Sunday, September 25, 2016

English News and Notes 2016-9-25

  • New Christian Ed Series - "From Membership to Discipleship": gather with others to explore, discuss, consider, and engage the invitation to (re)commit to following Jesus as a disciple. This 7 part series begins today and continues through Nov. 13th. Sessions begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the annex.
  • World Communion Celebration Worship & Picnic - Next Sunday, Oct. 2nd, we head out to creation to celebrate our connection with brothers and sisters around the world. Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a fellowship lunch. You are invited to bring: water/water bottle, camping chairs, picnic mats, fruit or dessert to share. Please let Frances know if you need transportation or can offer it.
  • It's Not Too Late - Join in the transformative experience of our upcoming church retreat, Oct. 8th. Our facilitator/teacher is Sam Yun, a dynamic, fun, insightful pastor who will inspire us to consider where we are and the possibilities before us as a church. We will gather at Lake Park UMC.
  • Are You In? Have you invited your friends and purchased your ticket/table yet for the upcoming Kumi Benefit Dinner happening on Oct. 21st?! If you have wonderful items that would be good for the Silent Auction, please connect with Donna Chan Chu. Get on it!
  • Have You Heard? - Beginning with CCC, God has multiplied generosity and created abundance! Over the last month, $15,500 was donated from individuals to KCVS. This amount is being set aside to enable KCVS to bid for a new used school bus. Stay tuned!

What Is a Disciple?

by www. Intervarsity.org

I thought of two traditional descriptions that accurately reflect what a disciple is, but they do not fully define the profound quality of life made possible by reconnection with God. By looking at these definitions, however, perhaps we can see what lies beyond them.

1. A disciple does certain things.

2. A disciple understands certain things.

A disciple does certain things. This view of a disciple emphasizes discipline and obedience. You demonstrate that you are a follower of Christ by trying to live as He lived and by carrying out His commands. A disciple does “good things,” such as quiet times, evangelism, involvement with other believers, and social justice work. We feel deep concern for righteousness, whether personal or cultural.

A disciple understands certain things. This view of a disciple emphasizes accurate thinking and insight concerning God, people, salvation, and so on. The theory is that if you think correctly about the important things, then the rest of your life will assume the proper prospective. A disciple must understand that God is both holy and loving; that people, though sinners, are made in the image of God; that Christ’s death was the substitute payment for our sin; and that because of Jesus’ payment, we are granted access to the heart of God.

This view holds that we can acquire a substantial understanding of God’s redemptive work, which enables us to correctly see Him and our position in Him. An extension of this view is that we can also gain a substantial understanding of our own lives, our personal history and family background. This understanding enables us to make progress in our relationship with Christ. For instance, understanding that your father’s past ridicule has hobbled your self-image helps you begin to confidently give yourself to others.

The Dilemma of Defining Relationship

The dilemma with defining a disciple is that you are not defining a static object that stands alone and possesses such and such properties. Rather, you are defining a person who is in relationship with another person. A disciple is defined by his or her relationship with God.

The two traditional descriptions discussed above do reflect some of the work and fruit of a disciple, but they are incomplete. A disciple should never be described in terms of things, even if those things are behaviors and ideas. It is possible, after all, to do right things and have accurate answers, and yet be very far away from God. A disciple is best described not in terms of relationship with things, but in terms of relationship with God Himself.

God desires our passionate love — this is the great appeal and command of the whole of Scripture, and the endpoint of the Gospel. As a result, our definition of a disciple should be no less.

Yes, a disciple does and understands certain things. Yet far more fundamentally and profoundly, a disciple loves a certain Someone. A disciple is someone growing in adoration of and love for God, and subsequently in love for other people. Such a person is other-centered because his or her focus is on God.
If love for God is the definition of a disciple, then how do we develop love for God and others? All the implications of our strategy for “developing disciples” stem from the answer to that question. The better we can answer it, the better we will be in helping others to mature in Christ.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016-9-18 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-9-18

  • Great Thanks to José Arcellana for opening the Word today! José Arcellana is a local lay servant and a member of Buena Vista UMC, where as Church and Society committee chair he helped bring into focus justice in Palestine and peace in the Holy Land as issues of faith that Christians are called to address and act upon. He first visited the Holy Land in 2007 as part of an interfaith group of peacemakers, and he returned in 2010 as part of the first pilgrimage from Buena Vista UMC. He has spoken on Palestine at various churches and conducted study sessions on the Kairos Palestine document from Palestinian Christian churches.
  • Pilgrimage Orientation - You are warmly invited to consider being a part of next years Holy Land Pilgrimage. Jacinto will share some basic information to get you started in your discernment following fellowship hour in the Annex at 12:45 p.m. If you are interested but unable to attend, please sign the Interest Form. Thanks!
  • Come On Out!- World Communion Celebration & Picnic will be held, Oct. 2nd at Crab Cove in Alameda. This is the last Sunday to sign up! We want you to come....and bring a friend! Bento lunches are $10 (please don't let cost stop you). Please see Frances.
  • Please Pray - Silver of Kumi Christian Visionary School (KCVS) invites our prayers as the region suffers through a severe drought. He noted that many families have cut down to 1 meal a day as food has not been growing well and food prices soar. Additionally, another semester at KCVS begins this Monday, Sept. 19th.
  • Are You a Disciple? Do You Want to Be? We will begin exploring these questions and more in earnest on Sunday, Sept. 25th as we start a new Adult Christian Education series. Every member of CCUMC is urged and encouraged to participate so that we might transform as a community. Grab a friend and neighbor and come on!

You Are Invited: AO Circuit Holy Land Pilgrimage, May 2017

Our circuit made up of 8 churches (including our own) is organizing a unique pilgrimage to Palestine/Israel next year. The purpose is to witness the land and reality of Jesus’ birth, to seek him out in the present, and to discern our possible call to be of service. A pilgrimage is distinct from a sightseeing tour for many reasons. Here is a teaser about pilgrimage in general:

Pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place. It provides the opportunity to step out of the non-stop busyness of our lives, to seek a time of quiet and reflection. It gives us the chance to ‘walk through’ those issues that we have on our minds, whatever they might be. It is a time of simply ‘being’ rather than always ‘doing’.

Pilgrimage can also be a highly sociable activity, allowing us to enjoy the company of others we meet on the road. It gives us the chance re-energize mentally, physical and spiritually. And it allows us to connect anew with the wider world and reconnect with the natural world—as well as to refresh our faith or seek spiritual direction.

People go on pilgrimage for as many reasons as there are pilgrims. Often,
people go on pilgrimage when they are at a crossroads in their lives, when undergoing a change in their life’s direction or relationships. Others may be in search of a deeper spirituality, healing and forgiveness. Or it may be that pilgrimage marks a special birthday, retirement or other occasion for giving thanks. It’s also a great adventure with the chance to meet new people and see new places.

For Christians, the reasons for going on pilgrimage might be:
  • To set aside time for God and feel closer to God
  • To discern God’s will and guidance at times of transition or difficulty
  • To be strengthened in faith
To feel inspired by the communion of saints who have gone before us
Pilgrimage can be a life-changing, transformational experience. A time of letting go of the old to let the new come in. Pilgrims don’t merely visit a place as tourists, they come away inspired and changed by it in some way. Going on pilgrimage may give us a new sense of awareness and wonder. Or result in a greater sense of our life’s purpose. Pilgrimage helps to illuminate the journey of life by helping us to focus on ‘what really matters’ and to rediscover the joy of giving and generosity. And to have a greater appreciation for life’s gifts.

Why might you go on a pilgrimage? What might you be seeking?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016-9-11 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-9-11

  • Great Thanks to Burt Yin, one of our amazing Lay Servants, for opening up the Word today.
  • Are You a Disciple? Do You Want to Be? We will begin exploring these questions and more in earnest on Sunday, Sept. 25th as we start a new Adult Christian Education series. Every member of CCUMC is urged and encouraged to participate so that we might transform as a community. Grab a friend and neighbor and come on!
  • Wadi Foquin Sunday, Sept. 18th— Across our circuit, we will mark a special Sunday and the kick off of a new mission possibility: engaging with a little village in the West Bank of Palestine. Worship will be followed by a Holy Land Pilgrimage Orientation for all those curious and discerning participating in the pilgrimage scheduled for spring of 2017 (early May). Question? Please connect with Pastor Emily.
  • World Communion Picnic Sunday, Oct. 2nd - We're heading out to God's good creation to celebrate, connect, and worship. This is a wonderful opportunity to invite neighbors and friends! We will be ordering lunch bentos once again ($10/person). Sign up this and next Sunday!
  • Let's Retreat! Set aside Oct. 8th, Saturday, to do something different. The English Ministry will gather to play, laugh, and learn. We have invited the wonderfully inspiring and engaging Pastor Samuel Yun to be our facilitator for the day. Your presence makes a difference! Sign up today!
  • Share your Hospitality! There are opportunities open for you to try out new recipes ! Sign up in the annex to host our worship service coffee hour!

The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, Craig Denison

If the core of Jesus' teachings on the gospel could be summed up in two stories, they would be the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Both stories illustrate one crucially important truth: God pursues us. Both clearly display God's heart for us in that he willingly and passionately comes down to meet and help us wherever we are. As we look at these important parables today, open your heart and allow the reality of God's pursuit of you to transform the way you relate to him and stir up your desires to seek his face in return.

Jesus tells two parables to re-emphasize a perspective-shattering truth. The King of kings and Lord of lords so values us that he leaves everything behind to pursue relationship with us. So great is God's desire for restored relationship with you that he came down off his throne, left transcendent perfection, and lived his earthly life in total service to us, thereby leading him to an unjustified and sacrificial death.

Has the reality of that truth been fully realized in your heart? Has both the grandeur and love of our God hit home to the point that the depth of God's love is your chief reality? Too often we pass by the core message of the gospel because we have heard it before, and we don't allow it to stretch past our mind into our heart. It's when truth rests in our heart, impacts our emotions, and becomes real to us that it transforms our life. You were the helpless and lost sheep. You were the coin that was so valuable God worked and searched until he had it back in his possession. You are of the highest value to the only One who truly decides the essence of worth. Don't let that truth pass you by today.

Instead, grab hold of it, reflect on it, and wrestle with it until it becomes the foundation for every decision, thought, and action in your life. Let's respond to the depth of God's pursuit with our own. Let's allow God to bring every part of our lives entirely into his possession. Let's be the reward of Jesus' sacrifice. In Psalm 27:8 David says, "You have said, 'Seek my face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, Lord, do I seek.'" God is calling out to you, saying, "Seek my face." He waits patiently for your reply, excited at the notion that you would live your life receiving the abundance made available to you by Jesus' sacrifice.

Spend time in prayer meditating on God's pursuit of you and responding to him by seeking his face. May you discover a deeper reality of his nearness, love, and pursuit of you today as your respond to God's word in faith.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

2016-9-4 Worship Videos

Chinese Choir

Chinese Sermon

English Sermon

English Ministry News and Notes 2016-9-4

  • Great Thanks for your presence, time, and participation in Street Fest Hospitality Sunday efforts. Let us continue to take on all opportunities to be signs of God's welcome and grace to others. Special thanks to planning lead: Michelle!
  • New Adult Sunday Season begins Next Sunday - The season will begin with 2 sessions of lectionary Bible Study followed by a refresher and exploration on discipleship beginning Sept. 25th! Come and engage! Series will be facilitated by Pastor Emily and begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday for the next 9 weeks. Join in!
  • Wadi Foquin Sunday, Sept. 18th— Across our circuit, we will mark a special Sunday and the kick off of a new mission possibility: engaging with a little village in the West Bank of Palestine. Worship will be followed by a Holy Land Pilgrimage Orientation for all those curious and discerning participating in the pilgrimage scheduled for spring of 2017 (early May). Question? Please connect with Pastor Emily.
  • Let's Gather! - We will hold our first church retreat in a looooong time on Saturday, Oct. 8th. Please sign up today! Your presence does make a difference! All ages welcome.
  • Did You Know? - The amazing outpouring of generosity from CCC in San Diego for KCVS ($5,908) has lead to abundance from all corners. We've received 3 "surprise" gifts from 2 CCUMC members and another church totaling $8,300! This means that KCVS might have a chance at a new-old school bus ($15,500 bid at an upcoming auction). We’re just $834 away. Let's hold this possibility in prayer!
  • Starting Again - We did it! We filled the Alameda County Community Food Bank Food Barrell by the end of August. Thank you for your generosity! Let's do it again. September is pasta and tomato sauce month!

The Cross

Unless you carry your cross and follow me
you can’t be my disciple.
—Luke 14:27

What if I went through this day as if
I were not wearing a cross but bearing one?
What if I went through the day with my hands in the air?

What comfort do I cherish more than you, God?
What security do I need to renounce?
What privilege do I need to confront?
What do you call me to surrender
for the sake of love and justice?
Not Jesus’ cross, but mine? what is it like?

I ready myself today
to enter people’s suffering,
to stand with the poor and outcast,
to hurt with the hurting and risk with the vulnerable,
to share in powerlessness
and find power there.
To trust you alone.
You alone.

Set my hands on my cross,
my shoulder under its weight.
Let it lift me,
the cross alone lift me.

-Rev. Steven Garnass-Holmes