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Church news, Tim Tseng update

Just Showing Up

January 25, 2013

Greetings Canaan EM’ers and friends,

I’m going to start posting short summaries of my sermons on my Facebook page from now on. Here is a summary of last Sunday’s message (based on John 2:1-11):

Jesus showed up at the wedding of Cana

to set his mom free from the tyranny of the urgent and

to demonstrate to us through his miracle

that under his Lordship

the last shall be best and

the ordinary can become extraordinary

Showing up is the first step for people to connect with one another. It is the beginning of reconciliation between people who have disconnected from each other. So when Christians reflect on Epiphany, we can learn how God reconciles us to himself, with one another, and to His new creation each time Jesus “shows up.”

So far, we’ve learned that every time Jesus shows up, he reveals something about us that prevents us from connecting to God and our fellow humans. He also reveals the proper attitudes that can help us learn how to connect.

For example, in the episode when the Magi from the East visited Jesus (Matthew 3:1-12), we learn that King Herod’s response to Jesus’ appearance was fear. Jesus was considered a future threat to his authority. In contrast, the Magi, themselves kings, traveled afar just to worship and give Jesus honor. Rather than fearing the future, they faced it with overwhelming hope because of Jesus.

Two weeks ago, Chris Liu preached about how Jesus’ baptism is a model for us. I would add that during this appearance, Jesus demonstrated to us that he is willing to experience our baptism even though he didn’t have to. God’s affirmation of his Sonship is also our possibility (i.e., that we could also be called children of God). Thus, we can respond to Jesus’ radical empathy with humankind with fruitfulness like wheat or barrenness like chaff.

And as we saw last Sunday, Jesus reveals how we can be set free from the tyranny of the urgent. Instead, we can follow Jesus and make his priorities ours.

In sum, Jesus showed up to help us address our fear of the new, our chaff-like lack of empathy, and the tyranny of the urgent. Are not all of these are obstacles to connecting with God, people, and God’s creation? When we are imprisoned by fear, hardness of heart, and ruled by circumstances, how can we be ministers of reconciliation? We cannot love God or people if we fear them. We cannot understand God or people unless we empathize with them. We cannot care for God or people if they are less important that what we mistakenly think are more urgent.

I hope you now see more clearly how Jesus’ public appearances connects to our 2013 theme, “Connect”! By showing up, he reveals the roots of human inability to connect with God and people. By showing up, he also teaches us how we can better connect – namely, by worshipping Jesus, by sharing his empathy, and by submitting to his Lordship.

This Sunday, we will continue our Epiphany sermon series by looking at Jesus’ first public appearance at his home synagogue. In Luke 4:14-21, Jesus reads from Isaiah the Prophet and reveals his raison d’être, his mission, his purpose. Come and see!

See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD

Pastor of English Ministries

timtseng.net

NOW FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. SUPERBOWL PARTY! We are making plans to host a family friendly Superbowl Party at church on Feb 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM. This would be a great opportunity to invite your family and unchurched friends! Details will be posted shortly.

2. Faith Foundations begins Monday, February 11 (7:30 pm at Canaan). I will lead a college and pre-seminary level study group that will provide a “road map” of the diverse Christian theological perspectives. We will discuss the biblical and historical origins of Christian doctrine, what it means to be evangelical today, and how that all relates to being Asian American. The study group will meet 8 weeknights and is open to people from other churches. Pastors Eugene Chu (Chinese in Christ Church Milpitas), Brian Leong (Lord’s Grace), Peter Wang (South Bay Chinese Baptist), Russell Yee and a few of their lay leaders will participate.

3. Second Hour class, Heresies – What Christians Refuse to Believe will be led by Pastor Tim and Nelson Lu. This class will be held between Feb 3 and Mar 17. By looking at the ideas and beliefs Christians have rejected over the past two thousand years, we can better understand what Christians do believe and affirm. Join this second hour class and have fun wrestling with the heart of Christian convictions.

4. English Pastor updates:

  • I am coming close to a decision to renew my term of service with Canaan for another four years. I hope to have an on-line survey for feedback regarding my service over the past three years ready very soon.
  • Praise God – I have finally completed a chapter entitled “The Future of Multiculturalism in American Evangelicalism” for a book project called The Future of American Evangelicalism (Columbia University Press, forthcoming).
  • I’ll be attending the Asian American Christian Leadership Conference in Los Angeles along with Pastor Su and Chris Liu on March 11-13.
  • I’ll be giving a paper entitled “Color-blinded by the light: The American Evangelical Empire and the Deconstruction of Asian American Racial Identity in the San Francisco Bay Area” at the Association of Asian American Studies Annual Meeting in Seattle (April 17-20).
  • I’ll be participating in the “Hispanic-Asian-North-American (HANA) Consultation on Theology and Ministry” at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago (May 14-17)

5. Opportunities to serve! We are looking for volunteers to help with the following opportunities.

  • Easter CM Event will be on Mar 24 (Palm Sunday) – we need your help in collecting the following items: 75 empty Egg cartons (dozen size); 75 small thimbles; 75 small dice; 75 small stones; Cheesecloth (enough to cut 75 small stripes); 1000 plastic Easter eggs Please drop off your donations in the Fellowship Hall by 3/3/2013. Thank you!
  • Good Friday service (Mar 29). We are looking for 2 coordinators to organize our annual Good Friday English service. You’ll have a chance to help us reflect on the crucifixion and invite people to deepen their commitment to Christ.
  • English Adult Retreat (June 21-23, tentative). We are looking for 3-4 coordinators to plan our retreat for young adults and families. I am in conversation with another church about a possible joint retreat.
  • Children’s Ministries need 3 teachers!
    • 10-11:15am Little Worship for Preschool age kids –need 1 teacher to sign up to teach these little ones; teaching materials are provided and easy to use.
    • 10-11:15am Children’s Worship PreK/K Small Group –need 1 teacher; teaching materials are provided and easy to use.
    • 10-11:15am Children’s Worship 3rd to 6th Grade Small Group –need 1 teacher; teaching materials are provided and easy to use.
    • Talk to someone on the CM Leadership Team today!
  • Vacation Bible School 2013. Mark your calendar! VBS will be 7/30-8/3 (Tuesday to Saturday; 9:30am to 12:30pm). If you are interested in serving on the planning committee for this year’s VBS, please talk to Nicole Lu today. We are looking for people who like to plan large-scale events, are organized, like art or decorations, or like to talk to people about joining the VBS team.
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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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