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Tri-City Canaan Church

English Congregation

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.

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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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QFW – Archives

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Feb 5th, 2017

To me, growing into spiritual maturity is becoming less self-conscious and more God-conscious.

(Mark Batterson)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Jan 8th, 2017

What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.

(Hans Urs von Balthasar, 20th Century Swiss Theologian)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Dec 5th, 2016

“If you are marrying someone, marry one with a solid inner core.
Better still, be the one with the solid core.
If you grow in faith on the solid Rock of Christ, you grow your inner core.” PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Dec 1st, 2016

“We must accept finite disappointment but we must never lose infinite hope.” (Dr Martin Luther King Jr)

PCY

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Nov 22nd, 2016

“It is not Happy People who are Thankful;

It is Thankful People who are Happy.”

PCY

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – Nov 7th, 2016

When someone says he/she is too busy for you, it’s never about time. It’s simply about his/her priorities. You will then have two choices. You could feel slighted that you are way down the pecking order and spray your irritation on others. Alternatively, you can remain humble with understanding and say a calm prayer of care for him/her. If you can do this, you would be practicing the following:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – October 31st, 2016

The popular British speaker, Simon Sinek says:

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress.
Working hard for something we care is called passion.”

Wonderful words. What about working hard for Christ? It’s called love.

PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – October 25th, 2016

“In the book of Esther, there is one recurrent theme that should grab our attention. It’s the quiet confidence of Queen Esther, a Jew, a woman from an enslaved race, an ordinary person living amid an extraordinary set of circumstances.” – PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – October 19th, 2016

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

– Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968)


QUOTES FOR THE WEEK – October 11th, 2016

“Educating the head without educating the heart is no education at all.”

– (Aristotle, 384-322BC)

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – September 30th, 2016

“If you are planting for a year, plant grain.
If you are planting for a decade, plant trees.
If you are planting for a century, plant people.” (Chinese Proverb)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – September 18th, 2016

Teaching children to count is fine; but teaching them what counts is even better.

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – September 11th, 2016

Outer beauty catches the eyes;
Inner Beauty captures the hearts;
but Divine Beauty wins souls. – (PCY)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – August 29th, 2016

A true friend:

  • Loves without conditions;
  • Talks without intentions;
  • Gives without reasons;
  • Cares without expectations.

God is always close but never closed. Like a true friend, He does not listen with an intent to reply but listen with a heart to love. (PCY)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – August 8th, 2016

The lack of a community to share with is one of the biggest reasons for loneliness and mental illness. We in the West have largely lost the essence of what it means to be a community. In fact, one of the things we can learn from the African indigenous people is their understanding of community. They call it ‘ubuntu.’ It essentially represents the deepest held values of their people, that ‘I cannot be happy unless everyone in my community has what they need.’ Learning to serve one another in such a way is a hallmark of an excellent Christian community. – PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – August 1st, 2016

“If God were our one and only desire we would not be so easily upset when our opinions do not find outside acceptance.” – (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ)


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – July 25th, 2016

“Encouragement is not limited to mere words that come from positive thinking gurus or surreal moods that only last a microwave moment. The Greek word for encouragement is ‘paraklesis’ which literally means ‘come alongside.’ This word is also related to the word for the Holy Spirit, our Helper, ‘Parakletos,’ who comes alongside us.

True encouragement is about coming alongside someone in need.” – PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – July 18th, 2016

When the heart is willing, one finds a way.

When the heart is unwilling, one looks for excuses.” – PCY


QUOTE FOR THE WEEK – July 11th, 2016

“God has no Phone, but I talk to Him.

He has no Facebook, but He is still my friend.

He does not have Twitter, but I still follow Him.

He does not need GPS on Pokemon Go to locate us, for He is always with us.” – PCY

“If I Perish” – Reflections on Esther 4:16

Reflections on Esther 4:16
Date: Sep 30th, 2016
Written by: PCY

iiperishYears ago, I remember a book by the title of “If I Perish” written by a Korean Christian imprisoned in Japan during the brutal WWII era. Esther Ahn Kim (Korean name: E-Sook Ahn) wrote this book, detailing her six years of hardship and torture. It was a testimony of faith in God as she persistently held on to the promise in the Bible and constantly made reference to the Word of God in everything she said or did. Her faith was so vibrant and vivid that it touched not only fellow prisoners but the prison guards. Kim lived like she was ready to be a martyr for Christ anytime. She pledged to pursue God’s will whatever the cost may be. Miraculously, she was released but her witness continued. Such an attitude reflects the words of the biblical heroine, Esther. As it is written in Esther 4:16, Esther decided to act on the knowledge that her people would be annihilated if nothing was done. In doing so, she was putting her own life on the line.

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

There are three amazing demonstrations of faith in this one verse alone.

First, she called on her people to fast. In turn, she too would fast together with her assistants. This is faith demonstrated on one’s knees.  Incredibly, she asked for a mass fasting event! In our day and age, food often bring people together. In contrast, Esther was calling for a fast that brings people together! The urgency of the request could be felt. In the Bible, the practice of fasting is closely associated with praying. In a book that does not have the names of God mentioned at all, this is one of the clearest evidence that the book is about God. What would they do when they fast? They could remember Esther and how to encourage her. They could come together to reflect on their plight. They could also do what they had been trained to do from young: Pray. Prayer and fasting are two intertwined rituals that Jews have been practicing through the ages. There is no fasting devoid of prayer. There is no deeper prayer without fasting. Though the passage does not specifically mention prayer, the implication is implicit.  Continue reading ““If I Perish” – Reflections on Esther 4:16″

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