Friday, July 10, 2015
Greetings, Canaan English ministries members and friends,
Our summer of missions has begun! The Taiwan team has started to post photos on the Canaan Facebook group. They completed their service in Nantou (7/1-10) and will begin in Dapee tomorrow (7/11-17). The Belize team (Daniel Tsai, Roland, Judy – and daughters Allison and Josephine) has departed this morning (July 10-19). They will blog updates at: http://lgccbelizestm.blogspot.com/ Please continue to pray for all our missionaries and for many of us who will be preparing for our Vacation Bible School!
Despite all the exciting missions activity, it seems that God wants Canaan to offer a response to the recent Supreme Court decision that rejected bans on same sex marriages. Our pastors and elders met on Tuesday to discuss this matter. EM Young adults also discussed this at Tuesday night fellowship. A draft statement will be prepared after Monday evening’s Session meeting.
But even prior to that, I invited Darren Oei to share with us about his ministry to the LGBT community. The discussions that came out of his sharing, I believe, helped prepare us for SCOTUS and the current conversation.
And now, our EM Sunday school classes are studying Romans 1-2, two very key chapters about sin. In particular, Romans 1:24-27 speak to same sex relations.
I believe God wants us to respond to all this in a non-Pharisaic manner. Such a response would show the world that Canaan understands that grace is the essence of the Gospel. Furthermore, it would show that we want to pay as much attention to Romans 2 as we do to Romans 1!
Please note these passages:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
So even as we stand up for God’s righteousness/justice and against sin, let us be mindful that the reason “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles” is because of Pharisaic hypocrisy, which Paul condemns. We need to avoid the great temptation to be judgmental and hypocritical even as we defend what we believe to be God’s truth and morality for the world. That means first openly confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness. It means paying close attention to words and actions that condemn and exclude rather than welcome and love. It is difficult, but this can be a great opportunity for us!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled announcements…
In addition to the study of Romans this Sunday (Young adults will study chapter 1, youth and adults will study chapter 2), William Tai is offering A/V Tech Training for all three ministries. This will be 3 week Sunday School series. Teaching and hands-on training will be conducted in English but Q&A can be Mandarin or Taiwanese. No prior experience necessary. Contact William if interested [email]
— VBS summer camp (7/28-8/1)! Online registration is open for students (grade 5 and younger) and volunteers (grade 6 to adult) at VBS.ecanaan.org or at Fellowship Hall VBS table.
All Church Retreat at U.C. Santa Cruz (August 7-9):
Registration for overnight stay is now closed. If you’d like to attend as a commuter, please let James Chang [email] or Rachel Hung [email] know right away. Pray for all who attend and for our speakers: Becky Chiang-Luoh (Youth) and Victor and Jennie Quon (Adult).
- July 25: VBS Staff training #2 (Fellowship Hall, 9:30 am -12 noon) Contact Shirley Tai [email]
- July 28-Aug 1: Vacation Bible School (VBS). VBS.ecanaan.org
- Aug 7-9: Canaan Retreat (UC Santa Cruz, Stevenson College). Contact James Chang [email] or Rachel Hung [email].
- Aug 23: Second Hour Mission sharing – Taiwan Teen Prison Fellowship
- Sept 4-6: Camping Trip – Mount Diablo. Contact Mike Ling [email]