Category Archives: Something New

Conferencing Tuxedo

Photo on 2-23-15 at 10.55 AMHere is a a preview of how I will be dressed for my next video conference call. Why so debonair? Why not? I have a job with an important, world-wide ministry. In fact, I’m going to suggest that tuxedos become standard issue at seeJesus.

What’s that you ask? No, there’s nothing fishy going on. What do you mean my tux looks a little “flat”? I like my suits pressed…heh, heh. It’s a little too uniform? No, it’s not a uniform!…It’s um…a tuxedo…a tuxedo conferencing bib. Yes, it is!

 

Photo on 2-23-15 at 10.59 AM #2OK, not quite all is what it seems. After reading my last blog post, my mom happen to see this bib online and just had to get it for me. It is literally an adult bib for mealtime made of water-resistant, terrycloth but she thought it would serve me well as my new conferencing bib. I will probably need to use it in both ways.

When I got dressed this morning in my bib, my children laughed and were wondering where I was going. I told them “to work, where else?” Wow! Just one more perk of working at home in a virtual world. Thanks Mom!

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Conferencing Bib

With my new job at seeJesus, I have been doing more and more phone and video conferencing. Some friends (all guys) have joked that I just need a “conferencing bib” for online meetings and the rest of the day I can look any way I want. Thanks be to God for giving me a wife who insists that I continue to dress and smell decently while working in my “corner office” partly for the sake of simple decency and partly for the sake of the others who still “work” downstairs in the same “building.” If it wasn’t for Sonia, I’d probably end up like John Clayton at ESPN.

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The Corner Office

I never had aspirations to make it big in the corporate world, but even I know the underlying goal is to eventually get the corner office with the windows on the top floor of the building. Today, I have achieved that goal! Behold, the glorious seeJesus office on the West Coast! (cue the triumphant trumpets)

Corner_Office

Thanks to my wife and daughter who made today festive!

Yes, it’s not in a skyscraper but it is on the top floor of my building. Nevermind that it’s on the second floor and happens to share the same address as my primary residence. Yes, it’s not a space used exclusively for office purposes. It’s more of a “multi-purpose” room. What’s that in the bottom left corner of the picture? Part of a bed frame? So, maybe it is. OK, not quite what corporate America had in mind but I am happy with my new office. It’s easy to get to. There’s no traffic, unless there’s the occasional dirty laundry on the floor that I have to step over.

It has everything I need to get started: a laptop, a printer/copier, a phone, a calendar and even paper clips! But it’s not just what’s in my office that’s significant but what my office represents that is. It represents a new ministry assignment. I have completely transitioned from serving as Pastor of Lifesong Community Church to serving as Director of seeJesus on the West Coast and East Asia. It represents a new stage in life. I am now working out of the home as a missionary to the West and the East. It represents a new challenge. I am doing something I’ve never done before and fundraising 100% of what will be needed for my position.

Twenty years ago, even four months ago, if you would have asked me what I would be doing when I hit “midlife,” I would n-e-v-e-r have told you this. I sometimes tell people if you gave me one hundred sheets of paper and told me to write one hundred different creative story lines about how my life would unfold, I guarantee you that I would never be able to write the one that actually happened. God writes great stories. Ones that have personal depth, unexpected suspense, rich irony, sovereign purpose. Need we look further than the story of Jesus? Let alone the entire redemptive narrative of the Bible?

As I look back on my life, in some ways, I see how God had been preparing me for such a time and assignment like this. In other ways, I am still a little shell-shocked by this change. Either way, I am confident that His call is clear and His purpose is glorious. I know the story is still being revealed and I am excited to see what He will write next. I don’t know what the next chapter will entail but I know it starts in the corner office on the top floor of the building that overlooks my back yard. What more could I ask for?

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Dear Amanda

Brilliant proposal video made by a great guy for a special girl. Congratulations Brian and Amanda! Check out the rest of the story here.

Dear Amanda from Arbella Studios on Vimeo.

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The Drop Box

Last night I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview premier of the Drop Box; a film by director, Brian Ivie. It is a moving story about a pastor in Korea who literally built a metal box on the side of a building in order to receive unwanted babies. So many of the movie’s themes are dear to my heart: the sanctity of life, adoption, special needs. While it’s a film about a remarkable man, more importantly it is about living out the heart of a remarkable God who loves.

DSC00041Pastor Lee was at the premier and was the first to give glory to God for all that He has done. And while I whole-heartedly agree it is God’s story, I love the fact that God chose to raise up a very ordinary but faithful man to do it.

The even greater story is not the one told in the film but instead the one that developed in the making of the film. Brian Ivie set out to make a movie about a perfectionist, Korean culture’s challenge to address a shamefully, hidden problem. But instead, he discovered the heart of the Father and was adopted by Him through faith in Christ. I had the privilege of getting to know Brian when he shared at our church on Orphan Sunday last year. He is the real deal and God is using him mightily for His glory.

The Drop Box will be released in over seven hundred theaters nationwide on March 3,4, and 5. You can pre-order tickets or even buy out a theater for your whole church. It’s a well-made film worth seeing for all the reasons mentioned above and more. Check out this link for all the info.

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She is One of Us

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This is a purple yam. Really. It is a purple yam. And this is how Eden found it in 99 Ranch Market yesterday. I immediately took a picture to share her find with my youngest son and wife. When I showed them the image, Jaren began to laugh incessantly and Sonia told me to go get it so we could purchase our newfound treasure. Kind of like the treasure hidden in a field that you sacrifice everything for in order to purchase. Maybe not. OK, not at all.

When we got home, we set the groceries on the counter and I asked my oldest son to put the yams away. When Evan picked up this one, his eyes popped out of his face, he turned all red and began to cry because he was internally laughing so hard. He had the look of laughter but with no sound coming out. Too. Many. Jokes. Immature. Overload. Even my eldest daughter had to laugh at our portly piece of produce.

Either God has a sense of humor when he created this yam or we, Horis, have an imagination that went afoul when we saw it. You may find this type of thing inconsequential at best or vulgar at worst. But my family happens to find these kinds of things amusing for a variety of reasons, none of which I will go into at this time (although I’m really tempted to).

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After such a long hiatus from blogging, why would I restart with this? Because after the zany dust settled, I realized my new daughter had become one of us. She has become a Hori. For the good or (more likely) for the bad, she is now truly part of the family. I don’t know if she would have found this humorous if she was still living in an orphanage in Nanning. I doubt they even have yams like this in China. All I know is that Eden’s delight in this rotund yam reveals she is now one of us. While a similar sense of humor is part of a shared family culture, I hope we are growing to have so much more in common than a fascination with odd root vegetables. Sonia and I want all of our children to broadly share our faith, our values and our love. This does not happen overnight. It takes time. It takes intention. It takes prayer.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, adoption is easy but family is hard. Moving from being a family of five to being a family of six is a matter of simple addition. But transitioning from being one, unified family of five to becoming one family of six is relational calculus. It involves daily conversations, taking advantage of teachable moments and simply living life together. This type of oneness is difficult to measure in its progress. So, little signs of unity, even silly ones that happen in the produce aisle, I hold onto as small glimpses of change and hope. Who would have thought a portly purple potato could do so much?

Near His Heart

It’s been almost a month since my last post. It was an unplanned hiatus, unintentional and unexpected. Busyness is to blame but it was more than that. Frankly, I was all blogged out. In light of the adoption, I had a lot to say. Now that I am home, there is still plenty to write but I felt unmotivated and uninspired. It’s hard for me to write just for the sake of writing. I not only need something to say but also a reason for saying it. Discipline focuses writing but passion fuels it.

I am passionate about adoption and this blog reflected it especially over the past three months. But now that Eden is home, adoption is no longer the focus, learning to be a family is. And while I am passionate about family, I realize I never started this blog to write about family or even about adoption. I originally started blogging because I was impassioned by the Father heart of God. Almost two years ago, I started praying two things: “Father, please show me your heart” and “Father, please give me your heart.” After three months of asking, new things started happening: I was sent to minister in Haiti, the fathering of my own children was challenged and transformed, we were called to adopt a child from China, I began to relate to God more freely and joyfully. So many things were happening in and around me that I just had to write it all down, partly for my own record but also for the sake of testifying to His greatness. So, the “Near His Heart” blog was started in February, 2010.

This month, I needed to remind myself why I write. I write because I love seeing the Father’s heart in action. I write because I want His heart as my own. So, today, I recommit myself to recording what I learn about the Father and to rambling all about it in this blog. Even if no one reads this blog, except my own mother (thanks Mom), I will continue to write simply for the joy of being near His heart.

Ian and Larissa

At church, we are currently in the middle of a sermon series on marriage. This past Sunday before the message, I showed this video about Ian and Larissa. Their life’s testimony exemplifies the beauty and wonder of marriage as God intended it. Every time I watch it, I am left with a sense of awe and envy. Watch it and see what I mean.

October Baby

Last night, my mom treated Sonia and I to see the new movie, “October Baby.” I don’t have time to write a full review but just know it is worth your $10+. Some say it’s an anti-abortion movie. Some say it’s an adoption movie. But, I say it is so much more. It’s a testimony to the gracious love of the Father for fallen people living in a fallen world. I will be posting some further reflections soon but until then, enjoy this video teaser featuring Gianna Jessen, whose life story inspired the film.

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Merry Christmas!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in  the city of David a Savior, who is Christ  the Lord. And  this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

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