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Tri-City Canaan Church

English Congregation

“Child or Christ”-Centered Parenting

Written by: Pastor Conrade
Date: Feb 6th, 2017

A friend of mine once told me his predicament. He moved to Vancouver when his kids were studying in Vancouver High Schools. After high school, they moved again to the East Coast because their kids started University studies there. After they graduated, they moved again. Where their children go, there the parents will be also. When will all these follow-the-children movements end? Surely life is much more than our children?

Times have changed. Unlike the past, where children usually follow their parents, many parents are now following their children. From schools to universities to job locations, some families literally move as one under the pretext of being together as one family. John Rosemond lamented about the shifting of parenting priorities compared to the culture back in 1972. At that time, his wife said:

We are not going to make this child the center of our lives. This child is going to adapt to us, not the other way around.” (John Rosemond, Family Psychologist)

I have seen quite a number of my peers, including Christians, whose lives revolve around their little ones. Even their marriages revolve around their children. I call this “Child-Centered Parenting.” In this article, I want to encourage Christian parents to aim toward Christ-centered parenting.

A) Child-Centered Parenting Continue reading ““Child or Christ”-Centered Parenting”

Colossians Series (Jan-Feb 2017)

Understanding Millennials

This is an insightful interview (18 minutes) about the nature of Millennials. While we don’t have to agree with everything Simon Sinek says, there are some good observations about this group of people born between the years 1984 and 2000. He combines his understanding of biology and psychology and applies them to the workplace and society in general. It’s an inspiring talk.

If you have the time, you can watch the full video (just over an hour) here.

 

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More Than a Merry Christmas

Image result for salvation army christmas kettle“Merry Christmas!” Says the man ringing the bell at the kettle stand. Having walked past different people at different times at the malls, I just smiled or nodded. Usually, I simply straddled past. It also got me thinking: Is there more to simply uttering a Merry Christmas wish?

It plucks my heartstrings with guilt. If I do not put any coins or bills into the kettle, am I less Christian? What if I simply say: “I am already trying to make ends meet. So why should I donate?” Such a guilt does not go away easily. Even if people decide to pop in a few coins, the stigma shifts from giving to the amount of giving.

What if I give only coins after the guy in front just inserted a few notes?

On and on it goes. The unbearable likeness of guilt and confusion. Is that kind of giving any virtuous? Guilt-propelled giving is a misunderstanding of what giving is really about. In fact, it is a selfish act. Selfish because one gives out of a desire to reduce one’s sense of shame. Selfish because one is more interested in pleasing people (including self) instead of pleasing God. Selfish because the giving is calculative rather than unassuming. Giving based on a Guilt-trip is not exactly the spirit of Christmas.

Continue reading “More Than a Merry Christmas”

Advent 2016

Join us as we enter the season of Advent, in preparation of the Christmas joy.

 

A Moving Christmas Ad

Christmas is around the corner. For many people, it means lots of activities and the frantic rush to get the work in the office done, so that they can spend quality time with family. After all, in our culture, Christmas is a time for family and friends. Here is a really touching Christmas commercial that tugs at the heart of what being family means: Connecting in spite of language barriers. [Warning: There’s an expletive but don’t let it distract you.]

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It’s Not Christmas Yet!

Since Black Friday, many stores have dressed themselves up with snowflakes, bright lights, and Christmas decorations. With real and artificial fir trees loaded with shiny balls, glittering ornaments, gift boxes below, and an unmistakable star on top, people are on a shopping mood. Roads leading to my neighbourhood shopping mall are already choking with congestion. It takes drivers double the time to find a parking slot and shopper triple the time to pay for their goods. The year-end Christmas shopping spree and madness has begun! Radio stations are also getting on board the Christmas wagon by playing carols and songs about Christmas. This includes Christian ones. Two days ago, I shudder when a popular Christian radio started playing: “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Michael Bublé. Oops!

Wait a minute. It’s not Christmas yet! It’s still the Advent.

1) Advent is both Looking Backward and Forward

Continue reading “It’s Not Christmas Yet!”

Movie Night – Nov 19th, 2016

miraclesfromheavenMOVIE TITLE: MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN
DATE: Saturday, Nov 19th, 2016
TIME: 7pm
ORGANIZER: TCCC Adult Fellowship (English)

This family movie is also a tear-jerker. With powerful acting from the lead actress and a story that touches hearts, the basic message in this movie is: Believe.

This is the movie that moved Jennifer Garner to take her faith more seriously and to re-energize her desire to bring her family to Church.

Excerpt from FaithFilms.ca:

“MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution.

After Anna has a freak accident and falls three stories, a miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

With actors Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers, Martin Henderson, John Carroll Lynch, Eugenio Derbez and Queen Latifah.”

The movie will start at 7pm sharp. Chinese subtitles will be turned on for the benefit of those who are more conversant in Chinese.

We will have a short reflection about the underlying messages after the movie.

TCCCBLOG

Five Post-Election Thoughts

TITLE: Five Post-Election Thoughts
Written by: PCY
Date: Nov 16th, 2016

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. – (1 Tim 2:1-4)

[This article has also been posted on my blog SabbathWalk.]

For many people, the unthinkable happened. If Murphy was alive, he would have repeated with an i-told-you-so look: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” For nearly half the population of America today, it has indeed gone wrong when their candidate failed to garner the required number of electoral votes to win.

Donald TrumpOn January 20th, 2017, the controversial and straight-talk tycoon, Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States. In a result that took many people by surprise, it was the Democrat supporters, the widely leftist media and pollsters who had to flee with their tails between their legs. Even today, some are still scratching their heads wondering what happened. Others blamed it on the complacency of the Democratic establishment while some analysts said many Democrat supporters stayed home and did not vote. Those who could not accept the result took to the streets and protested the outcome. I watched the media and saw a 180-degree turnaround in their reporting. All their predictions were wrong. Instead of Clinton winning by a huge margin, it was Trump who took in the majority electoral votes. Instead of the former First Lady and experienced bureaucrat sweeping into power, it was a boisterous and shrewd reality-TV personality receiving the prize. News agencies and reporters continue to analyze the results and the reasons. Some blamed, others shamed. The truth is, many people continued to talk about what happened on Nov 8th, 2016 where America elects her new President. Some people might want some guidance with regard to this event. Let me then offer five post-election thoughts. Continue reading “Five Post-Election Thoughts”

Reformation Day! (Oct 31st)

Today (October 31st, 2016) marks the 499th year of the turning point in Church history. On October 31st, 1517, the monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses at the door of Wittenberg, essentially inviting the intellectual powers of that day to challenge him to a theological debate. An angry Martin Luther, having studied the Bible through and through, was utterly convinced that salvation cannot be tied to the sale of indulgences. At that time, indulgences were ways in which the Roman Church tried to bribe people into giving money to the Church in exchange for spiritual promises. He was particularly furious at the schemes of Johann Tetzel, who represented Rome in marketing the sale of indulgences. In fact, Tetzel even created a chime:

“When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs.”

reformation-day-serviceThough this had no biblical grounds, the common folks who had not read the bible for themselves were at their mercy. Under the authority of the Pope, people simply went along. Before bringing out the mallet, Luther had been studying and examining the Scriptures in their original language. Filled with conviction about God’s Word being wholly sufficient and authoritative, Luther would go on to construct the five pillars of the Reformation:

  1. Sola Scriptura – by Scripture alone;
    that the Bible alone is the sole and final authority for all matters of Christian faith
  2. Sola Fide – by Faith alone;
    that salvation is by faith alone, not works lest any man should boast.
  3. Sola Gratia – by Grace alone;
    that we receive the gift of salvation purely by the grace of God.
  4. Solus Christus – Christ alone;
    There is no other mediator other than Christ, for us to be reconciled with God.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God alone.
    Our calling is to live and to uphold the glory of God alone.

This October 31st, 1517 event has such great significance for the Church of today. Not only has it spurred a vibrant offshoot called the Protestant movement, it has revived the Roman Catholic Church to take the Bible more seriously than before. It led to several inner reformations for the Roman Church such as:

  • The Council of Trent (1545-1563)
  • Vatican II (1959)

When the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) gathered in January 1959, they reiterated the significant place of the Bible. In the Dei Verbum (DV), or commonly known as the “Word of God,” the Roman Church declares the divine revelation of God in both the Old and the New Testament, and venerates the Word of God as divine Scriptures in the same way Jesus Christ has been venerated. This push toward a deeper love for the Scriptures is attributed in part to the great Oct 31st event.

It started a domino effect where one bold act of defiance triggered a whole list of reformed movements such as:

  • Lutheran Reformation in Germany
  • Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) and Reformation in Switzerland
  • Michael Sattler (1495-1527), Menno Simons (1496-1561) and the Anabaptists
  • John Calvin (1509-1564) in Geneva and the Five Points of Calvinism
  • King Henry VII (1534) and Anglicanism in England
  • John Knox (1513-1572) and Presbyterianism
  • Puritans

I thank God for the way Martin Luther was led to spearhead the dramatic event. Here are some of his famous quotes which should provide much food for thought.

  • “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
    A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”
  • “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”
  • “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”
  • “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
  • “Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things we don not see.”
  • “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”
  • “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
  • “Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.”

His greatest hymn is none other than “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

Thank you Martin Luther!

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Can Christians Celebrate Halloween?

The signs are all there.

On the outside, with the Autumn winds and the changing colors of the foliage, October is the month where people brace themselves for the Winter cold. On the inside, you can see it at grocery stores all over the city. You can hear it being mentioned on TV commercials. You can also receive it in the flyers on our doorsteps. Even public schools get ready for this annual event: Halloween Fun!

The “Trick-or-Treat” question have commercial companies all heightened up for grand sales on both fronts. On the “trick” side, department stores and thrift shops stock up on frightening costumes, gory limbs, skeletons, witch dressings, complete with broomsticks and pumpkins. Not to be outdone, on the “treat” side, stores offer huge packets and gigantic boxes of candies, chocolates, and dental-unfriendly offerings. They are firmly there to make money out of an annual kids’ fun event. Hopping on the bandwagon are the entertainment players that range from opening up ‘haunted houses’ to some midnight rollercoaster rides at the nearby amusement parks. All for the price of fun.

For Christians, the key question asked is this: “Can Christians Celebrate Halloween?” This age-old question has been asked many times, answered many times, but still comes up every year. It is one of those questions that are actively asked simply because the event has been so widely promoted especially in North America. Let me give some guidance with regard to this. I offer three questions as a guide.

First, what exactly are we ‘celebrating?’ Continue reading “Can Christians Celebrate Halloween?”

The Younger Generation and Church

Derek Rishmawy gives us some insights on the challenges of younger people with regard to Church; how the culture of the world is such a big influence; and how in spite of the flaws of Church and Christian community, the Church is still the only community that God’s promises are attached to.

Take 6 minutes to watch and listen to this video clip.

The Church is where you find answers to those fears. The church is where you find true freedom, it’s not the freedom of unconstrained choice but the freedom to find yourself in others, and with others through the ties that bind…

Derek Rishmawy is a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

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