I was reminded today why Scott Underwood is my favorite worship leader. As you might know, Vineyard has this annoying habit of releasing new versions of old songs in different series, making you buy a grip of product. It’s really quite annoying. There’s this new series called “Why we worship” and it deals with like different themes in worship. I listened to Father in this series. Anyway, Scott Underwood does (actually he just sings) Father of Lights. I love the way this guy sings. Like in You Are In Control, he holds the ‘n’ sound on “in,” not the i. So great. Anyway, when he sings “good and perfect gift,” on “gift” he really extends and holds that ‘ih’ sound. I mean, most people just try to get off that vowel as fast as they can, but he really holds it. Plus he says it funny, like “giehft.” That’s just so bold. It’s great.

Speaking of worship, there have been a grip of new CDs coming out from all these groups. Like we all know Hillsongs of Australia has gone over the edge, releasing about 20 CDs with the same 30 songs on them. But that Florida church, Brownsville is also getting into the act. Other churches as well. Also, there have been a bunch of CDs from England where there have been I guess conferences and stuff. My cousin had this version of Once Again by Matt Redman on one of those England conference CDs and it was incredible, and I’ve been trying to find one in the States since. I got this one with Matt Redman, Delirious and a bunch of other Brits that had that song, but it wasn’t the same version. Anyway, if anyone finds it, let me know. It’s called Soul Survivor.

So I was supposed to write about my summer. I got sidetracked talking about Canada. Yeah, it was a really great trip. Like I said, because it’s been a while, and it was just good to be with family. It’s a little strange though, because now that me and my sister are grown, our roles in the family are kind of different, and our family dynamics are really different. We kind of had to learn to be a family again, because it’s not the way it was when we used to go as kids. It’s just interesting to experience. I had a great time. Also, I didn’t realize there’s such thing as Canadian pride, but there is, and that was interesting to see, also. It’s cool to be in a different country but not have to speak a different language.

From Calgary I flew to L.A. Airport, where I was picked up by John Yoon. I stayed at his place for a night before I met the team at the airport the next morning. But that night, I went to a dinner, it was kind of tense, it was like a last reunion of old high school friends before they went on with the rest of their lives. So these 4 friends, and me. Yikes. But it was cool. But I don’t understand L.A. For one, there seem to be a lot of rich Christians there. Not that that’s bad, it’s just not what I’m used to. Plus I don’t understand the Christian radio John listens to. I mean, it’s interesting and all, but you always wonder who gets involved with that stuff. Like they have programs where a guy kind of gives a radio sermon and it’s interspersed with music. That’s actually a little annoying, because the guy says like 3 sentences and then they break for music. I heard this one, on the rich young ruler, and the theme was selling your possessions and giving to the poor. So throughout the sermon, he would keep saying “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” So it would be like, “Hi, welcome back. We’ve examining today what it means to sell your possessions and give to the poor. When Jesus says sell your possessions and give to the poor, what does he mean? (Then he makes a small point in a couple of sentences.) So maybe this helps us understand why Jesus says, sell your possessions and give to the poor. (Cut to song)

And every time he says that phrase, he says it really slowly and deliberately. Ack, it got annoying after a while. Because, it was actually a good sermon, but while it wasn’t that long, it was clear that it was going to take about 1 and half hours for him to get through it, and I couldn’t drive around for that long so I was interested but would only get tiny bites in between songs, and after a while I just wanted him to finish. So in the end I listened for like 45 minutes and I still don’t know what Jesus means when he says “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

And what I really want to know is who produces the super sterile versions of songs that they play in between the sermon snippets? Is this like sold in stores? Or do they record it just for shows like these? I can’t believe that they are rich enough to do that. It interests me greatly.

Anyway, I don’t understand really Christian talk radio. I read a study that showed that people who prayed or read the Bible regularly had lower stress, but those who in addition listened to Christian talk radio had higher stress. That’s interesting, but not entirely surprising to me. Especially in Texas, where the radio pastors are always worked up about something evil, like gun control (I am not making that up).

The coolest thing about being with John’s friends though was seeing how God worked in their lives. Because apparently, they weren’t all the most committed Christians in the world in high school, but somehow God worked in each of their individual lives and brought all of them deeper unto Him. Hearing about that was very cool, as was being able to pray with them. And it’s amazing how God works in people. It’s so often unpredictable. But I’ll talk about that later.

So the next day I went to China, and that would take forever to talk about, and I’ll probably save that for some other time.

After I got back from China we had debriefing in Malibu. It’s a really beautiful place. One afternoon, we all went to the beach. I kind of have a severe farmer tan, so I rolled my sleeves up that afternoon. Now I’m a pretty tan guy, and I can’t remember the last time I got a sunburn, but I guess my shoulders, being so white, weren’t used to sun and they got kind of burned. And it looked kind of bad. My sister, when she saw me, thought it looked hilarious, as my arms were really brown, my upper arms really red, and my upper shoulders totally white. It was pretty hideous.

After debriefing I flew to San Francisco and met my mom, my sister, and my grandma who were there for my cousin Ann’s wedding. The next day, we all drove up together to Oregon for my great-aunt’s 60th birthday. You know, to Koreans, the 60th birthday is a big deal. It’s like a complete cycle or something like that. And I’ll write more about that tomorrow.