Sunday, February 28, 2016

Worship Videos 2016-2-28

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-2-28

  • Last weekend, Cyclone Winston, the largest storm to hit the South Pacific impacted both Tonga and Fiji bringing much destruction and death. Bishop Warner Brown invites us to be in prayer for healing and recovery, but also to take up a special offering for our mission partners there. We will do so next Sunday, Mar. 6th. Great thanks in advance for your generosity.
  • Let's Slurp SOUP - You are each invited and encouraged to "complete" worship by participating in SOUP following worship. We will gather in the Annex. Great thanks to soup-makers this week: Donna & Adrienne, and always to our bread queen: Peggy!
  • Project Welcome Update - Great huge thanks to all who have signed up to share welcome to our newest neighbors. Today is our 1/2 way point in inviting participation and it looks like we're about half way to filling 4 kits. If you haven't yet signed up to pitch in, please do so today!
  • Great thanks to Ben and Al - If you appreciate the brightness of the sanctuary projector today, please be sure to share a word of gratitude with Ben and Al.
  • Easter Lilies - You are invited to purchase Easter lilies to fill the sanctuary on Easter. Each plant is $10. Please sign up with Peggy no later than next Sunday, Mar. 6th.
  • An Invitation to Prayer: The Ugandan elections were held last Thursday, Feb. 18th. Rev. Martin Odi, former Board Chair of YCVM, wrote: "This elections were marred by the dirtiest corruption I have ever witnessed in my life, intimidation, brutal abuse of people, especially opposition, such that in one week of election the key leader of opposition was jailed 5 times and continues to be under house arrest. Vote rigging and vote stealing; and suppression of human rights. It is the worst in the history of Uganda, even worse than the days of Idi Amin! Internet and social media, including Mobile money were not allowed to operate. Police were mechanized and acted in favor of the incumbent; beating people and blowing tear gas often, also shooting live bullet which saw about 5 people dead in separate incidences. We are back beyond days of the worst regimes in our country and now being ruled by Totalitarian African colonialists wielding not just power alone but all authority against the freedom of people. Our next parliament is a cemetery with very weak people who will be used as rubber stamps for some strong man. We need God to save us from this. The intelligent people and wise Ugandans have folded their hands and closed their mouths to watch because you can be killed if you do so. Please pray for us more. I fear for our children and grandchildren. May God help us!" Let us indeed join our brothers and sisters in prayer.

Community: God's Design For Growth (III)

God never intended for any of us to live the Christian life alone.

A PLACE TO PRAY AND WORSHIP - The community helps us grow, too, as it becomes a workshop for prayer and worship. Both by instruction and by example, the New Testament teaches us to pray and to pray for one another (Eph. 6:18, Jas. 5:16). We are called as well to a life of worship and praise. Yet, frankly, our experiences of prayer and worship in the church often shunt us toward merely watching others pray and take active roles in worship. As helpful as those experiences may be, being spectators simply isn't enough. We need a lab. We ourselves need to pray for each other. Each of us needs to be prayed for personally. And the small community is precisely the place where we can experiment and learn the life of prayer.

When I am not involved in a Christian community, it is the times of prayer and worship that I miss the most. Many of us are never really prayed for beyond a brief mention in one of those quick-and-dirty list prayers. I once privately offered a simple prayer of blessing for a friend who had been in public ministry for many years. I was overwhelmed when he said to me afterward, "No one has ever prayed for me like that before."

We dare not neglect each other like that! Similarly, as we learn the ways of worship in the small community, we not only deepen our own lives but also enrich the life of public worship. In my experience, community is at its best when it becomes a workshop for prayer and worship.

A PLACE TO SERVE - The community is also where we learn to strip away our self-interest in order to serve others. It is here that we learn to share what God has given us, whether it be goods or spiritual gifts. It is also here that we learn to be served, though we are sometimes prideful and reluctant like Peter, who balked at Jesus washing his feet (Jn. 13:2-10). Sometimes we are the washers and sometimes the washees, but in many ordinary ways we can learn what submission and service mean.

One community I know gave time and money so a mother worn down by the demands of young children could take a spiritual retreat. Others have found practical ways to swap mowers and ladders and child care; some have explored group buying to help each other grow in stewardship. I have seen people abandon a special outing to bail out a friend’s leaky basement and give time freely to help remodel a bathroom or repair a car. In whatever ways, community means watching over one another for good, knowing that as we serve, all of us are growing stronger in Christ.

Howard Macy is a Professor Emeritus at George Fox University. He is the author of Rhythms of the Inner Life.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Community: God's Design For Growth (II)

God never intended for any of us to live the Christian life alone.
A WAY TO SEE CHRIST IN OTHERS - One of the most important ways the community helps us is by embodying Christ’s continuing presence on earth. When my brothers and sisters love and accept me, I feel Christ’s love, too. When I confess my sin and they forgive me, I know that God forgives me, too. When they pray for my brokenness, I know that they are sharing in the healing work of Jesus. In our dog-eat-dog, enemies-with their teeth-bared world, when we feel the crush of hostility and of our own failures, to have our Christian community surround us with compassion and encouragement lightens our loads, strengthens us, and gives us the courage to keep on trying.

A SOURCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND GUIDANCE - The community also furthers our continuing conversion by being a place where we teach each other and hold ourselves accountable to each other. When I hear what God is teaching others, it teaches me, too. When I submit to the guidance and scrutiny of my brothers and sisters, it forces me to grow and to be accountable to the commitments I make.

Ignoring this powerful element is one of the main reasons many small groups never really experience Christian community. They prefer to remain superficial. Inadvertently, perhaps, they enter into a pact of mediocrity in which they tacitly agree to let all the members "mind their own business" and not to hold people accountable either to each other or to the teachings of Christ. It’s a great loss, for when we refuse accountability to the community, we not only fail to grow, but we put ourselves in grave danger.

I tend to overfill my calendar with activities, projects, and meetings, a flaw that, for me, has spiritual roots. When I began work on my first book, I took the idea to a group of trusted Christian friends who knew about my weakness.

We had a wonderful and terrible meeting. After listening to me for a while, they said they thought God wanted me to write the book. They also asked to see my appointment calendar. It took only moments for them to see that I couldn't write the book and do everything I had already scheduled, so they insisted that I should cancel several speaking engagements and resign from some committees. I took their counsel, although giving up some of those plans made me heartsick. I also sent each of them a schedule of my "writing days" as a further step toward accountability. It is clear now (though I knew it then) that they were right. If I had failed to submit to their wisdom under God, that book would still be merely a few notes in a manila folder.

Such accountability doesn't need to have overtones of checking up and scolding. It works, instead, to encourage us and help us in our growth and commitments. We may ask for guidance about how to handle a difficult relationship on the job or about how to put together a family budget that reflects our commitments about lifestyle and giving. And we'll be glad, usually, to have people ask how it’s going. The community gives us a place to air our growth and our struggles, our successes and failures. It simply gives us a way of guiding each other ever more fully in the ways of Christ.

Howard Macy is a Professor Emeritus at George Fox University. He is the author of Rhythms of the Inner Life.

Friday, February 19, 2016

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-2-21

*Ongoing Lenten Invites:

  • Come to SOUP - complete the time of worship by grabbing a bowl of hearty soup, sharing from your heart, and praying in unity. SOUP takes place after worship in the Annex. Great thanks to this week's soup makers: Jonathan and Becky, and the queen of bread: Peggy.
  • A World Worth Saving - explore spiritual disciplines that engage you in the world that God loves. Sunday School meets weekly at 9:30 a.m. sharp in the Annex.
  • Project Welcome - pitch in to generously welcome our newest neighbors in the East Bay. Together with our Presbyterian and Episcopal brothers and sisters, we are putting together welcome kits for refugee families. Sign up sheet is available in the social hall. The drive ends on Good Friday, Mar. 25th.
  • YOUth Sunday Dinners, tonight! @ 4:30 p.m.!
  • Did you know, a new term is beginning at KCVS tomorrow? Please hold our beloved school, KCVS, all the teachers, the students, and the supporting personnel in God's gracious care.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-2-14

  • Come, Share a Bowl of SOUP - all are invited and welcome to Sundays of Uniting Prayer following worship. We will gather in the Annex for a time of delicious soup, sharing of the heart, and prayer for our beloved community. What better way to live out this year's Lenten theme? Great thanks to our soup makers: Ed, Arlene, & Aeri, and our bread preparer: Peggy!
  • New Adult Sunday Series - During the season of Lent, we will be exploring spiritual practices that take us out into the world. Please consider picking up a copy of "A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action." We welcome new folks (our young people!) to the teaching rotation.
  • Last Call - Lord, Teach Us to Pray Workshop - If you are feeling nudged to deepen your prayer life, join in a time of learning and transformation, Feb. 26th (7-9 pm) and Feb. 27th (9 am - 5 pm). Carpooling is available!
  • Hands Around the Mosque - We have been invited to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters as a sign of our commitment to move from fear to friendship, Sunday, Feb. 28th from 4:00 - 6:30 pm. We will be gathering with the greater community at the Islamic Society of the East Bay. If you feel called to participate, please connect with Pastor Emily.
  • Our weekly World in Prayer which is printed in the back of our bulletin can be sent directly to your email. You can sign up here at

Community: God's Design For Growth (I)

God never intended for any of us to live the Christian life alone.

At the mere mention of the word community, people often eye you as if you had dropped in from another world, smile tolerantly, and hope you change the subject. Good, sensible, Christian people. They fear that you're going to tell them they have to sell all they own, move to a farm, wear bib overalls, and raise peanuts. Or that they have to abandon their fertilized lawns and move to the inner city. Because they misunderstand the idea of community, many Christians don't want to think about it at all.

To avoid thinking about community simply because we misunderstand it will deprive us of one of God’s greatest gifts. The idea of community is, in a sense, from another world, a world very unlike our own. But it is neither from the world of communes in Vermont nor from the placid world of cookies and tea Christians share before they rush back to their isolated lives. Community is from the world as God wants it to be. It is the gift of a rich and challenging life together, one that we need and can receive with joy.

Christian community is simply sharing a common life in Christ. It moves us beyond the self-interested isolation of private lives and beyond the superficial social contacts that pass for "Christian fellowship." The biblical ideal of community challenges us instead to commit ourselves to life together as the people of God.

We know all too well that maturity takes time. We know less well that it also takes our sisters and brothers in Christ. It’s a process that is revealed in the "each other" language of the New Testament: Love one another, forgive each other, regard each other more highly than yourselves. Teach and correct each other, encourage each other, pray for each other, and bear each other’s burdens. Be friends with one another, kind, compassionate, and generous in hospitality. Serve one another and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. This list just scratches the surface, but it is enough to remind us that we need the community of faith to grow up in Christ.

Christian community is the place of our continuing conversion. Its goal is that, individually and together, we should become mature, no longer knocked around by clever religious hucksters, but able to stand tall and straight, embodying the very "fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-16).

Howard Macy is a Professor Emeritus at George Fox University. He is the author of Rhythms of the Inner Life.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-2-7

  • Happy Lunar New Year! You are invited and welcomed to join in for a fellowship potluck lunch following worship. Mega and Naga Winoto, members of the Chinese Ministry have prepared beautiful hand calligraphed new year couplets for each family. Please stay to recognize them and build community.
  • Mark Ash Wednesday - You are encouraged to begin the special season of Lent together, Feb. 10th at 7:30 p.m.
  • New Adult Sunday Series - During the season of Lent, we will be exploring spiritual practices that take us out into the world. Please consider picking up a copy of "A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action." We welcome new folks (our young people!) to the teaching rotation.
  • S.O.U.P is Served - We will gather shortly after worship in the Annex each Sunday in Lent for a time of nourishment, reflection, and prayer. You are invited! Great thanks to our team of soup makers this year! There are just 2-3 more openings left to pitch in (one of which is next Sunday!).
  • Lord, Teach Us to Pray - There's still time to sign up to attend this 2 day workshop designed to encourage us to become people of prayer and experience deep intimacy with God. Dates are either Feb. 19th and 20th in Sacramento, or Feb. 26th and 27th in San Francisco. Please see Pastor Emily for more info or to sign up! Thus far, we have folks attending in both places - hallelujah!
  • Bring Beauty to the Sanctuary - you are invited to sign up to provide altar flowers each Sunday. You can do so by signing up on the sheet posted in the Annex hallway and giving $10 to Peggy or Helena. Thank you!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year….again! We celebrated at the beginning of December with a new church/liturgical year, at the beginning of January with a new calendar year, and now, at the beginning of February with a new lunar year! That’s a lot of celebrating. I pray each of these occasions has been an opportunity for you to look back in gratitude, look forward with hope, and stand in the present with purpose.

As is often the case, occasions in our cultural calendars are crossing paths with important junctures in our spiritual and religious calendars. On the 3rd day of the Spring Festival (kicked off by the lunar new year), the day when sons in laws typically pay respect to their parents in law, we’ll be marking Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. And on the first Sunday in Lent, the world will be marking St. Valentines Day. In other words, we are feasting in one world while we are being called to fast in another. We are celebrating and setting off firecrackers or indulging in chocolate in one world, while in the other, we are being called to self-examination and repentance. This “mash up” certainly keeps things interesting, doesn’t it? We might wonder how we best live out and practice our faith and witness in the midst of the world?

I want to warmly invite and heartily encourage you to attend this year’s Ash Wednesday worship (Feb. 10th at 7:30 p.m.) No other liturgical season begins in quite the same way as the season of Lent. Rather than beginning on a Sunday, we begin on a Wednesday and mark 40 days for fasting and penance from there (I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how we get 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.) This season is like no other in its intensity and call to draw close to God, to allow God to break us open, and to take inventory of our lives as we reorient ourselves to God, our true north. It is both a solo journey that we take as well as a communal one.

Our Lenten theme this year is: Community and Submission. Our theme invites us to explore, remember, reconsider and reflect on what Christian community is all about, and how being community is a fundamental spiritual practice as a disciple. We are often reminded that we cannot be Christians alone and that our faith comes alive only when practiced in community. Do we believe this? Do we live as if we believe this? Further, our theme challenges us to consider the practice of submission as a basic and essential ingredient to Christian community. That could be a hard pill to swallow, yet its life-giving potential is mighty. So what do you think? Will you dive in with both feet to the new season? Will you open your heart to the theme and invite God to show you what Abundant Life looks like anew? Will you intentionally journey together? I hope so. I pray so.

See you at Lent’s “starting line” on Ash Wednesday!
Peace, Emily