Ponderings for June 27 2018

Hi, Trinity family—I’m finishing some random ponderings as Sue and I begin to wrap up our time in Milan and look toward our journey home on Friday.

I left Ohio desiring to create something that would present the Good News of Christ in a clear and attractive fashion to others. While here in Italy, I have designed a six-week course called Destiny. It is meant to explain in various formats—through teaching, discussion, and videos—the simplicity and beauty of God’s love and desire for us. I’ve chosen the title “Destiny” because we are all made to know our Creator as we find our ultimate meaning and joy (our human destiny) by trusting in Christ and following him. You’ll be hearing more about this course soon. In the meantime, I would like you to begin praying about a friend or acquaintance that you can invite to Destiny this fall. It will be a wonderful and worthy time for them. I designed it for the mildly religious and the cynic alike. Maybe it’s even for you. 
As different as churches are around the world (culturally, linguistically, and traditionally), they are also the same. Just like Trinity, the churches that Sue and I work with in Italy are trying to figure out how to effectively reach unbelieving people; they are trying to raise up and equip the next generation of leaders; they are trying to understand how to respond to and live well in this morally upside-down age; they are trying to make their families a high priority in church planning and programming; and they are trying to effectively reach and relate to men.
I just read an interesting statistic: If churches reach women, there is a 30% chance their families will follow them to church. If churches reach men, there is a 70% chance their families will follow them to church. Hmmm…
Here in Italy, I’ve noticed that while cultural Christianity may carry with it an underlying Christian ethic, it is still void of life-change and deep, authentic spirituality. Many American evangelicals are vying for an empty prize, I’m afraid.
Though Sue and I have been in communication with John and Erika Tello, we have unfortunately not had the opportunity to get together with them. They are in Bologna, a few hours south of us. Their ministries of rescue and art are going strong. They are grateful for Trinity Church’s support, especially by means of the men’s golf outing next month! 
Sue and I look forward to seeing you and the entire Trinity community on Sunday. We’ll give a brief report on our ministries over here. Alex Wilson will fill us in on the work being done in Oaxaca, Mexico, as well.
On Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s Table together as we hear and study Isaiah’s words: “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…”
We are eager to fellowship with you this weekend. It will be great to see you.
On Sunday—God willing!
Pastor Paul