Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Videos for 3-25-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Yet There is Grace", Jeremiah 31:31-34, Pastor Emily

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sundays Of Uniting Prayer (SOUP)

 Once again during Lent, Sundays Of Uniting Prayer (SOUP) gives us a time of slowing down and quiet so that we can hear ourselves, each other, and the Holy Spirit...all over steaming bowls of delicious homemade soup.  In addition, we also talk and pray with others on our Lenten Commitments.


Upcoming News and Events for 3-25-12

*Great thanks to our in house plumbers, Al and Vince, for spending oodles of time this past week repairing our foyer toilet and annex water fountain!

*You are invited to lift Pastor Emily up in prayer on Tuesday, Mar. 27th, as she meets with the Board of Ordained Ministry's (BOOM) Residence in Ministry (RIM) Committee in Sacramento. She will be sharing reflections about being in ministry over the past year as well as responding to questions about theology.

*Adventures in Faith Monthly Chapel...is this Wednesday (Mar. 28th) at 3:00 p.m.! We will be sharing the story of Noah and the Ark he built. Your presence will make a difference.  Rehearsal begins at 2:00 p.m.

*SOUP celebrates another meaningful year. Next Sunday, Apr. 1st, will be our last Sunday of SOUP. It's not too late to come and "taste" the goodness. Great thanks to all participants, each soup-maker, and our faithful bread-bringer (Peggy)!

*Easter Lilies and More! Our sanctuary is filled with the beauty and scent of flowers on Easter Sunday, Apr. 8th. To contribute by purchasing an Easter lily plant, please connect with Laura. Each plant is $10 and you are welcome to take it home after worship.  We also invite the donation of cut flowers for our time of flowering the cross. Please let Pastor Emily know if you intend to share donate cut flowers.

*Looking Ahead: Ushers and greeters will gather on Sunday, Apr. 15th for some reflection and training time.  Please plan to be present!

The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship

By Leela Ma                       
This year the Lenten season is about covenant, commitment and companionship.

God made a covenant with Noah, Abraham, and Moses in the bible. It is a commitment that God promised Noah there will no more flood; Abraham will become an ancestor of a great nation; and Moses will lead the Israelites to the promised land.  Similarly God promised salvation to us who believe in Jesus. My family and I believe Jesus died for our sin, and welcome him into our hearts. We are thankful everyday for God’s blessing.

Faith is not believing that God can.  It is knowing that God will.  After our children grew up and left home, it was an empty nest for a long time it seemed. Manuel and I waited to become grandparents. We waited for God to bless us with grandchildren. God never forgot us and had his own plans.  He answered our prayers in His time.

Last December 2011 God gave us a wonderful Christmas gift.  God gave us a beautiful granddaughter, Sienna.  I have faith in God’s plan no matter what. She was 6 weeks pre-mature and weighed 4 lbs 11oz, 18 inches long at birth.  Thank God for the commitment of hard work of all the staff at the hospital to care for pre-mature babies. Sienna is growing healthy now.

All these years we are so blessed to have sisters and brothers at church who are so supportive. I have had times of disappointment and felt like giving up, but there was always that companionship at church that picked me up and helped me become strong again. Their friendship, their love for people, and their love for God are so strong.  They encourage me to not lose faith again and again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2 Prayer Quilts

The prayer quilters recently made 2 quilts and presented them to Leily Chew and Dora Jang. 
Leily needs prayers for peace, confidence, and assurance as she undergoes oral surgery today (March 22nd), and for the skillful work of her surgeon to determine the cause and remedy for her pain which has been ongoing for almost a year. Most of all, that she may experience our love and God's presence through this time of treatment and recovery.

Dora Jang, a former long-time active member, needs prayers for strength and comfort as she continues to undergo kidney dialysis treatment, and prayers that she would know our love and God's great love for her as she faces the challenges in this time of her life. Also, please pray for her and her family as they care for her.

If you know of anyone who needs a prayer quilt, contact Jane or Becky.

Easter Letter from Pastor Emily

During this year’s Lenten season, we have been journeying through the theme: “The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship.”   Our invitation was to explore the idea of covenants and the ways the enable and enrich relationships, to grapple with our commitment to God, one another, and the world, and to try on supportive and accountable spiritual companionship.  We incorporated the practice of confession into our worship as a sign of our willingness to turn (or repent) and realign ourselves with God’s ways.  We shared the prayers of our hearts with neighbors and carried those hearts into our daily lives.  And over hot bowls of delicious homemade soup, we shared about the ups and downs of our Lenten commitments.   As always, it has been a rich and fulfilling season as we have opened ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives: healing, restoring, convicting, and challenging.

Soon the Lenten season will draw to a close as we enter Holy Week.  This is a special and set-apart time in which we remember and make meaning of Jesus’ last days and hours amongst his disciples in physical form.  While it is certainly tempting to jump right into Easter and its great celebration, I gently urge you to consider journeying through the darkness before welcoming the light.  For what, after all, is resurrection without death?  This important journey through sorrow and suffering enables us, I believe, to more fully experience and celebrate the great joy of Easter and the wonder of Resurrection.  This year, we will not only be marking Good Friday, but also Maundy Thursday.  You are warmly welcomed to mark these in community!

On Sunday, Apr. 8th, we will celebrate Easter.  Together, we will lift our voices and affirm “Alleluia! Our Redeemer lives!”  You are invited to be a part of this joyful celebration!

Apr. 1st, 2012       Palm Sunday         9:30 a.m. Cantonese-Mandarin Worship
                                                               11:00 a.m. English Worship
                                                               2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Children’s Easter Party

Apr. 5th, 2012       Maundy Thursday 7:30 p.m. English Worship

Apr. 6th, 2012       Good Friday          2:00 p.m. Bilingual Worship at Chinese Presbyterian
                                                               7:30 p.m. English Worship at CCUMC

Apr. 8th, 2011       Easter Sunday      7:30 a.m. Sunrise Worship
                                                               9:30 a.m. Cantonese-Mandarin Worship Celebration
                                                               11:00 a.m. English Worship Celebration

Grace & Peace,
Rev. Emily Lin

Your Easter donation will be used intentionally and faithfully to grow the ministries and mission of CCUMC.  During the past year, we started a wonderful afterschool and summer tutoring ministry serving 60 neighborhood children.  In addition, we raised over $20,000 for the building of Kumi Christian Visionary School, a project of the Youth & Child Visionary Ministry.  We give great thanks for your generosity.  Your donation is, as always, tax deductible.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Videos for 3-18-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Complaining to Death", Numbers 21:4-9, Pastor Emily

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vitality and Our Purpose

In January, we began a new practice as a church.  At the request of our Bishop and the Annual Conference, we began to track and report numbers in 6 areas every week.  These areas included:

  1. Worship attendance – the number of people participating in worship.
  2. Professions of faith – the number of baptisms we celebrate.
  3. Discipleship growth attendance – including small groups, adult Sunday School, and Bible studies.
  4. Mission participation – think LMUMC Food Pantry, AiF chapels, Change the World Sunday, etc.
  5. Missional giving – the amount given to missions (including apportionments, special Sundays, etc.)
  6. Pledges & offering – the amount received as pledges and as offering.

Now you might be wondering, “Why does the Bishop and Annual Conference want to know these numbers?  What do these numbers say about us as a church anyway?”  Well, you should know that the entire denomination has recently been invited to “redirect the flow of attention, energy, and resources to an intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” (Call to Action Report)  Put in simple terms - our church is being invited to get serious about our purpose.  No more playing around.  No more wasting time.  No more getting side-tracked!  The church is being invited to put all of its creative juices, all of its gifts and graces, all of its prayers and power towards one thing:  making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Now you might be thinking, “Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along?!”  Well….yes and no.  CCUMC has certainly kept our purpose before us and our priorities of the last two years are absolutely aligned with that purpose.  This is something we can and want to celebrate.  At the same time, it can be easy to lose sight of our purpose and priorities and get caught up in our individual and communal preferences.  Discernment is definitely not an easy task and responsibility!  We can also get pretty rusty around our core practices, like attending worship, sharing our faith, supporting one another and keeping each other accountable, as well as reaching out meaningfully in love, grace, and justice.  The invitation we’ve received help us get back on track, so to speak, where we might have wandered off.

Another thing to remember, those 6 areas aren’t really the point.  The point is to love God with our whole heart, all our strength, and every fiber of our soul, as well as loving our neighbor (that includes strangers, enemies, and our friends) as ourselves.  Those numbers are merely the fruit that grows when we are doing just that.

So…why am I telling you all this?  Because over the next few months, we will be setting some goals for ourselves.  These goals will name how we intend to “get serious” about each of those areas.  And if it isn’t clear yet, this will require every single one of us.  Consider this your invitation! You will be hearing more in the coming weeks.  Please stay tuned!  In the meantime, here’s some food for thought:

Disciple making & world transformation occurs through vital congregations
Vital congregations are Spirit-filled, forward-leaning communities of followers that welcome all people (Gal 3:28), make disciples of Jesus Christ (Matt 28:18-20), and serve like Christ through justice and mercy ministries (Micah 6:8, Luke 4:17-21)

A vital congregation has
Inviting and inspiring worship
Engaged disciples in mission and outreach
Gifted, equipped and empowered lay leadership
Effective, equipped and inspired clergy leadership
Small groups and strong children’s and youth ministry

A disciple is a changed follower of Jesus
Disciples worship           Disciples make new disciples
Disciples engage in growing their faith          
Disciples engage in mission               Disciples give to mission

Upcoming News and Events for 3-18-12

*One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Special Offering, Mar. 25th - Join United Methodists everywhere by participating in this special offering that supports United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) vital work. Your gifts to OGHS lays the foundation for UMCOR to seek justice and mercy for suffering people everywhere. You can be assured that when catastrophes cause suffering, your church, impelled by Jesus' love and compassion, will be in the lead to ease the pain..  To learn more about UMCOR, please visit: gbgm-umc.org/umcor/ 

*Amazing! As of Thursday, Mar. 15th, the Mission Exchange Fundraising had reached $6,300. This means we are just $700 away from our $7,000 goal.  Thanks be to God!  These monies will enable Silver Omakenyi and Grace Among to visit the Bay Area, connect with new communities, and build relationships with us and others. Please connect with Becky, Burt, Vince, or Aeri to learn more about the Mission Exchange and how you can get involved.

*Quilting our Prayers - Today, we lift our prayers up for Leily Chew and Dora Jang. If you or someone you know would like to be similarly lifted in prayer, please connect with Laura, Jane, or Becky.

*Ordering Easter Lilies - Each Easter, our sanctuary is lit up with the beauty of lilies reminding us of Jesus' wondrous resurrection. You are invited to order lilies for the sanctuary and take it home afterwards. Each lily plant is $10. Please connect with Laura to order.  

*Alert: Date Change! After discernment, our Children's Easter Party has changed dates from Mar. 31st to Sunday, April 1st from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. You are invited to participate first and foremost through your presence! Other ways to participate: donate plastic eggs, hard boiled eggs, Easter candy, or snacks. Sign up today!

*It’s Spaghetti Month!  You’re invited to fill the Food Pantry Barrel with all things spaghetti (pasta, sauce, parmesan cheese, etc.)!

The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship

By Richard Fong

We are well into the Lenten season and the forty days have dwindled down to twenty two days.  Lent has been a special season for me, my family and many of my friends for many years.  It calls for the invitation to listen and pay attention to the many ways we are called to GOD.  It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Day.  Active participation requires commitment, the special quality with which friendships, business ventures, volunteering or even partnerships require.  Many of us have committed to various issues, giving up things, intentionally serving others, strengthening and enlivening our spiritual life, acts of generosity and mostly serving GOD.

Sometimes I ask myself.   Do you fully understand the many commitments, the covenants or the promises?  It is not like you do it one way one day and the next day,  it is ok not to follow the promise.  The tests seem to be always knocking on the door.  Through rough times or simple tests,  your steadfastness must endure the many temptations.  We stay the course and make the adjustments to enable our selves to meet the challenges.  My covenant with GOD is eternal, not just when I am reminded of it or during a season. It is because, he is always there for me and the ones whom I love.  Now that I am retired and have many freedoms to do as I please, I choose to remain in the service of the community and GOD.  I am not tired of the hours or the days.  I am strengthened, happy and full of energy for the opportunity and ability to serve.

I am blessed to have a wife and family that support me and are there for me 24/7.  Volunteering has been what keeps me going.  It is a passion that provides me with energy and satisfaction.  Sometimes I wonder how I will juggle the same times for meetings and events. Other times it is one event to another and another.   Likewise, the opportunities and challenges here at CCUMC are many. Everywhere, there is a need to participate or nurture, to volunteer or provide, to educate or understand, to serve or  to forgive.   My experiences are wonderful  and spiritually rewarding.   To experience others searching for more answers as they pursue their walk with GOD. I am happy to hear the laughing and see the smiles on the faces of the children in the “After School” program.  I am happy to watch and hear the youth in Sunday school talk about the need to learn more about GOD. I am happy to witness every pew being  blessed with someone sitting in it on Sunday morning, and is again, searching  for more understanding at their small group. I am happy to see the enthusiasm in the programs, missions and ministries. I am fascinated by the many gifts and graces our Pastor brings to CCUMC. We are blessed by all the members working to unite, as we transform as a living church and growing church.   I am excited to be a part of CCUMC and I look forward to our Pastor’s sermons, as she helps us open many doors for our spiritual lives.    GOD Bless…

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Videos for 3-11-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Ten to Three", Exodus 20:1-17, Burt Yin, certified lay speaker 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Upcoming News and Events for 3-11-12

*It’s a Miracle of Grace!  In just two short weeks, the Mission Exchange fundraising crossed the halfway mark ($3,650 raised by Friday, Mar. 9th).  We give thanks to God and celebrate everyone’s generosity!

*Pastor Emily is guest preaching at East Bay Formosan UMC today! Please keep her in your prayers.
*Prayer Quilt Ministry Meets Today, 1:30 p.m.!
*Adventures in Faith Planning - You're invited to brainstorm and design the March Chapel on Friday, Mar. 16th at 1:30 p.m.
*Got Soup? - Thank you to our wonderful crew of soup-makers this year: Arlene, Donna, Jane, Derek, Aeri, Laura, Adrienne, Charlie, Jonathan, and Gloria! We are missing just one soup-maker for Mar. 18th. Would you be willing to pitch in? Please sign up next the hospitality table. Thank you!
*Calling All Gardeners - Do you have a green thumb? Do you enjoy digging in the dirt? Our beautiful church courtyard is in need of love and attention. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you might be interested in volunteering to ensure that this important space remains healthy and bright.
*Alert: Date Change! After discernment, our Children's Easter Party has changed dates from Mar. 31st to Sunday, April 1st from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. You are invited to participate first and foremost through your presence! Other ways to participate: donate plastic eggs, hard boiled eggs, Easter candy, or snacks. Sign up today!
*Our 125th Church Anniversary Celebrations Planning is Underway.  Please mark the date, Sunday, May 27th, as the kick off to a season of celebration.

The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship

By Jane Yin                                                                  

Many years ago, I was searching for something worthwhile to do to live out my faith. I wanted to reach out to people who need to experience God’s love and grace in their lives. God led me to become a Stephen Minister. Since 2000, I have been actively serving in that ministry.

The person of the Stephen Minister is to be Christ to someone hurting that they might experience the love of Jesus in their most vulnerable time. We are trained to offer compassionate, distinctive Christian care and support to someone experiencing a difficult time in his/her life. The Stephen Minister does not provide solutions or answers but rather hears the concerns of the hurting person and commits them to God, trusting God to provide a way to healing and wholeness. With each experience, I offer my listening and prayerful heart and encourage the person to seek a deeper relationship with God.

Typically, I’m assigned to meet, on a weekly basis, with a person in need of Christian care. My experiences include care to the terminally ill, the hospitalized, those grieving a loss, the unemployed, the aging and elderly, those with disabilities, those needing support of a Christian friend, the divorced, those facing life transitions and those in spiritual crisis. No one circumstance is alike. Some are complicated and a challenge and some are easy and simple. Often times, I am impressed with the resiliency of the human spirit enduring the odds against them by taking small steps with hope.

Instead of being overwrought upon learning about the brokenness of so many people, I am able to put my trust in God at all times. I know that God, who is awesome and amazing, is faithful and can and will bring healing and wholeness to the one hurting.

I believe God calls all of us to a specific role to offer grace and hope where there is brokenness. Gifts that are part of our new life in Christ need to be shared. The skills I’ve learned, as a Stephen Minister is a life skill that can be used at anytime, anywhere and with whomever I meet. I am grateful that my effectiveness comes from claiming the gift of spiritual resources that God offers. My continued passion for this ministry is renewed day by day by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. I am fully reliant on God to use me to serve and help those in need. I’m excited to see how God will continue to do so in growing me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Videos for 3-4-12

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon - "Laughing at God's Impossibilities", Genesis 17:1-7,15-18, Pastor Emily

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Upcoming News and Events for 3-4-12

*Got Soup? - Thank you to our wonderful crew of soup-makers this year: Arlene, Donna, Jane, Derek, Aeri, Laura, Adrienne, Charlie, Jonathan, and Gloria! Last week we got off to a deeelicious start! We are missing just one soup-maker for Mar. 18th. Would you be willing to pitch in? Please sign up next the hospitality table. Thank you!

*Calling All Gardeners - Do you have a green thumb? Do you enjoy digging in the dirt? Our beautiful church courtyard is in need of love and attention. Please connect with Pastor Emily if you might be interested in volunteering to ensure that this important space remains healthy and bright.

*LMUMC Food Pantry Workday, Mar. 10th - It's the 2nd Saturday! You are invited to pitch in to this important ministry. Please connect with Jane for more information.

*Prayer Quilt Ministry Invite - The Prayer Quilt Ministry invites YOU! Last year, more than 10 quilts were dedicated, presented, crafted and given with the love and prayers of this congregation. To gear up for 2012, we are meeting on Sunday, Mar. 11th at 1:30 PM, following S.O.U.P. Come and learn how you can help, even if you are not a quilter. Purchasing, ironing, cutting, placing ties, and coordinating fabrics are all a part of the process making a quilt. And there is always room for anyone who can sew. If you can't come to the meeting, please consider making a donation of $5-10 which helps buy supplies. If you have questions, or know someone with prayer needs who might want a quilt, talk to Jane, Becky, or Laura.

*Saving the Date - It's a party! We'd like to host a fun and meaningful Easter party for children on Saturday, Mar. 31st, from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. This is an opportunity to share the good news of Easter with our Homework Club families and beyond. Would you be able to be present and pitch in? Please sign up today.

*We LEAP Forward next Weekend!  Please remember to set your clocks an hour earlier.

The Practice of Encountering Others: Building Community through Covenant, Commitment, and Companionship

Derek Lang

A year after moving away, I returned for a visit to Korean United Methodist Church where I attended for several years. I heard a lot of exciting things about the new pastor and wanted to see some old friends. They were at a retreat in Frederick, Maryland. It was a joint retreat with young adults and college students. It turned out that I knew only a few there. The college students had grown up in the church, so I assumed they had a very grounded relationship with God. But I really did not know them.
The circumstances are vague, but I have this memory of a profound and deeply moving evening during the retreat. I remember darkness, candles, sitting together – almost like a campfire scene. These young people were asked to recommit themselves and renew their covenant with God. There were many who broke down in tears. It was such a raw moment. I am used to young people who guard their feelings by being casual and superficial. But not tonight. Perhaps it was the fact that they had grown up with each other and had this close connection to each other that they felt free to share what was in their hearts and provide mutual support to experience God more deeply.
I had spent the last year in Belgium attending a Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, so I was familiar with people openly expressing their deep emotions in public. Coming from a more staid Methodist tradition, I was in retrospect probably more of a foreigner observing from a religious distance. So I think it hit me harder seeing these young Methodists at the retreat giving their whole selves to God – emotionally as well as spiritually. Their relationship was so real and so concrete. I thought as an elder in the group that I would be a model to them. But here I was experiencing through them. Jesus was not some distant historical figure; rather He was here touching them in a very personal way.
That was one of a few turning points that showed me a relationship with Christ is not just a matter of believing in something. It is feeling something. It is hard to explain, but these days I often find myself sitting in a pew, centering on God as I pray, listening to the music, or hear someone sharing their faith, and my eyes will tear up as I recommit my whole self. These are not tears of sadness, and I am not even sure they are tears of joy. It is this feeling of being in the presence of so much love that I cannot fathom. It is the realization of the awesomeness of God – that I am nothing and yet everything in God’s eye. It is a realization of sin and brokenness, the warmth of forgiveness and grace, and the wonder of dreams and hope. Perhaps you feel that too. I hope so.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Amy's Mission Moment sharing

Last Sunday, Amy shared a personal Mission Moment during worship.  In January, she felt called to clean-up some of the trash in her neighborhood, and let passers-by know that one person can make a difference.  Praise God for Amy!