The Announcement(s) (and a prayer request and free music)

Okay, so I wasn’t intending to wait a month before getting back to you, so apologies there! Anyway, on to the news: I originally had just one announcement but I figured I’d throw in another–just for fun.

So without further ado …

Announcement #1: ONLY $1,000 TO GO!
Thanks to all of your amazing support (both regular giving and special gifts) as well as the church’s expanded capacity to pay me a little more, I’ve almost hit 100% of my target for this year, with a third of the year still left to go! I have about $1,000 more to raise in order to meet my budget goal, and so I’m asking if you’ll help with one final push (details below).

Announcement #2: THREE WEEKS IN A ROW!
I’m going to be preaching the next three weeks at The District Church! I’m so excited and honored and thankful to Aaron for giving me this opportunity–I’ve been averaging once a month, but Aaron and I agreed this would be a great challenge and a chance to craft something over consecutive weeks. So I’ll be bringing home our current series on Galatians, entitled “Who’s In?” I’d appreciate your prayers, particularly over the coming weeks.

Prayer Request
Things are getting pretty busy, with the aforementioned preaching, a trip to Madison, WI for a conference, and gearing up for the fall. And perhaps for this reason (and/or for other additional reasons), I haven’t been sleeping well for the last week or so. So if you could pray for me in this too, I’d appreciate it.

Grace and peace to you,
Justin.

P.S. I’ve started doing more music on the side, performing at venues with friends (see previous emails and pic below, taken by my friend Sarah), and I’m sure I’ll have more exciting news soon on this front. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share with you a track I recorded a couple years back. It’s a little different to what I normally do, but I hope you like it nonetheless. Enjoy: Embrace (click to download).


You can join the team and support my work at The District Church in three ways:
  1. By giving financially, whether regularly or with a special gift; details below.
  2. By praying for me, for the work I’m involved in, and for the growing District Church community.
  3. By connecting me with individuals, organizations, or churches, that you think would be interested in supporting what’s going on here in DC.
If you’d like to give financial support, you’re welcome to do so:
  • by check, payable to “The District Church” with “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the memo, and mailed to The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010;
  • online here, selecting “Ministry of JF” from the dropdown menu.

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

The Difference You Made

My last sermon, preached on July 17, was on Colossians 3:18-4:1–the “Wives, submit to your husbands” passage, and it was entitled, “Can We Make A Difference?” I’ll let you listen to it for yourselves if you haven’t already, but my main point was that oftentimes we wait for this or that situation or circumstance changes before we do what we think God wants us to do–just let me get this job first, or let me be in a relationship first, or let me get to this level of income first. But God calls us to make a difference where we are, in the places he has placed us. Right now.

And you already have, in my life. Because, with nine months of my year-long Leadership Residency over, I’m happy to announce that I’ve achieved the budget that I’d set out at the beginning of the year. To those of you who gave one-time, thank you. To those of you who have given regularly and committed to continue giving, thank you. To those of you who were unable to give but prayed instead, particularly when I asked for the provision of a job, thank you. Because it’s been a combination of your giving, and the prayers you prayed, which I credit for my landing the position at ONE, which has launched me over my target. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

In my last email, I said that we’re still working out the future, and this remains true. Nothing’s been set in stone and there’s much still to be finalized, but I can say with a tiny amount of certainty and a large amount of faith that I’ll be in DC for a few years to come. I am, as I have felt all year, exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what God has made me to do. An update will be coming soon, I (hope and) promise.

As always, grateful for your friendship and your faithfulness,
Justin.

Sacrificing plowshares for swords

When times are tough, when you’ve got to tighten your belt, that’s when you know what your priorities really are. This week, Congress showed where its priorities lie: the Senate passed a war funding measure worth nearly $60 billion, while the House cut billions of dollars in aid to states and health insurance subsidies for unemployed and laid-off workers.

War over people. Swords over plowshares.

Oh, for that day …

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

The Obama Budget 2011

Jim Wallis says that budgets are moral documents, and that how we spend our money shows what our values are. Introduced today, President Obama’s $3.83 trillion budget treads a delicate balance between trying to get the economy going again and trying to bring down the massive inherited budget deficit.*

Anyway, the budget for FY 2011 is fairly pessimistic one in that it presumes a gloomier economic outlook for the near future and budgets more for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, it actually expands the deficit in the short-term in order to bring it down in the long-term. As David Rogers at POLITICO writes,

In fact, it’s not until 2014 and 2015— when Obama hopes to be in his second term— that he has any hope of deficits approaching a sustainable level. Even then he is banking heavily on a new bipartisan fiscal commission to really finish the job.

It shouldn’t need to be said (but it clearly does) that comprehensive reform of the health care system–not just piecemeal and insubstantial legislative change–would help curb exploding costs. Tom Friedman reports from Davos that we’re making the rest of world a little nervous, due to the state of our economy, the political logjam in which we find ourselves, and notably the fact that we still can’t push through something as remedial as curative as health care reform.

And while we’re at it, reforming the financial system would help create a more stable and sound economy, less blown by the winds of bubbles and busts. Paul Volcker, chairman of the President’s Economic Advisory Board, says:

I’ve been there — as regulator, as central banker, as commercial bank official and director — for almost 60 years. I have observed how memories dim. Individuals change. Institutional and political pressures to “lay off” tough regulation will remain — most notably in the fair weather that inevitably precedes the storm.

The implication is clear. We need to face up to needed structural changes, and place them into law. To do less will simply mean ultimate failure — failure to accept responsibility for learning from the lessons of the past and anticipating the needs of the future.

* The NY Times evaluates the history of our country’s red ink, concluding that “President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying.”