Saturday, December 19, 2009

I've been thinking...

"But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" -Gal 6:14

What would it look like if I really did only boast in the cross?

But even though I know I should boast only in the cross, why is it that I don't?

What if I was stripped away of everything in life except Jesus?

I picture what it would be like if I was on the streets, no money, no family, no friends, no books, no activities, no popularity, (no computer! ;-D), nothing... except Jesus. I wish I could say otherwise, but truth is, I don't feel a lightning bolt shock me because I can't actually comprehend what my life would be like. It would just be so different.

But sometimes I want my life, especially my spiritual life, to be so different. Would this kind of change actually be a radical awakening to spiritual heights I never dreamed of?

Recently I was listening to K. P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel For Asia, give a report of the work Christ is doing in Asia. What I imagined about myself two paragraphs above doesn't even begin to touch on the conditions Christians live in over there. And on top of the dire physical straits, add intense persecution.

Yet, as Yohanann claims, these Christians are filled with deep joy. That's what I've been thinking about. Is there something about having fewer material possessions and conveniences that bolsters them to a stronger relationship with Jesus?

This is Part 1. In Part 2, I'll answer my last question...

Photo credit: Wonderlane and pedrosimoes7

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking Forward

When I was little I thought that 16 was the perfect age to be. 'Twas the oldest you could be while still being a kid. 17 was too close to the threshold of being an adult. 16 was perfect...

But I've learned some things since I was little.

Responsibility does not start when I'm 18. I will not all of a sudden "get a life" when a diploma is handed to me. Responsibility starts now. History is filled with people who accomplished great things when they were still in their teens. Why is it that now our culture is filled with "kidults", people in their late 20s and even 30s who want to keep living their lives free of grown-up duties?

Even though some might say that I'm only 16 so I still have the right to be immature and irresponsible, I don't want to be like that.

My generation is called to so much more than simply "getting by".

16 is old enough to make a meal to feed the homeless. 16 is old enough to have a holy ambition and act upon it. 16 is old enough to dive deep into God's word and experience the truth of who He is personally instead of taking someone else's word for it.

Today, I turn 16. Questions stretch out before me. I'm not simply talking about the questions "What will I do in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?" No, more specifically, I'm thinking about questions that must be answered imminently and with actions. What will I do to bless others while I'm 16? What will I do to grow in my relationship with Christ this coming year? What will I do now to make a difference?

God, please grant me the grace and wisdom to walk in ways pleasing to You this coming year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Humility Objectified

"The conductor Leonard Bernstein was once asked, 'What is the most difficult instrument to play?'

'Second Violin,' he replied, 'Because everyone wants to be first violinist.'

Of course the first violin gets to play more interesting parts and commands more attention. But as Bernstein went on to explain,

'It's hard to find someone who wants to play second violin and to do so with the same enthusiasm. But without the second violin, there is no harmony.' "

-- Matt Redman
in The Heart of Worship

So it is with all of life. It's hard to find someone who wants to take a secondary task and do so with the same enthusiasm. "But without the second violin, there is no harmony."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Up-The Movie

For my parents' 25th anniversary, they went on a very romantic date to eat dinner and catch a movie. The film of choice? None other than:

UP, the newest Pixar release! (Pretty romantic, huh? ;-) )

If I had to describe the movie in one word, I would choose the word "sweet". Everything about it was just bursting with sweetness! The little boy, Russell, was insanely cute in my opinion. If he were an animal, I think he'd be a panda bear. Oh, I wish I could squeeze him in a tight hug! I mean, just look at him:

Seriously though, I think it was the perfect movie for my parents to watch on their anniversary because it was saturated with the truth that marriage and family are important. All the other Pixar films I've watched have had romance in them between a guy and a girl who fall in love. Apparently, it seems that anything has the capacity for romance: cars, toys, monsters, bugs, even robots! UP has romance too, but I love it so much because it happens after they're married. They always remain so in love. He's deeply loyal to her and his promise to her. It's beautiful.

After reflecting on why I like UP so much, I've concluded it's because of the prevalent theme of loyalty. Yet it's more than that. It's whom the main character is loyal towards. Not to his house. Or his possessions. But to his wife and the boy. My favorite line in the entire film is: "It's just a house." Because of that message, UP is my new favorite Pixar film. And now, there's a whole new meaning to the phrase "What's UP?" :-)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool Calvin Clips

I'm not really sure what's special about 500th birthdays if the person isn't living (I wouldn't get one of these), but John Calvin has some great quotes that I thought I'd share on his 500th birthday.

“Whoever is not satisfied with Christ alone, strives after something beyond absolute perfection.”

“The aim of everything is the sanctifying of God’s name.”

“As God, Christ is the destination to which we move; as man, the path by which we go.”

"The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul".

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."

"There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence."

Interestingly, I found an article from TIME magazine about Calvinism Changing the World.

And here's a picture of him:

Oh whoops, wrong Calvin!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

And the Romance Still Rumbles

25 years ago today, my dad went to his best friend's wedding.

25 years ago today, my dad's best friend married him!

The following is a re-post of what I wrote on my brother's blog 1 year ago to commemorate my parent's 24th anniversary (with a few edits to adjust for this anniversary):
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Pat and a girl named Ganya, and they met each other while in college because they both attended Arlington Chinese Church in... well... Arlington. After a couple of years, he fell in love with her, proposed, she said yes, and *POOF*, what do you know, they were engaged!!! I'm sure you've guessed by now that they were married 25 years ago on July 7th, 1984. Their love story is very humorous and intriguing, and if I had time I'd tell you more, but here are the highlights simply of the wedding:

  • My mom wanted to have a Christian wedding in front of her family so they decided to get married in Thailand.
  • However, there were no Christian churches in her hometown since most people were Buddhist so they got married in the market place.
  • The ceremony was in Thai, and my dad only knows a little Thai, so his Best Man/fiance's brother who spoke broken English would tell him every once in a while what the preacher was saying such as "De preacher say very good words" and "Put de ring on her finger". The best one of all was at the very end when he nonchalantly told my dad, "Okay, you married now".
  • The same uncle drove my parents to their honeymoon spot, but on the way they were in a car wreck and my mom was knocked out. When she came to, she looked at my dad, and asked "What are you doing here?" And they had just gotten married a few hours before!
  • None of my dad's family was present for the Thailand wedding so in September they had another wedding ceremony in Arlington. Hence, they actually have two wedding anniversaries (but only the first one counted ;-) )
  • The best news is that my mom's mother, or "Amah" which is Thai for grandmother, become a Christian largely as a result of my parent's wedding!


    Happy 25th Anniversary! Thank you for being the amazing parents that you are. May your coming years of marriage be filled with the peace, joy, and love of Christ. And may the romance still rumble...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fish With Trish

At the conference, I met an incredible woman named Trisha Ramos working at the booth for Way of The Master ministries. Even though I was only able to talk to her for a few minutes, I could tell that she is so on fire to spread the gospel. Trisha encouraged me to share my faith and tell other people the good news. She even gave me a few tracks to get me started. Check out her website:

Here we are in front of her booth:

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Beauty From the Heart Conference (my recap for girls)

(Note: This post is written for girls.)

Encouraging. That's the number 1 word I would use to describe my experience at the Beauty from the Heart Conference. Even though we drove four hours to get there, it was completely worth it for me, and I'm so glad I went. To give you a taste, I'm going to share my notes from the first session given by Hannah Farver because it kind of set the tone for approaching the topic of Beauty from the Heart.

Session 1: Physical Beauty

  • Ideas of what's beautiful change over time and culture.
Hannah showed pictures of "celebrities" from decades ago. Man, they look very different from today's celebrities, but at the time they were acclaimed by society as "beautiful". Today, our culture says tanned and thin are in, but Asian girls use whitening lotion and, at one time, African girls were force fed by their families because being fat was considered "beautiful". This led to heart diseases and other health problems. I think that's very interesting considering the current eating disorders in America that are the opposite of that but also lead to health problems.

  • Beauty doesn't satisfy anyone.
She read quotes from 3 top actresses and models who were all unhappy with the way they looked. Even though the world acclaimed them as some of the most "beautiful" people in the world, they were still insecure and unsatisfied.

  • Beauty doesn't last.
Four pictures were displayed: one of Elizabeth Taylor from when she was a top star in her youth alongside a picture of how she looks now and another set of Audrey Hepburn as a young woman and Hepburn years later. The difference over time is startling. When they aged, they look similar to many of the older women I know today.

  • God chose your genes.
God made you the way He did for a purpose. You look the way you do because it pleased Him. After Hannah read from Ps. 139:14-16 where the Bible says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made", she said that she had heard this verse all her life but she wondered why she still had problems with acting like she believed it. She ended her session by asking,

"Why do we still have doubts that we are wonderfully made?
Why do we put so much weight on the world's beauty checklist?
Why do we compare ourselves with models and actresses?
(And this one was the most convicting:) Why don't we care about what the God of the Universe thinks of us?"


As you can tell, it was a very good talk. The following session was my favorite, and it answered those last questions Hannah asked. It was the cornerstone for the entire conference. Really, it was about the cornerstone for all of life.

It was about the Gospel.

Check out:, and stay tuned...

Friday, June 05, 2009

I'm in Dallas

Today I'm attending the Beauty From The Heart Conference in Dallas. I'm very excited!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why didn't we learn?

I just read the latest World magazine which featured an article on Tienanmen Square because today is the 20th anniversary of the event. Even while depicting the horrible atrocities, the article drove in the point that one of the worst days in China's history became a turning point for the growth of Christianity in China. The number of Christians in China has skyrocketed from just a few decades ago and continues to grow today. Some commentators point to the Chinese people becoming disillusioned with the system of democracy as part of the reason for the rise. Perhaps the Chinese placed their hopes in democracy to save them from an oppressive Communist regime which would thus solve the problems in their lives. But they realized on that day when their emboldened protests came to a bloody and violent stop, that a new government system did not hold all the answers. Only Christ could make things right.

Further on in the magazine, I read another article about an exhibit in New York on “French literature during the Holocaust.” It talked about the corrupt horrors committed in France and the feeling of Antisemitism that still haunts humanity today.

My question is, “Why didn't WW1 and 2 start a Christian revolution and revival?”. After experiencing all of that evilness at the hand of men, why didn't we learn like the Chinese that the only hope in the world is Christ? Why does it seem like Christianity in America has taken a downturn since the mid-20th century? Why did we find, a couple decades later, a generation of rebellion?

When I was little, I hated hearing the news. It was just too scary and I wanted to stay in the happy, innocent world I knew where the worst problem was how to get back at my annoying brother for teasing me. I hated those glimpses of a bigger world that only seemed to have troubles and more troubles. My view was that everyone was sad and depressed because no one knew how to fix anything right. But now that I'm older, I see more clearly not only how naive I was, but, ironically, I also see how my childish perception caught much of the truth of reality. The world does have a lot of problems, mankind can't solve them, and people are scared. But I was ignorant of the fact that I don't need to be scared.

Now, by seeing this senseless violence, I better understand the extent of how depraved our world is. And I think it's right to understand that because in the midst of human hopelessness, Christ shines brighter. He is Sovereign. He is all-powerful. He is our Answer.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Enabling Comments

It's the beginning of June and time for a change. Under the encouragement of some friends, I've enabled comments for Hastings Haven. I disabled comments near the beginning of this blog, and recently I've been thinking about allowing comments, but was hesitant for two reasons:

1. It might become another way to spend too much time on the computer.

2. I should write for an audience of One.

But here's what I've decided (at least at this point).

1. I told one of my friends this first reason, and she said that comments are one of those things that are not bad in and of themselves. Rather, as she noted, "It's all in what you make of it". I think that's very true. So I'm going to give commenting a chance, and if it does end up being a time distraction, I'll disable them again.

2. I think everyone should always do things for an audience of One. But I still have so very much to learn, and as the Body of Christ, we can help each other grow stronger. As long as comments are used to "build each other up" (1 Thess. 5:11) and don't tear one another down, I think that comments can be used to edify and encourage.

With all that said, you are welcome to comment! Even if you just want to say "Hi", I'm always happy to hear from you.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Worship: An expression overflowing from a delight in the Soveriegn goodness of the Father, the forgiving love of Jesus Christ, and the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit.

Oh Lord, You are so wonderful to us all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One year ago today...

One year ago today, a special part of my life died. The woman who taught me how to read and helped shape my worldview breathed her last breath on earth, and life as I knew it would forever change. February 12 might be just another day for many, but for me it holds a deeper meaning--the anniversary of a bygone saint: my grandmother, Virginia “Granny” Hastings.

A wash of memories has poured over me today. I see myself washing the dishes with her, arguing across the table with my brother Paul while she would listen in and occasionally referee, showing her the books someone gave me, complaining that fractions are too hard, playing my new game with her, receiving a reminder to practice piano, ranting about the travails of growing up as she patiently listened, watching her dice tomatoes, re-living the weekend as I told her about my most recent adventures, riding to my weekly piano lesson, watching Antiques Roadshow together, listening to her tell stories about her life as a little girl. The memories extend for years...

My grandma was more than my cook, cleaner, home school teacher, babysitter, and even more than just my grandma. She was one of my best friends. I write this as I sit in the house where she lived. The house where I would come over and eat her home-cooked scrambled eggs in the morning, run to when I had a hurting boo-boo, a new joke, a funny idea, a hard math problem, a new dress, or gum in my hair. And one year ago, it was here where I sat in the rocker by my grandma’s hospice bed, listening to her breaths strain for more air as her lungs failed her, the feeding tube automatically cranking in more food from time to time, the gentle hum of the oxygen tank providing pure oxygen through the tube. Gradually her breathing slowed and then stopped altogether. There was no need for the machines anymore so we turned them off around 6:30 p.m. One year ago.

Life is different without Granny around. No more kisses on my “ouch”ies. Two less listening ears to share my thoughts. I miss the hugs. I miss all of her.

Nevertheless, God has been faithful, and I’ve come to find a new kind of normal.

While I was writing this, the phone in her house just rang. Only my family calls this phone anymore, so I picked it up expecting my mom or dad.


“Hi, this is Jeff with Feature Films for Families. Is Virginia there?”

“Um, well, she’s…"

Talk about awkward. What am I supposed to say?

“She’s unavailable.”

“Well, I’ll just call back another time.”

"Actually, she won’t be avail…”

“Thank you.” Click.

You can call again, Jeff, but she will never pick up the phone.

I’m only now beginning to realize the effects of one of my grandma’s actions: her prayers for me. I always knew she did that, but I never gave it that much thought. The fruit of those prayers will continue to reap a harvest long after she’s gone. And now I can’t even begin to thank her. Literally, I can’t. At least not face to face.

Learning from the past can be difficult to do because there’s a question necessary to ask, but hard to answer. Do I wish I had done things differently? Sure, I do wish some things had been different. I think the answer anyone would give if they were honest with themselves is “Yes”. And I’m no exception. Now I see things that sometimes I lacked in showing her: respect, compassion, obedience, patience, and understanding. At times, I assumed she just wouldn’t understand what was happening so I wouldn’t bother to explain.

What does it mean to live with no regrets? There are no more chances to do it over again with Granny. But as long as there are others in my life, there’s still opportunity for change.

The greatest lesson I learned is not one my grandma verbally told me, but one that her life and my life shared. No one is ever too old or too young to influence someone else’s life. For all of you current and future grandparents, you don’t have to be a see-you-on-the-holidays-grandparent, but instead you can be involved in the greatest treasure God has given you--your posterity. My grandparents made the choice to live close by to their grandkids, whether or not that made their life easier or harder. And by doing so, they became the molders that shaped the next generation, because my brothers and I are the ones who remain even after their lives on earth have come to an end. I can never thank them enough for the lessons taught, the memories given, and the legacy passed on--simply by being there for me.

One year ago today, my grandma died. But that’s not how I think of it. One year ago today, my grandma finished the work on earth that God had for her to do, and then she went to her real home to be with Jesus.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pray for Tyler Farver

My fellow Rebelutionary, NCFCA competitor, and dear friend Hannah Farver has requested prayer for her brother, Tyler. Apparently, he was in an ATV accident this morning (January 17th), and is in an extremely serious condition. To follow Tyler's progress and read more updates, you can visit Hannah's blog:

"But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love..." Psalm 33:18