June 8, 2011
Dear Canaan EMers and friends,
This Sunday is Pentecost – please wear RED when you come to church! Red is the color of the Church and symbolizes “both the fire of Pentecost as well as the apostles and early followers of Jesus who were gathered in the Upper Room for the empowerment from God to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world.” [full article] [For more information about Christian seasonal colors, click here]
Pentecost is also an IPO moment, i.e., the “International Public Outpouring” of the Holy Spirit! We celebrate the Holy Spirit’s empowerment of the church to share the Good News of Jesus to all the world. The public outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Church is God’s way of keeping his promise to bless all the peoples on earth. I want to underscore the word “public.”
In Acts 3, after healing a man who was lame from birth, Peter spoke to those who witnessed the miracle. He reminded them of God’s covenant with Abraham: “Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.” (Acts 3:25, quoting Gen. 22:18; 26:4)
The gospel is not meant to be kept private. It is Good News for the public – for all the earth. Prayer for the first Christians was an act of preparation before engaging the public. In Acts 1:14, the disciples met in the upper room in Jerusalem to await the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. After Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and released by the religious authorities, the disciples prayed. Note that “after they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4: 31) Here, prayer opened a way for the Holy Spirit to give the disciples boldness to engage the public.
But it is difficult to be bold about our faith, isn’t it? Sometimes we are embarrassed to be identified as a Christian or a church goer. Sometimes we don’t know how to relate our faith to our public life (e.g., work, public policy, or politics). Let me share with you a helpful resource for going public with your faith:
There is a new on-line magazine called The High Calling [view] which was “created to help you find God in your work, family, and the broader culture.” According to Bradley Moore, one of its editors, “our society has somehow lost its natural ability to associate spirituality with our daily labor. Instead, we have been brainwashed by the church, our culture, or corporate correctness into thinking that we must compartmentalize our lives, leaving spirituality to Sundays or morning devotions or volunteering at the food bank.” [click for full article]
Here is an example of one of the resources that this on-line magazine provides – an audio message that addresses keeping faith in a hostile work environment [click here].
So check out The High Calling!
Our session vice-moderator, Elder David Weng, is an example of a believer who seeks to engage the public with his faith. As a member of San Jose State University’s Tower Society, he has the opportunity to shape that school’s vision for the common good. As a Christian, he can be a blessing to this public institution. Elder Weng demonstrates that we don’t have to limit our faith to private life and church!
In the future, I will share resources that help believers engage politics and public policy. But for now, please always remember that Pentecost is about the IPO of the Holy Spirit!
Tim Tseng, Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries
P.S. A report of the session’s decision to move forward with synchronized Sunday worship will be ready soon. I plan to post my interpretation of the issue this weekend.