Why I Like the Color Orange

Welcome to WILCO,

I know there are lots of personal blogs out there that try to impress and deliver content just for the sake of putting something out there. This blog isn't like that. I won't try to impress you because I have no need to impress you. This is a place where I say my peace whether that opinion is popular or not. Having said that, feel free to read and chime in. I expect your responses, however, to be respectful, engaging, and thoughtful both to me and to others.

Thank you and God bless,
Sung

12.26.2010

Check Out These Online Programs!

Check Out These Online Programs!: "I’m looking into online certificates from the University of San Francisco, which offers training in today’s most in-demand fields: Internet Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Sales & Sales Management and Business Process Management."

9.09.2010

Humble Arminian: Does Atonement for all lead to Universalism?

Humble Arminian: Does Atonement for all lead to Universalism?

What It Means to Be Lonely

Today was the first day that Jiwon and my baby Norah are in Korea. Actually they arrived yesterday but I only got a chance to talk to Jiwon briefly today and she told me they got there just fine. When I was single and before I had kids, I thought I knew what loneliness meant. I truly was lonely then but it was a different lonely. It was a loneliness of "Lord, how can you let me go this long without giving me someone in my life to love?" That kind of loneliness is usually taken care of somehow. Sometimes not. That's up to God's will and not ours.

But this is the first time my beautiful wife and my prize baby girl are away from me. Sure they've been away a few days, even almost a week at a time to Sacramento to visit my brother and stuff. But to know that they'll be gone for nearly a month breaks my heart. In fact, my heart breaks everyday. I'm not really a guy who cries a lot. Since I'm the man of the house with my parents, my wife, and my children all under one roof, I have to be the big strong one all the time but it's been very difficult the past week leading up to Jiwon and Norah leaving and with them finally gone now, my heart is breaking into a thousand little pieces that I feel like I can almost touch with my fingers. I never ever knew how much I loved my wife until now. I've always taken her for granted these past five years. No, I don't mean taking her for granted the usual way. I mean, I've taken our love for granted. Our love is so much deeper than my minuscule male brain could have ever comprehended until now.

I am hopeless and helpless without her. I feel like the other half of my heart is 10,000 miles away (which is true). It's compounded by the fact that my baby girl is over there too. Norah and I have really bonded this past year. From being a little blog, to being a little blob that could crawl, to a blob that could waddle and walk, to a little mini-person she is now...I have grown to fall deeply and madly in love with her crooked little smile. She is undoubtedly daddy's little girl and she knows it, I know it, and mom refuses to acknowledge it. Being without my little baby feels like going through a day, all day, everyday having that "just been punched hard in the stomach" feeling.

I actually physically hurt for my family right now. It is lessened in part by the fact that I have Christall (Jina) here. She is the love of my life. She's four going on thirty four. She has the intuition already of a woman and the sensibility, modesty, and love of a true lady all in a four year old's little body. I can't tell you how proud I am of her. What really broke my heart tonight was after I tucked her in...I heard her saying one more prayer which at the end of it she said, "Goodnight Umma....Goodnight Norah...in Korea. I love you".

As I write this with tears in my eyes, it's as much in the fact that I feel immensely blessed to have such a wonderful family, a wonderful wife, a wonderful life, as it is the fact that I miss them so. But God is always faithful and always loves us. But I had forgotten what it feels like to feel loneliness and emptiness inside. Having another taste of it after so many years makes it hurt a lot. But I know this is temporary. I don't understand how people go through permanent loss since I have not lost someone immediately close to me (with the exception of my father-in-law). But there will come a day in the Lord's good time, when I will. And I know that while I rejoice for where they have gone to, that I too, will feel that lasting sense of loneliness in my heart again. The only comfort that I have is in knowing that they are definitely in a better place and knowing that I will someday soon, also be with them again worshiping our God the Father and basking in the glory of Jesus Christ, our Risen King.

I don't know how many people will read this. Hopefully not many since I've been blubbering like an idiot. But it's my hope that if there is anybody out there that is feeling any type of loneliness out there, that I know what that feels like. All I have to say is that you need to hang on. "Hold fast, help is on the way". Jesus saves and delivers and His love will always be a beacon in your life. Just hang on to Him for all the hope you need and there will come a day both on this planet and afterwards when we all will not be lonely anymore.

May God bless you and keep you until my next entry. We serve an awesome God who loves us.

Goodnight~

8.17.2010

How to Effectively Cold Call

How to Effectively Cold Call

Solid article about cold-calling effectively. Not just making the call but when to make it, why to make it to begin with and what to do with information. Very well done. Strong work!

6.25.2010

Do You Need to Go to Seminary to Get Into Ministry?

Many of you know that back in late April it was announced that I would be taking over for Pastor John Conley at Cornerstone Community Church as the new pastor. And while I'm only going to be "interim" pastor now, I have a feeling it will be longer term than that since that's what I feel called to do.

An interesting conversation arose this afternoon when I was talking to my lovely wife, Jiwon. I asked her if she felt that a seminary background was necessary to become a pastor. She has several people in her family that have been in formal ministry so she is a good source of information. She said that in Korea, it's expected that everyone receive their bachelors-level seminary degree (a must) and that most people go for their masters (equivalent of a MATS, ThM or MDiv). It's highly preferred that people go for these graduate degrees and more and more seminary students (the majority now) are doing exactly that.

But I thought, "This isn't Korea...this is the U.S. of A". Is it much different here? Is the expectation when I tell someone I'm going into ministry for them to knee-jerk ask me where I've gone to seminary? Early Christian followers like the Apostles were not well educated men with the exception of Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who was a lawyer and teacher. They were fishermen, tax collectors, etc. None of them had any formal rabbinical training (pastoral training for that time period). All they had as far as credentials was a commitment to follow Christ.

While I do think that having a seminary background would make you a bit more well-rounded theologically and perhaps even in your ministry as a whole, I don't necessarily think that seminary makes or breaks you. However, what I have usually seen is that pastors with a seminary background (even at the undergraduate level) seem to have better academic discipline and more well-versed sermons. I also think that sacrificing some of your own life to undergo these advanced studies shows how much you want to be dedicated to Jesus.

This is why I have elected to pursue my seminary studies at this time. I am currently evaluating a number of programs which include an M.Div. degree program online with NationsUniversity. The others include Liberty University's Biblical Studies Diploma, The Christian Leaders Institute's 2-Year Diploma in Ministry, and a couple of others.

Regardless of what I select, I'm going to try my best to learn as much as I can. Getting THE calling from God feels really good and really right. But I also want to be as prepared as I can be to accept this pastor role and while I don't think that seminary is the end-all, I do think it will help me.

I would be interested in hearing what some of you think.

3.23.2010

Asian Women and the Plastic Surgery Epidemic

I read something on a blog that says some 71% of all women in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other East Asian women have at least one plastic surgery procedure performed on them by the time they're 30 years of age.

I'm a (nearly) 40 year old Korean man who is married to a Korean woman who I met in New York while I lived there. To me, she was not only the most beautiful girl in Queens, she's the most beautiful woman in the world! (literally bar none) I now have two daughters and I think they're stunningly beautiful (like their mother). My wife has never had a lick of plastic surgery of ANY kind and I'm very proud of that. Even she feels she needs some "work done" but I think she's perfect as is. I keep telling her that too and while she agrees with me, there's a little part of her that would like a "correction".

Asian women, when will you realize that you are already beautiful jewels? When you have a beautiful gem or a diamond, you don't go messing with it to try and make it "more perfect"...it's already perfect to the people who love you (and to the man who will ultimately love you as a wife). Don't change yourselves or be something you're not. You can glance over the shallowness for a little while but at some point, it will start to eat you alive.

Embrace what God has given you and know that there's a man out there who wants the REAL you...and not a Westernized (bastardized) version of you. Remember, it doesn't matter how beautiful you are on the outside if you're shallow on the inside.

Go with God and love yourself.

3.09.2010

Reflections: Men's Retreat at Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center (March 5-6, 2010)

As men, sometimes we don't always do such a great job in communicating our thoughts. Sometimes we bottle them up and keep them inside of us rather than express how we feel because "that's not manly" or "it's just not cool" to do something like that. I used to think that too....until this weekend. I also thought I was a great husband and father (and son and brother) until this weekend too.

You see, this weekend, my pastor (Pastor John Conley) of Cornerstone Community Church in Redding, CA was gracious enough to have invited me to what I consider to be, the THIRD MOST monumental day of my life (getting married and the birth of my two little ones are the first two). This weekend's Men's Retreat at Diamond Arrow (Church of God Campground in Nevada City) was the biggest jolt to my soul. It completely negated everything I thought I knew about being a real Christian man and turned it upside down on its head. To tell you the truth, for the most part, I learned that I've not been ideal in pretty much any capacity of my life and I'm glad I went on this retreat because I was with 128 of my Brothers and I learned so much. It felt good to be in the company of other men who understand what it feels like to have the pressures of marriage and raising a family and taking care of loved ones. It felt good to hug a complete stranger, look him in the eye and tell him with 100% sincerity, "I love you Brother". This is the type of love that Jesus wanted us to have for our fellow Christian Brothers: pure, loving, kind and true. I learned a tremendous amount but I'll just give you some of the highlights....

Pastor Steve Chiles from Oklahoma was the keynote speaker and we also broke out into breakout groups (small groups of 10 men). Anyway, I learned (and realized) that my mother, my wife, and pretty much everybody else in my life walk on eggshells around me. I learned that people are constantly checking to see if "I'm alright" or "does he look mad?". The people that I love in this world have to walk on eggshells around me because of my temper and my hotheadedness. Do you realize how awful that made me feel when the visiting pastor who spoke asked the question..."Do you know...I mean do you REALLY realize how much you doing that to your family breaks Jesus' heart?" You know, speaking about things like this, is something he called "engaging the 10%". We, as human beings, feel comfortable dealing with the 90% of things out there that are easy to talk about: work, school, chores, shopping, etc. We would all be mortified if we had an opportunity to sit down with a friend to tell him, "Hey, I love you man and I think you have a problem with your drinking" or "Hey, Brother....I know how hard it must be but I know that you're addicted to porn" or anything like that. That's uncomfortable!!! Nobody wants to do that. But in order for us to beat the Enemy, we have to address it. And I'm addressing mine. My need to get off of the "me" attitude and pretending that I haven't been focused on myself more than anyone else in this world.

I also learned that my life is my responsibility. It isn't my wife's or my mother's or my brother's or even the crappy relationship I have with my father. No one is to be given blame or credit for what I have done or the decisions I have made except me. God will judge me based on that...not on whether or not I'm good at playing the blame game.

Lastly, I learned that "Gentleness is not a weakness. Gentleness is strength well contained." Men are sometimes afraid to be gentle because it might make people see them differently or of the perception that they're not manly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Lord Jesus didn't have to yell at people to follow Him. He didn't have to yell at the Apostles and scream and raise his voice and have a temper (although He did once when he saw the moneychangers in the temple). Jesus (our Savior...Our Holy God in the Flesh) was gentle. In fact, one of the first things He did as a teacher and preacher was what? He healed. He walked into villages and made the blind man see, the lame man walk, cured leprosy and all manner of diseases. Why? Because He's Jesus, Son of God and who is God the Most High who came to earth for us. He loves us so why would he need to yell and curse and lose his temper when it's not necessary? So instead of thinking it's not manly enough when you're gentle, I now model myself after our Risen Messiah so that I may be more like Him. It will be a long road but I'm trying to learn the art of being bold without being rude. Hurting someone you love doesn't make you more of a man. It's just that much more of you that the Enemy has gotten a hold of.

The program ended with great worship songs, grown men swaying in their seats and in their aisles to songs that didn't tug at our hearts, they lifted them up. And finally the Pastor said "You will take two steps out of this room and the Enemy will start to attack you. Don't give him an inch to work with. Now come on up and get your armor...I've brought my oil and I'm going to anoint each man here and we're going to be victorious in the Lord" and we all went up and he drew the cross symbol on our foreheads with that oil and said a quick prayer for us. I went up too but I couldn't help but go up and with tears in my eyes I hugged Pastor Steve and we embraced. And tears came out that I had been storing up for years. And I tried to take my seat again but before I could find it, another man came out of his seat and hugged me and said I love you Brother and as I finally sat down, Pastor John tousled my hair and said I'm proud of you Sung.. I love you Brother" and then I just lost it. I wept for awhile like that until I looked around and saw that the guy next to me who I didn't know was crying like that too and I put my arm around him and we cried together. I looked up again and saw that every man, all 130 men in that room were crying and realizing how they've been in their lives. And how they couldn't do this without Jesus. And in that instant, the room became filled with The Holy Spirit and the Lord's army became 130 men stronger.

That's how my weekend went. I came back on Sunday to give my testimonial to my church and everyone sat there wide-eyed as I told him how everything I thought was true about myself turned upside down. How MY definition of being a good husband, good father, good son, good brother and good friend were completely inaccurate. And how I needed to make things right in order for me to truly be someone that Christ would be proud of. And I've started on that road. It won't be easy. But I'm committed to living the way that Our Savior wants us to live. No more excuses. No more anything. Just living with everyone around me knowing that they don't have to walk on eggshells anymore.

I literally saw and felt the Holy Spirit move in myself and in others this weekend. God's love is so real. It's so real and so limitless and so pure and good. And I want to share this special experience with you. More importantly, let this be a portent of what things will be like moving forward. Now, let me be honest. I might mess up sometimes because I'm not perfect. That's why we still need a Savior. But I will be trying with everything that I am, to be someone that not only my family is proud of but that our Risen King, Jesus Christ can look upon and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

3.01.2010

How to Work for a Boss that Doesn't Know Recruiting

It's not really a secret that I believe that "corporate HR" and "Recruiting" should be two separate departments, neither one reporting into one another but rather facilitating each others' needs as distinctively individual units. It's not been the first time I've said it or blogged about it since it's always been my professional stance. Simply put, the "traditional HR" person just doesn't get it. Are there exceptions to this postulate of mine? Sure there are. But as a general rule, usually what I have found is that HR "generalists" (meaning people with backgrounds in all of the traditional HR sub-disciplines not the title "HR Generalist") tend to be very light in knowledge, understanding and certainly appreciation for the world of Recruiting. Again, this has been my experience and I base this on no empirical evidence but rather situational observations over the years.

I believe the frustration lies in a breakdown of communication. For example, while I am a big fan of metrics for the purpose of status updates and providing analytics on weekly, monthly or even yearly progress, I have always been skittish about using reports to "crow" about my recent achievements. The mindset of HR tends to be "hit 'em over
their heads with good news" at times but I'd rather use that valuable time (and effort) in finding more qualified candidates, redesigning recruitment strategy or just about anything else for that matter. The over-emphasis on metrics is definitely a characteristic of nearly all of the traditional HR bosses I've had. I call it the three P's (Posturing, Positioning, and Placing Blame on Others) but you can sum it up with just one "P": Politics.

A sizeable majority of corporate recruiters now have at least some third-party experience. Melding the often cavalier and cowboy-world experience of third-party recruiting with the traditional HR mindset is often difficult, frustrating and sometimes a disaster in the making. Let me give you an example. I have always done better in environments that allowed me to be creative in my recruiting efforts, in the way I partner with my internal (or external) clients, and how I basically put in an honest day's work. When I worked for dot-coms where I was given free reign in a less structured setting, I typically did much better than in the jobs or contract assignments where I had policies and procedures coming out of every human orifice.

So what do you do about this? How can you handle/manage/mitigate this deep and wide chasm between the jet-set style of Recruiting and the linear/structured world of HR? Well, part of it has to do with communicating expectations with your boss from the onset. This actually starts right when you're interviewing for a job. If you're not a numbers person, don't tell your prospective boss that you're all about metrics. If you're overly laid back, don't tell your future boss that you believe in "centralizing the recruiting process" and acting as gatekeeper, judge and jury. It's common sense but you would be surprised by how many people just aren't honest with themselves.

Secondly, protect your backside once you start a new job. Document everything that you do short of telling him/her how many squares of toilet paper you used that day. Remember to not only keep a detailed report to hand in weekly to your boss (and internal clients) but also a management-style report that captures a snapshot of weekly activity as well. This also comes in handy in ad hoc situations when your boss might ask for something like that to give to the CEO/President.

Thirdly, define yourself and your work. Explain to your new boss (or not-so-new boss) exactly what it is that you do all day. Create a pie chart explaining what percentage of your time is spent doing what and look for areas of performance AND process improvement constantly. While many senior HR folks (Director, VP, SVP, etc.) think they have a "recruiting background", the fact of the matter is that the extent of recruiting they did probably entailed putting an ad in the newspaper "back in the day". That's not recruiting. Never has been, never will be. So make sure you spell it out for your traditional HR generalist-style boss what it actually entails to hire or recruit for the more difficult-to-fill openings. Get him/her to understand that their limited understanding isn't how it really is but obviously do so in a way that is didactic and disarming in nature.

Lastly, remember that this is a team effort. You might be the maverick but until Recruiting is a separate department from HR in every organization nationwide (which will probably never happen because of HR's reach), you will have to realize that you are only one cog in the wheel (albeit a significant one). Everyone on the team has a hand in identifying, interviewing, selecting or onboarding the candidates that will be employees for your organization. Acknowledge others and give credit freely, stand your ground when you need to, and make sure that you always have your ducks in a row with your data. Then working for a boss that doesn't know recruiting might not be such a disadvantage to you. In fact, it might be the perfect scenario of "managing up"!

Happy Recruiting!


Sung N. Kim is Managing Partner & CEO for Servane Cross, Inc. Servane Cross is a premiere executive search firm specializing in recruiting middle to senior healthcare administrators and management. In addition to his healthcare recruiting expertise, he also is the Chief Training Consultant for StrongRecruiter.com, a website dedicated for recruiter training and development. Sung also has a regular blog on ERE entitled, "The Life and Times of a Healthcare Recruiter".

Sung can be contacted via e-mail at sung@servanecross.com. Servane Cross, Inc.'s website is http://www.ServaneCross.com.

2.26.2010

Why Orange is My Favorite Color

I'm up late as my wife and I were up watching the late broadcast of the Olympic Figure Skating Championship where we saw Kim Yu Na win gold. Yea!~

Okay, but that's not why I'm here right now. I actually wanted to talk about something that's near and dear to my heart. Something that, no matter how bad a day I have, always seems to lift my spirits just at the very sight of it. What I'm referring to, unbeknownst to you is my favorite color: ORANGE.

Orange? Who in the world likes the color orange as their favorite color? Me, that's who. I have always loved orange. Ever since I can remember at the age of four living in Philadelphia, we used to have those little colored magnetic letters and numbers that go on the fridge...and my favorite were the orange pieces. I also loved orange flavored Pez as a little tike and then later on, orange flavored Gatorade and orange-flavored gum, and so on and so forth.

There's just something about the color that brightens my soul. However, I don't like all shades and hues of orange equally. My favorite orange is the brighter orange as evidenced on the Philadelphia Flyers' uniforms or even the Syracuse Orangemen shade of orange. In California, I think they call it CalTrans orange but I prefer to call it HomeDepot orange. (although there's a slight difference between the two actually...HomeDepot Orange is actually brighter).

So...Flyers orange, Syracuse Orange....the kind of orange that's so bright it almost has a reddish hue to it. I think they call it Flame Orange or even Red Orange sometimes. That's the kind of orange that makes my heart pitter patter. However, I also love the kind of orange that's vintage looking as seen in this awesome metallic-orange Jeep Wrangler I pass on my way to work every morning. There's something about that metallic-rust orange that makes me happy too. I think it's because I had a favorite Matchbox car that color. I also happen to like just plain orange. The orange that's neither too light or too dark or too bright. I call that In-Between Orange or Middle Orange and that suits me just fine too!

What I'm not that big a fan of is light orange...that pale almost luminescent orange that you don't see that often except maybe on a Texas Longhorn hat or shirt. I'm not as big of a fan of that orange but I also don't dislike it either. So Texas Longhorn Orange, not good. FedEx, HomeDepot, Philadelphia Flyers and Syracuse Orangemen Orange, very good. I hope that makes sense.

So where is all this going and who cares whether or not I like orange this much? Well, you're right. Maybe nobody cares that I do but I'm just so excited even talking about orange. Many of my t-shirts, henly shirts and even a dress shirt is orange. My office has loads of orange there from orange binders to orange picture frames and of course, orange pens courtesy of Office Depot's Foray brand. Even the logo for my executive search/healthcare recruiting business, Servane Cross has orange in it not to mention all the stationery, brochures etc. In fact, I like to call that version of the color, Servane Cross Orange.

There are lots of things that make people happy. Sometimes it's a sports team or a music group or band. For others it's watching CSPAN all weekend long. For this humble soul, it's wearing, looking at, or somehow using the color orange. Aren't simple pleasures grand?

2.25.2010

Executive Search and Healthcare Recruiting Update

Never one to not mix business with pleasure, I thought I would put in a shameless plug for my business, Servane Cross, Inc. As CEO & Managing Partner for Servane Cross, let me tell you first and foremost that Servane Cross is not your typical search firm or recruiting agency. We specialize in recruiting for high-level management and senior administration searches for acute-care hospitals and medical centers nationwide. Healthcare is all we do and all we will ever do. We also handle certain staff level searches like nursing (RN), pharmacists, physical therapists etc. but our primary focus is on management. And we are the ONLY healthcare executive search recruiting firm in the state of California, that offers an UNCONDITIONAL ONE YEAR GUARANTEE on all placements. Do your current search firms provide you with that level of confidence and assurance?

If you are a corporate HR person who is tired of the runaround from other executive search firms and tired of paying high retainer fees without solid results, I encourage you to pick up the phone and give me a call at (800) 718-1570 x101 or e-mail me at Sung@ServaneCross.com. Let's talk about what your needs are and how we can solve the staffing problem together as partners. For more information, please visit our new website at http://www.ServaneCross.com.

If you're a mid-level or senior level hospital administrator, VP, director or manager, please give us a call me at (530) 242-0162 x101 or e-mail me at Sung@ServaneCross.com. We acquire new searches all the time so it would be worth it for you to register with us so that we can keep you in the loop on new exciting job opportunities. And even if you are not in management and you're a Nurse or Pharmacist or Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist, please register with us by going to our website at http://www.ServaneCross.com.

I look forward to hopefully interacting with you and serving your needs. Thank you.

Sung N. Kim CDR, ACIR, HRPD
CEO & Managing Partner
Servane Cross, Inc. (a Healthcare Recruiting/Executive Search Firm)

sung@servanecross.com

What It Will Take to Survive (2010 and Beyond)

What It Will Take to Survive (2010 and Beyond)

We are given the lives we live directly by God. No amount of crying about it, moaning about it or wishing about it will change what will be the course of our lives. For whatever reason unknown to you or me, God has given us this life. I'm not sure why and I won't try to pretend to know what God's will is. I won't feign smartness and I'm not that arrogant. In fact, all that separates the ones who will triumph over the ones who will not is dignity. We are born into this world with nothing but the skin on our backs and that's the way we go out. Money? That means nothing. Posessions? That means even less. Achievements? Those are nice on a mantle or a scrapbook but it's still bupkis.

You are only left with one thing in this world and when people realize that, they'll start to have a much more fulfilling life and that is this: You must have dignity above all other things and the only way you have that is by clinging to the cross. It seems strange that you could find dignity by clinging on to something but that's the paradox of being a Christian. We are the most dignified when we cling to the cross. We are strongest when we are on our knees in humble obedience to the Lord. On this big ol' sinking Titanic they call life, that's your one life preserver when others are drowning and they don't even realize it. Oh sure, I could go on and on about doctrine but I'm not about "religion". I'm about relationship. And above all others, the only relationship that really matters is the one you have with your Savior Jesus. That's it. Not your relationship with your spouse or kids or even your parents or siblings means anything at all if you don't put Jesus first and very foremost everyday of your life.

Wow...that's some serious "doom-and-gloom", Sung. That's probably what you're thinking. But actually, it's quite the opposite. Those relationships I just mentioned with your loved ones SHOULD be a part of your daily Life in Christ. It's not about just loving your family or your friends...it's about loving them because Christ taught love and that doing this and loving your loved ones not only makes God happy but it is what He has called upon us to do. But not over loving God first and foremost. (I didn't really fully understand that part until fairly recently).

All I know is that when the rest of this world rears on its hind legs and bears it's ugliness, you must face and turn to the light and ignore that. Is that easy to do? Absolutely not. If it were easy, EVERYONE would want to be a Christian. If being a Christian was the popular route, you don't think more people would jump on this bandwagon? Being a disciple of Christ means you're gonna get spit on a lot (figuratively althought not always)....probably everyday of your life. Why? Because the world hates us. The world (which I believe is dominated by Satan by the way) hates Jesus with a fervent passion, so why on earth would the world welcomingly embrace and love us??? They wouldn't and they don't. But you can beat this world and you can beat frustration, confusion, exasperation, and even loneliness by always turning to your best friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Risen King who desperately WANTS a personal relationship with you. Christ died for EVERYONE both past and present who would call Him Lord and accept Him.

You know, I laugh when people say, "We all have our cross to bear" because Jesus would absolutely find that to remark to be amusing. He'd say, "What kind of cross is it that you think you have to bear after what I went through in Jerusalem and on Calvary that day?" He would say, "Did you have to live your life knowing that you would be sacrificed to a horrible death?" "Did you have to suffer and be humiliated under Pontius Pilate's decree that I was an outlaw criminal?" "Did you ever have to be battered and bruised and whipped beyond the point of human recognition?" Because the fact of the matter is this. We really have NO (ZERO) cross to bear in life BECAUSE of the one that He bore for us that day. Everything else in life is pale compared to that. Yes, we each have our challenges that God gives us to handle for whatever divine reason only He knows. But in the end, all we have to do is live out our lives each day devoting it to the Lord, accepting what comes, and trying to find meaning through Christ. If you can't do that...then you're lost. If you can do that....well, then welcome to the first day of the beginning of your life.

Now, I do want to make something very very clear. Nowhere did I ever say that being a Christian means, implies or makes you entitled to a perfect life. There's nothing perfect about Christians. In fact, some of the most flawed and broken people I know are Christians. Being saved by the cross is a privilege and an honor. Being Christian doesn't mean you're perfect. In fact, it's far from it. Being Christian means you're forgiven. Your debts have been cancelled by the blood from the cross shed by the one and only Lord, Jesus Christ. The veil was torn for you and for me and for all the world...if we just accept our gift and come to Jesus.

I don't know how many people actually read this blog and to be honest, I really don't care. Firstly because I write as a means of expression for myself only and secondly because even if one person reads this and stops to really think about "what it all means" and takes what I say to heart...well, then that's one more brick in the Kingdom of God. Please remember that even though life is difficult, the healthiest thing that you can do for yourself is to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

In closing, I will repeat something that a colleague of mine once said at my old job. She said, "At the end of every day, you should only have two questions. How have I been blessed and how have I blessed others?"

I like that. This is how we will survive this year, this recession, this period of difficulty in our individual lives both in 2010 and beyond. May God bless you all and to God be the glory.