Archive | February, 2011


28 Feb

Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church Australia was in town recently to speak at the “Equip and Inspire Conference” at Hope Chapel West Oahu. I got to listen to his talk, and a special highlight for me that evening was when he presented me with Hillsong United’s newly-released CD entitled “Aftermath.” What a treat!


Brian Houston


Me, Brian Houston, Pam and Mike Kai (pastor of Hope Chapel West Oahu)



Hillsong United’s latest album

Leadership Forum

22 Feb


If you’re a business or ministry leader, I want to invite you to something new that HIM (Hawaiian Islands Ministries) is doing. It’s a Leadership Forum on March 24, Thursday, that will feature a strong team of sought-out speakers who also happen to be Christians:

• Ken Blanchard, of the “One-Minute Manager” fame, will share the latest on leadership principles.
• Margie Blanchard, Ken’s wife, will talk about how to organize your office for the 21st-century challenges of high change and stress.
• Shaunti Feldhahn, a Wall Street analyst turned researcher and author, will talk on how women need to be managed differently than men in the workplace.
• David Kinnaman, CEO of the Barna Group, will reveal the results of a first-ever statewide research on the state of faith here in Hawaii. You’ll find out what people need from a church, what they think about the church and if churches here are growing, shrinking or plateauing. 

There’ll be lots of leadership principles to learn, so come and invite your colleagues. It will be a one-day event at the Hawaii Convention Center on Thursday, March 24, from 9 am till 4 pm. Go to for more details and to buy your ticket.

It Takes Two to TANGO

19 Feb

Pam and I try to have a date every Thursday. This week it was breakfast at Tango’s Contemporary Cafe (Hokua Tower on Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu). Great cappuccino, Swedish pancakes and eggs florentine. Reasonable prices. They serve phenom lunch and dinner items, too. Some friends have rented the whole restaurant for parties. It’s always nice to talk to Tango co-owner Tammy Pang Orozco. Found out from her that they’re opening a Tango’s Market at nearby Ward Centre (at the old Saturna’s) for quick take-outs of some of their dishes.





Love the Swedish Pancakes!



Eggs Florentine



Tango’s co-owner Tammy Pang-Orozco with my wife Pam

“dan chun” is a verb?

10 Feb


Did you know that “dan chun” is a verb? Well, a made-up verb, that is, according to my Executive Assistant, Rosella Shishido, who stumbled upon it on Urban Dictionary, the online dictionary of words totally made up by various people. She said the word was created in 2009, and is defined as “to be ambitious; to do whatever it takes to win; excessively compete.”

Can you use that in a sentence, please? Sure.

“When I knew I couldn’t win on talent or experience, I had to do some tampering and dan chun my way to the top.”

The Urban Dictionary says “dan chun” has a negative connotation, so to put a positive spin to it, I think being ambitious for the Lord is a good thing. For as long as we don’t do it for self-gain.

I wonder which Dan Chun was the word based on considering that on LinkedIn (online networking tool) alone, there are 25 guys named Dan Chun!

Here’s the link to “dan chun” in Urban Dictionary. Who knows? Your name might be in there, too.


9 Feb

Spent the weekend at the annual Punahou Carnival. Being Punahou parents, Pam and I were put to work to help man booths for this Carnival fundraiser. Ours was the scrips booth in the Diamond Head side which saw non-stop action as over a thousand people came to enjoy the Carnival that benefits Punahou’s scholarship program for incoming and current students.

Can you believe it? I had 4 burgers in 2 days! It was during one of those burger breaks that I noticed actor Daniel Dae Kim (aka Chin Ho Kelly) eating nearby. I mustered enough courage to ask if I can have a picture taken with him to which he obliged after his meal. Daniel Chun (Hawaii Five-0 fan) finally met Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0 star)! I have now met 3 of the main cast of the show. (Now if I could only meet Grace Park.)

Oh, by the way, Punahou Carnival makes the best hamburgers in the world!


An attraction at the Punahou Carnival that didn’t require scrips: meeting Daniel Dae Kim (aka Chin Ho of Hawaii Five-0).



Another successful Punahou Carnival!



First Prez Director of Young Adults Dave Kusumoto with son enjoying an ice cream crunch bar at the Carnival.



My 4th Carnival burger in 2 days!


5 Feb


Opening day of the 2011 Hawaii House and Senate Session

         It was a sad and tragic week when the Hawaii Senate voted on January 20 to be the only state legislative body in the entire USA to bar any opening prayer to begin its session.

         It’s sad because it is humility that builds a healthy community, especially if the humility starts from its leaders. Humility acknowledges that we may not have all the ideas or answers we need. That more eyes mean clearer vision. That we don’t have the strength to endure the stress of the issues before us. In essence, we need help, and that aid, assistance, insight and entrepreneurial vision can come from above, particularly from our all-knowing God.

         It’s sad because the Hawaii Senate’s decision is saying, “We don’t need divine help.”

         The Senate doesn’t seem to understand what people have learned and understood in recovery groups, like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA). Here are the first three steps in the original 12-step AA program: 

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

         Sure we can say, “But our Senators don’t deal with alcoholism.” Might be true, but they might be tempted or addicted to power, greed, selfishness, deceit. We all are. We need all the help we can get, and the best help comes from above.

         There’s another reason why it is sad that our senators made the decision to remove opening prayer: Lack of historical understanding of our state. It’s sad because faith and prayer are such a rich part of our history in Hawaii. Queen Liliuokalani, Queen Kapiolani, Queen Kaahumanu, Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, to mention a few monarchs, all had a deep Christian faith, and all of them expressed it as part of their rule as leaders of our land. How far we have come when the leaders of our state bar prayer! It seems like we can say “Jesus Christ” more freely in communist countries than in our own communities and public schools in Hawaii.

         In Hawaii, you will rarely find the construction of a building, a house, an office site, a bridge, a stadium or a tunnel without a prayer of blessing and request for God’s protection. Not many construction workers would want to be employed on a project that did not have a prayer that inaugurated its work. Call it faith, or maybe for the cynical it is just superstition. But for the majority of our people prayer is deeply ingrained in the fabric of our community.

          In the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, there are FULL-TIME employed Christian chaplains with six-figure salaries with multiple staffs. These chaplains say opening prayers when the legislative bodies are in session. They meet with senators and representatives to give counsel and pray. The Federal government clearly has seen no breaking of the law. Our tax dollars support this.

         The idea of separation and state was not quoted from our U.S. Constitution. The Constitution states that it does not want the leaders of our country to ram down one’s faith on another. It did not want to legalize a state religion. But it did NOT mean that faith could not be expressed in legislative sessions. 

         To prohibit prayers when leaders gather is dangerous in that it says we do not want God’s wisdom or protection. It is dangerous because it is saying that we humans have all of the wisdom we need. We are self-made people where we take full credit for all of the good in life. It’s dangerous because it does not recognize that in our hearts we have tremendous capacity for evil, sin, pride, prejudice, bigotry, sadism. You can’t read a newspaper or watch a TV news show or read what happens in politics to escape that fact that part of human nature wants to cheat, deceive, and hurt others. Politics of all places need God! How ironic that politicians would want to eliminate talking to God in their sessions.

         Our laws were based on Judeo-Christian beliefs. For lawmakers to now say we reject any praying to God or asking for His help or blessing during a legislative session is a disloyalty of “not dancing with the one who brought you to the dance.” God gave us the healthy principles in the 10 Commandments that all state and federal laws are based. And now to reject talking to Him?

         A society is better when there is a daily reminder that there is a higher power, who is relational. Life is not about rituals, rules, regulations. It’s about relationships.

         My Hawaiian friends tell me that that the full meaning of the Hawaiian word “pono” means “righteousness that has a right relationship with God, and a right relationship with others.” To take half of the equation out and think it’s all about us is dangerous.

         Where is the government that asked me, a pastor, to organize a statewide memorial service at Punchbowl two days after September 11, 2001? It was planned that no politician would speak. Only two people were allowed to give an extended address – Admiral Dennis Blair, the Pacific Commander, and myself. The Admiral was chosen to reassure the Hawaii people that they were safe and that the military was ready to defend them. I was chosen to speak as evidence that it’s not all about us and that there is a God we can turn to during tough times. 

         The next day after that the Governor asked for a memorial service in the Hawaii State Capital Rotunda so that we could pray to God and honor those who died in New York.

         Because of 9-11 people started going to churches. Church attendance throughout our country went up 20% as people realized that when in dire need we ultimately turn to God who also teaches us to pray for our enemies and love them. This kind of principle does not come from some Hawaii Revised Statute but from the Bible.

         I am not saying that all opening prayers have to be Christian. In a pluralistic society there has to be an allowance for different faiths to pray. For me that Higher Power has a name, and it’s Jesus. 

         For others, they call it just Higher Power. For the atheists maybe having a legislative opening time of silence to collect one’s thoughts for the day would be good. But what the State Senate did was throw out the baby with the bathwater. It knocked out prayer completely and, therefore, was not only sad but bordering on dumb.

         If our Senators are all atheists and don’t want prayer then I guess for this specific legislative session that would be appropriate for them. But if our senators, as I believe, are a mixture of atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Christians, Mormons, etc., then I think there should be a respect for faith for all peoples and allow a blessing. 

         I have been asked to do the prayer as part of the ceremony and program of the Mayors’ inaugurations, the Governor’s and Mayors’ inaugural balls and President Obama’s Hawaii state inaugural ball. I have also blessed the Governor’s house before Governor Lingle moved in. (I think later she had a Jewish Rabbi bless the house, too. Not that mine wasn’t strong enough (I hope) but it’s a recognition that Hawaii people have different faiths.

         At public ceremonies for Federal Government, State and City events, I have seen Jews pray, Muslims pray, and Hawaiians dance, chant and pray to gods in which I do not personally believe. But that’s the beauty of Hawaii. All is allowed. None are made illegal. And whenever I have ended my prayers I normally say, “In deep respect to those of other faiths or of no faith, I pray in Christ’s name, Amen.” 

         Isn’t that what we want in our state? To have respect and tolerance for others who are different from us, and still be able to declare who we are and have a faith in Whom we want?

        A tolerant state government does not mean we eliminate all people who think differently than we do. A tolerant state is one that recognizes all people of all cultures and faith (or of no faith) and allows them to express that faith IN and OUTSIDE of government activities. Do we really want Hawaii to be a barren land of faith? 

         Think of some of the great speeches of all time that were anchored in faith: the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr., who used quotes from the Old Testament; the Second Inaugural address by Abraham Lincoln that quoted Genesis, Jesus Christ and the Psalms; the Democratic Convention speech where Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “God is not finished with me yet;” the Christmas Eve speeches by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. 

         Now you might say, “But those were not in a Hawaii state legislative session.” You’re right. They weren’t. So let all the good speeches not come from the Hawaii legislative session.

         Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address: “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 

         Most people, whom our governments serve, have a faith in something, someone greater than they for that is where they can ultimately have a future and hope. Our local government should reflect that just as our country’s great leaders did. Faith is by the people, for the people so that we will not perish from the earth.

         One last thing. Faith says that prayer is a two-way communication. It is not only asking God to bless our leaders but also asking God to talk to us and grant us wisdom. So making prayer illegal in the Senate means turning a deaf ear to God as senators begin their day of work. That’s like saying we don’t want to hear from Him. We don’t want His thoughts, His wisdom, His higher perspective. 

         It was a sad, tragic and dumb day on January 20 when God not only got outlawed but also gagged in the Hawaii State Senate.