Here’s the latest from Pastor Paul

Ponderings for April 3 2019

There is a fine line between acting in folly and stepping out in faith (at least in appearances). What was Peter thinking, stepping out of that boat and walking toward the Savior—on the water?!? Sure, seems foolish. Or was it an act of faith?
 
The parent forgives her erring teen—again!
The unemployed still gives his tithe—really?!
The young one looks at the mountainous amount of support they need to raise to go and serve the Lord over there—impossible!
 
Faith and folly often share similar zip codes. The Lord in his sovereign goodness knows the difference.
 
Capital campaigns and new building programs can wreak havoc on a church. They are the devil’s playground. Most of us know churches that combusted (spontaneously or otherwise) in the midst of their new building construction.
 
Here at Trinity we are gearing up for a Boundaries message and small-group series. We will wrestle with issues and topics that could bring or at least raise discord in our homes and relationships. I am already seeing it at every turn.
 
(What was he thinking? And right in the midst of a new building campaign! Sounds a lot like folly!)
 
Or perhaps, in God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness, the timing is a step of faith. As we allow God to work on our hearts, as we look at the trespassed boundaries in our relationships, we can allow the authenticity of our lives to come through. Those still to come will find no perfect people here—instead, they’ll see real people who work hard by the grace of God to admit their stuff and submit to becoming more like Christ each day.
 
Now that’s a community new people and guests would long to be a part of.
 
Praying by faith for the fruit of our Boundaries groups and the future ministry of our new Gathering Space.
 
No folly here. Only desperate faith.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 29 2019

Greetings, Trinity family and friends. As I hear and watch the building of the new Gathering Space just beyond my office, I am reminded not just of new things but of old ones, too.
 
Relics and places of antiquity tell profound stories. The Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, is the museum that houses the famous statue David. This huge piece of marble has been sculpted into an amazing work of art. David’s physical features—his athletically muscular legs and his humongous hands (even his veins)—are spectacular to take in! This beautiful figure was the product of Michelangelo’s hard work and imagination and craftsmanship. The statue says as much about the vision of the artist as it does of its subject, David.
 
Now, right next to the room with David and all the tourists gazing up at his majesty is another room. Within these walls are many works of sculpture by Michelangelo (and others). These pieces, however, are unfinished. Some are in disrepair and others simply incomplete. None quite ready for the main gallery, but they all tell a story just the same. While we admire the finished and marvelous statue David, these imperfect pieces remind us of the difficult and painstaking process it takes to form the masterpiece.
 
In our study of Romans, we learned that the Lord is using “all things” to conform us to the image of his Son. The Divine Master is sculpting us into the likeness of a person even more awesome than David. Being formed into Christ’s image is our destiny. Oh, my! And yet…not yet. We are still in the other room: incomplete, in disrepair, and, frankly, rather unseemly. That is our present condition. Life happens, and we and our spiritual marble are being painfully chiseled; into what, who can tell?! God can! And he does tell us that despite our present condition we are being made into something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. God’s masterpiece! That is what you are becoming.
 
Not a relic, but a place of antiquity, is the small town in Galilee called Cana. There Jesus did his first miracle at a wedding. There are some ruins of Cana on a nearby hill. An Orthodox and a Catholic church are there as well. In going to Israel, one could easily overlook this town. But this ancient and unassuming place reminds all who come (or even read John’s Gospel) that Jesus actually walked and lived in these quiet, dusty parts and that he delivers on the promise of new life (either in the symbol of new wedding wine or in healing an official’s son by telling him, “Go your way; your son lives”). Whether a distraught father or a panicked new groom, Jesus’ power to turn a losing situation into a wonderful win is a story that never gets old!
 
And nothing fosters hope more than seeing the abstract promises come to life in everyday human experiences! And to see them in the actual places where Jesus and others of biblical history lived is truly life changing. Next February, we will be taking a group to Israel to delve into the history and ancient culture wherein the Scriptures were lived out. I’d love for you to join us on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. To pique your interest, I have included the trip’s website: https://www.morningstartours.com/tcm1056/
 
I have to get up and close my door now. The jackhammer in the soon-to-be Gathering Space is getting quite loud.
 
I’ll see you on the other side. Paul

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Ponderings for March 22 2019

My friend Steve asked me the other day, “How far are you going to take us on these new Lenten practices?”
 
“Up to the point of you thinking it’s meritorious,” I replied with a grin. Many of our ilk stumble a bit over Lent and its accessories (Ash Wednesday, giving things up, etc.), feeling it is too closely aligned with Rome or other denominational trappings. I say, “Nay, nay.” The observance of forty days of humbleness and repentance leading up to Good Friday and Easter are part of the fabric of our Christian heritage and are only troublesome when some heavenly “brownie points” and strict compulsions become a part of it.
 
I am glad for the inquiry. And I am very grateful for the many reports of Trinity folk experiencing the joy and diligence of their newfound Lenten disciplines. It won’t be long till we remember the cries of “Crucify him!” and “It is finished.” And they give way to our triumphant declarations: “He is risen indeed!”
 
Lent on!
 
This Sunday, in our study of Romans, we hear the words, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” That has gotten me thinking about the precarious state of our minds these days, where we bounce from tweet to tweet, post to post, and blog to blog. There is so much information overload that we have become quite adept at superficial reading…which leads to shallow thinking…which leads to stale, empty, shallow minds, hardly renewed at all. Pastor Ty tells me that no one reads books anymore. Ouch! That makes me think that we have become like jet skis, simply skimming over the lake of tweets and Facebook posts, “liking” only what we agree with and thus validating what we already think and believe. There’s nothing “transforming” or “renewing” about that.
 
Can I challenge you to read, along with your Bible, several good books this year? Books that you will have to read slowly and ingest deeply. Books that tell good stories and extol high virtues. Books that won’t so much tell you what to think but further empower you to think. In order to have renewed minds, they must be in good working shape.
 
After Easter we will be reading the book Boundaries as a church community. Get it next week. Join a group next month.
 
In other news: The skeletal walls of the Gathering Space are up! Yay! For those still to come!
 
See you on the other side.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 13 2019

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12, NIV)
 
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (NLT)
 
Does anyone remember the Count on Sesame Street? He was a lovable vampire Muppet who taught the children to count everything (from the number of chocolate chips on a cookie to the number of days before Christmas). A memorable lesson in learning how to count and the anticipation of counting.
 
The psalmist in the verse above asks the Eternal God, on our behalf, to instruct us in the school of “numbering our days.” He is reminding us of the brevity of our lives and the limitations of human existence in light of the ticking clock and of God’s eternal being.
 
To count my days is to remember that they are limited and that they will slip away like loose change if I don’t invest my time wisely.
 
It was six years ago that my sister passed away! How can that be? It seems like only the day before yesterday when we said goodbye. Time moves on at warp speed. It is easy to get stuck in time, especially if it’s a time of grieving (just ask my mom).
 
And yet, I can either passively succumb to the monotonous progression of the days and remain unchanged (only older), or I can make the days “count” and seek to grow in each of them.
 
That is what the 40 days of Lent can be. Each day that we count toward Good Friday and Easter and each day that we practice a chosen discipline can be an opportunity to grow in our identification of Christ’s humility or in our resolve to live obedient and servant-focused lives. We can deliberately see each day as one wherein God is moving us closer to the image of his Son.
 
The noise and the cold of the construction site is always there. We are looking forward to the new and spacious Gathering Space. We are counting the days until its completion. And, as a church community, may we grow in the wisdom and understanding that we are ready to be the kind of warm fellowship that welcomes with exuberance those who will walk into the new space—those still to come.
 
I’ll see you in four days, if not sooner.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 4 2019

Ponderings from Pastor Paul March 4, 2019
 
Hello, Trinity family, on this chilly March morning. The temperatures may be dropping outside, but here at Trinity we are ramping up preparations for our Lenten Journey service this Wednesday evening. My prayer is that we will see a worship center packed full of families and individuals who are ready to begin this Lent season with a time of reflection and preparation.
 
After the service on Wednesday, we will be making available two items for you: a Lenten devotional that will walk you through 40 days of meditation on the peace of God and a resources guide that includes ideas of how you might embrace the Lenten season by not only “taking off” a hindrance on your spiritual journey but also “putting on” a new way of serving Christ in your family and community. The resources guide will also have books and articles that speak to the importance of this season and can be great guides for you on your Lenten journey. I know you’ll want to grab one of these sheets on your way out on Wednesday evening—but until then, here’s three of my favorite books from the resources guide to get you started (each title is linked on Amazon if you want to order straightaway):
 
 
 
 
Looking forward to beginning this season of reverence and remembrance together as a family this Wednesday evening at 6:30pm. See you around the corner.
 
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 1 2019

Ponderings from Pastor Paul
March 1, 2019
 
As I write these thoughts, a bulldozer is demolishing the former front and portico of Trinity’s building. Wow!
 
A great and odd and nostalgic phenomenon.
 
Yes! Patience is coming to fruition. Finally. 🙂 Generosity’s payday! No turning back. A Gathering Space that is welcoming, full of light, and aesthetically appealing. Yes!
 
Oh, my! I watched the claw of the machine smash down and flatten the former roof with one swipe! The bulldozer mercilessly drove over the rubble, grinding it into dust. I want that job! Looks like great therapy.
 
For me, that space holds a mere three-plus years of memories. Remembering the first time I walked in those doors—and that dimly lit entry—thinking, “This needs to change.” Recalling the many warm dear ones that I have met right there since. And, for a lot of you who are reading this, reminiscing about the many, many years and people that the former entryway represents. Gratefulness abounds.
 
And now, I am thinking of the lives that will come through the new entrance. I am confident of a welcoming spirit that will embrace those still to come. And I am even more confident in our Lord, who will lavish his grace and extend his love to everyone who enters in—and gathers in—the new space.
 
“Behold, I make all things new.”
 
Catch you on the other side. (And don’t forget that on Sunday, you need to enter on the other side.)
Pastor Paul

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