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.

Daring to be true

One of the points from this morning’s sermon, taken from Galatians 4:8-20, was that one of the pastor’s responsibilities is to tell the truth, even if it is hard to accept. That is integrity. To speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). The challenge was this: what do we do when we are faced with a hard truth, an inconvenient truth? Do we face it and take it on, or do we flee from it, covering our ears and shouting to drown out the noise of truth?

I think it applies not just to the pastor/congregation relationship, but also more generally to people and the truth. As people of God, as followers of Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, it is our responsibility, our obligation almost, to seek the truth, wherever it may be found. I believe that all truth is God’s truth. If it is truth, it will line up with the person of Jesus Christ; and if it does this, then it is true.

Take the example of the Apostle Paul: at the beginning of Acts, he was doing what he thought was the truth, persecuting the followers of Jesus, who claimed he was the Messiah. Based on his understanding of Scripture—“cursed is everyone who hangs on the tree”—it was impossible that the crucified man from Nazareth could be God’s anointed. And then he was confronted with the truth: that this same man who had been crucified was not only God’s anointed, but himself God. So Paul had to reorient his theology around the truths of Jesus as God, Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus as cursed. Not an easy reorientation, by any stretch of the imagination.

Even, and especially, when it isn’t an easy truth to digest, when it’s a truth that requires a paradigm shift, or learning a new way of being in relationship, or figuring out a new way of understanding God, it’s tempting to just give up. Any time there is opposition or difficulty or a mindset-shift, it always seems easier just to back down, to let it go, to move on, to continue just as we always have been. But it’s in coming through, with the help of God and with a community of support, that we really grow and learn and become more of who we were meant to be.

This weekend has been one of reorientation—and it’s still going on. I’m still far from where I want to be, but I know that—though it is and will be hard to live differently, though it will be a challenge and I will be tempted (again) to just throw in the towel—ultimately it is leading me to a truer way of living, a truer way of relating, a truer way of being who God meant me to be.

And whatever reward lies at the end of it will be all the sweeter for the striving.