took care of the odds ‘n’ ends I had to take care of while he finished his lunch and then we were off.

As we headed West along the Pomona Freeway, Hernando shared with me about how difficult it was for him to serve in the Vietnam War with the Airborne (I forgot what unit he said.) and how angry he was that the government didn’t help many veterans re-integrate into society.  If anything, that’s what ya’ll can pray for the most for him.  He says he was definitely affected mentally by all that went on during the war and the difficulty of coming back to America without any help from the government who he said basically just threw them out into society to fend for themselves.

Hernando directed me to go to this burger stand called Jim’s Burgers or something like that on the corner of San Gabriel Blvd and Graves Ave.  He said the owner doesn’t mind him hanging out there and sometimes he’ll do little jobs like cleaning tables and the parking lot for some small cash.  At this time, I was faced with another decision point.  I could either simply drop him off and continue on home with my uncle or since my uncle and I hadn’t eaten yet, we could grab lunch there and try to spend more time talking to Hernando.  This decision wasn’t nearly as difficult as the initial one to take Hernando home.  I suppose we could say it was because the Holy Spirit was already at work.

I ordered a combination burrito and Sierra Mist for myself and my uncle had a cheeseburger and some Pepsi and we all shared some fries.  Hernando asked us a little bit about ourselves (work, school, etc.), but he also shared about how much he enjoyed being at our church and considered us another part of his extended family.  He said his friend will be able to take him every week without any major problems.  The tricky thing is getting him “home.”  I propose “Bulwark Ministries” to devise a solid gameplan for transporting Hernando if he’s going to be attending every week!

I’m sure there’s more to this that I’ve left out here, but that’s basically it.  It made me think later today as I was reflecting on what happened, even if I never get a job in life that I enjoy, as long as He uses me for His glory to make a positive difference in people’s lives, that’s all that really matters.  After all, as Steven Curtis Chapman says in a song of his, there’s more to this life than living and dying, more than just trying to make it through the day…more to this life…more than these eyes alone can see…and there’s more than this life alone can be.

CliffsNotes® version: I met a homeless man I had known from before today at church and took him home even though selfish, sinful me originally didn’t want to.


Yesterday, I went to the wedding of now Mr. & Mrs. Tommy & Karen Koo (formerly Karen Lo, Xanga: KSerenade).  It’s always nice to see a lot of my old friends/brother and sisters from USC’s Asian American Christian Fellowship.  The liturgy given during the wedding ceremony was from Psalm 115 which I thought ROCKED!!!  It opens with:

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
   for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Hearing this instantly made me think about Chris Tomlin’s “Not to Us”.  I loved how the pastor said that that day was not even so much about the couple get married, but first and foremost about God getting the glory.  He also mentioned several other monumental occasions where this Psalm was read or cited after a battle was won by the French army and on some other occasion in 1415 (I wish I remembered this.).  Garrick Sun, formerly of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s AACF many moons ago, led a couple of songs of praise and worship (Great Is the Lord, Indescribable).  I love that guy!  He’s so laid back and easy to talk to.  It’s too bad I only see him once every few years.

It was awesome seeing how the bridgegroom, Tommy, simply looked so happy the whole time and you could totally tell how in love with her he is.  I’m sure he will be a good husband to her and she will be a good wife to him.  It’s all about Ephesians 5, everyone!  The only “uncool” thing was at the reception when people were saying to them, “This is your big day…your day…you…you…you.”  And while it is about them, they don’t need to be saying, “You…you…you…all the time.”  Why not: “God….God…God.”  I’m thinking, “Don’t you remember what the pastor was saying just a few hours ago?”  After all, Frank (Xanga: franqi) said, “Weddings aren’t for the couple; they’re for other people.”  He said it jokingly of course!


Chris Tomlin Concert attendees (in no particular order)
1. Raymond Tay
2. Tyrone Li
3. David Wong
4. Garrett Wong – probable for gametime (if for some reason, Garrett cannot go, I will notify those of you who have already expressed interest)
5. Hanley Liu
6. Christopher Woo
7. Steve Loo
8. Me


Here are the lyrics to “Listen To Our Hearts” for those of you who may not be familiar with it.  Sing with me!  How great is our God… j/k  Although I’m not totally kidding…He is GREAT (Psalm 104)!

Listen To Our Hearts
by Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman

How do you explain
How do you describe
A love that goes from east to west
And runs as deep as it is wide

You know all our hopes
Lord, You know all our fears
Words cannot express the love we feel
But we long for You to hear

Chorus 1
So listen to our hearts (SCC: Oh Lord please listen)
Hear our spirits sing (SCC: and hear us sing)
A song of praise that flows (SCC: a simple song of praise)
From those You have redeemed (SCC: from those You have redeemed)
We will use the words we know
To tell You what an awesome God You are
But words are not enough
To tell You of our love
So listen to our hearts

If words could fall like rain
From these lips of mine
And if I had a thousand years
I would still run out of time

So if You listen to my heart
Every beat will say
Thank You for the life
Thank You for the truth
Thank You for the way

Repeat Chorus 1

You know all our hopes (SCC: all our hopes)
Lord, You know all our fears (SCC: and all our fears)
Words cannot express the love we feel
But we long for You to hear

Chorus 2
Listen to our hearts (SCC: Oh Lord please listen)
Hear our spirits sing (SCC: and hear us sing)
A song of praise that flows (SCC: a song of praise)
From those You have redeemed (SCC: from those You have redeemed)
We will use the words we know
To tell You what an awesome God You are
But words are not enough
To tell You of our love
So listen to our hearts
Words are not enough
To tell You of our love
So listen to our hearts

God owned (0wn3d for those of you who are l337) me today.  I will create a new entry later tonight detailing how He humbled me through His majesty and covered me with His grace so free.

Part 1 – This is a copy and paste of something I wrote in December 2004 when I was reflecting on my experience interacting with some homeless people who were staying at our church…possibly doing more for us than we were for them.  “CliffsNotes®” version is at the end.


From: Loren Wong 
Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 2:25 AM
To: ‘Unikoi Yahoogroup’
Subject: RE: [unikoi] homeless ministry reflection

Hello hello to all you unikoi high schoolers in yahoo group land!

I’d like to share my $0.02 and some odd change about my experience with the homeless winter shelter so far at our church.
 
I was initially convicted by the Holy Spirit on Friday, December 3rd, of how comfortable I had become with respect to my interaction with the poor.  I’m glad that Jerry took that evening to tell ya’ll how you can prepare yourselves to minister to our honored guests the following Friday.  It had the last time I had a really good time with some homeless people was during my senior year at USC when I took some people in USC’s Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) over to 4th Street and Los Angeles by The Midnight Mission on skid row.  Believe or not, I consider the Union Rescue Mission to be the “nice part” of skid row.  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I believe that if you don’t interact with these wonderful people on a regular basis, it is easy to become calloused.  I’m pretty sure I did.
 
Fast forward to last Wednesday night.  I went to church to try to help out along with a couple of guys from my fairway small group, one of them being your “Uncle Steve”.  I was really looking forward to the evening.  It was just what the Doctor, our Father, ordered!  Some of the people I wanted to meet were folks Jerry had the honor of interacting with the first week of the shelter.  Two of them were Armando/Mondo (sp?) from El Monte and “Kristy (sp?) with a ‘K’, no other way”.  I also had the pleasure of meeting a few other people that night as well.
 
The most enjoyable conversation I had that night was with a man named Tony who had just started working for a Circuit City distribution center if I remember correctly (iirc).  He arrived after dinner had been served and most of the guests had already set up their cots.  He shared how he was so thankful about God’s provision in his life and gave praise to Him.  He was so content to set up his cot, put on his walkman, and fall asleep.
 
I also met another man named Gary on Wednesday night.  As Hanley shared on Friday night, Gary attended Wilson High School when he was your age.  He too came in after dinner had been served as was just glad to have a place to spend the night.  I’ll share a little bit more about him later.
 
As the night went on, the most prevalent thing on my mind was that there was *nothing* better I could be doing with my time that night.  For me personally, whenever I get this feeling, my soul is satisfied.  Out of all the other things I could probably be doing with my time, this easily was the most worthwhile and fulfilling.  There was no place I would rather be when I’m in that “zone.”  I hope and pray all of you may have similar experience in your service to Him.
 
As I arrived on Friday night, I was looking forward to seeing some of my new friends again.  I didn’t see Armando/Mondo (I’m still not totally sure what his name is.  Jerry, a lil help here?) or Tony while I was there.  The first person I went to was Hernando from El Monte.  He was a person I had met on Wednesday night and I remembered that he mentioned on multiple occasions how he could really use a watch.  At the end of the night, I told him I might have one I could give him.  I found a simple digital watch at home that was given to me 5 or 6 years ago that was still totally brand new with the transparent plastic protective sticker over the face.  Because of its age, the battery was toast a long time ago.  So I went to the Sears in Glendale on my lunch break and had the battery replaced and the time set on it.  It was such a pleasure to give this to him and see how it totally made his evening-at least I thought it did since he seemed to be looking at it so many times.  Before I left to return to the bungalow I went to say good-bye for the night and he asked me to set the alarm for him to 5:30 AM (why that time?  I have no idea!).  What I don’t want ya’ll to think is that what I did was extraordinary.  Just look at the donations many of you/your families contributed to help our friends.  A *huge* thanks to Auntie Denise for coordinating that effort (Please thank your mom for me and all of us, Christi and David)!  I also know there were quite a few impromptu donations of backpacks and other useful items that some of ya’ll made for our guests as well.  Don’t think for a moment they go unnoticed!  Your friends are grateful for you and what you’ve given and your Father in heaven is pleased to see you care for His (His being all) people in this way.
 
While the clients ate dinner, I tried to spend some time talking to one of the workers in the yellow shirts named Danny.  These people have really given of themselves to help their fellow man/woman.  Some of them may have been in the same position as the clients staying at our church and vice-versa (the opposite).  Dan, a big Caucasian fellow with brown hair and a mustache, was someone I met on Wednesday night who said he used to be one of the workers in the past.
 
After I was done talking to Danny, I set out to chat with Gary.  He didn’t really remember me from the other night, but that wasn’t important.  The important thing was that I had the privilege of talking to him again.  I asked him how his work was going.  IIRC, he told me that he actually wouldn’t start until Saturday which was fine.  Somehow we got on the topic of what do I want to be in my life.  I said, “I don’t really know.”  He and his buddy Melvin started telling me I’ve gotta figure that out before I get old like them.  It’s not that I don’t know what I want to be.  It’s just that I know getting into those vocations (professional race car driver or fighter pilot) aren’t really attainable for me.  Gary started sharing with me how he wanted to become a police officer (on a side note, don’t hate ya’ll…most cops are wonderful people!) but he didn’t pass the written exam the first time he took it so he needed to wait another six months or something like that.  They (Gary and Melvin) also assumed I was the same age as the rest of you (a good thing?) until I mentioned I was 23.  From there, they started talking about the music that was around back in their time and the “garbage” that’s out there now.  Melvin’s example was Marilyn Manson’s music.  Enough said there.  Gary mentioned he tries to listen to Christian music now and when I asked him who he had listened to, he said Michael W. Smith.  When he said that, I said, “You kind of look like him!”  When I said that, he said the lady at the Borders he bought the CD at said the same thing iirc.  He said he gets the ol’ “You look like (insert name here),” quite often.
 
A little bit later, as the dinner clean-up began, I met Leroy.  He had been sitting across from Gary, but I never had the chance to talk to him.  He shared about how tough it would be to get an apartment these days.  Yet he mentioned how he had placed his trust in our God this whole entire time.  It’s so encouraging how Leroy and many of the other guests have an unwaivering faith in our Lord despite their situations.  How much more should we press on in our own personal relationships with Him!  We probably haven’t seen or experienced even half of the things these people have in our short time here in this world.  He said he’d appreciate it if I could pray for him to find a place.
 
The biggest realization/reminder I had that night was that it always seems so much easier to make new friends with these people than it is to make friends with new people who come from similar upbringings/backgrounds/environments as many of us have.  I believe it has to do with the fact that these people have no real reason to put up any walls or communication barriers.  These people have nothing to lose and no fronts to put on.  They have no need to impress like we vainly try to impress others.  I believe this is what makes talking to most of these people so enjoyable.  They all have a story to tell and it’s our privilege to hear their stories.  They may not necessarily be “feel good” stories, but they are stories of the lives they’ve lived up to that point in that describe a life that is amazing uncomfortable from our perspective.
 
My biggest encouragement for all of you is to regularly go out of your way, step out of your comfort zone, to minister to the homeless, helpless, and loveless with God’s love and grace on a *regular* basis.  It’s an essential part of being Jesus’ hands and feet…being the salt of the earth…being the light of the world.  The next time you have a chance to serve the poor, please remember not to hide behind your task or duty, but go out of your way to reach out to these people.  After all, He went out of his way to reach out to us through the gift of His only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
 
Well, I’m getting pretty (more like very) tired here.  I will have to cut this “short” and wrap it up here.  I’m sorry if I left anything else out they may be able to encourage you guys and gals.  Please also forgive me for any typographical, grammatical, and spelling errors.  It’s after 2 AM here and I have work at 8:30 AM.  Don’t try this at home, kids!
 
***Cliff notes version***: before homeless ministry at our church i had become too comfy…homeless come to our church and I have an AWESOME time with them…there’s aren’t many (if any) better things you can do with your time than to serve the poor…the homeless don’t put up many (again, if any) walls when we try to befriend them, but why do we do so to our fellow peers…my enouragement: be Jesus’ hands to stretch forth in healing (and ministering to) others and His feet to carry the good news
 
Do justice.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with your God.
-Micah 6:8
 
By His amazing grace,
Loren :o)

One of the funniest commercials I saw last year…

Here’s one I never saw…


Here’s a video related to last night’s.  Again, the video quality isn’t the best, but you can actually see Michael Chang sing.  Man, watching these makes me miss Geoff.  I love the sound of his voice!!!


Last Saturday, I took Hanley (Xanga: randomranting) to the USC Trojans’ victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers at USC’s home opener for the 2006 college football season.  USC prevailed 28-10 and showed Nebraska who the real “Big Red” is!

I know I was caught off-guard when the photo was taken because the delay for the flash seemed abnormally long!

We arrived at the Coliseum around 7:30 AM for ESPN’s College Gameday built by The Home Depot.  After it was done at 9 AM, Justin Joe found us and we had breakfast at the Burger King on Jefferson.  Once breakfast was over, we went back to campus and I gave Hanley an informal tour of USC (including a stop at Heritage Hall of course) before we went to Parkside International Residential College (PIRC) to meet up with Christi and April Wong, Katie from the LA church, and Christi’s roommate Adrienne.  Christi gave Katie and us an(other) informal tour of part of USC’s campus.  They then unexpectedly treated us to lunch at PIRC by swiping for us.  PIRC definitely has some good food!!!  After lunch, Hanley and I just hung out in one of PIRC’s lounges watching the Michigan vs. Notre Dame’s debacle and LSU vs. Auburn’s (FYI: they’re both named the Tigers) sleeper.  We also fell asleep watching them here and there too.  We then went back to the Coliseum to watch the game.  We were in section 3, row 88, seats 101 & 102.  The game wasn’t that exciting because it wasn’t a blowout nor was it really close.  There were a lot of Nebraska fans where we were (it was pretty mixed) and most of them conducted themselves with class.  I can’t say the same about all the Trojan fans though…although Husker fans had some real gems here and there too.  The atmosphere wasn’t nearly as “electric” as UCLA and Notre Dame games.


This concludes another entry.  Fight on for ol’ JC and God bless!

Wake the neighbors
Get the word out
Come on, crank up the music
Climb a mountain and shout
This is live we’ve been given
Made to be lived out
So la, la, la, la LIVE OUT LOUD!

LOL everyone!!!

Michael Chang, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Geoff Moore singing “Listen to Our Hearts” at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing, China in March 2004.  My sources (Steve Loo – Xanga: rice4krxst) told me that Dr. Brent Fulton of ChinaSource (and also a fellow Trojan) helped organize their trip to China.

Finding this was definitely my highlight of tonight!!!


The San Diego Padres retook first place in the National League West/Worst last (Tuesday) night with a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks and a Dodger loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Pads and Dodgers both lost tonight so I’ll still be able to sleep well.  The new wrinkle in all of this is that the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs to move into a tie with the Dodgers in the National League Wild Card playoff spot.


NCAA Football 07
If it’s in the game, it’s in the game!  EA SPORTS – It’s in the game!

For those who are interested in “simulated” games, I simmed a matchup of USC (road) vs. Ohio State (home) in the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona with 5 minute quarters at All-American difficulty with the computer playing itself.  USC beat Ohio State 20-6.  A sign of things to come?  We’ll see.

If you want to be in the game, please let me know!  I’m going to try to create a team of us.

I would like your height, weight, hometown, jersey number you would like, your dexterity (LEFT or right-handed), and what you think your ratings should be in the following categories (99 is the maximum value).  Please try to keep it somewhat realistic, but still fun at the same time.

EDIT: I forgot to mention your position too.

Overall – your overall rating
Speed – how fast you are
Strength – how strong you are
Awareness – how aware you are of things going on (a high rating here will usually reduce penalties and make you less susceptible to fakes if you’re playing on defense)
Agility – how agile you are/Reggie Bush-ness
Acceleration – how quickly you accelerate
Catch – how well you catch the ball
Carry – how well you carry the ball (a high rating here means you won’t fumble as much)
Jump – your “hops”
Break Tackle – your ability to break tackles
Tackle – your ability to tackle
Throwing Power – your throwing power
Throwing Accuracy – your throwing accuracy
Pass Block – your ability to pass block to protect the quarterback
Run Block – your ability to run block to aid the person running the ball
Kick Power – your kicking power
Kick Accuracy – your kicking accuracy
Stamina – your stamina will determine how easily you fatigue
Injury – how susceptible you are to injury (a lower rating = glass, a higher rating = bulwark)

Here’s USC’s Dwayne Jarrett (from IGN.com)

#8 WR Dwayne Jarrett – 6’5″, 215 lbs, New Brunswick, NJ

Overall: 95
Speed: 94
Strength: 62
Awareness: 88
Agility: 92
Acceleration: 95
Catch: 96
Carry: 62
Jump: 98
Break Tackle: 59
Tackle: 48
Throwing Power: 40
Throwing Accuracy: 40
Pass Block: 40
Run Block: 48
Kick Power: 40
Kick Accuracy: 40
Stamina: 93
Injury: 94

Here’s what I’ll probably set myself

#2 WR/CB/KR/PR Loren Wong – 5’8″, 165 lbs, Monterey Park, CA

Overall: 95
Speed: 95
Strength: 52
Awareness: 95
Agility: 94
Acceleration: 99
Catch: 90
Carry: 75
Jump: 88
Break Tackle: 50
Tackle: 55
Throwing Power: 40
Throwing Accuracy: 70
Pass Block: 40
Run Block: 40
Kick Power: 40
Kick Accuracy: 40
Stamina: 85
Injury: 90

Man, I miss playing high school football!  I think I miss it even more than playing high school baseball for four years (I only played football my senior year after begging my parents to let me play).  With my football highlights (2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 blocked PAT, and a few nice tackles, although I got 0wn3d a few times too), I can replay them in my head over and over again!  With my baseball highlights, I don’t remember them too well even though I’m a better baseball player than football player.


At Bible Study Fellowship last week, I ran into John Negrete, a friend of mine through InterVarsity at UCLA.  Well, he’s the one that actually found me.  I first met John when I started tutoring some neighborhood kids a few blocks from USC through a program called “Adventures Ahead” run by some people from a local home-based church (Church of the Redeemer was its name if I remember correctly).  I think the last time I saw him was probably five years ago or so.  I was so surprised to see him last week.  He attended last (Tuesday) night’s meeting as well, but said he won’t be able to attend on Tuesday nights anymore.

It is absolutely amazing how God brings His people together.  It’s evident through how I started this entry and here as I end it.  All glory, honor, and praise to Him!  Amen?!  AMEN!!!

So sad…   

Instant Classic tonight – Padres lose crazy game; fall from first (crazy is a huge understatement)

The Dodgers beat the Padres 11-10 in 10 innings.  The two teams split this weekend’s series with the Dodgers winning two and the Padres winning two.  I’m actually glad I didn’t go to tonight’s game, although maybe if I went, the Pads would’ve held out.  I sure hope Jon Lee (Xanga: gunnerman) stayed for the whole game.  If he was like most Los Angeles fans (arrive late, leave early), shame…shame on him!

The Padres still won 13 out of 18 against the Dodgers this year though!

It’s going to go down to the wire in the National League West/Worst!


To lighten things up a little bit, here’s something for those of you who sit (or will sit) shotgun in “Devoted Dan”.  Here are the official shotgun rules…

Official Shotgun Rules (some of you who rode in the ol’ Oldsmobile Ciera SL I used to drive may remember me having it taped to the passenger side of the dashboard) 

The Shotgun Constitution


Preamble:

THE RULES LISTED BELOW APPLY TO THE CALLING OF SHOTGUN (THE PASSENGER SEAT) IN AN AUTOMOBILE. THESE RULES ARE DEFINITIVE AND BINDING.

Section I The Basic Rules

Article 1: In order to call Shotgun, the caller must pronounce the word “Shotgun” as long as the driver verifies the call.

Article 2: Shotgun may only be called if all occupants of the vehicle are outside and directly on the way to the said vehicle.

Article 3: Early calls are strictly prohibited. Shotgun may only be called while walking toward the vehicle and only applies to the drive immediately forthcoming.

Shotgun can never be called while inside a vehicle or still technically on the way to the first location. For example, one can not get out of a vehicle and call Shotgun for the return journey.

Article 4: The driver has final say in all ties and disputes. The driver has the right to suspend or remove all shotgun privileges from one or more persons.

Section II Special Cases

These special exceptions to the above rules should be considered in the order presented; the case listed first will take precedence over any of the cases beneath it, when applicable.

Article 1: In the instance that the normal driver of a vehicle is drunk or otherwise unable to perform their duties as driver, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun.

Article 2: In the instance the person who actually owns the vehicle is not driving, then he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 3: In the instance the the driver’s spouse, lover, partner, or hired “escort” for the evening is going to accompany the group, he/she is automatically given Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 4: In the instance that one of the passengers may become so ill during the course of the journey that the other occupants feel he/she will toss their cookies, then the ill person should be given Shotgun to make appropriate use of the window.

Article 5: In the instance that only one person knows how to get to a given location and this person is not the driver, then as the designated navigator for the group they automatically get Shotgun, unless they decline.

Article 6: In the instance that one of the occupants is too wide or tall to fit comfortably in the back seat, then the driver may show mercy and award Shotgun to the genetic misfit.

Alternatively, the driver and other passengers may continually taunt the poor fellow as they make a three-hour trip with him crammed in the back.

Section III The Bastard Rules

Article 1: If the driver so wishes, he/she may institute the Bastard Rules on the process of calling Shotgun. In this case all rules, excepting that of Section 1, Article 4, are suspended and the passenger seat is occupied by whoever can take it by force.

Article 2: The driver must announce the institution of the Bastard Rules with reasonable warning to all passengers. This clause reduces the amount of blood lost by passengers and the damage done to the vehicle.
Please follow the above rules to the best of your ability. If there are any arguments or exceptions not covered in these rules, the driver calls the shots, as stated in Section 1, Article 4.
————————————————————————–


Time to bring some Steven Curtis Chapman goodness back with the song “Much of You”.  This was the song I thought of as Pastor Jackson gave his message yesterday.

Much of You
How could I stand here
And watch the sun rise
Follow the mountains
Where they touch the sky
Ponder the vastness
And the depths of the sea
And think for a moment
The point of it all was to make much of me
Cause I’m just a whisper
And You are the thunder and

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

And how can I kneel here
And think of the cross
The thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear
The infinite cost
To purchase my pardon
And bear all my shame
To think I have anything worth boasting in except for Your name
Cause I am a sinner
And You are the Savior

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

This is Your love, oh God
Not to make much of me
But to send Your own Son
So that we could make much of You
For all eternity

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

I want to make much of You
Much of You, Jesus


The “Trojans” photo in my previous entry was shot from the Goodyear blimp.  I linked it from www.trojanfb.com.

That’s about it for now.

Fight on and BEAT THE (Arizona) WILDCATS!!!

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I’m still keeping the faith!  GO PADRES!!!

Never forget – September 11, 2001

In rememberance, I changed the music on this page to The Star-Spangled Banner (link has the full lyrics) played by the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band – The Spirit of Troy.

O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


Chris Tomlin tickets spoken for so far:

  1. David Wong
  2. Garrett Wong
  3. Raymond Tay
  4. Tyrone Li
  5. Me, Myself, and I
  6. You?
  7. Tú? (“You” (informal) in Spanish)
  8. Você? (“You” in Portuguese according to babelfish.altavista.com)

Ya’ll have plenty of time out there to join in.  Again, don’t let $$$ be an issue.  I just want people to get another small glimpse of heaven in the real world (thank you, Steven Curtis Chapman, for that figure of speech).  If you really think about it, worshiping God with other believers should always be able to present us with a taste of heaven.  At times, we’re just too messed up ourselves as human beings to experience it.


The BEST Mexican food in San Diego (that I’ve had) can be found at El Cotixan!

I miss their huge carne asada burritos for $4.00 (if I remember correctly)!



I wanted to give some props to Sony’s Customer Support some props for helping me out.  I bought a Sony Cybershot DSC-F717 (review here) from Jason Dyer a few months ago.  At summer retreat (which I still need to make further mention of in a more detailed entry), I first noticed a problem with the image sensor device (CCD) similar to the one below.

There was a class-action lawsuit (more details here) that resulted in a settlement between the parties where Sony Electronics Inc. (SEL) would repair the affected camcorders and digital still cameras at no charge to the customer or reimburse the customer if they had their product previously repaired (with proper documentation) because of this problem.  What I thought was going to be a costly repair ended up costing me nothing except a little time.  The time it took to ship (Sony provided a prepaid UPS Ground label) the camera to their repair center in Texas and have it return to me was about two weeks, which was definitely a lot quicker than I thought it would take.  It was also convenient that I didn’t have to obtain Jason’s original receipt and all that fun stuff.

Here are the affected models just in case you may have any of them that exhibit the same problem in the future:

Camcorders

CCD-TRV118; CCD-TRV128; CCD-TRV318; CCD-TRV328; DCR-DVD100; DCR-DVD101; DCR-DVD200; DCR-DVD300; DCR-HC20; DCR-HC20 M; DCR-HC30/S; DCR-IP5; DCR-IP55; DCR-PC101; DCR-PC105; DCR-PC120BT; DCR-TRV18; DCR-TRV19; DCR-TRV19M; DCR-TRV22; DCR-TRV240; DCR-TRV25; DCR-TRV250; DCR-TRV260; DCR-TRV27; DCR-TRV33; DCR-TRV340; DCR-TRV38; DCR-TRV39; DCR-TRV460; DCR-TRV50; DCR-TRV740; DCR-TRV840; DCR-TRV950; DCR-VX2000; DCR-VX2100; DSR-250; DSR-250/1; DSR-PD150; DSR-PD170; and DSR-PDX10.

Digital Still Cameras

DSC-F717; DSC-P10/S; DSC-P2/S; DSC-P31; DSC-P31M; DSC-P32; DSC-P32M; DSC-P51; DSC-P51M; DSC-P52; DSC-P52 M; DSC-P7; DSC-P71; DSC-P71M; DSC-P72; DSC-P72M; DSC-P8/L; DSC-P8/R; DSC-P8/S; DSC-P92; DSC-P92M; DSC-U10/S; DSC-U20/B; DSC-U20/LJ; DSC-U20/S; DSC-U30/H; DSC-U30/LJ; DSC-U30/S; DSC-U60; DSC-V1; MVC-CD250; MVC-CD250 M; MVC-CD400; MVC-CD500; MVC-FD100; MVC-FD100 M; MVC-FD200; and MVC-FD200 M.


Here are some photos of a birthday surprise we gave Steve!


OWNED!

Speaking of birthdays, Michelle Yuen turns 20 tomorrow (Sunday) and Christopher Woo turns 21 on Monday.  I expect all of you out there to show the same love to these two!!! Hehehe!

A little late, but worth the wait: Jason Lee turned 21 back on September 3rd.  My bad for not remembering.  Chris mentioned it to me last night.  Baseball fans, Mark Prior turned 26 this past Thursday.


Here’s a couple of photos of my fellow DCLA 2006 volunteers.

Everyone meet Steve (Ferry).  He’s currently a student at Moody Bible Institute.  He is easily the biggest 24 fan I know!  He’s originally from Illinois and is a fellow Cubs fan.


This brother is Shawn Selame.  I first met him when I was volunteering at DCLA 2000.  He’s originally from NorCal.  He graduated from Vanguard University in 2004 or 2005 (I think it’s the latter but I’m not sure).  He was a fellow Youth For Christ summer intern in 2001 (although he interned at the national office in Denver, Colorado).  The last time I saw him was when I volunteered at DCLA 2003 which was in Sacramento.  I had a tremendous time catching up with him!