A Decade of Journey: Intercultural Mosaics Statistics Update

A Decade of Journey: Intercultural Mosaics Statistics Update as of April 30, 2024

Mosaics Influence and Success:

• Our definition of a thriving church extends beyond mere numerical growth; it prioritizes impact and influence.

• We believe that true influence originates from personal transformation within individuals before it radiates outward to impact others.

• Mosaics, serving as a vibrant missional hub, has the potential to evolve into a movement by fostering a spiritual ecosystem for struggling churches.

Pandemic and Current Engagement:

• Pre-pandemic, our outreach efforts connected with over 1,500 attendees and warmly received 3-7 new visitors each week.

• Amid the pandemic, we swiftly adapted, engaging with over 1,000 individuals through Zoom, with 75-100 dedicated participants attending Mosaics Zoom classes weekly (February 2020 – February 2024).

• Our engagement is richly diverse, boasting 200 active members representing 25 different ethnicities across multiple generations.

Intercultural Growth and Connection:

• We’ve facilitated dynamic meetups, attracting 2,827 registered participants and orchestrating an impressive 5,451 events to date.

• Our online presence flourishes, with a website boasting 47,060 subscribers and a vibrant Facebook Group with 300 active members.

• As we pursue expansion, we anticipate welcoming over 150 new participants in 2024, embracing both virtual and in-person avenues of connection.

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Mosaics 2024 Spring-Summer Classes

Explore the Intercultural Mosaics for Spring-Summer 2024! Join us from May 10th to August 24th for a diverse array of classes and activities. Zoom meetings will be held on the 2nd and 4th Fridays at https://zoom.us/j/589676463. Here’s the schedule:

Zoom Meetings on the 2nd and the 4th Fridays

• 4 pm: Advanced Korean with Stephen

• 5 pm: Intermediate Conversational Chinese with Sam

• 6 pm: Intermediate Conversational Japanese with Mutsumi & Norio

• 7 pm: Beginning Chinese with Yuhan

• 8 pm: Beginning Vietnamese with Katrina

Additionally, online German Language & Culture (with Honna) Zoom meetings will take place on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays at 2 pm at the same link.

For in-person gatherings, meet us every Saturday on the 2nd floor of Phoenix Hall, Davis Community Church:

• 3 pm: Tai Chi with Daniel (North Room)

• 3 pm: Beginning Korean with Stephen (Youth Room)

• 4 pm: Intermediate Korean with Stephen (Youth Room)

• 4 pm: Beginning Spanish with Viviana (North Room)

• 4 pm: Acoustic Guitar with Chad (Library)

• 5 pm: Beginning French with Seth (North Room)

• 5 pm: Spanish Singing with Phillip (Library)

• 5 pm: Beginning Japanese with Norio (Youth Room)

• 6 pm: Mosaics Dinner Fellowship (2nd Floor)

• 7 pm: Watercolor & Acrylic Painting Art Group with Zhannur (Youth Room)

• 7 pm: English Learners Group with Linda & Chad (Library)

• 7 pm: Bible Study and Meditation Group with Stephen (Youth Room)

• 8 pm: Mosaics Activities (2nd Floor)

For more details about Mosaics Intercultural Classes and Activities, visit www.nextg.org or contact Dr. Stephen Moon at 916-217-5470 (cell) or email catalyst@nextg.org. Thank you for your interest!

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How to Support Intercultural Mosaics?

How To Support Mosaics?

Sustaining Intercultural Mosaics: Join Us in Making a Difference!

As we navigate the post-pandemic landscape, your assistance is crucial in ensuring the continued success of our ministry. In 2024, we aim to raise $25,000 to sustain and expand our impactful initiatives.

If you share our vision and wish to contribute to the growth of our ministries throughout 2024, consider making a tax-deductible love-offering. Simply write your check(s) payable to “Davis Community Church” with a note specifying “Intercultural Mosaics.” Mail your donation to:

Brett Kersten, Minister of Finance, Davis Community Church (c/o Intercultural Mosaics), 412 C Street, Davis, CA 95616

Please click following “Give Now” button or scan QR Code to give your love-offerings instantly.

Your prayers and financial support mean the world to us.

Thank you for being a crucial part of our journey!

Dr. Stephen Moon #mosaics

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Exciting Opportunity: Join Us in Leading the Digital Media Work Group!

Digital Media Work Group (DMWG), NCCP

Vision Statement: “To pioneer a dynamic digital landscape within the Presbytery, uniting generations through innovative media, fostering deep connections, and nurturing a thriving community where every voice is heard and valued.”

Mission Statement: “The Digital Media Work Group (DMWG) is committed to creating compelling social media content, including group pages and video channels, to support and enhance the worshiping communities and intercultural ministries of NCCP. Our mission is to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary generations, fostering a more connected, engaged, and spiritually enriched Presbytery community.”

Are you passionate about leveraging digital media to foster community engagement and bridge generational divides? If so, we invite you to be a part of the groundbreaking Digital Media Work Group (DMWG) at the North Central California Presbytery (NCCP). Under the visionary leadership of Rev. Dr. Stephen Moon, the DMWG is poised to revolutionize how we connect with the MZ and Alpha generations, strengthen our Presbytery community, and create meaningful connections through innovative digital media.

The DMWG is an open-ended group dedicated to creating compelling social media content, managing group pages, video channels, and providing vital support to all worshiping communities and intercultural ministries within NCCP. Our mission is clear: to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary generations, fostering a more connected, engaged, and spiritually enriched Presbytery community.

If you’re ready to dedicate 6 months to 1 year to this exciting initiative, we want to hear from you! Contact Rev. Dr. Stephen Moon at catalyst@nextg.org or 916-217-5470 to learn more and join the movement. Let’s pioneer a dynamic digital landscape together!

For those who are interested in, please connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nextgencatalyst and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/nextgencatalyst to be a part of DMWG.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to make a meaningful impact!

Rev. Dr. Stephen Moon, Intercultural Mosaics

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How to Cultivating Connections: Building a Thriving Third Culture Community

Intercultural Mosaics is a thriving Third Culture Community.


Creating a third-culture community involves bringing together individuals who share experiences of living in a culture different from their own.

Here are steps you could take to initiate and foster such a community:

1. Identify Potential Members: Reach out to people who have lived or are currently living in a culture different from their own. This could include expatriates, immigrants, international students, or individuals from multicultural backgrounds.

        “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

        2. Start a Platform: Create an online platform or social media group where individuals can connect, share experiences, and support each other. Platforms like Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, or specialized forums can serve as spaces for interaction.

        “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

        3. Organize Events: Host events such as meetups, cultural exchanges, language exchanges, or discussion groups where members can come together in person or virtually. These events provide opportunities for networking, learning, and building relationships.

        “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

        4. Provide Resources: Offer resources and information relevant to the experiences of third-culture individuals, such as tips for adjusting to new cultures, dealing with homesickness, or maintaining connections with multiple cultures.

        “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26

        5. Encourage Sharing: Create a culture of sharing within the community, where members feel comfortable expressing their experiences, challenges, and successes. This could include storytelling sessions, blog posts, or video testimonials.

        “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

        6. Facilitate Support Networks: Facilitate connections between members who may share similar backgrounds or experiences, allowing them to support each other through shared challenges and provide advice and encouragement.

        “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

        7. Promote Cultural Exchange: Encourage members to share aspects of their culture with the community through food, music, art, language, or other cultural expressions. This fosters appreciation and understanding of diverse cultural backgrounds.

        “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” – Revelation 7:9

        8. Be Inclusive: Ensure that the community is inclusive and welcoming to individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or cultural heritage. Emphasize the shared experiences that unite members rather than differences that may exist.

        “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:11

        9. Seek Collaborations: Explore partnerships with organizations, cultural centers, educational institutions, or businesses that support multiculturalism and may be interested in collaborating on events or initiatives.

        “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

        10. Continuously Engage: Keep the community active and engaged by regularly posting updates, organizing events, and encouraging participation. Actively seek feedback from members to understand their needs and preferences and adapt accordingly.

        “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

          By following these steps and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, you can cultivate a thriving third-culture community where individuals can connect, learn, and find a sense of belonging amidst the complexities of living between cultures.

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          Embracing Third Culture: Lessons from Joseph and Paul

          “Embracing Third Culture: Lessons from Joseph and Paul”

          by Rev. Dr. Stephen Moon

          Scriptures: Genesis 39:1-5; Genesis 50:19-21 | Romans 12:1-2 & Galatians 3:26-28

          Dear Brothers and Sisters,

          Today, let’s talk about two amazing people from the Bible: Joseph and Paul. They can teach us a lot about staying strong, knowing who we are, and sharing God’s love with everyone, no matter where they come from. Their stories offer profound lessons on resilience, identity, and the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the context of Third Culture.

          First, let’s understand what “Third Culture” is. The Third Culture, originally coined by sociologist Ruth Hill Useem in the 1950s, refers to individuals who grow up in a culture different from that of their parents, often due to their parents’ work or migration. These individuals develop a hybrid cultural identity, blending elements from both their parents’ culture and the culture of their upbringing.

          The term emphasizes the unique experiences and perspectives of those who navigate between multiple cultural worlds, often feeling a sense of belonging to neither their parents’ culture nor the culture of their current environment.

          Third Culture individuals could be like someone born to Mexican immigrant parents in a neighborhood mostly populated by Asian families, attending local American schools. This person would have a mix of Mexican, Asian, and American influences, making them a Third Culture person.

          To learn more about Third Culture, let’s look at Joseph’s story in the Bible. Joseph went through some really tough times, but his story shows us how being a mix of different cultures can be a good thing.

          Early Life: Joseph was favored by his father, Jacob, which led to jealousy among his brothers.

          Joseph says to his brothers, “Behold, I have dreamed yet another dream: and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.” – Genesis 37:9

          Joseph’s older brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt.

          However, In Genesis 39:2-3, we see that “Yahweh was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man. He was in the house of his master the Egyptian. His master saw that Yahweh was with him, and that Yahweh made all that he did prosper in his hand.”

          Servanthood in Egypt: Joseph ended up in Potiphar’s household, where he excelled, but was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned.

          (Potiphar was an Egyptian official and captain of the guard, serving under Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt.)

          This illustrates the importance of having a strong vision supported by faith in our God. Joseph didn’t just have a plan for his life, but he also believed strongly that God would be there for him no matter what.

          Interpretation of Dreams: While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, which later proved accurate.

          Rise to Power: Pharaoh had troubling dreams, and the cupbearer remembered Joseph’s gift. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, predicting seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Impressed, Pharaoh made Joseph second in command over Egypt.

          Reconciliation with Brothers: During the famine, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt seeking food. They did not recognize him, but Joseph eventually revealed his identity and forgave them.

          Reunion with Family: Joseph orchestrated his family’s relocation to Egypt to survive the famine, ensuring their well-being.

          Legacy: Joseph’s descendants became the tribes of Israel, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham.

          Throughout these events, Joseph’s faith, wisdom, and forgiveness played crucial roles in shaping his life and the destiny of his family.

          Even though Joseph faced many tough times, he never gave up on the dream God had given him. He kept on believing and walking with faith. Living as a Third Culture missionary, he learned to thrive in new places by embracing different cultures. Joseph’s story shows us how powerful it can be to accept and appreciate cultural differences while holding onto our faith.

          In Genesis 50:20, Joseph declares to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to save many people alive, as is happening today.”

          This verse shows how Joseph always trusted that God was in control, and he could see beyond his troubles to achieve something bigger.

          Just like Joseph, there’s a guy named Paul, who used to be called Saul. He was really into following Jewish rules and didn’t like Christians at all. He even agreed to hurt them, like when they stoned Stephen, one of Jesus’ friends and one of 7 deacons of the early church.

          But then, something big happened. While Saul was on his way to persecute more Christians, he met risen Jesus and fell on the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4)

          Following his conversion, Paul took several missionary journeys, spreading the teachings of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire. He established many Christian communities and churches, facing opposition, imprisonment, and persecution along the way.

          This totally changed Saul. He became blind temporarily and received a commission from Jesus to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

          Apostle Paul wrote numerous letters, or epistles, to the early Christian communities he founded or supported. These letters, found in the New Testament, provide theological teachings, guidance, and encouragement to believers.

          Apostle Paul truly embraced his identity as a Third Culture missionary spreading the message of salvation to people of all cultures and backgrounds.

          Like Joseph, Paul endured several imprisonments and faced trials for his preaching and beliefs. Despite these challenges, he remained steadfast in his faith and continued to proclaim the gospel.

          Romans was written after the completing all three mission trips. Paul says in Romans 12:1-2, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

          In Galatians 3:28, Paul declares, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

          This verse highlights Paul’s vision for unity and inclusion in the body of Christ, transcending cultural barriers and divisions.

          Apostle Paul testifies, “To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.” – 1 Cor. 9:22

          Both Joseph and Paul exemplify Third Culture identities, navigating the complexities of diverse cultures while remaining rooted in their faith and vision. Their lives demonstrate the transformative power of God’s love to reconcile and unite people from all walks of life.

          As followers of Christ, we are called to embrace our Third Culture identities, transcending cultural divides and embracing diversity as a reflection of God’s creativity and grace. We are called to embody Joseph’s resilience and Paul’s passion for the Gospel, boldly proclaiming the message of salvation to all nations.

          How to become a Third Culture Christian?

          In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another; not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality. – Romans 12:10-13

          For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – Philippians 3:20-21

          But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

          Let’s respond to the Great Commission’s call, as stated in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore Goand make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you.”

          This is our vision: to fulfill the Great Commission by embracing our Third Culture identities and proclaiming the transformative power of Christ’s love to the ends of the earth.

          Revelation 7:9 says, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could count, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”

          May we, like Joseph and Paul, remain steadfast in our faith, resilient in the face of adversity, and passionate in our pursuit of the Great Commission. Let us go forth as ambassadors of reconciliation, bridging cultural divides and bringing the light of Christ to a world in need of hope and salvation.

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          2024 Spring Fundraiser for Mosaics

          Dear Friends and Families of Mosaics,

          Once more, we come to you with open hearts, seeking your generous support to sustain the invaluable ministries of Intercultural Mosaics, proudly sponsored by Davis Community Church.
          In these challenging times, Mosaics stands ready to not only survive but to thrive. With innovative fellowships, creative hospitality, and a renewed sense of mission, we are determined to make a difference.

          We are reaching out to you today to help us raise the necessary funds to expand our reach and impact even further. Whether you can spare $5 or $500, every contribution matters. Our semi-annual fundraiser concludes on April 21, 2024, with a modest goal of $5,000.

          FaceBook Donation Page: https://www.facebook.com/donate/384486354394615

          If you share our vision and wish to contribute to the growth of our ministries throughout 2024, consider making a tax-deductible love-offering. Simply write your check(s) payable to “Davis Community Church” with a note specifying “Intercultural Mosaics.” Mail your donation to:

          Brett Kersten, Minister of Finance, Davis Community Church (c/o Intercultural Mosaics), 412 C Street, Davis, CA 95616

          You may also click following “Give Now” button or scan QR Code to give your love-offerings instantly.

          Your donation will play a pivotal role in reshaping Mosaics for the post-pandemic era. Already, we are pioneering hybrid gatherings that bridge the gap between online and physical participation, connecting people from all corners of the globe.

          For more details, please visit www.nextg.org or reach out to us at 916-217-5470.

          With heartfelt gratitude for your steadfast support and prayers,

          Dr. Stephen & Grace Moon

          Happy Easter! <3

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          Navigating Cultural Diversity: A Biblical Journey into Embracing the Third Culture

          Navigating Cultural Diversity: A Biblical Journey into Embracing the Third Culture

          In the 1990s, a guy named John Brockman coined the term “Third Culture.” It’s all about blending science and art together. Imagine scientists who also love writing poems or artists who are into studying the stars. These folks don’t just stick to one field; they jump around and connect ideas from different fields.

          The Third Culture idea suggests that when you mix science with art, you gain some really cool insights. It’s like when you mix different ingredients to make a tasty dish – each ingredient brings something special to the table. By bringing together scientists, artists, writers, and thinkers, the Third Culture helps us understand big problems, like climate change or new technologies, from lots of different angles.

          Today, the Third Culture remains significant. It emphasizes teamwork and thinking outside the box. When we blend science and art, we come up with new ideas and solutions that can help make the world a better place.

          Third Culture refers to individuals whose upbringing differs from both their parents’ cultural background and their current environment, resulting in a unique blend of cultural influences. This concept highlights values such as love, learning, and service, which transcend cultural barriers and personal challenges.

          In Davis, California, “Third Culture” individuals could be like someone born to Mexican immigrant parents in a neighborhood mostly populated by Asian families, attending local American schools. This person embodies a unique blend of Mexican, Asian, and American influences, reflecting a third culture identity. Imagine seeing them volunteer at the weekly farmers’ market, where people from all walks of life gather to enjoy food and community, regardless of their backgrounds.

          In today’s Christian communities, “Third Culture” can mean blending different cultural backgrounds, especially in a diverse place like Davis. Think of a church where people from different ethnic groups gather, blending their cultural traditions in worship. This might mean singing different kinds of songs or saying prayers in different ways, all to bring everyone closer together. Intercultural Mosaics perfectly embodies this “Third Culture,” working hard to carry out God’s plan through loving actions and hospitality.

          Even in a smaller city like Davis, the idea of a “Third Culture” aligns well with biblical teachings about identity, belonging, and the importance of cultural diversity. Exploring the Bible could mean looking at how people in the Bible dealt with different cultures, like the early Christian groups in Acts. In Davis, it could mean seeing how different cultural groups work together in the church, the body of Christ, to support and care for each other, showing what it means to live out the third culture in real life. As we embark on this journey, let us explore the rich tapestry of Scripture, weaving together foundational truths with practical wisdom for embracing the third culture within the context of intercultural ministries.

          1. Creation and Diversity: Our exploration of cultural diversity’s biblical foundations begins with the creation account in Genesis, where humanity is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), emphasizing the inherent worth of every individual regardless of cultural background. The diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems fashioned by a divine hand exemplifies God’s intention for flourishing diversity.

          The Bible always says how amazing and important different cultures and languages are. In Revelation 7:9, it shows that even though we’re all different, we can still come together, which is a sneak peek of how God wants to save and include everyone, no matter where they’re from.

          After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could count, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. – Revelation 7:9

          2. Identity in Christ: Our Lord Jesus embodies dual identities, as both the Son of God and the Son of Man, enabling Him to connect with everyone and challenge societal norms.

          In His teachings, such as Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus emphasizes universal principles like love and compassion, accessible to all cultures. As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate His example by embracing diversity, fostering unity, and embodying love and reconciliation in a world marked by division and strife. The flowing living water from Jesus represents the Third Culture, which embodies the Way.

          Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

          Central to embracing the Third Culture is understanding our identity in Christ. Galatians 3:28 declares that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we are all one in Him. Our primary identity is found in our relationship with Christ, transcending cultural barriers and unifying us as children of God. As followers of Christ, we are called to celebrate our cultural heritage while finding our ultimate identity in Him.

          3. The Example of Joseph: Joseph’s journey from betrayal to redemption showcases the transformative potential of the third culture—a harmonious blend of diverse cultural elements rooted in steadfast faith. When Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he encountered the unfamiliarity of Egyptian society. Despite facing cultural dissonance, Joseph remained devoted to God, firmly anchoring his identity as a follower of Yahweh. His ability to navigate both Hebrew and Egyptian cultures not only preserved his family and the Hebrew people but also demonstrated the redemptive power of embracing cultural diversity within the context of faith.

          Through Joseph’s narrative, we learn the importance of resilience and trust in God’s providence amid adversity. His story teaches us to embrace cultural adaptation within the framework of steadfast faith—a central principle of the third culture concept. By embracing diversity while remaining grounded in faith, we align ourselves with God’s redemptive purposes. As we navigate life’s complexities, Joseph’s example inspires us to draw strength from our firm faith and patient endurance, eagerly anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives through the transformative power of the third culture.

          4, Embracing Dual Identities and Divine Callings: Let’s talk about Moses—a guy whose life shows what it’s like to belong to two different cultures at once. He was born to Hebrew parents but grew up in an Egyptian palace, so he knew both worlds. Even though he had a fancy upbringing, Moses cared deeply about his Hebrew roots and felt for his people who were suffering. Then, one day while hanging out in the wilderness, Moses had a special encounter with God at a burning bush. God told him to lead the Hebrews out of slavery, and Moses said yes, even though he was scared.

          As Moses led the Hebrews through the desert to their new home, the Promised Land, he saw how powerful God is. God helped them escape from being slaves and guided them through tough times. When Moses wasn’t sure if he could do what God asked, it reminds us that we all have doubts sometimes. But God promises to help us and give us what we need. Just like Moses felt stronger with God beside him, we can also bring positive change and spread God’s love in a world that needs healing.

          5. Practicing Hospitality and Community: Hospitality is central to embracing the Third Culture. Romans 12:13 urges believers to share with those in need and to practice hospitality. By extending hospitality to others—regardless of their cultural background—we reflect God’s love and create inclusive communities where individuals from diverse backgrounds feel welcomed and valued. As intercultural ministries, let us embody the spirit of hospitality in all that we do.

          6. Embracing a Kingdom Perspective: Our perspective on cultural diversity must be rooted in God’s kingdom. Philippians 3:20 reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. While we navigate earthly cultures and identities, our ultimate allegiance is to God’s kingdom. This perspective frees us from the pressures of assimilation and empowers us to embrace our unique cultural identities while fostering unity and love within the body of Christ.

          In 1 Peter 2:9, believers are described as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation. This description implies a unique identity and purpose for those who follow Christ. As such, we are called not only to embrace our own cultural backgrounds but also to transcend them, creating a “Third Culture” that reflects the values and principles of God’s kingdom.

          This Third Culture is one that transcends the divisions and biases of the world, uniting people from diverse backgrounds in a shared identity as children of God. It is a culture characterized by love, grace, and reconciliation, where differences are celebrated and used to glorify God. As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to embody this Third Culture, demonstrating to the world the transformative power of the gospel in breaking down barriers and building bridges between people.

          But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

          7. Paul’s Testimony: In 1 Corinthians 9, the apostle Paul offers his own testimony as a model for navigating cultural diversity. He writes:

          To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. – 1 Corinthians 9:20-22

          Paul’s testimony exemplifies the principle of cultural adaptation for the sake of the gospel. He was willing to adapt his behavior and mannerisms to connect with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, all while remaining true to the core principles of the gospel. Paul’s willingness to enter into the cultural context of others serves as a powerful example for us as we seek to embrace the Third Culture. Like Paul, may we be willing to step out of our comfort zones, adapt to the cultural contexts of those around us, and build bridges for the sake of sharing the love and truth of Christ.

          May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all as we continue to journey together in intercultural ministries. Amen.

          ____________

          Resource:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_culture_kid

          https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-ways-to-be-a-third-culture-christian/

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          Shared Blessings: The Power of Unity in God’s Kingdom

          Shared Blessings: The Power of Unity in God’s Kingdom

          Scripture Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 133:1-3 & Acts 4:31-35

          Today, let’s explore the powerful messages of transformation, unity, and joy found in Isaiah 35:1-10 and Acts 4:31-35.

          In Isaiah 35:1-10, we read about a beautiful vision of a world made better by God’s kindness. Isaiah talks about places that were once empty becoming full of life and people coming together instead of being apart.

          Let’s talk first about change. Isaiah shows us how God can turn places that seem hopeless into wonderful and abundant ones. This reminds us that God can bring amazing improvements to our lives when we let God’s love in.

          But this change isn’t just for individuals; it’s for communities and the whole world too. Isaiah says, “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God…'” (Isaiah 35:3-4).

          This kind of change isn’t just about making things look better on the outside. It’s also about helping people feel better inside. It asks us to be kind to those who need help and to encourage those who feel afraid.

          Next, the passage talks about togetherness. Isaiah dreams of a time when everyone gets along and helps each other. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy” (Isaiah 35:5-6).

          This shows us that in God’s world, there’s no room for people to be apart or treated differently. Instead, everyone is included and treated equally, celebrating what makes each person special.

          Prophet Isaiah draws a beautiful image of heaven throughout the Book of Isaiah, especially in Isaiah 11:6-9:

          “The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, the calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together; and a little child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze. Their young ones will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play near a cobra’s hole, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.”

          (cf. Isaiah 65:25: The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. Dust will be the serpent’s food. They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain,” says Yahweh.)

          Isaiah describes a world where unlikely companions, like wolves and lambs, peacefully coexist, guided by a child. This harmony extends to nature, where even predators and prey live together without fear. Children play safely near dangerous animals, symbolizing the protection of God. The overarching message is clear: when people embrace God’s love and understanding, they can foster peace and unity by resolving conflicts, spreading kindness, and demonstrating love in their daily lives.

          As followers of Jesus, we’re asked to live out these ideas of change and togetherness. We’re called to make our communities better, break down walls between people, and share the good news of God’s love with everyone.

          In the book of Acts, we see how the early Christians worked together after receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:44-47 (NIV) tells us how they shared everything they had and took care of each other, which made a big difference in their lives and community.

          This unity among believers made a big change – not just in how they lived individually but also in how they lived together.

          Acts 4:31-35 says:

          31 When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. 32 The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 With great power, the apostles gave their testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Great grace was on them all. 34 For neither was there among them any who lacked, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet, and distribution was made to each, according as anyone had need.”

          The Bible shows us how they worked together. They all wanted the same thing and shared what they had. Nobody kept things just for themselves. Instead, they made sure everyone had what they needed so nobody was poor. This showed how much they cared for each other and how much they wanted to follow Jesus’ teachings.

          What can we learn from them? Working together isn’t just nice; it makes things better. When we come together, we show how much God loves us, and we invite others to love God too.

          But being together doesn’t mean being the same. We’re all different and that’s okay. Each of us has something special to offer, and that’s a good thing. As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14:

          “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

          Our togetherness in Jesus is stronger than anything that might separate us, like where we come from or what we look like. It’s based on the fact that we’re all God’s children and part of Jesus’ family. When we work together for good, we make the world a better place.

          Psalm 133:1-3 says:

          1 See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that came down on the edge of his robes, 3 like the dew of Hermon, that comes down on the hills of Zion; for there Yahweh gives the blessing, even life forever more.”

          Psalm 133:1-3 shows us how nice it is when people get along. Just like oil and dew are good for us, being together as God’s family brings us good things and life that lasts forever.

          In closing, let’s try to be more together in our churches, communities, and families. Let’s try to bring people closer instead of pushing them away, show kindness instead of judgment, and love each other like Jesus loves us. When we’re together, we’re stronger, and we can make the world a better place by sharing God’s love with everyone.

          As we think about these stories, let’s remember that the same changes and togetherness we see in the Bible can happen for us too. Let’s boldly tell others about Jesus, love each other well, and work together for good in our communities. Together, let’s embrace what God wants for us – change and togetherness – knowing that God is with us every step of the way. Amen.

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          From Humility to Thanksgiving: Cultivating the Heart of Christ

          Dear beloved siblings in Christ,

          Today, let us gather in the warmth of fellowship to explore the abundant blessings found within the Scriptures. Together, let us embark on a journey of rediscovery, embracing five timeless virtues that have the power to uplift our spirits and infuse our lives with hope: humility, flexibility, patience, peace, and thanksgiving.

          1. Humility: In Philippians 2:3-4, Apostle Paul teaches us to embrace humility in our interactions by saying, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

          Humility is the cornerstone of our faith, guiding us to value others above ourselves, and to recognize the beauty and worth in every soul. In humility, we find strength, for it is through acknowledging our dependency on God that we are truly empowered.

          John the Baptist was a significant figure in Jewish history, known as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He preached repentance and baptized people in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Crowds flocked to hear him preach and to be baptized by him in the Jordan River.

          Despite his popularity and influence, John understood his role in God’s plan and maintained a humble attitude throughout his ministry. When asked about his identity and authority, John declared, “I am not the Messiah; I am only a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!'” (John 1:23).

          John’s humility is further demonstrated in his response to Jesus’ increasing prominence. As Jesus began His own ministry and gained more followers through His teachings and miracles, some of John’s disciples expressed concern about Jesus overshadowing their master. Yet, John humbly acknowledged Jesus’ supremacy, saying, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less” (John 3:30).

          John’s humility reached its pinnacle when he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Despite his initial hesitation, John obeyed God’s command and baptized Jesus, recognizing Him as the long-awaited Messiah. As Jesus emerged from the water, the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon Him, while a voice from heaven declared, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17).

          John’s life and ministry serve as a powerful example of humility, selflessness, and obedience to God’s will. He understood that his purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus and to point others to Him, rather than seeking personal recognition or glory. Through his humble service, John paved the way for the revelation of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, demonstrating the transformative power of humility in fulfilling God’s purposes.

          2. Flexibility: As we journey through life, let us remember the words of Proverbs 19:21, acknowledging that while we may make plans, it is ultimately the Lord’s purpose that prevails. We must open to the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, willing to adjust our plans and expectations to align with God’s sovereign will. By embracing flexibility, we surrender control to the One who holds our futures in His hands.

          Bible illustrates flexibility in the book of Acts, concerning the Apostle Peter’s encounter with Cornelius, a Roman centurion.

          At that time, it was common for Jewish believers to strictly adhere to their customs and traditions, maintaining a clear separation from Gentiles. However, in Acts 10, we see how God challenged Peter’s perspective and expanded his understanding of His plan for salvation.

          Cornelius, a devout Gentile, received a vision from God instructing him to send for Peter, who was staying in Joppa. Meanwhile, Peter also received a vision from God, where a sheet containing all kinds of animals was lowered from heaven, and a voice commanded him to kill and eat. Peter, being a devout Jew, initially refused, as the animals were considered unclean according to Jewish dietary laws.

          However, the voice responded, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15). This happened three times, and soon after, messengers sent by Cornelius arrived at Peter’s house, requesting him to come to Cornelius’s home.

          Despite his reservations and the societal norms of the time, Peter agreed to accompany the messengers to Cornelius’s house. When he arrived, he found a gathering of Gentiles eagerly awaiting his arrival. Peter then proclaimed to them the message of Jesus Christ, realizing that God had shown him not to consider any person unclean or unworthy of receiving the gospel message.

          As Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household, just as it had upon the Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost. Witnessing this miraculous outpouring of the Spirit, Peter declared, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:47).

          Through this encounter, Peter recognized that God’s salvation was not limited to the Jewish people but extended to all nations and peoples. He embraced the flexibility to adapt his understanding and practices to align with God’s inclusive plan for salvation.

          The story of Peter and Cornelius highlights the importance of flexibility and openness to God’s leading, even when it challenges our preconceived notions and traditions. It reminds us that God’s love and grace know no bounds, and His desire is for all people to come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

          3. Patience: In times of waiting and uncertainty, James 5:7-8 encourages us to “be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.” A compelling story of patience is found in the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, as recounted in the Book of Genesis.

          Joseph was the favored son of Jacob, which aroused jealousy among his brothers. In their envy, they plotted against him and sold him into slavery in Egypt. Despite being separated from his family and enduring many trials, Joseph remained faithful to God and maintained his integrity.

          As a slave in Egypt, Joseph faced temptation and false accusations. He was imprisoned unjustly, yet he continued to trust in God’s plan for his life. Even in the darkest of times, Joseph remained patient and steadfast, holding onto the belief that God would ultimately deliver him.

          Joseph’s patience was rewarded when Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, had troubling dreams that none of his wise men could interpret. Through God’s guidance, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, predicting seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. Impressed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharaoh elevated him to a position of authority, making him second in command over all of Egypt.

          During the years of abundance, Joseph wisely stored up grain to prepare for the coming famine. When the famine struck, Joseph’s preparations saved countless lives, including those of his own family, who eventually came to Egypt seeking food.

          In the end, Joseph was reunited with his brothers and father, and he forgave them for their betrayal. Through Joseph’s patience and unwavering faith in God’s plan, he was able to rise from slavery to become a powerful leader and savior of his people.

          The story of Joseph teaches us the importance of patience and trust in God’s timing. Even in the face of adversity and uncertainty, we can take comfort in knowing that God is faithful and that His plans for us are for our good. As we wait patiently for His promises to be fulfilled, we can find strength in His presence and guidance.

          4. Peace: In the midst of chaos and turmoil of our life, our Lord Jesus Christ in John 14:27 comforts us by saying, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Let His peace, which surpasses all understanding, be our fortress and our refuge., may His peace guard our hearts and minds, granting us serenity and assurance. A biblical story of peace can be found in the account of the prophet Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb, also known as Mount Sinai.

          During a time of great turmoil and conflict in Israel, Elijah found himself fleeing from the wrath of Queen Jezebel, who sought to kill him. Exhausted and disheartened, Elijah journeyed into the wilderness and sought refuge on Mount Horeb, the very place where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush.

          As Elijah settled into a cave on the mountain, God spoke to him, asking, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). Elijah poured out his heart to God, expressing his frustration and despair over the state of Israel and his own life.

          In response, God did not scold Elijah or condemn him for his feelings. Instead, God revealed His presence to Elijah in a gentle whisper. It was in this quiet, intimate moment that Elijah experienced the peace and reassurance of God’s comforting presence.

          Through their dialogue, God renewed Elijah’s sense of purpose and called him to continue his prophetic ministry. God assured Elijah that he was not alone in his struggles and that there were still faithful servants of God in Israel. God also provided Elijah with a new mission, instructing him to anoint new kings and appoint Elisha as his successor.

          Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb demonstrates the transformative power of experiencing God’s peace in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty. It reminds us that true peace comes not from the absence of conflict, but from the presence of God in our lives.

          In moments of distress and upheaval, like Elijah, we can find solace and strength in seeking God’s presence and listening for His voice. Through His peace, God can calm our fears, renew our spirits, and guide us forward in faith and obedience.

          5. Thanksgiving: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” and Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

          As Jesus was traveling between Samaria and Galilee, he entered a village and encountered ten lepers who stood at a distance, crying out to him for mercy. Leprosy was a debilitating and highly stigmatized disease in ancient times, causing physical suffering and social isolation. In response to their plea, Jesus had compassion on them and instructed them to go and show themselves to the priests, as was required for anyone who believed they had been healed of leprosy. As the lepers obeyed Jesus’ command, they were miraculously cleansed of their affliction.

          Filled with joy and gratitude, one of the lepers, realizing that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. He fell at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for the incredible gift of healing. This man was a Samaritan, a foreigner to the Jewish people, which made his act of gratitude even more remarkable.

          Jesus, deeply moved by the Samaritan’s gratitude, remarked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18).

          Through this encounter, Jesus not only demonstrated his power to heal physical ailments but also emphasized the importance of gratitude and thanksgiving. The Samaritan leper’s act of thanksgiving serves as a powerful example for us all, reminding us to always acknowledge and appreciate the blessings we receive from God.

          In our own lives, may we cultivate hearts of gratitude, offering thanksgiving to God for His abundant goodness and mercy. Like the Samaritan leper, may we never hesitate to return to Jesus’ feet with hearts full of gratitude, glorifying God for His wondrous works in our lives.

          Paul says in Ephesians 4:1-3, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

          As we embody these virtues, may we shine brightly as reflections of God’s glory, in a world in desperate need of hope and healing. Let us, therefore, walk in humility, flexibility, patience, peace, and thanksgiving, knowing that as we do, we are drawing closer to the heart of our Lord Jesus. Amen.

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