January 2016: A Word from Pastor Sun Hee

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

December 2015: A Word from Pastor Anne

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.”

December 2015: A Word from Pastor Sun Hee

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