October 13, 2011
Dearest Canaan EMers,
I’m sure you agree that learning and living out biblical principles and practices are important priorities for followers of Christ. The problem is, however, that by our own strength we cannot reach a high enough level of moral and spiritual perfection to satisfy God. By God’s grace, we have received forgiveness and salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – in other words, it is through the story of Jesus that we learn about God’s love and desire to heal us. Indeed, Jesus’ story is at the center of the larger story of God’s relationship with humanity, as revealed in Scripture. The whole Bible is a story!
Our Christian experience stops becoming a joyless burden and obligation when we stop thinking about our faith as primarily obeying principles and practices. Indeed, it becomes a gracious, generous, joyful, and empowering experience when we align our stories with the biblical story centered on Jesus’ story. In other words, when we are comforted and inspired by Jesus’ desire to walk with us in the midst of our everyday struggles and joys, we start to yearn to walk with Jesus towards the destination that he is leading us (and all creation).
So the big set of questions that I’d like to ask all of us is this: “How does your story connect with Jesus’ story? the biblical story? How does your story connect with Canaan’s story?”
I’ve asked our English Leadership Team to share how their stories connect with Canaan and what they love about our church. So I hope that they will share their stories with you soon. But I’d like you to share your answers to these questions, too. As our stories are compiled, these will become our data points for creating the Canaan English Ministry story by the new year. We can then identify our distinct and unique qualities. We can develop an identity and mission within Canaan that everyone can identity with. In fact, we may even want to change our name (I think Canaan English Ministry sounds too generic).
Ultimately, I hope we will be able to articulate what makes our faith community special to us and compelling enough for our friends and community to join us.
Can you tell us your story?
Tim Tseng, Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries
Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church
Sign up to help with worship service!
1. Saturday, Oct 15 is the last day to pre-register for the World Christian Fellowship Seminar on Spiritual Warfare to be held at Canaan on Sat, Oct. 22 (10 am – 4:30pm, w/45-minute lunch break)/ We will explore the scriptural definition of spiritual warfare, how the Church historically dealt with this topic, examine case studies from the mission fields, and attempt to draw conclusions as to how then we shall live. You don’t want to miss this! The cost is only $15 per Canaan member (a $10 discount), plus $5 for catered lunch. Pre-register before October 15th by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also pay at the door. The first ten registrants receive free lunch!
2. Worship Micro-retreat (Nov 5, 9:30-2:30 PM). The Worship Arts Team is organizing a Worship Micro-retreat on 11/5. This will be a time of fellowship, learning, evaluating, and planning. One of our possible themes will be about cultivating our creativity in worship. Sign up with Brian Chen ASAP [Email Brian].
3. Operation Christmas Child (Nov 14-21). We will be giving shoeboxes laden with gifts (toys, school supplies, toiletries, etc.) to needy children around world. Please consider buying a shoebox for $7 and packing it with gifts (or for $7 more, our Mission Committee will purchase the gifts on your behalf). The date(s) of our shoebox packing party will be announced shortly. Sign up with William Effendy [email William]
4. A look ahead to Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas:
- Nov. 11 (Sat): deadline to apply for baptism, confirmation, or membership transfer. Sign up with Pastor Tim [email Tim].
- Nov. 20th (Sun): After worship, there will be an annual congregational meeting for church members to approve the 2012 budget, vote for new elders and deacons, and conduct other business. Youth, visitors, and folks who are not yet members will have H2O opportunities.
- Nov. 27th: First Sunday of Advent – we will hold a special worship service that will include setting up and lighting the Christmas treet! Regular H2O follows.
- Dec. 4th (Sun): We will hold a Town Hall meeting during H2O – open to youth and adults.
- Dec. 9-10 (Fri-Sat): English and Youth Leadership Team overnight retreat (tentative).
- Dec. 11th (Sun): Joint worship service to welcome new members, followed by a new members reception and sharing time during H2O.
- Dec. 18th (Sun): Christmas outreach worship service. We plan on holding a mini-musical during an extended worship service followed by a reception during H2O. Volunteers are welcome to give musical and dramatic performance. Sign up with Pastor Tim [email Tim].
- Dec. 25th (Sun): After worship, we may have a Christmas Day gift opening party. Seeking a coordinator!