Here’s the latest from Pastor Paul

Ponderings for June 12 2019

Hello, Trinity family and friends. I sit here typing this in my hotel room in London. Heading out soon where it is barely in the 50s and pouring down rain—and it’s the middle of June! Yuck!
 
From what I can tell, it seems like you’re having a nice week weather-wise there. (Earthquakes aside! I wonder if all of our paintings on the wall at home are crooked.)
 
Not sure where you are reading this Ponderings, whether at home or at work or thousands of miles away on a business trip, but I hope you can appreciate the life and place where you are right now. See it as a gift from God’s hand. And maybe don’t complain too much, like someone I know…in the rain…in London.
 
We sometimes pray “your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What if you were the answer to someone’s prayer like that today?! That by your love and kindness and Christ-like grace, the heaven and good will of God that someone really needs to experience today could come in the form and actions of you. Keep your eyes and heart open. You can be just what someone needs today.
 
We will come together on Sunday and celebrate Father’s Day and the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. His presence will be evident among us through his Word and our worship and fellowship. And still, in the meantime, his presence and “kingdom” can be very real to many as we choose to love others and let the Spirit of Christ live through us. Kingdom behavior = random acts of Christ-likeness (I just made that up, but I kind of like it)! 🙂
 
Anyway, I’ll catch you on the other side. See you this weekend. Hope I don’t need an umbrella.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for June 4 2019

Happy June, Trinitarians! As I write, the sky couldn’t be bluer—a good thing! And as I write, the contingency plan for working without power tomorrow is being bantered about. One more step toward the completion of the Gathering Space—a very good thing!
 
So, this Sunday is historically and globally recognized as the Feast of Pentecost. In essence, it is a commemoration of the Church’s birthday—a great day indeed. In honor of that, I have composed a “creed” of what it is we believe about the Church in light of the Day of Pentecost:
 
We believe that the Church, the Body of Christ, was birthed and designed to be God’s vehicle of hope for the world.
 
And we believe that just as the Holy Spirit indwelt all believers on the original day of Pentecost, he does so now on the very day anyone trusts Christ as Savior.
 
And we believe that just as God miraculously empowered the disciples to proclaim his Good News in multiple foreign languages on that day, he still compels us to take the Gospel to every nation and people in their native tongues and culture.
 
The Church lives on
Happy Pentecost!
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for May 14 2019

I’m sitting here with my laptop and a warm cup of coffee, convincing myself that Ohio will see warmer days and sunshine again…soon…I hope!

Boundaries. Everywhere I go, everyone is talking about boundaries around Trinity.

Letting my six-year-old stay up until 10:00pm is a boundary issue, isn’t it?
It probably is.
 
Not giving my adolescent that new game he so covets is about boundaries, yes?
Maybe so.

Lots of parenting and boundary issues, aren’t there? And I guess boundaries for our kids prevents them from becoming spoiled and even helps them realize they are not the center of the universe. But I think the bigger deal about boundaries and parenting is the issue of freedom. Freedom, really? That’s really the issue for all of us. And that’s why our heavenly Parent gives us boundaries. They enable us to live life as we were designed. Back to our children for a moment. Boundaries liberate kids. When your child knows your boundaries for him are clear and firm, he will have the confidence and security to explore life and experience all the areas and nuances within the boundary lines. When they test the boundaries and push on your lovingly imposed borders, in some way, our kids are making sure the boundaries are still in place. Trust me on that. That is how God parents us. And a very clear boundary that reveals this is the Sabbath rest. The pause button after six power days is more than a day of rest—it establishes a boundary for reflection and rhythm. Abiding by the boundary of the Sabbath gives me the liberty to go full bore, knowing there will be a time to brake. I am able to spend some days without real reflection or rest, knowing there is an ordained boundary line coming where I can take a breath and assess my life and work. Just like with our kids, God’s boundaries for us may seem unreasonable and unjustified. But a sign of maturity (for all of us children) is when we realize that our Parent is truly wise and has our best interests in mind. See you Sunday when, among other things, we will discuss how God’s boundary, though seeming rather restrictive, is actually liberating and faith boosting.

See you on the other side.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for May 8 2019

Just came up from an afternoon at the beach with my birthday bride. Sue and I are heading back out soon to watch the sunset over the Gulf. Maybe I’ll post some cool pictures. Thanks, Trinity, for allowing us this R&R.
I am reminded, though, that life (and death) still happen, even when I am “off the clock.”
 
Three beautiful people, a triad of faithful Christ-followers, have been ushered into eternity this past week. My inbox has been filled with words of sadness and triumph—requesting prayer and even “answers” to why.
 
Warren Wiersbe was a well-worn veteran Christian leader and speaker. I met Dr. Wiersbe when I was a young pastoral intern at The Chapel. We were without a senior pastor at the time, and so it was my job to pick up and “host” our weekly guest speakers. The roster of preachers was a veritable who’s who of national evangelical leaders. Most of the guest speakers were “too important” to give a young intern the time of day. But Warren Wiersbe genuinely cared about me, asking me sincere questions about myself and my dreams—and waiting around to hear my answers. I have never forgotten that lesson.
 
Rachel Held Evans was a young mother, a strong speaker and writer, and a thorn in many an evangelical’s side. I didn’t always agree with everything she wrote and said, but I sure appreciated her passion and her heart for those marginalized from the church. She was a reminder to me that though I may not see eye to eye with someone, respect and kindness are always called for. Her legacy also reminds me that the Church needs to work harder at not just being right but also at showing grace and being cognizant of our tone when it comes to issues of gender and even the sexual confusions of our day.
 
Like Rachel, Morgan was also the mother of a young family. Unlike Rachel, you’ve probably never heard of Morgan. I got a text from her mother late last night saying Morgan never woke up after surgery—that they have to take her off life support. And they all need showered in prayer. I’ve known that family since Morgan was a youngster. She went on all the youth trips. I officiated her wedding. And now her bereaved dad wants to know why a mother is snatched away from her four little girls. I really don’t know, Bruce; I really don’t know.
 
Vacation time is like a season in the Psalms: the beautiful songs of life; the heavens declaring the glory of God; verses filled with poetry and life and promise. And still sometimes, even during R&R, we are reminded that there is a shadow of death. Uninvited, untimely, dark and foreboding death. But wait, the Lord is still with us—all of us. So we should fear no evil, because the Lord is our Shepherd.
 
I’ll see you on Mother’s Day.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for April 26 2019

Happy Friday after Easter! What a wonderful weekend it was. From the thoughtful sobriety of Good Friday to the triumphant jubilance of Easter Sunday—one big YES! The week afterward always has a bit of hangover-feel to it (at least for the worship leaders). It’s worth it!
 
We are now preparing for the very relational and applicational series of “Respecting Boundary Lines.” God designed us as relational beings. And to spend some time discussing the issues that hinder our relationships and what we can do biblically and then deliberating how to help them will be important and good.
 
I am collecting a few books to read here soon as Sue and I plan to go and get some R&R next week. A friend recommended Charles Krauthammer’s The Point of It All. Krauthammer was a psychiatrist-turned-Washington Post columnist who left his practice to be in the arena of ideas. He strongly felt that some things need to be said. He wrote and spoke with a counselor’s passion; direct and yet, at times, understated. Integrity and an authentic care for things were the tone and product of his pen. He was featured at times on news/political television shows. Even there, his wisdom and character were on display—as he often appeared to be the only adult in the room.
 
Last summer, Krauthammer lost his battle with cancer. One of the last things he wrote is something I found so poignant and timely: “You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think—and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.” Yes! That is so relevant for the American church today. And very challenging to me! The Lord has given us a Word to say, a manner in which to say it, and a context within which it can be said.
 
I so want to be part of a movement that extends grace first; that speaks openly about the brokenness of us all; that bluntly says our society is getting messier and we want to help; that pronounces articulately how God has given us a Word of hope; and that admits honestly—we don’t have all the answers and we’re sorry when we pretend to, but we surely know the One who does.
 
That’s all for now.
See you on Sunday as we begin talking frankly about our relationships.
Pastor Paul

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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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