• Thursday (TONIGHT), Dec 9 (7:30 PM): Young Adults Fellowship
• Friday, Dec 10 (7:30 PM): Everglow Youth Fellowship
• Saturday, Dec 11 (10:30 AM): English Ministry Ladies Fellowship (Second Floor)
• Sunday, Dec 12: — Youth Sunday School (9:30 AM, Fellowship Hall) Study of Galatians
— Sunday REFRESH! (9:45, Conference Room): Grace Hsiao, guest leader.
— English Worship (11:00 AM, Second Floor). Tim Tseng will speak on “The Road Home” (Isa 35:1-10).
— Prayer Fellowship (1:30 PM, Main Lobby).
— Agape Family Group meeting (4-7 PM, Fellowship Hall).
Dec. 9, 2010
Dear Canaan EM sisters and brothers,
I’d like to let you know that I have accepted your invitation to serve as the pastor of Canaan’s English ministry. According to Canaan’s protocol, the initial agreement is a two-year term of service. I believe that we have all discerned God’s will as carefully as possible, so I am grateful for the privilege of serving the Kingdom through Canaan.
Though I am confident that this is God’s will, I confess that I approach this call with some fear and trepidation. For example, I have not been a pastor since 1993. I’ve worked as a seminary professor, researcher, program administrator, non-profit organization executive, and church layleader over the last seventeen years. Though I’ve devoted much energy to networking, mentoring, and providing vocational counseling, my pastoral care skills are a bit rusty. So please help me see the areas where pastoral care and attention is needed. I welcome your suggestions and insights about the Canaan community because of my personal weaknesses and blind spots.
In the next two years, I want to be part of a faith community that aspires to become healthier and missional. I’d like each of us to have high expectations and high trust in God to do something wonderful among and through us. At the end of my time of service with you, I hope that I can put on my resume that I was part of a church that really showed the Asian American community and the world who Jesus is and what his Kingdom looks like. This would be wonderful item to place in my personal Kingdom portfolio…. watch for a change of focus now…
What’s a personal Kingdom portfolio? It is similar to a work portfolio – a concrete collection of your best art work or accomplishments. Every high school or college student and working person is taught to maintain a personal work portfolio. This portfolio helps you apply to college or work. But over time, it is a record of your life achievements. It also helps you learn how to build upon your past accomplishments and avoid mistakes.
Unfortunately, many people think that there is nothing more important than their work portfolios. There are other life portfolios that we ought to give more attention and, indeed, may make our lives more joyful and meaningful. For example, what does your rest and recreation portfolio look like? Do you have any hobbies? Are you are life-long learner? For others, the responsible family portfolio is often neglected or devalued. Ask yourself, how much time do you give to other members of your family? How much attention to you give to your spouse’s needs, to your children, or to yourself?
Christians have the promise that God is part of all our life portfolios. His presence in all of them helps us realize our full potential as his children. After all, without God’s participation in our life portfolios, we’d be tempted to think that these achievements belong to us alone. But with God’s involvement, our achievements have purpose and meaning.
Which brings me back to the one other portfolio that is badly neglected – our personal Kingdom portfolio. Every believer – not just pastors and ministry leaders – is given an empty personal Kingdom portfolio once he or she accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. It is every believer’s responsibility to add and maintain concrete examples of Kingdom work.
So how do I build up my personal Kingdom portfolio? Here are a few suggestions:
1. High school students can develop leadership, social, and communication skills through Youth ministry. Don’t treat Youth fellowship only as a place where someone else feeds you, but as a place where you can develop your talents. This will help your college admission applications!
2. College students can do the same on campus or in a church. They can teach children or youth Sunday school classes, help out with short term mission projects, and lead young adults fellowships.
3. Working (or unemployed) Young adults especially need to work on their Kingdom portfolio. During this time of transition when many young adults are not sure about when, where, and with who they will “settle down,” it is tempting to neglect their personal Kingdom portfolio. I suggest that Young adults think about the following questions: “If I leave this church, will I have left the Young adult ministry (or other ministries) stronger or weaker than when I first got involved? Ten years from now, how many areas of Kingdom impact can I say that I was part of?”
4. If you are a working spouse and have children, it is also tempting to ignore your Kingdom portfolio. Especially if you are fortunate enough to have a spouse who is able and willing to be a homemaker. But don’t neglect your Kingdom portfolio! For some it actually may be easier to do Kingdom work at the office than at church (e.g., leading a prayer meeting or bible study during lunch hour, helping your company become more involved with social needs, etc.). Whether you commit more time to volunteering at church or at work, do not allow your personal Kingdom portfolio to become too thin.
5. For parents, I would say that creating an environment at home where your children are given every opportunity to reach their potential in Christ is a Kingdom portfolio. This mean modeling for them that your life’s purpose is about creating God’s vision first and then consuming God’s material blessings with gratitude. It may require exposing your children to the pain, suffering, and poverty of many other children in the United States and the world so they can see and learn God’s heart.
Imagine yourself on your deathbed. It is my hope that by then your personal Kingdom portfolio will be really thick! I pray that you’ll be able to echo Paul’s words:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
P.S. Feel free to talk to me anytime. I want to be your personal Kingdom portfolio manager :-)