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INVESTING IN COUPLESMATTER, BECAUSE COUPLES MATTER TO GOD.
At the end of this month, several amazing leaders from our FamilyMatters Ministry
along with myself and Pastor Sam Yun from EMBRACE Church will be hosting and
leading an enriching, faith-filled weekend for couples. In a two day program taking
place in our Ministry Center on February 27-28, couples will gather to examine their
lives together, to share their feelings, hopes, disappointments, joys and frustrations
so that they can improve and enhance their relationship with a greater awareness of
God in their lives.
Inspired by the direct experience and blessing that Eric & Rennie Bautista and Chris
& Kristine Welcher had from their participation from a marriage encounter
weekend sponsored by the Catholic church, this weekend aims to both emulate and
further customize that experience to bless couples in our church. This weekend will
involve a series of talks that are given by Pastor Sam and myself on ways that
couples can communicate better and look deeper into various elements of their
relationship. The couples will engage in personal and interpersonal, reflective
exercises leading to the building up of intentional and healthy relationships.
One of the foundational values that undergird this weekend experience is the belief
that God desires healthy and whole relationships between couples. In God’s design,
we are meant to be in mutual, loving, and complementary engagement with one
another. And we know that does not always come easily. There is always stuff we
need to learn, and there is always room for growth in every relationship.
Our hope for this weekend is that couples will walk away from this experience with greater love, passion and intention for one another. There is a greater purpose for couples to be together and to be in love with one another than just romance. God wants to use every couple in the context of a greater calling. And that’s why we are investing in CouplesMatter. Because ultimately, couples matter to God.
If you are interested in joining this weekend experience, contact me or Rennie Bautista for more information.
It’s going to be an amazing weekend… I hope that you will consider joining us or being in prayer for the couples who will participate.
Praying for enrichment and love,
Pastor Sun Hee
A New Season at SAINT PAUL!
What will this new year of 2016 hold for us at SAINT PAUL? So many give generously of their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness of what God is doing in their lives. It already feels so full of possibility and God’s promises. It would be easy to quickly fill the new rooms of the Ministry Center with activities, ideas and stuff! (So similar to our own homes.)
We want to be good stewards of what God has provided for us. Let’s discern and pray, talk together and listen for God’s Spirit that is leading us together.
Our mission as part of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Those disciples include people inside and outside the church – to come to know and follow Jesus and go deeper with him. Where is God calling each of us to follow Jesus deeper with our lives? Where do we find joy with Jesus and where do we long for more of him? Who are the people nearby that we have opportunities to share God’s love with through service and/ or words?
Our theme this year is More Jesus. Over the years, SAINT PAUL has been a diverse people welcoming others into community to have a vital faith in Jesus Christ. We are called to be an intergenerational community of faith.
Who can we invite to join in following Jesus? How and where will we explore and take new steps to prepare the way for more of God’s fruitfulness among us? I am sure some things will work and some will not. That is part of the journey. Let’s find out together!
How has your faith and trust in Jesus changed in the past twelve months?
My faith and trust in God have been changed by God’s generosity as we faced multiple construction changes and cost increases and saw God lead the way through. I had no answer but to pray and lean on God and saw Him answer again and again far more generously than I thought possible. What a God we worship! And I believe that God has even more of us. (Pastor Sun Hee spoke of having a cup or bucket to collect God’s blessings when instead we can forget about the container and fall into God’s ocean of blessings!)
I will be on vacation in February. I am grateful for the time to rest and recover from the work that has gone into the new Ministry Center. We all desire a safe community to worship, to care and be cared for and grow in our relationship with God and one another.
I trust that you will support Pastor Sun Hee while I am away to continue building a part of God’s community that is worth being part of.
I hope that soon we will all be saying, I used to pray but now I am talking to and communing with God. I used to read the Bible and now I understand more and am changed by it.
May we pray together, “God let us do what you are blessing. Help me and help us have More Jesus!”
Pastor Sun Hee and I were talking and realized that we have been in this recent push towards our new Ministry Center for about 6 years! (I know many of you that have been at SPUMC longer have earlier memories of hopes for this completion.)
We began with our need for space as our ministries were at their limits and unable to expand with our previous physical space. We began to explore potential designs and costs. This led to exploring how much money we could raise and thus how much building we could afford. Our Capital Campaign teams worked hard to raise pledges for a 3 year $500,000 building campaign. The Building team began the process of selecting a design and architect and contractor. When that happened they worked with us on our design and permits. We blessed the land and construction started in spring 2014. After changes and inspections, we consecrated the building in September 2015. We finally received our building occupancy in December 4, 2015!
I give God thanks for each and all of you! This project has taken the combined effort of the whole church being flexible, praying and encouraging with generous spirits all along the way. Our UMW paid the majority of cost for kitchen appliances. Our UMM has donated a large TV monitor for the new conference room. They also assembled the new playground equipment and moved things in from the storage sheds. Others are helping the Preschool assemble and pick up new items. Our Building team persevered with all the changes and decisions along the way. The Finance Committee advised and supported throughout.
Currently the Preschool has submitted their application to licensing for the new space. Licensing will let us know what our student capacity will be for the new first floor classrooms. The Preschool had their Christmas play in the sanctuary with a surprise magic show and potluck lunch in the new classrooms. Families were able to see the new space and children played in the new playground. The Precious Time community is also very excited!
The last item for our construction is a requirement from the City to do some landscaping along Alvarado Blvd which will be shared with our ISEB neighbors. We are still getting bids for this work and will schedule as soon as possible. It is such an exciting time here at SAINT PAUL! I still am a bit stunned that we are done with construction and moving in. Agape choir is practicing upstairs before worship.
Many others are asking to use the space. Please contact Patty in the office for all Building space requests for meetings, events and classes in order to go on the master calendar. Please email email@example.com or call the office at 510-429-3990 between 8:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.
This new Ministry Center is for expanding God’s ministry through our congregation and to the community. It seems appropriate that our 2016 theme will be More Jesus! To keep our focus on the one who calls us and led us this far and is guiding us to what is still ahead.
How do our ministries lead to More of Jesus for us and others? What do we need help with to have More of Jesus? What is in the way of us sharing More of Jesus with family, friends and others? Where does our community and world need More of Jesus? God has so much more for us. He will prepare us to receive more of Him! Let us seek
Him together and follow where He leads! As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
Colossians 1:11-12 The Message
Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2016!
I don’t know about you, but I have some mixed feelings about the New Year these days. As much as I like the feeling of newness and witnessing my son, Kevin, grow up and flourish, I am not sure if I am so fond of the idea of getting one year older. These days, I wake up with some aches here and there reminding me of the reality that I am certainly not getting any younger. And though I sometimes feel like I am still twenty years old inside, my body does not necessarily agree!
In all seriousness, I do know that I have a really blessed life. I should have no complaints. At the same time, however, I worry that life is less filled with newness and less opportunities for new doors. When I was actually twenty, I lived pretty optimistically and believed that “anything is possible with God.” That attitude has brought me to where I am today, and for the most part, I still believe that to be true. But living as a forty-something person, I realize that many of the major elements of my life are now determined – my vocation, my family, children and so on. I wonder if there are fewer doors available in my life now.
Recently, I was reminded of some words from Pastor John Ortberg who makes an argument that no matter where you are in life, there are no shortages of new doors and new opportunities. This is what he writes in his book, All the Places to Go…How Will You Know?:
Every morning is an open door; every moment can become one. Some of us see the doors and seize them, and so life becomes a divine adventure. Some of us shrink back or fail to see. A room with no door is a prison. To fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do. If we want to experience more of the Spirit of God in our lives, we need to train ourselves to look for and respond to moments of divine opportunity.
Indeed, every morning is an open door. Every day is a new day and a new gift. This is what I forgot in my moment of sadness. No matter what, no matter who, no matter when, each of us are given each day freely and equally. I was so struck with that notion in Ortberg’s book: “A room with no door is a prison.” It takes training for us to look for and respond to moments of divine opportunity. Granted, I now have some things under my belt, so now I can potentially tackle other divine opportunities that God is calling me to. If I fail to recognize this, I can actually become a prisoner (something that my twenty year old self vowed that I would never become!).
There is a quote that says, “To find out what’s on the other side of an open door, you’ll have to go through it.” This is so true. This is what I’m committing my new year for, and I hope and pray that you will also be able to discover those open doors and boldly and courageously walk through them. God is setting before us new adventures, and certainly God will be calling us to experience the best year of our lives yet! Say yes to that call and welcome in 2016 with incredibly faith and eagerness!
Praying for all those amazing doors,
Pastor Sun Hee
Pastor Anne’s column December_15 newsletter
Give Thanks | Do Good | Get Ready for Jesus
Fall is typically a time of year we talk about Stewardship. Christian Stewardship is the management and care of the resources God has given us responsibility for. How appropriate that all this preparation leads into our country’s season of Thanksgiving and Advent preparation to celebrate the coming of Jesus. We have so much to be thankful for and that fuels our generosity!
While our move in to the new Ministry Center took longer than we thought, we have used the time to prepare by seeking God and trusting Him to lead the way. The One who has led us to this point will surely complete it!
Lots of preparation has been going on in the church -
· Dream Weavers gathered to share ideas and possibilities,
· Ending Well seminar helped people care for those who will remain after we die,
· Finance led us in our annual church Stewardship campaign, Take a Shot and Become a Warrior for SAINT PAUL. We learned from Andy Stanley about God’s ways for How to Be Rich. It is all about using our resources in this world for eternal riches. Be generous and do good deeds to glorify God. It guards us from the dangers of greed.
· Core team and church ministries are exploring additional ways to make disciples of Jesus Christ as we finalize our 2016 budget.
We have had and will have many opportunities to serve God and be God’s light in the world. October had Make a Difference Day with many projects after worship. Filipino American Ministries (FAM) Pasasalamat will include fun runs for Imagine No Malaria. We join with Compassion Network for our annual collection of Thanksgiving meal ingredients and Christmas gifts for families in need.
I know we are just beginning to dream and listen for God’s leading on how to use the new Ministry Center for making disciples of Jesus, loving others and being His light. The energy and excitement at the church is a gift from God. I thank God for each one of you that is part of what God is doing at SAINT PAUL!
May we be led by God’s Spirit to glorify Him and reach new people for Jesus Christ! Let our prayer be, “Come Lord Jesus come! Prepare us to receive you.”
WHEN THE ANGELS SANG
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~ Luke 2:12-14
One of the things I love most about the Advent and Christmas season is the way the music feeds and blesses my soul. When I begin to hear Christmas carols and holiday tunes start playing on the radio or over the speakers in the mall, it actually does something in me. I get the warm fuzzies, and it puts me in the “mood’ of Christmas. And I’m pretty sure that this is not accidental. This is the way that it's meant to be… ever since the first Christmas.
When the news of Jesus’s birth was given to the shepherds watching their flock at night, the angels burst into song! They gave praise and worship to God and music filled the air that first Christmas night! That’s where we get that time favored hymn, Hark the Herald Angels sing. Singing, praising, worshipping. This is really at the heart of Christmas. And this is what I really, really love.
But music alone cannot bring glory to God. The songs themselves cannot create the essence of worship. It’s the heart of the worshipper that has the capacity to bring forth true praise. And we can forget this all too easily.
Recently, our praise team joined the praise team of a newly formed church called EMBRACE to spend a day together in seeking the “true heart of worship”. Through intentional times of singing and learning and being equipped, we were all reminded of what it means to “be in the presence of Jesus.” If fact, that’s what Christmas is about. Jesus coming near. And us coming near to Jesus.
Christmas needs to involve more than just the music. Worship involves our true and full hearts… Christmas or at any other time of the year. I pray that this Advent season, you journey deeper into the heart of worship, and like our wonderful praise team and like when the angels sang from 2000 years ago, bring everything to Him. Indeed, it’s all about you, Jesus.
Wishing You Christmas Blessings,
Pastor Sun Hee