Baka: A Life Remade




today I’ve been feeling anxious, 
actually for a few weeks. 
the here and now is I am about to push the button and publish my second book. I also am coming to a cross-road of what is next for me regarding ministry and life. my daughter has entered junior high. enough said.

the core of where this comes from is, I believe, my fear of rejection and my need for approval – as an author, minister/mentor and as a dad.

the woundedness in me that inflames this relates to my father’s absence when I was a kid (he died when I was 10) and my mom’s detachment. I sought belonging through recognition.

 I needed to be wanted.

the healing work in my journey has always been in Jesus receiving me and accepting me and giving me a place and identity. so I can be creative and not worry about getting an “a” or even to be notice but to do what I am led to do and leave the results, if any, to Him.

this week I push the button simultaneously with my daughter as she publishes her fourth book.

thanks be to God.

on a different note, I will be in the process of starting an author’s site and will be integrating my present sites into it.

I thought I would share briefly how the journey of writing books happened in my daughter’s life as some have been interested in seeing their kids do likewise. I don’t think this is the only way or right way. I was winging it as I responded to her interest. But I hope this short reflection may help.

The summer after Joelle’s 2nd grade started this wonderful journey of guiding her into the art of writing fiction. It started out simply as a daily exercise of her going through “Learning to Write Fictions Through Photos”. We set aside time in the morning to do the exercises from the book each weekday. It was a good book teaching about point of view, dialog, plot, etc. She liked it a lot and so I told her if she write a story I will get it published for her. We did story boards and plot outlines and she wrote and wrote each day and drew accompanying pictures. I typed and corrected spelling and grammar. Then came “An Island and a Chance”, a fantasy book about a runaway girl in a land of Pixies.

To my surprise she wanted to write again the following summer. We went through “Spilling Ink: A young writer’s handbook” by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer. This was a good follow up to last year’s reading as it gave different perspectives on how to approach writing. This summer Joelle start to do research for her writing as she explored realistic fiction. We also had one of our friends who is a high school English teacher meet with her a few times to help her edit her book. So was birth “Letter’s From Brooklyn”, an immigrant girl adjusting to life in a new country and new school.

This past summer, after Joelle graduated from 4th grade, she did her work on her third book. Again to my surprise she put a lot of daily effort into it. In comparison to her 45 page 2nd grade book with a lot of big pictures, and her 3rd grade book of some 58 pages, this book toppled over 100 pages! She became more descriptive and thoughtful in her writings. We also invited her regular English teacher to look over the book and make some suggestions. So came “Silent Music” into the world. It is about a mute 12 year old who wants to find her voice.

Lot of lessons comes out of the practice of writing. One of the big ones is that it takes discipline, consistent times of doing it to come up with the results. Hard work is more than an isolated activity but a chain of labor produces good work. She understands this not only as a writer but as a musician, sports person and artist.

Through it she has been with me at book signings, tickled by people’s review and has been able to give it as gifts. She learned about how to get it on Amazon and has made decisions on how to be wise and charitable with her modest royalties.

I can foresee we will continue this journey of writing and I hope she enjoys it as much as I get to see her in the process of growing in it.

moanalua gardens

Hey Jon,

Thanks so much again for speaking to my students. I was ministered to very powerfully, as well, as your teaching helped challenge deep-seated shame and brokenness in my own life, too.

I’ve included some messages below from students thanking you, as well!

Eve- Thank you so much for being so open and vulnerable with us. Your love of your daughter, family, us, and God was clearly shown to us. Your wisdom from your struggles inspired many of us to take a look at our shame and not sulk in it but rejoice in the lessons it has taught us and the beauty that can come from it. Basically, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend quality time with us over a short weekend. We learned a lot!

Jessi- thank you for being different than any other speaker we’ve had before, and for making us sit in our brokenness so that we could seek out God’s work, and love, and grace in all aspects of our lives. your deep love and creativity was truly inspiring.God bless

Daniel- Thanks for challenging us (me for sure) to engage with our brokenness in a way that makes us aware of it. It was an incredible weekend to be able to bond as a community of broken people. May God bless you and your family…in brightest day, and blackest night. #CORPSforCHRIST

Amber Kim- Thank you Jon for sharing understandings that God showed you with us. God truly used your words as an answer to prayer – for AAIV’s community and for myself personally. Thank you for being creative and choosing to go with not the norm of retreats. I believe our God is a creative God and He definitely used your mind to show us that! One last thing, thank you for sharing with us the incredible godly love you have for your daughter and wife. May you and your family be continually blessed to bless others!

Loua- Thank you Jon for challenging me to continue to grow in my faith. Specifically, reminding me of my brokenness and how God’s persisting grace continues to redeem us over and over again. Your message and the vulnerability you showed us at this retreat made it so much more valuable to me this year. Thanks.

Michael- I must say, Jon, your story definitely got to me. Some of the things that you have gone through are similar to my worries for the future. It was nice to see someone who has been through those issues and seems to be doing pretty well in the end. Your messages definitely challenged me, and I am still working on processing and wrestling with some of the questions and challenges. You were definitely a GREAT speaker, and I hope we meet sometime again. Prayers for you and your family, and I hope life treats you well! God bless!

Cathy- Jon, thank you for opening my eyes to hidden brokeness and sharing lessons, both biblical and personal. Your vulnerable sharing made your teachings all the more genuine and made me reflect on my own character. I confronted some scars, and also found healing. We as his people may constantly battle with shame, but in God there is grace that always redeems. Again, thank you so SO much for all that you have done. I truly hope we have the chance to meet again.

Amanda- Hi Jon, Thank you so much for giving up your time to come and share God’s word with all of us. Truly, through this retreat, I have learned of my brokenness and shame and was truly ashamed of them. I am reminded that God’s grace overshadows what pain I may be going through. I thank God for speaking through you to us to show us that we are broken somehow but because of His love for us, we are redeemed. I am so touched by your genuine faith and love for God, as well as for your daughter. May God continue to bless you and your family just as you were a blessing to all of us.

Aimee Brown Hi Jon It’s always great to dive into God’s word, but I think it’s really great is to see how it’s lived out. Not many people are willing to put themselves out there and be vulnerable in their weaknesses. I’m really thankful for how you were able to demonstrate your openness to God’s will, even through the struggles and brokenness of life, and was encouraged in hearing your perspective of persistent grace. Glad we got to share this weekend with you. Thank you!

Just wanted to put down on the blog tweets I have done regarding resisting grace. Been a summer without blogging so I wanted something down. Should have more coming as the summer is coming to a close.

2 August
Vulnerability is the place Jesus’ grace meets us. Any other attempt toward a spiritual life is motion without reality. #bevulnerable #bereal
30 Jul
Insight comes in layers whether it be of self, the world or spiritual realities. #revealingtruth #stagesofawareness
30 Jul
grace is unreceivable to the invulnerable. #graceisthegreatestthing #bevulnerable
29 Jul
Right now I am not so much drawn to the beauty of Jesus’ perfection but toward his brokenness. #emptiedhimself
21 Jul
The remote mike was in when I went to the men’s room. #oops #igotariveroflifeflowingoutofme
21 Jul
During my sermon when I said “Grace comes in breakthroughs”, Joelle thought I said “Grace come in grapefruit.”
20 Jul
Ezekiel 28:17
Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor.
19 Jul
Speaking Sunday at Parkwood Community Church. Seeking #theHolySpiritflood #graceinthewilderness
18 Jul
Aging is a process of imparting humility and glory upon us. Some get it. Others not so much. #alloflifeisonthepotterwheel
14 Jul
The route to knowing our true name is in deeply knowing His. #fallbeforethenameofjesus
12 Jul
Many around me have love ones suffering. The threat of losing them so real. Being ready – much more than an individual thing. #IWishISaid
8 Jul
Started today reading Ross Douthat’s “Bad Religion”. Anyone read it? Want to start a discussion?
4 Jul
Be vulnerable rather than invulnerable #talkingtojoy
Jon Ido Warden ‏@resistinggrace 4 Jul
They r listening for their new name. I love this stuff #gracebeingseenfavorably
4 Jul
Leading workshops all day today on stop sabatoging grace l#lightingfireworksundertheirbutts
2 Jul
Society of Protecting and Enriching Righteous Manhood- Who wants to join? #S.P.E.R.M. Wait. I have to rethink this.
1 Jul
Now where did I leave that cup of coffee #forgettinginmyfifties
28 Jun
My spirit wanted to play another hour. My flesh gave up. #shootinghoops
27 Jun
Few ask and listen. Most tell and redirect. It is an art to know another.

Jon Ido Warden ‏@resistinggrace 24 Jun
sometimes I just don’t have the words to externalize the internal #inexpressible
Jon Ido Warden ‏@resistinggrace 21 Jun
know the feeling. gave his all. when crucial he fell short. all done it-in sports and in life. hoping he finds grace. pic.twitter.com/AICRmHnWHg
View photo
21 Jun
Ah, the memories of the past and the dreams of the future are always more glorious than their realities. So embrace the now. #livinginthenow
21 Jun
Greater flaws has the potential for greater faith. Littler flaws – potential for littler faith. No flaws – potential for no faith
14 Jun
#Forgiveness releases and reboots.
#Bitterness weighs down with baggage carried into every encounter.

10 Jun
The best type of significance is the one received not achieved. #valued #empowered #takenin
10 Jun
After a few grammatical and formatting fixes, Resisting Grace will be back on http://Amazon.com in 5 to 7 days.
9 Jun
Sometimes the work of grace within me is inexpressible and even overwhelming.
6 Jun
I don’t care about wrinkled underwear.
5 Jun
love to know your vision for your life.
5 Jun
Today my daughter starts the process of writing her 2nd book. Can’t tell too much. It’s a secret. Be out by fall. I’m writing my 2nd too.
4 Jun
“How We Love and How We Love Our Kids” by Yerkovich. Not casual reading but great guide to reflect on our stuff impacting our relationships.
1 Jun
kings and kingdoms shall all pass away #thename
30 May
only one permanent revolution-the regeneration of the inner man. all thinks of changing humanity, none of changing himself. leo tolstoy
29 May
Presence over pity #beingwithanother
28 May
what I once fought I now embrace http://wp.me/p2J5rU-5y
25 May
I wish to write not out of strategy but out of passion.
24 May
I watch my daughter continually forming who she is, what she can do and where she fits in. #joyoffatherhood
23 May
I am not the author of my life, merely the pages.
22 May
I am a broken pencil. I still have a point. I just lost my eraser.
21 May
What I got out of solitude. #iamaworkinprogress pic.twitter.com/PFGoB84oLk

21 May
Setting apart time to whittle with God #solitude

20 May
What moves you? I would love to know.
19 May
Wisdom is not smarts. It’s about character. #james3:17-18
16 May
Fearfully and wonderfully weird …just saying
14 May
Covering up shame with beauty is like spraying perfume over BO that has been around a long time.
14 May
my cultural shame #wartimesexslaves https://www.facebook.com/rgjiw
13 May
God’s primary task in our life: showing us how amazing His grace is. Then out of that amazement we cooperate with grace. Work it out.
8 May
I’m no magician but check out the video illustration on the grace exchange http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPZIILM0Glk
8 May
Was just reading renovation of the heart. Dallas Willard RIP
7 May
Grace needs inner space
5 May
“The book Resisting Grace is like spiritual therapy- a deep work to be done thoroughly not rapidly.” ~Donna Lin
3 May
This keeps “bubbling up” in my prayer and prep time. “Grace isn’t on the surface”
2 May
Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” – the great resistance to grace in today’s church and world at large. Awaken us Lord.
2 May
My Asian heritage gave me a unique perspective on reflection and prayer I am grateful for #AsianPacificHeritageMonth
1 May
He cannot ravish. He can only woo. CS Lewis
1 May
Good time bashing ideas about #ResistingGrace for teens with Vicki Tsui
30 Apr
Guilt is to mercy as shame is to grace.
30 Apr
The wisdom of God is found, not in “solving” the paradox, but entering its mystery. Brian Zahnd
29 Apr
The blessing of engaging deep with an old friend @d_corlew
27 Apr
whittling chess pieces before God – kinesthetic prayer – men go deep


When I am in touch with my burdens, passions and longings I often tremble. My hands shake a bit. My chest slightly tightens. Senses, in general, are elevated. Eyes are a bit moist. I am starting to use this self-awareness as a realization that I am getting in touch with a deep thing in my being. I try to write and speak out of that place and often times find it hard to put burdens, passions and longings into words. It is a difficult task for me and based on countless conversations, I observed that it is by nature, difficult for all us fallen beings.

Sometimes when it comes to revealing me, I find myself packaging my words in frames that are filled with theological, cultural or psychological jargons. Though these frames may be helpful, many times they are not truly authentic. That is, it is not fully me but acceptable images of me. It is a way to make it acceptable or even understandable to the other that I tell it to.

It takes many levels to have deep authentic expressions. It requires a language of emotions, longings and needs. Word we identify as what we are internally experiencing. But the words only are identifiable if we practice self-reflection. Self-awareness is required to have authentic expression. But too many of our actions seek not to get in touch with our emotions, passions, needs and longings. Rather our actions seek to avoid it because it moves us into a very anxious and uncomfortable place. Our solution is not to face that but avoid it. That is our compromised solutions. We won’t get past that until we own that.

The grace of God allows for our frustrations with our limited, fallen efforts in self-expression. He calls to “Pour out your hearts oh people.” (Psalm 62:8) That is a call to authentic expressions and self-awareness. Sometimes authentic expressions are moans, growls, giggles and sighs. Words can get in the way. Even this we struggle with because we want to be and have been taught to be in control. Yet he understands our struggle with this. His Spirit comes alongside our spirit and groans for us when we in our weakness cannot. (Romans 8:26)

When I have a moment when passion is translated through the internal muck that is my soul, when passion is translated into authentic expressions of words, my vision is renewed, it feels like something has been unlocked in me. It is my vision for life, mission and God.


the audio: 2.10.2013 Brokenness


The audio of the sermon at Redeemer Life Church 2/10/13
The video played at the end is found in the Resisting Grace youtube site entitled “Drawing Me”.

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