June 30, 2020

A Word about the Word-

 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice… I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me.

If these crazy days of COVID-19 and social unrest have demonstrated anything, it is our screaming need for a Good Shepherd. This season may be the most taxing and challenging time of my 36 years as a pastoral leader (surpassing even the days after 9/11). Strange new decisions to be made on very short notice; previously unimagined directions to go in; woefully insufficient data upon which to decide big things; and on and on… You get the point.

And it’s not as if our landscape is brimming with wise leaders that model leadership and point to a better way.

Then, in a fleeting moment, one realizes that having another leader, a Shepherd—actually, a Good Shepherd—to lead and be the real leader of your life and the church is an extremely good and comforting thing.

And you realize that this Good Shepherd is truly leading you into beautiful and green pastures and even beside refreshing and still waters if you’ll only have the faith to believe and experience them. One must hear his voice above the cacophony of noise and trust in his care despite the doomsday rants that see no purpose or hope in this season.

“Savior, like a shepherd lead us.”

For a preview of Sunday, check out this splendid video of sheep hearing their shepherd’s voice.


Close to Home

“A community of people that deliberately lives out the peace of Christ.”

That is the vision of Trinity Church. That is who we want, strive, and pray to be. Read it again.

And so, when we put on a fun golf outing, the camaraderie is good and meaningful (even if the score of one particular pastor is embarrassingly high). Even in this we seek to promote Christ’s peace. More than drives and chips and putts, the event on August 15 will also generate money to give to the ministry of Erika and Jon Tello. They are creating a “safe house” for trafficked women in Italy. That’s living out the peace of Christ. We want to be a part of that.

If you’re interested in knowing about the Tello’s work, look here.


On September 26, Trinity is sponsoring our third annual Heart + Home 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run. Along with all of the fun and training that goes into that day, a bigger ripple effect is that the race benefits Hannah’s Home. This “crisis pregnancy center” is a maternity home for single, pregnant young women. Hannah’s Home provides an environment that is safe and nurturing, caring in emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual ways. Find out more about that and the race itself here.


In a world broken in so many hurtful ways, it is our calling to address both the root of the problem (human sin) and the ugly fruit of the problem. So we seek to live out the peace of Christ, in word and in deed.

The World as It Is

Sue and I met our daughter Sara and her family at the Columbus Zoo on Friday. It’s been six months since we were together and loved on our granddaughter. Wow! What an overdue experience!

We’ve missed all the relational things during this season of upheaval. How vital it is to take care of ourselves and others physically, emotionally, and relationally. There is no substitute for literal presence.

Though truly necessary, the emotional and psychological void that social distancing has created is also very real. We are grateful for technology and ingenuity that gives us FaceTime and Zoom meetings and virtual game nights. But there is no substitute for real, person-to-person contact and interaction.

The recovery from these turbulent days could be long and tricky. There is no vaccine for isolation and separation from the ones we love.


Here is an exalted moment of pause in your reading of this blog. “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (Diadem version). (Takes me back. This is my alma mater’s anthem.)


And Then There’s This…

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and all life itself is grace.” [Frederick Buechner]

I’ll see you on the other side.
Pastor Paul