June 9, 2010
Greetings Canaan English ministry sisters and brothers,
I trust you are well. After three months as your interim pastor, I remain excited and hopeful! Nothing has changed my opinion about the talented and gifted people in our community. I look forward to meeting more of you this summer – please do not hesitate to email me if you’d like to meet over coffee or lunch.
But let me begin this update with a frank message: It is time to re-boot Canaan’s English ministry.
Over the past few years, our community was in serious trouble. The departure of good friends, the decline of our young adults ministry, the struggle to support young families, and the loss of trust were four wheels of a runaway bus rambling towards a dangerous precipice.
Today, because of your faith in Christ and determination, the bus has stopped. But we hang over the edge of the cliff and are at a critical tipping point. It is entirely possible that our English ministry will completely fail. It is also possible that it will turn around and move towards exciting new ventures in Christ. So it is now time to move our bus away from the edge of the cliff and back uphill to the road. This will require change.
How? The first step to change is to look to Jesus once again. Jesus is not only the “author and perfecter” of our faith and salvation (Heb. 2:10, 12:2), he is the “author of life” (Acts 3:15). That means that he is our roadmap for living in this world and not merely a bridge to being saved from it. He is our guide for creating a vibrant, creative, passionate Christian community that engages and transforms our fallen world. Indeed, he is the one we must turn to and learn from if we are to re-boot Canaan’s English ministry.
Looking to Jesus will save us from the graceless piety of Pharisaism. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees who focused on loving God to the exclusion of loving people, Jesus insisted that loving the neighbor was part of the Greatest Commandment. (Luke 10:25-37; see also Mark 12:28-34, Matt 22:34-40, and Rom. 13:8-10)
And as we learned this past Sunday, Jesus restores our “mojo” (i.e., our passion, power, and sense of purpose) when we are distracted from our calling as believers. In Luke 4:14-21, Jesus declares that he has been anointed to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. His mission and purpose is also ours.
Therefore, humanity’s purpose is more than existing, consuming, reproducing, fighting, and enjoying. For believers, our purpose is more than trying to get everyone to become Christians. The church, carrying forward Israel’s purpose, has a mandate to not only win souls, but also demonstrate God’s will for a just and peaceful human society (shalom). Furthermore, though not obvious in Luke 4, because humans are created in God’s image (imago dei), we have a mandate to take care of God’s creation. If you’d like to go deeper on these points, have a look at these articles:
“Thinking Christianly about Health Care” by Melissa Morgan Kelly
“The Chief End of Animals, Part 1” by Ron Lutjens
“The Chief End of Animals, Part 2” by Michael Williams
By following Jesus, we embrace his mission and purpose. And there is no greater purpose in this life than his!
This Sunday, we’ll look at Luke 7:36-8:3. Have a look, if you have time, and ask yourself “what is so special about these women in Jesus’ life? What does Jesus’ encounter with them teach us about our faith, our lives, and our church’s ministry?”
So join us every Sunday between now and Advent. Walk with us through the Gospel of Luke. Together we will re-acquaint ourselves with Jesus’ life and teachings. Together, we will refuel our faith walk and retool our service! Together, we’ll climb the lofty heights of mission and capture the extraordinary, joyful, and life-giving vision that God has in store for us.
May you be filled with the Peace of Christ this week!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨
Interim English Pastor
1. We rejoice and welcome Cindy Wu (baptism) and Mike Ling (transfer), who officially joined Canaan last Sunday! They shared their exciting testimonies during Fellowship hour. Please celebrate and encourage them in the days ahead!
2. Join us at Fellowship hour (11 AM, Main Lobby) this Sunday to bid farewell to Byron, Maria, and Ethan Wang, who are moving to So Cal this summer. We are grateful for their years of friendship and fruitful service.
3. Jonathan Weng is hosting a BBQ for college students Sunday evening. This is an opportunity to reconnect and welcome back those who have been away. Anyone interested in welcoming the college crowd back is welcome to come. For more details, please email Jonathan at this link.
4. Thank you for your support for the Short Term Mission (STM) lunch fundraiser last week. We raised more than $900 (our goal for STM was $1,000). This Sunday, we will hold a Silent Auction basket fundraiser for STM and Vacation Bible School and a VBS bake sale in the Fellowship Hall today. We hope to raise $1000 to sponsor 15-20 lower income kids from the Alviso community to attend VBS at greatly reduced cost. To view the silent auction items, go to: http://ecanaan.smugmug.com/Canaan-2010/Mission-Ministry/Silent-Auction-6-13-2010/12475883_khDi9#893958142_xw2w4 On Sunday, write a bid on the bid sheet for the item you want. The item goes to the highest bidder when the auction ends at 12:45 PM. We will immediately call the winner to pick up the item in Fellowship Hall at 12:50PM
5. Exciting news! We are delighted to report that 77 children have registered for Vacation Bible School (VBS)! This is a record number for Canaan. Most of the students are pre-schoolers. We do not have enough volunteer staff to accept any more children while maintaining a good student:staff ratio. The VBS staff registration deadline was May 31, but more volunteers are needed. Please join the VBS staff training meeting Sunday in Worship Hall 2, 1:00-3:00, if you are interested in helping.
6. Parenting Workshops at Vacation Bible School (Aug. 3-7, 9:30 – 11:30 AM). Pastors Tim, DJ, and Su will lead workshops. We are looking for 3-4 parents to help support the workshops by leading small groups and connecting with parents who don’t go to church. A volunteer training workshop will be held on Sunday, July 25 between 1-3 PM. Please contact Pastor Tim if you are interested!
7. The English Ministry Retreat dates are set for September 10-12, 2010. Please mark your calendars!