Archive for June, 2009

June 28, 2009
Speaker: Pastor Dave Chae
Series: Lead/Feed/Intercede
Passages: Philippians 1:1-8

Today Dave Chae introduced the new youth ministry pastor, Casey Barton.  To let the congregation know him he did an interview of him.

Casey Barton joked about how, after doing a Facebook quiz, learned he is Optimus Prime because he will be the first one on the battlefield for his soldiers.  He also shared his story about how he met his wife.  In high school he struggled with depression and he was involved in drugs, alcohol, vandalism, etc.  One day he was invited to a youth group pizza party.  At the sermon he heard that Jesus can heal a broken life so he thought he’d give him a shot and accepted Christ.  He was lucky enough to have Godly people in his life when he was a youth and since then wanted to work with youth in the same way.

Casey Barton met Dave Chae on the Journey of Mosaic tour, they were roommates.  And later Dave extended an invitation to interview for the youth ministry pastor position.

Western Seminary is courting GrX to lease a building.

Why does Paul lead with thankfulness and prayers of joy?

  • Paul leads with thankfulness because he is so grateful for the Philippians’ Unprecedented Love (1:3-5b; 1:7-8)
  • Paul leads with prayers of joy for the Philippians because of their Partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. (1:4-5)
  • Paul leads with thankfulness and prayers of joy for the Philippians because he is confident in God’s good work in them.  Progress in the gospel was the source of Paul’s joy and not personal comfort. (1:6)

Intensity of Paul’s Prayers

  1. intense personal nature (“my prayer for you”)
  2. constancy (“always”)
  3. all-inclusiveness (“for all of you”)
  4. joy

How do we apply this in our lives?

  1. Involvement.
  2. Sacrificial support of ministry.
  3. Consistent support of ministry.

Yesterday GrX introduced their new youth ministry pastor, Casey Barton.  Casey shared his story about how he met his wife.

Casey Barton met his wife at a shop she worked at about a year and a half after high school.  He was too shy so he didn’t introduce himself.

Later Casey found out one of his friends knew her.  He asked her to introduce him but she said “She’s too good for you. You’ll ruin her.”

He responded “Fine!  I’ll introduce myself.”

All Latex Rainbow Balloon Bouquet A few days later he went to the store where his future wife worked and bought a bunch of balloons.  She asked “What are the balloons for?”

“These balloons are for a girl I’m too shy to meet.  I am going to give them to her and leave my phone number on the card and hope she calls me.”

“Oh, isn’t that so sweet?!”

Casey Barton purchased the balloons and then gave them to her.  She pushed the balloons back and said “No, don’t give them to me!  Give them to the girl!”

Casey said “You are the girl!”, shoved the balloons back and then ran out.

That afternoon she called him.  That evening she broke up with her boyfriend.  The next evening they went on a date.

Now they are happily married and have two kids.


Not For Sale Week 3

 | June 28, 2009 7:06 AM

Kique Bazan - Director of International Projects & Co-founderKique Bazan from Peru led the Week 3 Bible Study.  He is the Director of International Projects & Co-founder of Not For Sale.

Not For Sale has five international projects.  Their goal is to teach skills and provide a moral framework.

It takes typically three years to transition from slavery.  A key part of the transition is convincing the person he/she does not deserve to be a slave.  After three years they try to put them in vocational programs with job placement – learning while working.

Not For SaleOne transition program was taking kids surfing.  It takes about six weeks to master surfing.  These kids started receiving compliments and began feeling good about themselves.  For this reason the transition happened much faster and the kids wanted to clean up, go to school, etc.

Based on this success, they are trying sports models to accelerate the transition, for example, soccer team in Ghana, roller blade team in Oakland.

In Ghana the fishermen’s nets get caught at the bottom of the lake.  The fishermen use child slaves to free the nets.  They tie weights to these children who can’t swim and throw them in.  They only pull them out after the net is free and sometimes the kids come up drowned.  Not For Sale is trying to change both the culture of acceptance of slavery and the economics so that the need for these children is gone.

The majority of female sex slaves in India are Nepalese.  Not For Sale uses former sex slaves to help identify at the border which women are being trafficked to India. lists past cases because if they list current cases they might jeopardize the investigation.  What is strange is why aren’t there any cases of North Korean refugees becoming slaves.  Who has that info?  I asked Kique about this and he said because there are no Not For Sale investigators working in that area.

Kique told a story about why Not For Sale is very careful about revealing identities.  Once Dr. Phil had on his program two American women who had been forced into prostitution.  These women became sex slaves while teenagers and after many years they finally escaped and one of them was doing work to help other former sex slaves.  Many years later they went on Dr. Phil to help publicize this issue.  Without their knowledge or consent near the end of the program Dr. Phil had their former pimp call them.  The women broke down crying uncontrollably and it was an incredibly traumatic event for them.  I have no idea what Dr. Phil was thinking.  I wish I could find more information about this episode on the internet

Kique presented three ways we can help.

  1. Open source activism.  Go to action page to find out what you can do.
  2. After care academy in December run by Missing.  This will be a new academy after the current summer series of academies.
  3. Global Forum on Human Trafficking in San Diego on October 8-9.  Specifically in Carlsbad, home of Legoland.  You can make it into a family vacation. 🙂

Have Computer Will Work

 | June 25, 2009 10:46 AM

desk1Considering the meltdown in the financial markets at the end of 2008 I knew 2009 would be difficult.  When my contract was renewed at the end of 2008 I agreed to a pay cut with the agreement that my contract would be extended until the end of July.

Unfortunately times became more difficult for my client and funding for my next project was not approved.  Consequently my contract was cut short at the beginning of May.

Fortunately for me during this contract I was hired as a temporary employee instead of as a contractor.  For this reason when my contract ended I was able to apply for unemployment insurance and medical insurance for my children.

For the most part this time has been good.  I have been trying to spend more time with my family, read books, blog more and think about what I want to do next.

I have volunteered to do some IT projects for nonprofits but in most cases I won’t be receiving any payment.  So I have begun expanding my job search.

If you know anyone who could use a programmer, preferably on a contract basis, please send them my resume or point them to my professional website, betweenGo, where they can learn about me.  My specialty is ATG web applications but I consider myself a programmer first and am willing to do any technology.



I searched for a way to schedule tweets for a future time like I schedule blog posts.  Three different services showed up at the top of my search, Tweet Later, FutureTweets and Twuffer.  Tweet Later immediately turned me off by how ugly they were.  FutureTweets looked the most attractive but then I realized I had to register for its service.

With Twuffer I could simply use my Twitter username and password.  It proved pretty easy to use its service which I did to schedule tweets while I was on my cruise vacation last week.



I don’t really enjoy the cruising culture which consists of boozing, gluttony and other forms of self-indulgence.

My latest cruise on the Carnival Paradise did not have nearly the amount of boozing that cruises typically have, possibly because so many of the young people were high schoolers who were celebrating graduating but not old enough to legally drink.

Carnival Cruise Hairy Man Contest Also I did enjoy one offshoot of this culture, the hairy chest contest.  Actually I didn’t enjoy the contest, I just enjoyed the fact that a small Indian man with no shame and the hairiest chest and back won.  I found out he won after seeing all the replays shown throughout the ship.

When I congratulated the winner later he humbly replied “Oh thank you.  You should have done it.  It was so much fun.”

I replied “I can’t dance like you.”

Still there’s just this sense of heightened self-indulgence.  I must admit that though I found it somewhat unsettling I participated fully in it as a complete glutton.

In the end I realized that if the only reason I like cruising is the buffet then maybe I should just stay local and visit a different buffet every meal.  I would save a lot of money and not risk getting seasick.

At least none of us gained weight.


Carnival Paradise

Ji Seon and I recognize most cruise ship employees are very low paid.  Each employee’s name tag shows where the employee is from as if to advertise what a diverse, international crew the cruise line employs.  But the countries of origin are typically Romania, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Thailand and other poor countries.  We did not meet a single employee from the United States, Canada, Japan, South Corea or any western European country.

Ji Seon told me that cruise lines are always incorporated internationally in countries with poor labor laws so that they can pay their workers extremely low wages and make them work many long hours.

Recently Ji Seon and I have been learning about modern slavery through the Not For Sale series that our church, GrX, is running.  We asked ourselves a few times if any of the employees on this cruise could be slaves but decided they are probably not since a large corporation is their employer and they are free to leave.  However after coming back from the cruise I did a search and found this article, a cruise ship can be like a slave ship.

Larger cruise lines hire third world workers and even charge them a $2,000 fee or more to get the job. In Indonesia or India this is so much money that workers mortgage everything they own and/or they take out loans at exorbitant rates of interest… Then once he has his contract in his hand, he will only be offered a job like a potato peeler or a person stacking deck chairs. The pay will be lower than he anticipated. He will work continuously at least twelve hours a day for eight months or so. His airline ticket home will be deducted first, and after that he can be fired with any infraction of the rules and sent home at his own expense. He must, in other words, work as an indentured servant for three or four months, before financially breaking even.

"a cruise ship like a slave ship." open salon. January 4, 2009.

On the last dinner of our latest cruise on the Carnival Paradise I noticed my waiter was not being nearly as friendly as he usually is.  I asked him at the end of dinner how he was doing and that I noticed he seemed a bit down.  He said he was just tired because he had been working since 6 AM.

It becomes more and more depressing to try to be an aware consumer.


Carnival Cruise on Paradise - June 15 to 19

Last week my family went on a Carnival Cruise on the Paradise ship.  Our itinerary was pretty simple.

  1. Monday – board ship at Long Beach, CA
  2. Tuesday – Catalina Island, CA
  3. Wednesday – Ensenada, Mexico
  4. Thursday – day at sea
  5. Friday – go home

Almost immediately after boarding I remembered why I don’t like cruises – too many people.

But that was not the only reason I did not enjoy this cruise.

  1. The time I had to be a lifeguard.
  2. spilt lemonade incident
  3. mini golf accident
  4. Isaac becoming sick.  When we came home the rest of the family got sick.
  5. lack of fun supervised children’s activities
  6. Unable to attend any adult activities such as shows.
  7. Did not get to play basketball or even swim
  8. Ensenada is an ugly industrial port where the cruise ship dumped all its human waste.  It added to the overall unattractiveness of this destination.
  9. Workers are low paid and overworked.
  10. self-indulgent cruising culture
  11. No access to the internet. 🙂

Dylan, Isaac and Victoria though really enjoyed spending time with their Seattle grandparents and uncle.  All three of our cabins were adjacent and the kids loved running over and seeing their relatives.

And the food was great.  Here is a photo of Ji Seon and Victoria during our first dinner.

Ji Seon and Victoria cruising


I remembered about an hour into our cruise why I don’t like cruises.

On the Carnival Cruise Paradise ship we were doing the mandatory emergency seminar and I was crammed in with hundreds of people in a lounge.  TitanicMy Titanic jokes weren’t working and the staff seemed unusually surly.  Then I realized why I don’t like cruises, too many people!

This cruise is sold out and our cruise, which had been rerouted away from Mexico because of the swine flu scare, is now back on course to Ensenada, Mexico.  There are 3500 happy-there-is-no-swine-flu customers crammed into this boat, searching for food, sun, booze and there is plenty of all three.

On top of the 3500 people are the hundreds of staff.  I have cruised Royal Caribbean and Norwegian before and am used to the staff being at least courteous.  However on this Carnival cruise some of the staff are courteous, some are nonchalant and a few are just not polite.  Ji Seon said she is not surprised since Carnival Cruises is the cheapest of the three.  Maybe it’s because they’re working so hard for so little money.