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He is Alpha and Omega

Yesterday we began a brief new sermon series for the advent season. Using the lesser known ancient Christmas hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,of-the-fathers-love-2” we’ll explore the various aspects of Christ’s person and work as we reflect upon the great event of the incarnation in time and space.

While it might be rare for an advent sermon to begin at the creation of all things, it’s as good a place to start as any as we reflect upon on the incarnation of the Son. The story of Christmas, after all, doesn’t begin with shepherds in a field or a baby in a manger. It begins with the eternal Son of God, who out of infinite love intervened into our world to reconcile all things to himself. Listen to the sermon here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is a holy protest against cynicism, fatalism, doubt, entitlement, self-pity, joyless discontentment, self-sufficiency, and apathy.

– Duke Kwonpraying-hands-1379173656p80

The Light of the World

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What does Jesus mean when he announced that he was the light of the world? It’s easy to be so familiar with this kind of famous saying of Jesus that we lose sight of the power and insight these words once had. What we need to be reminded of is that this is far from just a nice religious platitude or sentimental thought, it was instead the declaration that everything had changed. In Jesus,

Israel’s long-awaited promises were being fulfilled in their midst. We, like the original audience who stood before Jesus, have our greatest needs revealed by this great light and ultimately find that he alone can satisfy. Listen to last Sunday’s HERE.

This Weekend at CPC

Moving party for the Carters is happening tomorrow at 8am.

Sunday School continues at 9:30 on Sunday mornings.

We’ll be looking at Judges 6 and the call of Gideon as we continue in our sermon series in Judges. Gideon is one of the best known and widely (mis?)interpreted judges. Was he faithful or was he the first in a line of wayward judges in Israel? We’ll explore this question but also see something that resonates with each and every one of us. Gideon’s story is one of a man racked with fear. The famous story of the fleeces, as we’ll see, was never about discerning God’s will (Gideon know God’s will!), it was all about condescending to Gideon’s fear and allowing fearful Gideon to be faithful to his calling. We too are confronted with various fears that threaten to take us away from doing the will of God. And yet God still condescends, and he does so in even more powerful ways than even mighty Gideon experienced.

New Fall Sermon Series – The Book of Judges

 

Judges - Series CoverThis Sunday we begin our new Fall sermon series in Judges looking at the opening verses that begin to hint of the dark beginnings to Israel’s time in the Promise Land. Despite time, space, and culture separating us from this ancient culture and these ancient stories, we see the grand theme that lies behind the entire book. Ultimately, God is merciful and faithful even in spite of the faithlessness of his people. Despite the wickedness that will progressively increase throughout Judges, we are always reminded of the covenant faithfulness of God and see that all along a greater deliverer was needed and that a greater deliverer has come.

Eric & Annie Pilson – Missionaries to Taiwan

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We want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers for us and the encouragement in the Lord you share with us as we partner together to make Christ known here in Taiwan. So far it has been an excellent summer with many opportunities to share the love of Christ with the people of Taichung City. We are so grateful for how God continues to provide for all of our needs through your generous support and for how He has given us a team of faithful Churches and individuals who shower us with prayer and support year in and year out.

Ministry at Holy Grace Church

The Lord is certainly at work here, and most exciting for me personally is that we have seen a renewed interest in Church planting among the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Taiwan. As you know, during the past year we have been helping with Evangelism and Outreach at a local Church plant called Holy Grace that is well on its way to becoming a self-governing congregation with Elders in the near future and hopefully deacons in the not so distant future as well. They also have a vision for future Church plants in the nearby Cities around Taichung as their congregation expands.

During the past year in Taichung, I’ve gotten to know and befriend three men from Holy Grace who during the course of the year have sensed a greater and greater call to the Ministry. Two of them are heading to Seminary this fall with the goal of becoming Church planters in Taiwan. The other has sensed a call to foreign missions (possibly Japan) and would like to pursue further training before entering the Mission field. We are so thankful that God has been answering your prayers for the Lord of the Harvest to send out more workers into his harvest field. 

This past week we hosted our 2nd annual English Bible Summer Camp at Holy Grace, and this year we had close to 50 students sign up (more than 5 times the number as last Summer!)…. We actually had to turn some students away because of the limits of the Church facility and the number of volunteers. The week was very full of singing, activities, games, crafts, and Bible lessons, but the highlight was definitely the closing ceremony which allowed the parents of the children to hear the Gospel clearly — many of them for the first time. I preached in English and a dear brother in Christ translated the sermon so that everyone would be able to understand without any difficulty. Also a short term missionary from San Diego named David gave a short Gospel presentation after the children performed their English skits and songs. Please pray that the parents would receive the Word of Truth with faith and that they would be baptized and join a local congregation of believers where they can begin to the life-long process of discipleship.   

Moving on from Taichung

Because of the stability of Holy Grace and the urgent need in many other parts of Taiwan, we are planning on leaving Taichung and moving to an area which currently lacks any Reformed witness. After talking with several other missionaries and our team leader (Rev. Joel Linton), we believe that God is calling us to plant a Church in San Xia which is adjacent to Taoyuan City (population 2 million) in Northern Taiwan.

As I mentioned in our May prayer update, San Xia is such a unique City, and we especially love the area near National Taipei University where there are many new high-rises and hundreds of new young families moving there each month. Every time we’ve visited so far, we’ve enjoyed the environment there and have found it incredibly easy to connect with people in the community.

But one of the downsides to how much people love living in San Xia is that it has been very difficult for us to find a suitable apartment to rent there. We want to be close to the University and walking distance from the center of the City so that we can most strategically host Bible studies and do Evangelism. Please pray that God would provide a place for us to rent in order to best reach the community and begin to make disciples.  

We have met so many wonderful friends here in Taichung the past year and it will be sad to say goodbye, but we know that we will always be able to visit them and it definitely helps that Taiwan is such a small island: San Xia is only 90 minutes away from Taichung City.

Blessings in Christ,
The Pilsons

VBS Cancelled Due to Weather

It is with heavy hearts that we are having to cancel VBS this summer due to the next heat wave that is on the way next week. With temperatures all projected to be in the triple digits, it just wouldn’t be feasible or wise to have everyone outside for three hours a day every day. Thank you to all the volunteers that have signed up and thank you to families who have signed up your kids. We were all looking forward to it and exhausted every option before making this difficult decision.

An Ancient Sermon for Today

Hebrews - FB Final

Due to the beauty, majesty, and broad sweeping survey of ancient Old Testament pictures and promises, it’s easy to forget that the Book of Hebrews was not originally a lofty theological lecture disconnected from “real life.” Instead, it was an immensely practical address (likely a sermon) to a people in real crisis. In the decades following the resurrection, the church at various times faced persecution that included imprisonment, confiscation of personal property, and even violence for following Jesus. Unsurprisingly, there were some in the early church who left the faith due to pressure that came from family and society.

This is where the Book of Hebrews, that ancient powerful sermon, came into play. In response to the temptation to flee the faith, the preacher points his audience to the reality that Jesus and all that Jesus has secured is better (thirteen times!). Jesus is better than angels, Moses (the chief mediator of the Hebrew Scriptures), the Levitical Sacrifices, and the Aaronic priesthood among other things. Jesus is also presented as the Son of God, not merely referring to some kind of honorific title, but to the very essence of God that he has in himself. In the words of NT scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, ultimately this means that “Jesus is and does what God is and does.”

We too face times of crisis and turmoil and this ancient sermon directs our gaze off of our circumstances, alternative gods, and ourselves in order to point us to the supremacy of the Son. We are called upon to look to the preexistent Son who unites God and humanity through his perfect work of mediation. And also look to the exalted man, who achieved the destiny for which we were created. The good news for the church in every generation in whichever different crisis that arises is that Jesus is not offered to us as a coach to tinker with our life tactics. Jesus is not offered as a divine cheerleader, encouraging us on to victory. Jesus is offered as our champion, who defeated his (and our!) great enemies of sin and death. He is our elder brother who goes before us because he has gone before us.

Hebrews is an ancient sermon that speaks with a fresh and living voice to the church today. While those of us in the West are more likely to fall away because we have fallen asleep, we too are in crisis. We are after all, as the prologue to the sermon reminds us, in the last days. Thus, we are reminded of how high the stakes are as the Holy Spirit puts to use this living and active word. In a world filled with the false gods of affluence, comfort, ease, pleasure, and success (to name a few) that vie for our affections, we are brought again to see the supremacy of Christ over all things. We are confronted with the true natures of the shakeable and crumbling kingdoms of this world in contrast to the beautiful and glorious unshakeable kingdom of God and the singular glory of our king, who was better yesterday, better today, and is better forever.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!

Happy Friday, everyone!

The day has finally come: this Sunday will be my last Sunday as your pastor. I’ve heard there is already a congregational pool where you can bet on how many times I’ll cry during the service, at what points during the service I’ll cry, and when the first tears will be shed! In all seriousness, this is a bittersweet day for Sarah and me. I’m glad that we’ll have one more week with you after this Sunday before we head to Texas.

This is also the last Sunday that we will be meeting at Chaparral High School. Please remember that beginning June 5th we are temporarily moving locations to Temecula Preparatory School located at 35777 Abelia St. in Winchester. We will be meeting at Temecula Prep the months of June, July, and the first week of August with plans to move back into the theater at Chaparral on August 14th.

It’s not too late to sign the picture frame mat and RSVP for the lunch on June 5 at Ronald Reagan Sports Park. There is a suggested donation of $5/person for the lunch. If you need more information, please see Barbara Castle or email Robert Recio at rrecio@christpca.net.

For the month of May our highlighted missionaries are Josh and Allie McArthur in Costa Rica (Scott and Crystal Moran’s daughter and son-in-law). There are a few items left on their wish list. If you purchase one of the items below, please let Angela know so that she can keep the list updated.

  • Threshold bold stripe curtain panel/Brown
  • “Lill” lace curtains
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Trappy Cajun pepper sauce
  • Pamela’s baking and pancake mix-gluten free
  • Magnet knife strip for wall
  • Chlorella supplements (2)
  • Epsom salt
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Scabby for kombacha
  • Kinder/PreK homeschool workbooks, flashcards, etc.
  • Essential oils
  • 1988 John Deere (contact Scott)
  • Donated funds/skymiles

May is also a five Sunday month, so as is our practice, we are asking you to give above and beyond your normal offering toward our deacon’s fund. Please mark your check or envelope with the words “deacon’s fund” or “mercy offering” so we can account for it properly.

Have a great weekend! I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.

In Christ,
Eric Landry

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’!

Happy Friday, everyone!

The most important announcement for you to remember is that beginning June 5th we are temporarily moving locations to Temecula Preparatory School located at 35777 Abelia St. in Winchester. While Chaparral High School undergoes extensive repairs, we will be meeting at Temecula Prep the months of June, July, and the first week of August with plans to move back into the theater at Chaparral on August 14th. Please speak to any pastor or elder if you have any questions.

Please remember to sign the picture frame mat and sign up for the lunch on June 5 at Ronald Reagan Sports Park. There is a suggested donation of $5/person for the lunch. If you need more information, please see Barbara Castle or email Robert Recio at rrecio@christpca.net.

For the month of May our highlighted missionaries are Josh and Allie McArthur in Costa Rica (Scott and Crystal Moran’s daughter and son-in-law). There are a few items left on their wish list. If you purchase one of the items below, please let Angela know so that she can keep the list updated.

  • Threshold bold stripe curtain panel/Brown
  • “Lill” lace curtains
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Trappy Cajun pepper sauce
  • Pamela’s baking and pancake mix-gluten free
  • Magnet knife strip for wall
  • Chlorella supplements (2)
  • Epsom salt
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Scabby for kombacha
  • Kinder/PreK homeschool workbooks, flashcards, etc.
  • Essential oils
  • 1988 John Deere (contact Scott)
  • Donated funds/skymiles

Have a great weekend! I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.

In Christ,
Eric Landry

God in Christ has done everything He requires to reconcile sinners to Himself.

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