Ponderings for December 3 2018

Greetings, Trinity community. Yesterday was a splendid day together, launching ourselves into Advent and the Christmas season. And next Sunday will be a morning filled with life and joy as Tabitha Hiltner returns with your children to lead us in our fifth annual “Play in a Day.” Another wonderful piece in the preparations for our celebrating the visit of our Savior to our world and our hearts.
 
So, I got to thinking. (Random transition ahead.) Numbers and the Church have always had an awkward relationship. You know, the ministry that is always worried about its numbers and “bottom line” can appear pretty shallow. Sue and I attended a meeting out west several years ago with a number of national Evangelical leaders. The topic of conversation so often was “how many…?” In frustration, Sue and I found ourselves spending the bulk of our time hanging out with the authors and scholars instead of pastors and church leaders. Oh, well…
 
And yet, unapologetically, the Scriptures do not necessarily shy away from numbers. There is even a book of the Bible called Numbers (through which an accountant friend of mine came to faith—no joke!). The Book of Acts makes a point of regularly telling us specific numbers as evidence of the Lord’s working and the effectiveness of this new movement called the Church.
 
Numbers can be important markers (looking back to see what was accomplished and looking forward as goals for which to strive and pray). So, in the spirit of Christmas and to put a few tangible goals before us, here are a couple of numbers for us to work toward and to pray for—that God may use us to generously share the hope of Christ this Advent season.
 
On Saturday we will be giving away Christmas trees again! No strings attached—a symbol of God’s grace to us. Spread the word; let others know about the trees. And let’s pray that the 300 trees all find a good home.
 
Throughout this Advent we are “Making Unseen Heroes.” In big and small ways, we are giving gifts to the most marginalized of the Dalits (untouchables) of India—children and women. Thank you for your part in helping bring dignity and Christ to these dear ones. Let’s pray for 250 stars to be placed on the big tree in the worship center, as they represent gifts of $100 or more.
 
And may the Lord increase his grace and the fruit of his Spirit in our lives as we emulate our Savior—our Hero—this Christmas season.
 
See you on the other side.
Pastor Paul