September 6, 2012
Greetings Canaan EM’ers and friends,
Oh well, I’m not sure the “sunglasses” bit went over that well this past Sunday. But thanks to all who wore them on cue!
Looking back on our Footprints sermon series, I would say that one common thread was the importance of the church community for our Christian walk. It is there that we learn how to create fellowship, make new disciples, and take responsibility in and for the church itself. “No man is an island,” said English poet John Donne (and re-affirmed as the title of a book by Trappist monk Thomas Merton). Indeed, our personal spiritual growth is dramatically enhanced in community.
One specific example is how we deal with anger. When I’m angry, I usually don’t think I am at fault, initially. It’s always easier to shift the blame to others. Unless I’m willing to listen to the observations of others, I might continue to deny that I am ever at fault. And if I never confess my faults, my anger will grow into resentment. Resentment may lead to sinful acts.
Certainly our spouses and family members can help us look at ourselves more objectively. But we also need to hear from people we trust. And that is where a faith community is so very important. Paul says in Ephesians 4:25-27:
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Paul makes an indirect connection between being members of one body, speaking truthfully, and not yielding a foothold to the devil by not allowing our anger to continue.
James is more to the point:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1, NIV)
Have you ever noticed that those who have recently perpetrated mass murders have been “loners” who have felt marginalized from community? It was very likely the unseen “desires that battle within” that led to such horrendous acts. So another reason why we need community is to help us see what we often cannot see on our own – the desires that lie deeply within – and make course corrections.
As flawed as church people are, thanks to God’s grace and spiritual presence, they are the key to spiritual growth!
So, if you are an adult, I hope that you will join a small group at Canaan this fall! The path to spiritual fruitfulness (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – see Galatians 5:22-23) is paved in a safe environment of truth-speaking, trust-worthy sisters and brothers in Christ! Loving each other within community is what Paul meant by “walking by the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:13-16)!
Thus far, the following groups are in formation (or have been formed):
- Wednesday evening Young Adults (facilitated by Tim and Frances Ang)
- Young Adults, date TBD (facilitated by Eve Chang)
- Multi-life-stage, date TBD (facilitated by Nathaniel Tseng/Steve Pham)
- Sunday afternoon Multi-life-stages/couples (initiated by Ed and Christina Chen)
- Multi-life-stages, date TBD (facilitated by Mike and Crystal Ling)
- Multi-life-stage, Friday evenings (initiated by William and Shirley Tai)
- Men’s group, date TBD (initiated by Nelson Lu and James Chang)
- Multi-life-stage, date TBD (initiated by Bob and Shally Lin)
The topics, meeting locations and frequency, and covenants will be determined soon. Please contact these coordinators directly or email me if you are interested in joining.
Minister Among Ministers Sermon Series
Did you know that our youth pastor, Chris Liu, and Taiwanese pastor, Chris Chen will be ordained this November?
“What is ordination?” you may ask. “As a matter of fact, what do pastors do anyway?”
Many of our perceptions of what a pastor does are shaped by the media and our experiences with other pastors. But a more biblical understanding of the pastor’s role in the church is often lacking. This Sunday, our senior pastor Ralph Su, will kick off the new sermon series, “Minister among Ministers,” with a message entitled “The Vision Catcher.”
If you infer from the message and series titles that a pastor is one “set apart” from other ministers for a specific role in the church, you are correct! All of us who follow Christ are pastors (this biblical teaching derives from the Reformation slogan, “the priesthood of all believers”). But some of us are called to be “body builders” – specifically assigned to build up the body of Christ. Come on Sundays and find out how pastors and laity (i.e., lay “ministers”) can work together to advance God’s kingdom and bring glory to God!
Adult Second Hour Workshop on the “Christian Citizen”
During adult second hour this Sunday and next, Deacon Nelson Lu and I will facilitate a two-part workshop on “The Christian Citizen.” We feel that this is an extremely important topic in light of the current U.S. elections. How should Christians engage the political arena? How do we discern an appropriate response to the issues of the day? How do Christians participate in the American public sphere given its ideological, racial, economic and religious diversity? Come and join us as we learn together.
Farewell to Silverwood Service
Finally, I’m organizing a short English service to bid farewell to our church’s old site at Silverwood Avenue in Mountain View on Saturday, Oct. 13 (10-11:30 a.m.). Since we are coming close to selling that property, I thought it would be neat for old friends and new to spend a brief moment to celebrate how God has blessed us and our community at that facility. We can also envision the new mission that God has given us in our current location. Would anyone like to help me organize the service? It will be a simple, short, and sweet service. Please let me know!
See you Sunday!
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