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Tim Tseng update

Community is Priceless

Your weekend planner:
Thursday, August 12: Young Adults Fellowship (7:30 PM). All college and young adults are welcome to join! We will meet at Jonathan Weng’s place.
Friday,  August 13: Everglow Youth Fellowship (7:30 PM Youth Room 160). Senior send off.
Sunday, August 15: English Worship (9:30 AM, Second Floor) Pastor Tim speaks on “Jesus the Troublemaker” (Luke 12:49-56); Fellowship hour (11am – Noon) – Short Term Missions Sharing; Youth Sunday School (11-Noon, Youth Room 160); Installation of Pastor Chris Chen (12:10, Worship Hall 1); Agape Family Group (families with young children) open house (4:30 PM).
  • Apple I-Phone, $200
  • Apple I-Pad, $500
  • Private university annual tuition, $46,000
  • 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i, $46,000
  • 3-BR, 1400 SF house in Palo Alto, $1.4 million
  • Being part of a community with a mission, priceless

Aug. 11, 2010

Dear Canaan sisters and brothers,

One cannot set a price for being part of a community with a mission and purpose. Studies have shown that most people experience their greatest satisfaction by being part of a purpose-driven community such as a church. It gives meaning to frayed lives in a fragmented world today. Even the biological family rarely provides the common mission and purpose that a church community offers.

At Canaan’s English Ministry, we have been rebooting our work. But we also need to strengthen our sense of community and mission. Thanks to Shirley Tai and the Vacation Bible School team, we got a sense of community and mission last week! We can still learn so much more from the New Testament church. Acts 2:42-47 is rich with examples of healthy church practices:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47, NRSV

I’ll only focus on verse 46. Simply put, in order to be a community with a mission, its members must invest time (both quantitative and qualitative) together. Luke also tells us that the earliest Christians fellowshipped both in the temple AND at homes. So the first believers did not choose between large group worship and community groups – they participated in both. Finally, the first Christians ate together with glad and generous hearts. One gets the sense that they did not hesitate to share their lives with one another, not only because they trusted each other, but because they truly loved each other.

Could Canaan English ministry become such a community? We are very diverse. Our youth, young adults, and families don’t naturally relate to each another. Worshiping and fellowshipping on the second floor this summer is helping us develop a community and identity, but we need more.

This is why I strongly recommend that as many of us as possible attend the English Ministry Retreat on Sept. 10-12. I’m glad that most of the people I’ve spoken to are not initially thinking about what they will get out of the retreat. Indeed, the program and facilities will be very good. Child care will be provided. But I hope to impress upon us how important it is to invest time to be together. The time we give each other at the retreat will help us become a missional community, a transformative culture, and a family with a God-centered purpose. And such a community is what we need to find satisfaction and joy in our walk with Christ and in our lives as a whole.

To demonstrate how serious we are about building community at the retreat, Jeremy and I have  decided to NOT hold Youth meetings that weekend (we want the youth to join us). English worship also will NOT be held that Sunday. If you cannot come to the retreat, you are welcome to join the Mandarin and Taiwanese services for worship and Sunday School.

Being part of a community driven by Christ’s purpose and mission is a pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44-46). In other words, it’s priceless! I’m willing to do almost anything (e.g., not buy the i-Phone) to gain it – I hope you are, too!

Peace,
Tim Tseng
Interim English Pastor

P.S. Next Saturday’s sports day (10:00am – 3:00pm) at Sunnyvale Bayland Park is another opportunity to build up the extended Canaan family – and have fun doing it. There will be many sports activities (softball, volleyball, badminton, soccer, football and many fun games). Enrollment cost is $5 per person; free for high schoolers and younger. My family will be there – I hope you can come as well! Please let Jonathan Weng know if you can come! [email Jonathan]

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About Tim Tseng

I'm Pastor of English Ministry at Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church (San Jose, CA), independent scholar and theological educator.

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