Here’s the latest from Pastor Paul

Ponderings for May 8 2018

Hello, Trinity community! Don’t you love this sunny weather? It reminds me of summer.
 
It reminds me of all the happy and good things that go along with summer—personally (with friends and family) and at Trinity.
 
It reminds me of the ministry trips to Oaxaca, Mexico, that Alex and Laurel Wilson will be leading as teens and adults serve the children in the name of Christ at Foundation For His Ministry.
 
It reminds me of Trinity’s day at the beach and the beach baptism that we will celebrate on July 15.
 
It reminds of the message series we will interact with. In the first half of the summer, we will be exploring some of the great passages in the Book of Isaiah in what we will call “A Sampler’s Platter of Isaiah.” The entire church will be given a reading schedule as we work through this great prophet’s book together. During the last half of the summer, we will have a “You Asked for It” series, where some pressing topics and passages will be addressed. Start getting your questions ready!
 
One of the passages I will cover soon is Isaiah 40: “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…” Are you good at waiting? I’m not! Drives me crazy. I know it’s something I have to work on. 
 
At Heinen’s—wait… At the doctor’s office—wait! (That’s why I try to take a book everywhere I go.) Even in traffic—wait… But no texting!
 
For the prodigal to come home or for the conflict to be resolved or for that one to say, “I’m sorry”—we wait!!
 
Now the promise of God from Isaiah is that we will get renewed strength as we wait on him…
 
And the example of God is that he is a champion when it comes to waiting.
 
From our passage this Sunday (1 Peter 3) we understand that God truly knows how to wait patiently. He waited so long for a world at odds with him to repent and turn to him. From the time it took Noah to build the ark, God waited and waited. And yet a rebellious world refused to say, “I’m sorry.” And if I am to follow the Lord’s example, I too have to wait and wait—with patience (Fruit of the Spirit) for that one to say, “I’m sorry” or come home or make peace. 

Lord, give us your patience and teach us to wait…and wait on you…that we may renew our strength for whatever the challenge may be.
 
**Shameless Plug Alert** Wednesday night I will be leading a three-week-long class on conflict resolution called “The Good Fight.” Together with David Durkee, we will be leading a time wherein we will look at the causes of conflict and the styles of resolution. A lot of helpful tools will be given. Please note: The class will begin at 7:00pm this Wednesday and go to 8:30pm. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall. There is no need to pre-register.
 
Peace,
Pastor Paul


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Ponderings for April 12 2018

Hello Trinity Family. Are you keeping warm these days? Hang on—spring has to come sooner or later. Or else summer…
 
Recently I was having lunch with James Semmelroth, Chairman of our Trustee Board. Our conversation was filled with joy as we reflected on how the Trinity family has responded to the capital funds campaign in both spirit and finances. We have noticed a “buzz of excitement and anticipation” from young and old. As we spoke, James said that the theme of the Sunday evening family and friends meeting should be in the name of Jehovah Jireh, which means “the Lord who provides.” We discussed how we have been blessed by the faithfulness of those who came before us and how we will be part of the blessing going forward (for those still to come).
 
The Lord provided to the tune of 103 pledges amounting to $718,268!
 
Now, before I gush too much about this generous and hefty amount, let me have a dialogue with myself. You can listen in:
 
So, why are you excited about the $718,268 when the goal was $800,000? Seems like a low number to me.
Because of Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides! We have a firm base to launch this building project. Having been involved in other campaigns before now, I know the momentum is just getting started! The $718,268 is great to see as the beginning, not the end. As Christ’s church, we are on the move to serve him and those in Lake County.
 
Does the low number mean we won’t get to do some things?
Not necessarily. With foresight, the leadership team has prioritized the project and therefore knows what we will do first and in what order we may delay certain improvements if we have to. The Gathering Space will happen! And so will the parking lot!
 
So…it does mean some things won’t get done then?
By God’s provision and our people’s ongoing generosity, we may pull off the entire project. Let’s stay positive!
 
But you just said we didn’t raise the estimated need of $800,000 in pledges. How could we pay for the whole thing?
Well, we have funds already set aside that help make up this gap, along with the prospective sale of the land, new members joining the capital campaign, and some ongoing designated giving to the building fund.
 
What happens if there is a budget overrun?
If it is more than 10% of our annual budget, we will need to get membership approval. All aspects of this project will be kept in front of the congregation for transparency purposes. We are all in this together.
 
Remind me again, what is this money being spent on?
It will be spent on the new “gathering space” and entry to the worship center. We will also update the worship center’s carpet, sound system, lighting, and acoustics. Our existing foyer will be renovated to match the new gathering space. Also, the parking lot will be redone, along with the replacement of outdated and under-performing furnaces. The fellowship hall will be renovated into a more youth-friendly space. (More details are available in the campaign booklet.)
 
How are we getting the money to pay for these projects since the pledges will take three years to fully come in?
Our leaders are working hard talking to lending institutions. We are submitting financing requests to four loaning institutions—three local and one which is affiliated with the SBC. The loan amount requested will be less than the project budget. Once we have terms from these entities, we will choose which one is best for us to use.
 
And when will this loan be paid off? You know I dislike debt, Paul.
I do too, Paul! It will be paid off as the pledges are fulfilled (or sooner with our existing funds).
 
So, what are we doing again on Sunday night?
We are celebrating God’s generous provisions to Trinity. And we are thanking everyone, member and attender alike, for their faithful pledges. And, in accordance with our constitutional requirements, we are asking the Trinity members to ratify the $800,000 proposed budget for completion of Phase 1 of our capital funds campaign project.
 
Okay, I’ll be there.
I should certainly hope so.
 
See you Sunday at 5:00pm!
Pastor Paul and Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 29 2018

Dependable…Generous…Faithful: What we have been saying at Trinity that the Lord wants us to become. What God is developing in us.

And what God is perfectly!

Dependable…While we humans were dead and lost, Christ came and died for our sins. Good Friday. Great Friday!

Generous…God so loved you and me that he GAVE his one and only Son. He gives us life and breath and grace and never stops giving.

Faithful…The God who has called you into fellowship with his Son is faithful (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9). We can trust him. We can depend upon our God and rely on him without reservation. His promises are trustworthy.

Yes! This weekend we get to celebrate our great God on Crucifixion Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

By the way…our faithful Lord spurned many of us on to faith-building generosity. We, the Trinity community, pledged a wee bit over $700,000 for those still to come!

Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you, Lord!

See you this weekend!
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 23 2018

I got a phone call from my friend, Sherm King. How encouraging it is when those of the “experienced” generation desire to share their lives and wisdom with those coming after them. That was the purpose of Sherm’s call.
 
In appreciating the focus of our capital campaign as one that looks ahead to “those still to come,” Sherm shared the following poem with me. It has to do with an “old man” building a bridge—not for himself but for the “fair-haired youth” that was still to come. Really timely words.
 
Enjoy these verses as the Lord prepares your heart to pledge on behalf of Trinity’s future. A noble investment indeed!
Thanks, Sherm.

“The Bridge Builder”
Will Dromgoole
 
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
 
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
 
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
 
See you Sunday,
Pastor Paul


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Ponderings for March 20 2018

With the sun shining—and yet still a chill in the air—I write down these Ponderings today.

I am truly looking forward to the next two Sundays! April 1 will be Easter Sunday. A great day where we will celebrate and affirm the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A day where we will also celebrate the public commitment of several believers as they commit to the waters of baptism! April Fool’s Day! What a great day for Easter! Count me in as a fool for Christ—wholeheartedly believing that he rose again on the third day. And unwaveringly following wherever he leads!

This coming Sunday will be very special, too! Palm Sunday: the day our Lord rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. On Sunday, five sets of parents will be dedicating themselves and their young children to the Lord. They will be promising to raise their little ones in the Christian way while asking the church body to support and pray for them. We will indeed!

Also, this Sunday we will be culminating our series on “For Those Still to Come.” Our three-week capital campaign will come to a close as we give our pledges—measurable expressions of what God has done in our hearts—to invest in the future of Trinity. Truly, it will be a defining moment of the campaign. But not the only defining moment. 

As we break ground on the new and beautiful Gathering Space out front—that will be a defining moment.

When we actually get in and enjoy our new and renovated spaces and see many new faces—that will be a defining moment. 

When our cars can drive smoothly over the newly paved parking lot—that will be a defining moment.

In three years (or less) when we pay off the bank note with our pledges—that will be a defining moment.

And there will be a very, very important defining moment this week—before Sunday. It will take place in our homes and in our hearts. 

It will probably go like it did for me and Sue: in our kitchen, where we prayerfully decided to use some of our savings and retirement monies to pledge to the campaign. 

Your defining moment this week may sound something like this: “Hey love, Pastor Paul and the Elders have been talking about the new Gathering Space and some needed renovations. They have been asking us for several weeks to pray about our level of financial support for it. What has God been saying to you?”

And your defining moment this week may look something like this: your family wrestling together with God about your level of commitment. And the moment may include budget sheets and calculators and open Bibles and open hearts and lots of prayer. And what makes this moment so defining is that it is all about transformations, not transactions. It is about commitment levels, not comfort levels.

As we have said all along, this campaign is a spiritual journey. It is about spiritual growth. And when your family decides to trust God in a way you’ve never trusted him before—and then together watch Him provide in amazing ways—that will be quite a defining moment!

So here we go! May your week be a meaningful one. It is indeed an important one. As we get together on Sunday, along with proclaiming our Palm Sunday praises to Christ (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”), we get to bring our pledges to the Lord. This will be a moment in time that will be for the generations to come!

See you on Sunday.
Pastor Paul
 

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Ponderings for March 15 2018

The difficulty and awkwardness of sharing one’s faith in Christ to coworkers and neighbors was one of the topics at our men’s breakfast study this morning. We all sense that, don’t we? Whether it’s taken as cramping someone’s style or invading a person’s space or crossing a private line—to talk about Christ and eternal things and purpose in life is now only getting harder and harder in our culture. 

That’s why it’s important to do the small things and the kind things. To tell someone you are praying for them as they experience difficulties will not offend. To exhibit kindness and grace when everyone else is shoving and caring only for self will speak loudly. And to have a church that you can invite others to that will be warm and the pastor won’t say dumb things and the presentation will not embarrass you is crucial. From Trinity leadership and staff: We work hard at and promise to deliver on the excellence I just mentioned. 

This Sunday we will discuss the kind of hearts the Lord desires us to have as we study Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 together. 

“For Those Still to Come” continues through Palm Sunday as we envision our part in the future of our fellowship. Many are already responding and inquiring about some specifics of the capital campaign. We will be collecting pledge cards on March 25, but you may turn or mail them in early if you like (as some already have). You can also pledge online by going to trinitymentor.com/pledge.

It is exciting to see the Lord stirring—even stretching—hearts as we pray and decide how to participate in this important gateway to Trinity’s future. This is important, too, as we discuss and consider how to best share Christ with those in our lives. 

That’s all for now. Sunday’s coming and we will be glad and rejoice in him! 

See you around the bend. 
Pastor Paul

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