Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015-11-29 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon


English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2015-11-29


  • Great Thanks...to Richard and Adrienne for picking up the beautiful greenery decorating our sanctuary, and to Daniel and members of the Mandarin Fellowship for hanging them and decorating the tree.
  • "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" - You are invited to enter this special season by exploring some of its special music. This new 4 week Sunday School series will begin next Sunday, Dec. 6th. You are invited to gather, on time, at 9:30 a.m. ready to sing!
  • Christmas Poinsettias-Connect with Laura if you’d like to contribute a poinsettia to our sanctuary’s Christmas beauty! Each plant is $10. Today is the last day to or-der!
  • Gentle Reminder: Dec. 1st is #GivingTuesday! You are invited to double your impact by giving as soon as the "gates" open at 10:00 p.m. at www.umcmission.org/give! There are many, many worthwhile projects and missionaries to choose from. Please consider giving to Marilyn Chan, our covenant relationship partner in Cambodia.
  • Start your holiday shopping at CCUMC and help support our school in Uganda at the same time. On Dec. 5-6 we will be selling goods from our YCVM benefit at reduced prices. Find jewelry, art goods, toys, and unique items. Sale runs from 11-3 on Sat. And noon - 2 on Sunday. Volunteers who can help at the tables should sign up with Peggy or Becky
  • Save the Dates!
  1. All Church Work Day - Saturday, Dec. 19th, 8:30 - 2:00 p.m.
  2. Caroling - Monday, Dec. 21st, time tbc

Prepare the Way, Advent 2015


God is preparing The Way. God is an active God who loves and wants to be loved. God is a God who is near and amongst us. Being made in God’s image, God finds favor with us. And as the first Christians, often called the followers of “The Way,” glorified God through living their lives like Christ, how will we glorify God today? As God prepared the way for Jesus to enter into this world, and as we anticipate this birth, may you prepare the way for others to experience Christ and his love for them this Christmas season. During Advent this year, our theme invites us to dwell deeply in the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. You are invited to spend the season savoring the stories and passages from this part of the Bible. Our weekly themes are:

Nov. 29th – Preparing the Way: God is Near (Luke 1:1-25)
Dec. 6th – Preparing the Way: God is Among Us (Luke 1:26-38)
Dec. 13th – Preparing the Way: God Shows Us His Favor (Luke 1:39-59)
Dec. 20th – Preparing the Way: God is Glorified (Luke 2:1-20)


This week, we explore the theme of how Advent cultivates the difficult discipline of waiting. But also how that waiting and hope find fulfillment with God draws near.

The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment...

Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and there-fore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is within her...

The whole meaning of Christian community lies in offering a space in which we wait for that which we have already seen. Christian community is the place where we keep the flame alive among us and take it seriously, so that it can grow and become stronger in us. In this way we can live with courage, trusting that there is a spiritual power in us that allows us to live in this world without being seduced constantly by despair, lostness, and darkness. That is how we dare to say that God is love even when we see hatred all around us. That is why we can claim that God is a God of life even when we see death and destruction and agony all around us. We say it together. We affirm it in one another. Waiting together, nurturing what has already begun, expecting its fulfillment--that is the meaning of marriage, friendship, community, and the Christian life.

-Excerpted from "Waiting for God," Henri Nouwen. Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2015

2015-11-22 Worship Videos

(apologies to CM - the recording computer failed)

English Sermon

Sunday, November 22, 2015

English Ministry News and Notes 2015-11-22

  • Celebrating Thanksgiving - All are invited to a simple fellowship luncheon following worship today.
  • Photo Shoots - Today we have a team of photographers ready to take your picture! We would very much like to update our "photo wall." PLEASE be sure to share a bit of time to have your picture taken. Both Sundays, you can take your picture between 10:30 and 11:00 in the upstairs Chapel, or starting at 12:15 in the upstairs chapel, main sanctuary, or outside in our court-yard. Gather your family and make sure to have a picture taken!
  • Stewardship Response Cards - Our annual invitation for you to renew your membership commitments through your presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness are available. Please prayerfully fill out and return today!
  • Advent Begins - The wonderful season of anticipation and waiting for the birth of our Savior begins on Sunday, Nov. 29th. Our theme this year is Pre-pare the Way. Let us ready our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ child once again.
  • Christmas Poinsettias - You are invited to contribute a poinsettia to our sanctuary's Christmas beauty. Each plant is $10. Sign ups will be taken through Nov. 29th. Thank you!

Thanksgiving - Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Generous God, thank you.
For the gift of life, the gift of creation, and this amazing world, thank you.
For the gift of lungs that know how to breathe without my telling them,
for galaxies that spin without my spinning them,
for living beings that surround me and give life, I thank you.
For the mystery of my life, the path that has brought me this far,
for all those who have been part of my story, all of them, I thank you.
I am grateful for loved ones near and far,
for those I live with and those I seldom see,
and those who have touched me only once,
for they are the tree that holds the nest of my life.
For the wonders that surround me, the beauty and strangeness,
the color and music of this life, I thank you,
and pray for eyes and ears of wonder.
For the mystery of your presence within me,
your attentiveness to my every heartbeat,
your unfathomable delight in my being, your forgiveness and healing,
for your gift of renewal and your resurrecting in me,
and for your energy in me, the shining sun of you in me,
I give you thanks and pray that I may always be mindful.
For all your gifts I am grateful, delighted and amazed,
and pray that I may ever be so.
For all that is to come, I ask not for goods or favors,
but only this: a heart of wonder, humility, gratitude and delight.
Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015-11-15 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministr News and Notes 2015-11-15

  • Charge Conference Today! We will gather at 1:00 p.m. for a (hopefully) short meeting to celebrate ministries and prepare for the upcoming year. All members are encouraged and urged to attend. Please welcome Rev. Chuck Cordes and wife, Stella.
  • Photo Shoots - Today and next Sunday (Nov. 15th and 22nd) we have a team of photographers ready to take your picture! We would very much like to update our "photo wall." PLEASE be sure to have your picture taken. Both Sundays, you can take your picture between 10:30 and 11:00 in the upstairs Chapel, or starting at 12:15 in the upstairs chapel, main sanctuary, or outside in our courtyard. Gather your family and make sure to have a picture taken!
  • Stewardship Response Cards - Our annual invitation for you to renew your membership commitments through your presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness are available. Please prayerfully fill out and return on Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 22nd.
  • Thanksgiving Family Night - We will be hosting the families of our Homework Club this Friday, Nov. 20th from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Plans are underway. Your presence, hospitality, and service are greatly appreciated and requested. Please sign up this Sunday to pitch in!
  • All Church Work Day - You are invited to pitch in on Saturday, Nov. 21st any time between 8:30 and 2:00 p.m. Please see Al for more info.
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving - We'll be holding our community Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday, Nov. 22nd. Worship will begin for both English and Chinese communities at 9:30 a.m. A special thanksgiving luncheon will be provided—no need to bring anything but yourselves!
  • Advent Begins - The wonderful season of anticipation and waiting for the birth of our Savior begins on Sunday, Nov. 29th. Our theme this year is Prepare the Way. Let us ready our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ child once again.
  • Christmas Poinsettias - You are invited to contribute a poinsettia to our sanctuary's Christmas beauty. Each plant is $10. Sign ups will be taken through Nov. 29th. Thank you!
  • Prayer Invites: Please remember KCVS as they hold their first nursery graduation on Friday, Nov. 20th, followed by an Annual General Meeting for parents and teachers.

Gratitude and Generosity are Indivisible, M.J. Ryan

"As I express my gratitude, I become more aware of it. And the greater my awareness, the greater my need to express it. What happens here is a spiraling ascent, a process of growth in ever-expanding circles around a steady center." ~Brother David Steindl-Rast
 
Years ago, my friend Grace got into a financial jam. She had bought a one-bedroom condo in the boom years of the eighties, and watched as the market for condos dropped like a rock. Then she was transferred to another state and couldn’t get rid of it because she owed more on the mortgage than she could sell it for. She couldn’t just walk away from it because the bank would come after the house she and her husband managed to buy despite the condo. So she rents it out, but the huge mortgage continues to be an albatross around her neck. Over the years, those who are close to Grace, including her friend Molly, have heard her express anxiety about the condo, especially whenever a tenant leaves.
 
One day recently, Molly called up Grace and told her that she and her husband had just made a killing when his Internet company went public, and she was going to give Grace the money to pay off the mortgage on the condo. Grace was overwhelmed. "You can’t do that," she said. "It’s so much money." And Molly replied, "I feel so grateful that my life has been so blessed. I just want to spread some of the blessings around. I’ve heard you complain about that condo for years. It would be give me great joy to alleviate that burden on you." Grace kept demurring, but Molly persisted, and finally Grace accepted. As a consequence, Molly got to feel the delicious sensation of giving a huge gift to someone she loved.
 
And Grace? Not only was she relieved of the burden of the condo, but she got to experience a sense of gratitude that spread in all its magnificence into all aspects of her life. Speaking to me about it the other day, she said, "You know, I have been blessed with truly generous friends all my life. Molly ended up giving me more than I needed to pay off the loan. What I would really like to do now is to use the rest of the money to help my in-laws get out of debt."
 
Both Molly and Grace have entered the ever-expanding circle of openheartedness that comes from the interplay of generosity and gratitude. It doesn’t matter where you enter the circle—in gratitude or with generosity. But the more you experience one, the more the other enhances your life as well. You feel grateful, which is the experience of fullness, and from that fullness you offer someone else something—an encouraging word, a helping hand—and receive something in return love—the feeling of connection, a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment that in turn fuels your feeling of gratitude for the gifts of life you have received.
 
Few of us will ever be as extravagant in our giving as Molly, but that doesn’t matter. The beautiful circle that giving and thankfulness traces occurs no matter the size or form of the gift.
 
May you find myriad ways to enter the circle, particularly during this holiday season.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Worship Videos 2015-11-1

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2015-11-1


  • YOUth Gather today!
  • Offer Your Voice! We will be forming a choir to share a communion hymn during NCC Convocation Sunday Worship. We’d love to have you be a part of it. Practice will be held today at 12:30 and next Sunday, Nov. 8th at 9:30 a.m. Please connect with Aeri to join in.
  • National Chinese Caucus (NCC) Convocation 2015 - We are hosting the Convocation happening Friday, Nov. 6th - Sunday, Nov. 8th. In honor of the Convocation, we will be holding a joint worship on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. followed by a fellowship luncheon. You are invited!
  • Charge Conference - The annual business meeting of the church in which we elect officers and leaders, affirm lay servants and those called to ordination, and pass the pastor’s compensation package will be held Sunday, Nov. 15th at 1:00 p.m. It’s makes a difference when you attend!
  • Prayer Invites: For the cultivation of a grateful heart.
  • Experience the joy of hospitality! If you enjoy connecting with one another over something tasty, please sign up to host the hospitality time. You’ll be glad you did! 

It’s All About the Glass, Kristi Nelson

Like anyone, I love days of “great-fullness” and all the moments which hover vividly at the brim. And I dearly love it when I feel like a “glass-half-full” kind of person; optimistic, celebratory, upbeat. But as I have grown to humbly understand, feelings of fullness are not consistent, predictable, or assured. I can always turn on the faucet, but as we all know, evaporation happens.

It seems to me that underneath all the inevitable risings and fallings, feeling deeply content or joyful is not actually about how full the glass is or seems… it is about being grateful for having a glass at all.

Being grateful for simply having a glass is key because without it, half of anything wouldn’t matter. Without it, life would either be a puddle or thin air. The glass is a container for our experiences – all experience – and some people seem to know that noticing and being grateful for this container trumps everything, and can turn any and all contents in our favor.
What I know is that when the glass of life itself feels like enough to me, the dry times and overflowing times can come and go and my happiness remains more steady and unconditional; my wellbeing seeming to spring from a deeper source. In this state, I am able to access that balance point of equanimity and equilibrium, returning solidly to the mid-way point, the mark of both half-full and half-empty, with less concern. I feel “held” by a container, full even when the glass is empty.

Many of us spend our lives seeking, accumulating and counting good times and reasons for gratitude as one way to shift the equation from lack to sufficiency; from half-empty to half-full. But gratitude for individual moments and things that can come and go – that DO come and go – can keep us in a relentless pursuit of “more.” And, on some level, we know that “more” is just as subject to evaporation as less.

Perhaps this is why we long, and need, to listen to the voices of people like Jimmy Carter, and innumerable others who stare into the face of illness and the end of life with grace, grit, and gratitude. We know that they know what matters. And most of us are longing to know, and be filled up by, what really matters in our lives – in the midst of a million forces pulling us toward settling for just one more drop.

Knowing that our lives are incomprehensibly precious, fragile, and fleeting reminds us to stop in our tracks and take stock, every moment, of what matters, how much is enough, and where wisdom would direct our attention. Yet, facing and befriending our mortality seems to be the one thing that so many of us most heartily avoid. What a conundrum…

Grateful living can help – offering a path and practices that put living fully at the center of everything. Gratefulness is about being able to notice and appreciate the gift of the glass itself, amidst the ups and downs. It is about knowing in our molecules that life is a gift, no matter how empty we may feel.

And it is about understanding that in each and every moment that we notice we are alive, we are succeeding in creating a life that truly hovers vividly at the brim. Because, in the end, it is all about the glass, not what is in it.