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Tim Tseng

I'm Pastor of English Ministry at Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church (San Jose, CA), independent scholar and theological educator.
Tim Tseng has written 192 posts for Canaan English Ministry

Quest for Vision

August 29, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

Vision Quest.001For the last month, I’ve been part of a VisionQuest small group of recent college graduates. We’ve been sharing and praying for each other and reading TwentySomeone by Craig Dunham and Doug Severn. We only meet once or twice a month, but I’ve been blessed during these meetings. It is good for me to hear the hopes and struggles of our younger young adults. We plan to meet about ten times. At the end, our hope is that VisionQuest participants will gain clearer insight about God’s vision for them and about their special gifts and calling. Please continue to pray for this VisionQuest group! I hope to start a couple more in the next month – as well as start a VisionFocus group for people who are older than 30 and want to seek where God is moving in their lives.

My family will be on vacation from Sept. 2-13. Pray for us as we rest, reconnect, and recreate!

Have a great weekend! See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries

ANNOUNCEMENTS

This weekend, the Luke Medical Missions Conference will be held at Canaan. It is a free conference where you can hear stories of medical missionaries who have given their gifts and talents to serve the least of these. All sessions will be presented or translated into English. It’s not too late to register on line at http://www.LCMMUSA.org.

One of the conference speakers, Dr. Scott Murray, will preach at English service this Sunday at 10 a.m. This will be followed by a “Conversation with Dr. Scott Murray.” Elder Torence Lu will play the role of Charlie Rose. We welcome everyone to come and learn more about what God has been doing through Dr. Murray! Here is some biographical information about Dr. Murray:

Scott Murray is a Scottish missionary surgeon to displaced migrants on the Thai-Burma border.

He was born a “missionary kid” to a family working with the “Shan” tribal people in North Thailand. From age 7 to 12, he attended Chefoo School in Malaysia, a missionary boarding “school in the jungle.” He then attended high school in England while his parents still worked in Thailand.

At age 16, Scott felt God’s calling to be a missionary doctor. He earned his MBChB (MD) from Dundee Medical School and was Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons, in Glasgow.

In 1991, Scott began medical missionary work in Manorom Christian Hospital in Central Thailand with Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF).

In 2010, he became the Hospital Director and surgeon at Kwai River Christian Hospital in Sangklaburi, Thailand, on the Thai-Burma border.

Next Sunday – September 7th:

We will welcome 6th graders to English worship and Everglow Fellowship! Chris Liu will preach on “The Next Generation” (Eph. 4:1-16).

Also, during lunch time in the Fellowship Hall, Pastor DJ and Grace Jang will share about their upcoming mission trip to China and Taiwan (Sept. 11-27). Come and hear what they will be doing. An offering will be collected to support the trip.

And the Sunday after that – September 14th

Because many of our families will be joining the EM camping trip in Half-Moon Bay, the focus for worship will be on youth and young adults. I’ll speak on “U-R” (1 Peter 2:4–12), which will also be relevant for families, too!

We will then resume our sermon series through the Acts of the Apostles.

The Chill of Autumn

August 20, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

Did you feel the first chill of autumn? Now that our – well – interesting retreat is over (at least the English adults and youth had great speakers), we can look forward to a season of harvest:

  • School is starting again for children, youth, and young adults – a year more mature and, hopefully, wiser! On Sept. 7, we will welcome six graders to our English worship service.
  • While many of our adults will be camping on Sept. 12-14, we will have a youth oriented worship service on the 14th.
  • We’ll continue our sermon series on the Acts, where topics such as “faith and work,” “simplifying our lives,” and “discerning God’s will” will be addressed.

It will be an exciting season!

Now some ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. THIS SUNDAY: Deacon Stanley Chow [email] seeks some “muscle power to move the piano and electronic drum set from 2nd floor to Worship Hall 3 after service.”

2. END OF SUMMER COLLEGE FELLOWSHIP: Stephen Chen and Terrance Chang will lead a college group/fellowship for the remaining summer month before quarter system schools start in early October. They will meet on Wednesday nights from 8-9:30pm at Canaan or until they find a homier place to meet. They’ll be reading Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will.

Scott Murray.0013.  LUKE MEDICAL MISSIONS CONFERENCE: Heard about the Ebola virus? Why do medical missionaries risk their lives? Find out on Aug 29-31 at the annual Medical Missions conference at Canaan. It’s free of charge. You are also welcome to just show up in certain sessions. Registration forms will be available for you to drop off in a collecting box located in the Worship Hall 1 lobby, or you can go to http://www.LCMMUSA.org to register on line.

4. GUEST SPEAKER on August 31. Dr. Scott Murray will preach on “Go Do it! To the least!” (Mt 28:16-20). During the community hour, he will stay and be interviewed, Crystal says, “Dr. Murray, a medical missionary and also a fellow OMFer … was one of the early workers in Manorom Christian Hospital in Central Thailand (which closed just a few years ago.) He’s a legend.”

5. Share about yourself in CANAAN PEOPLE – go to this link and get featured – bit.ly/iamcanaanpeople

See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries 

2014 Retreat Information (English Adult & Youth Sections)

Download the following two documents. They provide the information you need for this weekend’s retreat (English Adult and Youth sections):

1. General guidelines (what to bring, how to get there, how to register) | [Download 2014 Retreat Guidelines]

2. English Adult and Youth Schedule, maps, contact information | [Download v4]

EMW_retreat bulletin_14_08_17.002EMW_retreat bulletin_14_08_17.001

Here come the kids!

Canaan VBSDear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is just around the corner!

Thanks to the hard work of Nicole Lu, Shirley Tai, and many volunteers, VBS has been our most publicly recognized and effective ministry to families. Please keep everyone involved in your prayers next week.

Canaan VBSDuring the last two VBS’s, Betty and I have set up a “welcome table” in the lobby area. We’ve served coffee and refreshments, made seats available for people to chat, and provided opportunities to share about Canaan to guests.

Next week, I’d like more of us to support the “welcome table.”

There are two ways that you can help:

1. Go to Costco and buy seedless red grapes, clementines (or satsumas), croissants, cupcakes (or other healthy snacks that can be easily served) from Costco. Bring them to church Wednesday, Thursday, and, Friday mornings so that we can store them for the following day. You can donate or get reimbursed.

If you can help, please let me know right away so I can coordinate the amount to purchase.

2. Staff the “welcome table.” We have two main shifts – 8:45-10 AM and 12:00-1:15 PM. If you take the morning shift, we’ll need you to set up the refreshments and drinks. If you take the afternoon shift, we’ll need you to clean up. “Welcome table” staff also need to take the initiative to greet guests, prepare to answer questions, and share about Canaan.

We especially need help on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. On Friday, I will not be able staff the “welcome table” at all since I will be driving Betty to the airport.

Please let me know if you are able to help with staffing. Thanks!

Also, this Sunday, we will continue our “Acts of Confluence” sermon series with the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8).

I’d like to experiment with renaming our “second hour” the “community hour.” This way, I hope that all of us begin to use the 11:30 am – 12:30 pm as an opportunity to build up koinonia (fellowship) with one another and with guests. Let’s take advantage of this time to minister to each other through Sunday School classes and intentional efforts to get acquainted with guests.

See you at worship on Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries
[email me]

* * *

Other updates

1. “Canaan Basics” on August 2 has been cancelled. The next opportunity for new members to join Canaan will be Dec 14.

2. 2014 Church Retreat (Aug 15-17) at U.C. Santa Cruz. About eight English and Youth from Immanuel Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Fremont will join us. Let’s welcome Pastor Lionel Chew, their new English ministry pastor!

3. I will be leading a workshop on “The Next Asian American Christianity” for the Asian American Baptist Alliance Convocation on August 6-7 in Glendale, California. Please pray for my preparation and presentation.

4. Thank you folks for sharing about yourself in the Canaan People column of the weekly bulletin. We are eager to have everyone participate (I’d like updated blurbs from those who shared last year). Simply go to this link, follow instructions, and get featured – bit.ly/iamcanaanpeople

Looking Ahead:
– Aug 5: Young Adult Large Group Fellowship at church (7:45 PM, Worship Hall 2)
– Aug 10: All church welcome service (10 AM, Worship Hall 1).
– Aug 15-17: Church Retreat (U.C. Santa Cruz)
– Aug 29-31: Luke Christian Medical Mission Conference.
– Sept. 12-14: EM Camping Trip (Half Moon Bay) [All full]
– Nov 1: Canaan “Yes”

Worship songs for this Sunday (July 13, 2014)

Hi everyone!

Pastor Chris Liu and the Praise Band will be leading English worship this Sunday. To help us become more familiar with the songs, he has provided the YouTube links for us. Please have a listen, learn the songs, and sing brightly this Sunday!! We’ll try to post the songs as regularly as possible. Let’s become known as a worshiping people! – Pastor Tim

- Sing Sing Sing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdX79fEsmtk 

- Stir in Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgrP895lKAY 

- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw 

- Send Revival, Start With Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZlDcKb5XJc 

- I Love To Tell The Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xgbsC_zL50

I’m not going to Disneyworld :-(

June 11, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

I’ll be heading out to Orlando, Florida to teach a two-week History of Christianity class for new staff for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) at their Institute for Biblical Studies (http://ibs.cru.org/). I’m very excited to have this opportunity to share one of my passions with the more than 35 students who have registered for the class. Please pray for me, the students, and for Betty – who will be holding down the home front while I’m gone.

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries

* * *
I have just a few announcements to share this week:

Steve Hong1. Welcome Pastor Steve Hong, our guest speaker for this Sunday’s English worship service and Second Hour workshop. A former engineer & missionary, Steve started the non-profit “Kingdom Rice” [kingdomrice.wordpress.com] as a vehicle for two initiatives.
1) to be a missionary in San Francisco, evangelizing the unchurched and
2) to equip Christian leaders in evangelism and discipleship in an Asian context.
Steve has trained leaders from dozens of organizations, churches, and seminaries here and abroad. His latest project is designing print, video, and strategy to equip new missionaries of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) reaching students in Asian and Latino contexts. He’s been married to Cathy for 12 years and has a son, Jason 8 years, and can often be found playing uke in local cafes as part of his lifestyle evangelism.

2. From Christina Chen:
Dear EM brothers and sisters: Father’s Day is almost here! We will make a slideshow dedicated to all the fathers. Please send your photos to Tobi by June 13. If kids want to make a short video (under 15 seconds!) with a message for their dad, you’re welcome to! – Christina

3. VBS is looking for 20 more volunteers. Sign up your kids or volunteer for our 2014 Vacation Bible School! July 29 to August 2 (Tuesday to Saturday; 9:30am to 12:30pm) for ages 3.5 to 6th grade. Online Registration is open at vbs.ecanaan.org!

4. I will be starting a discipleship/leadership small group shortly. This initiative will be for adults who feel led to invest in, build up, and use their gifts for Canaan’s English Ministry.

5. Church Retreat (Aug 15-17) at U.C. Santa Cruz
Canaan Annoucements 140608.001
Come to our church’s summer retreat in refreshingly cool and allergy-free Santa Cruz! At this family-friendly retreat, we’ll dream of ways to go public with our faith! It will also be a great opportunity to build friendships and spiritual community with one another.

• Pastor Youwan Kang of the Mountain View Chinese Christian Church will be our English adult program speaker. The retreat theme will be “IPO (Incarnational Public Offering)
• Pastor Joe Lin at EFC Alhambra will speak to our youth. The youth retreat theme will “Going Public.”

Please pick up a registration form in the back of our worship halls or register on-line at:
http://www.ecanaan.org/ministries/all-canaan-retreat

Registration information:
-> Ages 12+: Regular $160 (prepaid between 5/25-6/22); Non-Canaan $200
-> Ages 3-11:Regular $90 (prepaid between 5/25-6/22); Non-Canaan $150
-> Ages 2 and under: Free
• For financial assistance, contact Elder Peter Hsu.

6. Marketplace Silicon Valley: working college students seeking to connect faith to work
Marketplace Silicon

Canaan Annoucements 140608.003Here is an excellent opportunity for our college students who will be working or doing internships in the South Bay this summer. We are also seeking one or two persons to serve as mentors. Let me know if you’re interested!

From Josh Harper

May 14, 2014

Dear Tim,

Here is a rundown of the details for the Marketplace Silicon Valley Program. Feel free to send to any or all of your college youth returning home for the summer. Feel free to disperse to other pastors in the area as well. The Tuesday night program meetings will be open to the public and we will gladly welcome visitors.

Program Overview

Marketplace Silicon Valley is InterVarsity’s summer vocational discipleship immersion. We hope to provide challenging and thought provoking teaching on a theology of work, evangelism in the workplace, justice and money, sustaining spiritual disciplines, and community. This program is designed for college students who have a summer internship or job and want to learn how to integrate their spiritual life with their work.

Schedule

The program will begin on Friday June 20th with a vision dinner, where we will lay out the vision and plan for the summer and create space for the participants to get to know each other. The following day, Saturday, June 21st will be an orientation for the program. This will last most of the day.

Each week will include one or two lunch hour meetings with a mentor from your place of work, or near your place of work. We will also have a weekly program night, which at this point is tentatively Tuesday nights, from 6:30-9:30. During this time we will learn about the integration of work and faith, sustaining spiritual disciplines, and witness in the workplace. We will hear testimony of people from all different work environments, short talks on certain topics and longer time devoted to the theology of work. Place is TBD.

Three or four times over the summer we will gather for a longer workshop. The first is the orientation weekend of June 20-21. The second is a Justice and Money workship that will be July 12-13 in San Francisco. The third will be the debrief/integration workshop on July 26-27. The program will end on Friday August 1st, but participants may continue to meet with their mentor throughout the duration of their work assignment.

There will be an optional Friday/Saturday workshop in the East Bay on June 27-28 on passion and service and this will include going through the Strengthsfinder material with an accredited trainer and walking away from the weekend with a deeper understanding of your gifts and strengths and how you might want to use them for the common good. This will be optional, but you are highly encouraged to attend.

Cost

The cost is a sliding scale from $50-$250. These program fees will cover some of the cost of administrating this program, speaker honoraria, food, retreats, and other expenses. If you have a non-paying internship, you may pay $50, if you are making a modest amount, you may pay something in the middle, if you have a well paying summer job, we ask that you pay the full amount. This is well worth the money. Scholarships are available if even the $50 is out of your price range.

How to Register

To register, please send the director an email/letter of intent with the following information. Name, School, Year in School, Place of work for the summer, Living arrangements for the summer (i.e. address of where you expect to live) I will have a more formal registration page later. josh.harper@intervarsity.org

Other Details

Please invite your friends to join too. It is open to any student who is working this summer and is willing to be at all or most of our programming.

Also, please know that this is a pilot project (read version 1.0). It will not be perfect, but it will be good. Your grace for our process of figuring this out is appreciated. We also invite you to give honest feedback to help grow this project into a viable ministry in cities across the country. In Silicon Valley terms, you have the option to get in on this ministry before the IPO, which will amount to nothing in earthly money, but is a big deal in the kingdom ;).

Grace and Peace,

Josh Harper [email Josh]
National Director of Urban Projects
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
(510) 495-5115

7. Looking ahead (save these dates and pray requests)

  • The Summer Sermon Series (June 1-August 31) will be “Acts – Turning the World Upside Down.” We will explore how the first Christians impacted their world and because a force of confluence for us to emulate.
  • June 22 (12:30 pm) is our annual fundraiser for Summer Missions.
  • July 3-19: Taiwan Short Term Summer Missions. Contact Chris Liu [Email Chris]
  • July 29-Aug 2: Vacation Bible School.
  • Aug 15-17: 2014 Church Retreat at U.C. Santa Cruz.
  • Sept. 12-14: EM Camping Trip (Half Moon Bay). Contact Mike Ling [Email Mike]

Fun is Fundamental

June 5, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

Betty and I were reflecting on our early experiences with church recently. When I was in elementary, junior high, and high school, I loved going to my church in Brooklyn, NY. Even though my dad was the pastor and we were required to go to church every Sunday, I never felt pressured to go. I was eager to go. It wasn’t because the children and youth ministry were very large or entertaining. It was definitely not because of the sermons. In fact, before our laughteryouth group grew large enough to have an English worship service, we had to wear head phones and listen to poorly translated Chinese sermons.

I loved going to church because it was a joyful and fun experience. Sunday school classes were filled with games and fun interactive activities. We had bible lessons and talks, but I don’t remember any of these. Plus, they only took about 10-15 minutes before we had another round of fun things to do. I didn’t really understand my faith until later, but I felt the joy of the Lord first.

Junior high and high school were even better experiences. Our days were filled with many activities – camping trips, outings, floor hockey in the basement, baseball and softball games. No one started off as friends, but as we shared experiences together, we grew close to each other. Again, lessons about knowledge about the bible and Christian teaching were not always remembered. But as more and more of our youth turned their lives over to Christ, their desire for Scripture and Christian teaching grew.

From our little children and youth ministry, God raised up more than 20 persons who committed themselves to full time ministry.

I’m not saying that a more formal Christian education program is unimportant. But it seems to me that all our children, youth, and even adults (!) should experience church as something that is enjoyable.

Fun is fundamental! Sarah and Abraham had a funny episode in Genesis 18:11-15. When informed by angel guests that Sarah would have a child, she laughed to herself – so she thought. After all, how could an old couple like her and Abraham have a baby? Even God seemed to be in on the joke when he asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?”

Corsets Victorian EnglandLet’s encourage laughter! Yes, we should take our faith seriously. But without joy and fun, our Christian experience would feel very constricting – much like 19th century Victorian high society ladies who had to wear corsets in order to look proper. The irony is this: no one will take our faith seriously if we wear it like a corset. Corseted Christianity does not lead to deeper faith. But when people see laughter and fun on our faces, they will understand why being a disciple of Christ is so fulfilling!

Be a blessing!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D. Pastor of English Ministries

Congratulations graduates!

0122-high-school-graduation_full_600May 28, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

I want to speak to our youth and young adults this week. Let me begin with a true story:

“Pastor, if I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I raise it?”

Thirteen year-old Steve attended church every week with his parents, and he stayed after church to get an answer from his pastor.

The pastor replied, “Yes, God knows everything.”

Steve, who was especially troubled by children who were starving in Africa, then pulled out a Life magazine cover depicting hungry African children to ask the logical follow-up, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?” The pastor gave a similar response: “Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”

Would you be inspired by that answer?

Steve wasn’t. In fact, he walked out that day and never returned to a Christian church again. Maybe you’ve heard of Steve. His last name is Jobs.

The young Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., was a churchgoing junior high student who had doubts about faith.

I don’t want to be a pastor who failed the youth and young adults in his church. No parent wants their children to leave their faith and their church like Steve Jobs did. Wrestling with doubts can actually strengthen one’s faith. But pastors, elders, counselors, and parents alone cannot prevent young people from abandoning their faith and church.

Our youth and young adults are themselves the most important factors for sustaining the faith of their peers. So as I congratulate all of you who will graduate or be promoted, I would like to remind you of this important truth:

Your greatest achievement is helping your class (and peers) become faithful followers of Jesus.

You may do well in everything else in life. You may win the praise of parents, family, and community for all your accomplishments. But I believe that your greatest satisfaction will come from knowing that you’ve done all you can to encourage your peers to be disciples. You see, as disciples, you and your peers will make the most positive impact on the world. The most meaningful and rich life is one that is given to God’s purpose. How can that not bring satisfaction?

Some of you who are graduating will look back and confess that you’ve not done much to build up Canaan’s youth ministry or your campus ministry. Don’t feel guilty. Graduation is a good time to commit to your peers’ faith in the future.

For those of you who have been active and consistent participants in church or campus ministries, I thank you. I believe that the skills you’ve gained as leaders and committed volunteers will help you even more than your academic knowledge. But most importantly, by desiring to help others to gain and grow faith, you are on your way to an adventurous life journey of faith!

Finally, to everyone else who is young, follow the examples of our young people who are setting the right example of consistency, commitment, and care. May Paul’s words to his protégée, Timothy, encourage you:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

We will celebrate God’s goodness to you by honoring our graduating students this Sunday. I hope to see all our young people there!

Be a blessing!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries


Bodies in motion

body-of-christMay 21, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

Christians have always affirmed that Jesus’ physical body rose from the dead. Many other religions do not think that the body is important or necessary, but Christianity does. Why? Because Christianity believes that our bodies matter. God created our physical world and our bodies to be good. But sin deformed how we use our bodies and the physical world. So our bodies are not evil nor are they to be dispensed with when God’s kingdom comes. Thus, salvation is not essentially about escaping the body. Rather, it is about redeeming our bodies for God’s purposes.

Christ’s physical death and resurrection interrupted our human tendency to misuse our bodies (i.e., use if for purposes other than God’s will). Jesus showed us a new way to live in our bodies! That’s precisely what Paul means in Romans 6:5-14 (note especially verses 12-14):

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Jesus’ bodily resurrection means that our bodies are to be re-purposed for his kingdom. Our faith is not just about what we think and believe. It’s not just about experiencing God (whether through visions or feelings). Salvation is about how we use our bodies.

In I Corinthian 6, Paul reinforces this point of view. When some (presumably) new Christians at Corinth asked Paul about why it was wrong to use prostitutes, they argued that:

12 “I have the right to do anything” … 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”

In other words, they believed that God would destroy the body when the kingdom comes. Christians are free to do anything they want with their physical bodies because salvation was ultimately about being released from these bodies.

But Paul makes it clear that the right to do anything is not always beneficial. Indeed, such freedom is illusory if one is mastered by something other than God. Instead, he emphasizes that the way people use their bodies is what distinguishes them as Christians (notice how he connects this with the physical resurrection of Christ):

13 The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Christians are members of Christ’s body! Thus our bodies are united with him and his purpose. Paul concludes with a call to holiness:

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Indeed, our bodies are so much a part of our salvation that Paul concludes his greatest letter with these famous words:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. — Romans 12:1 (NIV)

What does this mean for us? How do we apply this principle to our lives?

Let’s be clear:

Being physically present and giving our time is what it means to offer our bodies to God. We cannot hire contract workers or house cleaners to live our faith for us. Christianity is a full-bodied, full-immersion adventure.

Therefore, I suggest that we ask ourselves the following questions:

1. How many hours per week do I give to offering spiritual support for a brother or sister in Christ while being physically present? (Skype, Google hangout, and even email/text conversations count, but not as much as being physically present.)

2. How many hours per month do I spend physically with the body of Christ (includes small groups, fellowships, and especially Sunday worship)?

3. How many hours per week do I spend on enlarging God’s kingdom? (e.g., studying Scripture so that I can be equipped to help others know Christ better; volunteering for ministry, mission, or Christ-centered service; meeting with and talking to un-churched relatives and friends about Jesus and Canaan; teaching and showing my children what it means to follow Jesus; creating a workplace environment that treats employees the way that Jesus would want them treated).

As we reflect on these questions, let us pray that we will more enthusiastically seek to bear the fruit of salvation by offering our bodies for his purpose!

See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries

Assurance of Salvation

blessedassuranceMay 8, 2014

Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,

In my last two updates, I asked “are you worried about missing out on salvation?” Last week, I suggested that if we are worried, we ought to ask ourselves if we are bearing the fruit of salvation. Leaving a lasting impression by building up one another and the church (i.e., becoming the “kin–dom” of God) is one of the strongest indicators that salvation is real in our lives. In last Sunday’s message, I mentioned another indicator, namely, praying for God’s Kingdom to come and yielding to him so that his will can be done on earth (and in our lives) as in heaven. Our good works and commitment to God’s people are the fruit of salvation, not its source.

Some may say, “that’s too demanding! Besides, what’s the big deal about salvation anyway?” I’ll try to address this in this Sunday’s sermon. But for now, let’s assume that true Purpose, Meaning, and Abundance cannot be experienced without salvation in Christ.

For the rest of us who care about salvation, please think about the following set of questions.

1. Do I recognize my need for God’s salvation? Am I anxious about missing out on salvation? Have I called upon the Lord Jesus to rescue me from sin?

2. Have I made a commitment to follow Jesus? Consider these vows that new believers make before they are baptized at Canaan:
– Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?
– Do you promise to commit yourself faithfully to be Christ’s disciple, obeying God’s words and living in His love?

3. Have I sought personal assurance of my salvation? The following excerpts from Chapter 18 of the Westminster Confession (1647) may be useful:
– [Those who] truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
– This certainty [of salvation] is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God: which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.
– It is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance.

4. How serious am I about my membership covenant with my local church? Consider Canaan’s membership vows:
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Canaan church family, will you commit yourself to God and to the other members by agreeing to the following promises:
– Will you protect the unity of the church by loving other members, refusing to gossip, and following its leaders?
– Will you share the responsibility of the church by praying for its growth, inviting people to attend, and welcoming visitors?
– Will you engage the ministry of the church by using your gifts and talents, by being equipped to serve, and by developing a servant’s heart?
– Will you support the mission the church by attending faithfully, living a godly life, and giving regularly?

It is my sincere prayer that the fruit of salvation will be increasingly evident at Canaan’s English Ministry. Assured of God’s great salvation, we can then fearlessly join the resurrected Lord Jesus – the first fruit of God’s new Creation – in his march towards establishing God’s Kingdom on earth!

See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries


 

Announcements

English Service 10 AM

Chris Liu "The Next Generation" (Eph 4:11-16)

Worship Location (Hall 3)

Enter through door 1 or 8

Upcoming Events

  • Everglow Fellowship Night: Welcome Night! September 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm Room 160
  • English Worship: Chris Liu "The Next Generation" (Ephesians 4:11-16 ) September 7, 2014 at 10:00 am – 11:30 am
  • English Adult Second Hour: (1) Acts Study; (2) Moms' Fellowship September 7, 2014 at 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • English Youth Sunday School: Ordinary People with Extraordinary Qua lities (Part 2) Esther September 7, 2014 at 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Room 160
  • EM Camping Trip September 12, 2014 – September 15, 2014 Half Moon Bay, CA, USA Contact Mike Ling about being placed on the waiting list or if you'd like to visit for a day trip.
  • Everglow Fellowship Night: September 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm Room 160
  • English Worship: Tim Tseng “U–R” (1 Peter 2:4–12) September 14, 2014 at 10:00 am – 11:30 am
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