June 13, 2012
Hello Canaan English and youth ministry retreat participants (and those who wish they could come)!
I am looking forward to a great time with most of you this weekend. In the past, our retreats have been times of renewal and encouragement. This weekend will be just as refreshing!
We will spend time with Larissa and Only Won to learn how to find our voice and inspiration, i.e., our muse, for the sake of God’s world. Most Christians are taught that our spiritual duties are to build up the church, serve the needy, and share the gospel. Indeed, these are our basic responsibilities. But our entire life belong to God! We cannot separate our spiritual obligations from our secular work because Jesus is Lord of all of creation. He also wants our whole self to be salt and light – our minds, education, work, parenting, love lives, friendships, families, social concerns, politics – all of these! Discipleship is to be lived in the world. It cannot be limited to serving a congregation’s or our personal needs.
But it is hard to remember this, harder still to yield our entire life to Christ’s Lordship – and hardest yet when our calling feels like a list of duties. Is there a way to make a spiritual impact on all life with enthusiasm? Can our faith energize us rather than wear us out? Can we joyfully bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ everywhere we go (not just in the church)? Can we inspire the world with all of the gifts and talents that God has given us?
As believers in the entertainment industry, Larissa Lam and Only Won wrestle with these questions all the time. This weekend, they will share what they have learned about being an inspiration. They’ve used their gifts to be a force for God’s goodness. They’ve marked a path that few Asian American Christians have attempted. And they do all this with joy and grace! They have found their muse – and hope to help us find ours. And this, more than anything else, is what I want for the members of our church to find!
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Here is an overview of the weekend:
LIFE-STAGE GROUPS AND SESSION TOPICS
During our time together, we will build friendships within three life-stage groups: youth, single adults, and married couples. Pastor Chris Liu will lead the youth group; Justin Lin will facilitate the single adults; Betty and I will facilitate the married couples.
Please come with a heart ready to build up your group. Prepare to make new comers and visitors feel welcomed and loved.
After each session, each life-stage group will meet separately for fellowship and reflection.
Friday evening: “Instruments of Grace”
Larissa Lam and Only Won will be introduced during the opening session. They will share an overview of their messages and get to know us better. We will also have ice-breakers and fun introductions!
After the session, our groups will meet in the dorms at 9:30 p.m. We’ll re-introduce ourselves to each other and create fellowship. We’ll talk about what it looks like when believers are instruments of God’s grace. And we may plan to have meals together during the retreat. Please bring snacks and refreshments to share!
We will meet in these dorms:
- Youth (Colombard 3205) led by Pastor Chris Liu
- Single Adults (Colombard 3206) led by Justin Lin
- Married Couples (Burgandy 2111) led by Tim and Betty Tseng
After our sessions on Saturday and Sunday, our life-stage groups will meet to discuss and reflect on the messages. Larissa and Only Won will provide discussion questions. Single adults and married couples may divided into smaller groups (e.g., men and women), so be prepared to be called upon to facilitate the discussions! Here are the topics:
Saturday morning: “Hearing Your Muse.”
Larissa and Only Won will discuss how you can be inspired by the voice of God in your lives. They will address questions such as “How can I find and live out my vocation authentically? How can I be missional in all areas of my life?”
Saturday evening: “Not A-Mused”
Often times, our families, work, and church expectations appear to be in conflict. They often become obstacles for us to find our authentic voice and vocation. Larissa and Only Won will address questions such as “How can I learn how to weave all these life demands into a seamless cloth of Christian vocation and discipleship? What practical ways can I balance my commitments to all three areas?”
Sunday morning: “Playing that Song”
Finally, Larissa and Only Won will help us find some practical ways to apply these messages into our lives. How can I inspire my world with my faith? Come and respond to the invitation to respond to God!
FIVE SPECIAL TREATS
1. Saturday: At noon in Cooperage (the venue where the Taiwanese service is meeting, next to the registration area), our speakers will introduce themselves. Larissa and Only Won will perform a few of their “hits”! Bring the whole family (you have to anyway – heh! heh!).
2. Then everyone can join the Amazing Race! (12:30-3:30) Here is a chance to work with people from other language groups and ages and have fun! Don’t pass this up.
3. After the Saturday evening session (9:45 p.m.), Chris Su will host a night time “unorganized” social in Colombard 3205. Come for food and good conversation!
4. Sunday: we will take an all-church photo at 11:45 a.m. (location to be announced).
5. After the retreat, Betty and I plan to visit the CIA! No, it’s not what you think! It’s the Culinary Institute of America! We hope to inspire the world with the art of good cooking! Join us if you have time. It’s on the way home. Here is the website: http://www.ciachef.edu/visitors/gs/
SOMEONE TO TALK TO
Finally, if you want to chat with me privately during the retreat, let’s set up time during meals or free time (Sat 3:30 – 6:30). Just email, text, call my cell phone number (510.909.6849), or let me know when we see each other at retreat.
If you have any logistical questions, text or call Deacon Brian Chen at 312.307.0906
We are going to have a blast! I believe that we’ll leave the retreat ready to inspire the world with Good News!
See you Friday!