April 11, 2012
Dear Canaan EM’ers and friends,
He is risen! Let us rejoice!
Consider this excerpt from last Saturday’s interview between NPR host Scott Simon and Father James Martin, author of Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life:
SIMON: You say that joy isn’t to be confused with happiness. So, if I may, what’s the diff?
MARTIN: It’s a little different. In the popular imagination, joy is a kind of intensified happiness, a state of bliss. But in the religious imagination, joy is about a relationship. Joy has an object and that object is God. And so joy is really a little deeper than happiness. And that’s why, you know, in difficult times people who are religious and who are believers can still be joyful, as odd as that may seem.
SIMON: Well, why is that? Help us understand.
MARTIN: Well, because you’re focused on the relationship. You have a confidence and a faith in God. You know that suffering is not the last word if you’re a Christian. We celebrate Easter tomorrow. We know about the resurrection. We know that, you know, there’s always more with God.
[The full interview can be accessed at http://www.npr.org/2012/04/07/150182152/the-heart-of-spiritual-life-joy-not-happiness]
This Easter season, Chris Liu and I will give a six sermon series entitled “BE RESTORERS!” We want to share God’s vision of “Restoration” based on Gabe Lyon’s new book The Next Christian (see www.nextchristians.com). Lyons is one of the founders of Q ideas, a network of Christian thinkers who want to engage our culture and society in new and fresh ways. I invite you to browse their website (www.qideas.org) and enjoy the rich variety of “Restoration” ideas that are being generated. In fact, Q Ideas is holding a conference right now in Washington D.C. You can view it at the website.
The “Restoration” approach to Christian discipleship is not a new idea. It is what drew me to devote my life to ministry. And it is so much more biblical than the Christian teaching that I grew up with. So come – and bring your friends! You are all invited to a potentially life transforming conversation!
The titles of our messages will be:
4/15: The End of Christian America
4/22: Restoration Thinking
4/29: Provoked to Engage
5/6: Called to Create
5/20: Grounded and in Community
5/27: Counter Culture for Good
During the Second Hour, we will offer two classes that will continue to reflect on the theme:
 “Being a Contagious Christian” (led by Chris Liu, William Effendy, and Nelson Lu) for youth, short-term missions participants, and anyone interested in evangelism. [Worship Hall 3]
 “Engaging the Market and Other Places” (led by Tim Tseng). We will delve deeper into the sermons and apply them into our everyday lives. You don’t have to read The Next Christian to participate (though it would be helpful). [Room 203]
(The Couples, 2030, and Monthly Prayer Fellowships will continue to meet, so feel free to join these second hour groups)
As we walk like disciples this Easter Season, may we be captivated by the risen Lord’s desire for us to restore joy!
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng , Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries
P.S. This Saturday, sign up for the Great Commission Discipleship Leadership Seminar with Dr. Greg Ogden at The Home of Christ Church in Cupertino (sponsored by Ambassadors for Christ) Information and on-line registration at afcinc.org/Default.aspx?tabid=2523&language=en-US