here's the long awaited post: (there's more, if I get feedback! LOL)
church leaders, this is how to build a smaller and narrower church?
1. calling: choose a church name that is ethnic, gender, age, language, political, socio-economic specific
2. finance: make sure there are no freeloaders by taking offering in the parking lot, and make sure they pay for lunch
3. grace: tell all the sinners outside that they don't belong and the church people that God is gracious
4. ministry: keep every member busy doing all the church events, so they don't have time to make friends anywhere
5. word: creating vocabularies that is uncommon to the rest of the world, so that every word has at least 5 words in its definition
6. holy: tell your kids not to listen, watch or participate in anything that did not have the word Christian in it
7. unity: make sure there is unity in the body by segregating those that are different from you, we don't want their kind
8. peace: harmony is the most important value in your church, so kick out those that disagree with you
9. respect: make sure you respect the hierarchy, especially key leaders and their family. it's a family business
10. protect: guard the door well, because the world is a scary place, full of bad people, they're going to overtake the church
11. division: never do evaluation, Satan will use it to cause division in the church, so everything is good
12. stewardship: do not trust anyone with money. they will always spend more than you. so, control every cent
it's been a month and God's been good. there were times when I wanted to look behind me during the worship and I was afraid if there wasn't going to anyone sitting back there, but I kept my cool and just focused my attention on God. so far, we're averaging about 30 per week in the English service. March is our mission's month. I will be introducing a few mission's project for our church. And starting April, we will be doing some outreach to the local community, passing out brochures in street corners and market. i wonder what will happen when we step out. will it be amazing? please keep us in prayer.
this is a recent visitor who came to our site and filled out this survey. My response is in purple.
Name.last anonymous Name.firstI prefer to stay Email firstname.lastname@example.org How did you hear about this site? Friend If Other please specify: What are your thoughts about TCM? I want to learn more about TCM ministry Comment Pastor James, I'm confused as to why your church is restricted to only believers. Is not the mission of Christians to bring others to faith, so that they too can embrace the love of God? I know people who have been on missions as non-believers, more as accompanists and not as teachers, who had their realization during their missionary trip. Why deprive those who need it most of this opportunity? TCM is not restricted to only believers. in fact, for our church to live out our purpose we must be in the context of non-believing friends. relationally everyone is at a different stage with Jesus. some are close and others are far and indifferent. the role of the church is to introduce non-believing friends to join this journey following the way of Jesus. yes, sometimes a short-term mission trip is a great place to see the love of God in action. so, we welcome people of different faith to join us, as long as they keep an open mind to Jesus and the Bible. we'd love to fellowship everyone.
Where do I begin? I suppose I will start with my dad. My dad died in August 2007. It still aches a bit when I think about his passing. He means a lot to me. Not only because he loved me deeply, but also I recognize my identity is inseparable from his. This trip to China reminded me that we were supposed to visit this magnificent country together in 2008. But for obvious reason, it did not happen. He grew up in China and it gave him pride to tell us stories of his past. I knew he wanted to show us his old house in Tianjin, and Beijing. However, I was too busy when he went the last time with my sister in 2005. I thought I had time...Yes, there's a tinge of regret despite my trust in God's sovereignty.
During this whole trip, I thought a lot about what "China means to me," or another way to put it "my part in China." After all, I am Chinese. Although I was born in Taiwan, there was always a nagging reminder that I was Chinese. (If you know the history of these two places, you will know what I mean.) This duality got simpler once I became an American citizen in my late teens and to a certain extent I rejected my complex Chinese/Taiwanese identity. Frankly, I didn't want to be a part of that crazy Taiwanese/Chinese stuff that took place in the 80s and 90s. It was embarrassing to know all the cheap stuff that you find in Kmart was all made in Taiwan, and the cheaper stuff from China. On top of all that, there was the barrage of news highlighting the uncivilized behavior of congressmen throwing fist fights in the chambers of justice, the unforgettable Tiananmen Square massacre and endless stories of dirty politicians killing off competitors. They called it "pathway to liberty," I called it shame. I was naive and an idealist. Of course, I've grown up a bit since then and realized that civility is but a thin veil over our shared human depravity. To a certain extent, I came to China to claim what was mine: my heritage, my history, my people, and my land. I realized I didn't know enough about China and I needed to know more. My desire was to breath in its history and the experiences of its people. I wanted to find God's will for me and to see if there was anything missing in my life.
In this trip, I realized I could easily connect with the people. My training as a businessman, counselor and spiritual guide, gave me special insight to the heart and soul of the Chinese youth. They embraced me as their own, and called me "uncle." I felt privileged. These young people surprised me with their innocence to what I've taken for granted, choices, faith, hope, love, grace and truth. Every conversation seemed to hit a chord resonating in their soul. And they wanted more. Speaking to them often means that I must speak against a history of societal and parental subjection. They needed to be set free. I felt this overwhelming desire to adopt them. Perhaps, that was the heart of the Father. What's more? I realized that they're "world changers." Inadvertently, the Chinese government, the atheistic society and their traditional Confucian family have concertedly created a generation of young people that is ready to explode onto the global scene as leaders for the 21st century. They have passion as fire, intelligence beyond their years, innocence of a child and the will of steel to conquer anything. I thought to myself, "All they need is a catalyst, someone who will speak to their soul and unleash the giant within." To me, this is the new China, a new beginning--a place of hope. My father would be proud of this place, and so do I.
we don't watch tv at home, so whenever we go on vacation, that is one thing we keep running in the background of our timeshare. well, as a family we love to eat and one of our favorite channel is the food network. it is practically our greatest expression of lust when we glue our eyes on all kinds of cuisine, bar-b-que, dessert, exotic food, from kitchen stadium to family treats and more. anything you can think of, they got it. one show caught our attention on a different channel as we were channel surfing during commercials. it's called "the biggest loser." if you know the show, it's a reality tv with teams of contestants competing at weight loss. at first, we were amazed at the amount of weight these people lose over duration of the show, but what really got our attention was the unimaginable emotion they expressed as one of their fellow contestant was being voted off from the show. that blew my mind. where did they get all that passion? it's only a show for us, but its life for them. I know, but shouldn't they know that when they signed up for this thing? wow!! only a few weeks together, they could build such a bond for each other. that made me think about the church. do we care for our fellow brothers and sisters in the same way. do we care if they come and when they go? sadly to say, my assessment is that most of maybe we are not a tv show, but shouldn't we be more real than the reality tv? if we can't do church better than a tv show, i wonder who's the biggest loser?
well…she's gone to her mission trip two days ago. and i'm left wandering who's leaving me next. do i sound sour a bit? no, actually i'm grateful to have a mom who's willing to step out in faith and challenge the traditional chinese retirement thing with action. too many people only talk and no go. but i must admit the uneasiness that comes as a result of her leaving, being the son and all. i know she is at the best place anyone can be, in God's hands. along with prayer, trusting that God will take care of her is all i can do. this letting go business has been difficult. i suppose it is normal to feel this way, with the society pressuring us to put everything in order. the last thing you want is to be out of control. yet, the journey of faith is letting go and letting God. the more you go down on this path, the more you experience God's abundance. one day we will all say, "His grace is make perfect in my weakness."
my uncle elder Peter passed away 1/1/2011, at 99 years of age, that is 100 years old according to Chinese calendar. pretty interesting huh! well, he lived an amazing life with many accomplishments. what's most amazing about him took place these last 24 years of his life, since his wife, my aunt Francis, passed away. before she passed away from an unexpected heart-attack 24 years ago, she'd always urged him to put his years of theological schooling (15 years in all) to work by writing and publishing them, because there were very limited Chinese theological work available (that's true even today). he'd always refuse her. but since her death he gained a renewed sense of purpose at 75 years of age to start his writing career. he finished one book a year, publishing them using his own money and distributing them to his friends and churches. He ministered to countless Chinese Christians around the world with his writing, until he could no longer see from his earthly eyes these last few remaining years. all together he wrote 18 remarkable commentaries and theological treaties in chinese. now, that's pretty incredible! what an inspiration! uncle Peter and aunt Francis prayed for our family for years until our whole family came to the Lord. today they're with Jesus and i miss them both. i am grateful for such faithful witnesses of our Lord. the Bible said "Abraham died at a GOOD old age."
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