October 17, 2013
Dear Canaan EM’ers and friends,
One definition of “Confluence” is a “coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point” that leads to one setting or direction (e.g. a confluence of streams to form a mighty river). If 2013 was dedicated to “connecting” with one another and with God, 2014 will focus on the purpose of coming together – namely: to be an influence – for Christ – together.
God brought us together at Canaan to be confluencers. Confluencers influence their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. They are called to bring healing to God’s world. Confluencers are children of grace who are characterized by:
1. An eagerness to discern our calling. Each of us is called by God for a purpose. We are all have ministries. But we must want to hear what it is before we can know what it is.
2. An insatiable desire to build and serve. One who is called by God does not make consumption and comfort the primarily m.o. Children of grace are grateful for the opportunity to build up their faith community so that it can proclaim God’s kingdom. Children of grace don’t worry about feeling disconnected to people in church. Rather than waiting for others to provide fellowship for them, they eagerly create community by reaching out and serving others!
3. An unyielding determination to engage. Life is not all about me! God always calls his children to engage a broken world in his name. Children of grace gratefully seek to be equipped so that they can be a better influence wherever they are called. They want to study the bible, theology, and church history. They want to serve through short term mission, market place ministries, or by using their gifts for the church.
I am praying that the Holy Spirit will move all of us to become confluencers in 2014!!
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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to be a confluencer. I was part of a team that drafted an ”
“open letter” that expressed concern about the inappropriate stereotyping of Asian Americans by American evangelicals in VBS curriculum, youth skits, general Christian trade books, at conferences, and by well-known Christian leaders. See Open Letter here. The letter was sparked by what was perceived to be an insensitive response by Rick Warren to people who expressed concern about his Facebook posting of a Red Guard figurine.
The letter was initially signed by 82 church leaders and then affirmed by more than 700 additional signatures after it was made public last Monday. It also received a great deal of attention by media outlets such as the Huffington Post , Christianity Today, Southern California NPR, and other media outlets. I was interviewed by a reporter from the Orange County Register.
I was surprised by the amount of attention this action received, but am grateful for a chance to help give Asian American Christians a greater voice in the evangelical world. Not everyone will agree with the issues or the methods used to bring attention. And the issues are so much more complex than can be adequately covered in one letter. I participated in the “Open Letter” because I wanted American evangelicals to know that churches like Canaan are not “second class.” By being a confluencer I hope a door has been opened for genuine dialogue between Asian American and non-Asian American Christians.
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Last Thursday, I also helped to launch a Facebook group for Bay Area Asian American pastors and church leaders. By the weekend, over 200 people joined the group. Again, I was surprised. There is clearly a hunger among Bay Area Asian American pastors and church leaders to connect with one another. Through this network I hope that we will have more opportunities to collaborate with other ministries and churches in our region. Please pray that this Facebook network will be help Asian American Christians to be confluencers in the Bay Area.
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1. The next discipleship class, Movies, Life, and Faith, will meet this Tuesday, Oct 22nd (6:45 p.m.) at Chinese Church in Christ, Milpitas. We are screening “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Let me know if you can come.
2. Join the Children’s Ministry 2013-2014 School Year Team! We need:
• 5 more teachers
• 5 more assistants
• Special events coordinators
Email or talk to Nicole Lu (Email Nicole).
3. Operation Christmas Child
• Please consider packing 1 or 2 shoeboxes as a family to bless needy children.
• Or donate goodies (check brochure for ides) or $20 to Ms. Wendy Huang (Email Wendy) who is organizing shoe box packing party for kids on 11/10 during Sunday School hour.
• Return all packed shoeboxes by 11/24.
4. The four-week Advent Season begins on Dec 1. Let me know by the end of October if you’d like to help plan and lead our special Sunday worship services.
5. Our EM Christmas Party will be held on Sunday, Dec 8 during second hour (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.). Volunteers to plan and lead the party are sought! Please let me know if you are interested.
6. Our next new member welcome service will be Dec 15. If you are interested in joining Canaan through baptism, confirmation, or member transfer, let me know by Nov 17. All are encouraged to join the Canaan Basics introduction seminar on Sat, Dec 7 at 9 a.m.
7. Christmas Music Celebration (12/14, 3pm, Jubilee Center) hosted by Nor Cal Taiwanese American Christian Churches (NCTACC). Canaan will join an interchurch Hallelujah Chorus Choir at the celebration. We are looking for 20 EM members. Rehearsals will be held on 10/19, 11/9, 11/23, 12/7 (4-6PM, WH1) with a final one on 12/14 (11:00-12:30, WH!) with singers from all churches and a stage rehearsal at Jubilee after lunch. Please contact Wendy Huang if you’re interested.
Sorry about the length of this update, but, hey – it’s been two weeks!
See you on Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries