The vision of The District Church

Aaron preached this Sunday on the vision of The District Church, and it was for me both a great reminder of what God’s already done (and what we are thankful for) and an inspiring look forward to what we feel like God is leading us into.

Vision Sunday 2014Some quotable quotes (my paraphrase, in some cases):

Vision not birthed in tears quickly turns to pride. Have you wept over our city?

Ask for God’s favor. But remember that God’s favor is not given for our benefit but for those in need.

We are called to lead by serving.

We don’t have as much of a membership process at The District Church as we have an ownership process.

If you want to know what The District Church is about, give it a listen.

Also, just a reminder, we’ll have the amazing John M. Perkins preaching this coming Sunday — come join us at 9:30am, 11am, or 5pm. More info here.

JohnPerkins_landscape-1

He is Here – Gungor (feat. Amena Brown)

Gungor came out with a new live album last week–A Creation Liturgy–and while I’d recommend the whole thing, I especially wanted to share with you this piece  that comes toward the end.

It’s called “He is Here” by spoken word poet Amena Brown, set to Gungor’s “We Will Run.” And I hope it’s as much a blessing to you as it has been to me.

Audio and words below.

He is here

He’s right here

In this room, in your heart

 

He is near

Nearer than breath, heartbeat

Nearer than you are to you

Closer than second chance, or next opportunity

Closer than tonight or yesterday

 

He is real

More real than touch, see, hear, smell, or taste

More real than reality—he is our reality

More real than joy, pain, sorrow, or the love of being in love

 

He is present

Like space, wind, time, silence, night

 

He is waiting

Like creation, like words on the tip of tongue

Like songs that have yet to be sung

 

He is beauty

In oranges, blues, every hue, every shade

Sunset and sunrise whisper his name

 

He is holy

Cannot be touched, explained

Like sweet seconds of prayer

like grandmother on knees, wood floor bare

 

He is old hymns

The extending of limbs stretched across trees

Stripes to heal disease

 

He is Son

Distinctly three, distinctly one

The only one, the only wise, the only resurrector of lives

 

He is king

And no earthly throne can house him

No amount of elegant words can espouse him

He is moment and voice, power of choice

In word and deed, in fruit and seed

Nailed hands, nailed feet

Innocent wounds that bleed

 

He is believe

He is all, he is call and purpose

Everything we can sacrifice—he’s worth it and more, much more

Our good deeds are mere pennies, will never even the score

 

He is behold and wow

He is who, what, when, why, how

He’s the one who puts on the show

He’s the one that we come to see

He is soul’s cry and sinner’s plea

He is the epitome that no one light a candle to

Or come within a million foot pole of

 

He is above

He is a father’s love

Maker of ways, of earth and wind, Ancient of Days

Have no fear, have no fear, have no fear

Our God is here

You + The District Church = #Winning

What a year! In the last twelve months at The District Church, I’ve:

  • preached the first seven sermons of my life;
  • continued to lead worship regularly; and
  • led a small group that, over the course of three semesters, involved almost 50 people, and saw three new small groups start out of it this fall.

But perhaps more gratifying is what’s happened in, through, around, and beyond myself, as the church itself has:

  • welcomed over 500 people at our Sunday services;
  • grown from a community of 50 to over 200 (and a second service);
  • multiplied from two small groups to eight, involving the vast majority of our church community;
  • combined with matching donors to raise over $100,000 for famine relief in the Horn of Africa;
  • put on a Kids Festival in the spring and a Fall Festival just last month that each connected us with several hundred people in our community; and
  • most recently, joined with other churches in our area to kick off an urban youth ministry program.

All of this comes down to your generosity–that helped me raise enough support to work part-time at the church–and your prayers–that, among other things, led me to my current part-time contract with ONE. I can’t offer a precise “dollars invested : lives impacted” ratio, but know that you have been and continue to make a difference in Washington, DC.

This next year, I’m sensing that God is calling me to this work full-time. Because our church is still young (at almost 18 months, I’d say we’re toddler-aged) and is reaching mostly young adults and unpaid interns, there’s a need for all of us to continue raising support. This year, I’m trusting God to provide $40,000 and I’m asking you to be a shareholder in this vision.Will you pray about how much of this you can give to help change lives, communities, and neighborhoods here in DC?

My ordination is only a week away. This is such a confirmation and affirmation of the calling God has for me. I know many of you won’t be able to make it to the actual ceremony, but one of the ways you can support me is by pledging your financial support for the next year.I also just want to issue an open invitation to you to come visit: come see the church that you (through me) have had a hand in planting here in the nation’s capital; come see the work that we’re engaging in; come see me in the place that God has called me to be, doing what I feel like I was always created to do. There’s guest space a-plenty!

Thankful for your part in my life and journey,
Justin.

P.S. We were just featured in the latest edition of the Religious Herald! Check it out. (Photo credit to me, my iPhone, and my Hipstamatic app.)


You can give online via Auto-Tithe. Please make sure to select “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the drop-down menu. Or you can make checks payable to “The District Church,” with “For the Ministry of Justin Fung” in the memo and send them to: The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010.

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

Facebook reminds me of God

 

Facebook has this new thing where it posts flashbacks: “On this day in …” Today it popped up on my sidebar while I was browsing a friend’s pictures, and it read: “On this day in 2010: ‘Heading up to MA for final interviews. If you’re the praying kind …’”

Wow. It’s only been a year. It’s already been a year. The last twelve months have simultaneously felt like they’ve flown by, and yet an eternity has happened in that same time. Twelve months ago, I was still on the verge—and completely mentally prepared—to move to Cape Cod. I was excited for the opportunity to get paid to play music and hang out with young people, and excited for the opportunity to get to work with John-Paul.

 

It was also the first step in the redirection play that God ran on my life. A couple days after this post, I was back in DC … lost, uncertain, searching, wondering. I had no idea that God had better things for me—all I knew was that what I thought was going to happen, hadn’t.

So today, I give thanks to God for his redirection play, for his bigger plan, for proving himself trustworthy. I give thanks for the times when my plans didn’t come about because God had his own, for the disappointment that was the fertile ground for a new hope, for the uncertainty that gave space for me to trust and have faith in God.

And thanks to Facebook for reminding me of all of this. 🙂

Keeping healthy

It’s been awhile since I’ve made time for things that give me life, that aren’t necessarily ‘productive’ but are highly conducive to my spiritual, mental and emotional health–things as simple as reading a book, or going to see a movie, or discovering new music. I realized that I needed to build a little more of that into my schedule, and with the extra time afforded me by my sports injuries (from which I’m recovering), I’ve been able to indulge a little.

Books

Between Two Worlds, John W. Stott. A great and classic resource on preaching; insightful and wise. Stott’s been a spiritual mentor of mine and a favorite theologian, and when I read books of his like this one, I feel his passing all the more keenly.

Kissing Outside the Lines, Diane Farr. A funny, touching and insightful look at inter-racial relationships, sparked by an encounter between a Korean-American named Seung and Farr (a well-known actress). I guess it sort of validated a lot of the thoughts and feelings I’d had about inter-racial relationships, including ones that I’d been in.

LeadershipNext, Eddie Gibbs. Examining what leadership–particularly in the church–looks like as we launch into the 21st century. Gibbs is a professor at Fuller Seminary, and has been involved with a number of emerging church movements. In reading this, I was glad to see that we at The District Church are already living out a lot of the things he said would be needed to thrive.

A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin. I’m re-reading this fantastic work of fiction in light of the HBO series whose first season just finished, and also the latest installment, “A Dance with Dragons,” that just came out. When I first read this, years ago, I couldn’t handle it. The bad guys weren’t clear; the good guys weren’t clear; I didn’t know who I was supposed to root for. But reading it again last year, having the benefit of a few years of age, wisdom and maybe a dose of realism, I was able to appreciate that there aren’t easy answers, it isn’t a black-and-white world, and that not everyone you care about lives to see the happy ending. A fantasy-fiction series for a post-modern world.

Movies

Captain America: The First Avenger.

A riproaring adventure, a fun comic book adaptation, an enjoyable ride. Definitely, definitely, definitely had its cheesy, “ra-ra America” moments (a.k.a. Team America moments), but on the whole, I had fun. Chris Evans did a great job as Cap, Tommy Lee Jones was hilarious–as usual when he’s trying to be, e.g. Men in Black–and it set the scene well for next summer’s blockbuster adventure, The Avengers, which you get a preview of at the end of the credits–so exciting!!

Cowboys & Aliens.

Cowboys? Cool. Aliens? Cool. Combined? A boy’s dream. Lots of shooting and explosions, two generations of leading men (Harrison Ford–sorry, dude–and Daniel Craig), and Olivia Wilde? Entertainment. I’m not going to dissect this, or talk about postcolonialism, or even how it could’ve been a better movie. It was a good and fun and entertaining enough for me! Thanks to Jon Favreau, who’s really showing his directing chops–with this, the Iron Man movies, and Elf, the guy’s got some talent.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. In the story of a middle-aged man whose life falls apart around him, Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone light up a fantastic script–at turns heartwarming, gut-wrenching, painful, hilarious, sad, frustrating, and laugh-out-loud funny. Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei provide some stellar support, and welcome to the big screen, Analeigh Tipton! I went on the basis of my friends’ recommendations, and I’m telling you now: go see it.

Music

Zonoscope, Cut Copy. Fun indie, electronic music. Thanks to JY for the recommendation.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver. All my friends (hipster and otherwise) had been raving about this. And it’s warranted. My first taste of Bon Iver’s music, and it’s a good one.

10,000 Reasons, Matt Redman. The latest offering from a Christian music stalwart, Matt continues to write songs that speak for a new generation. Love the guy’s heart.

Strip Me, Natasha Bedingfield. This actually came out last year, but I only got it this summer. Natasha’s always got a way of making me smile with her music. So much love for her.