To The Point for June 4 2020

A Word about the Word

Who is my neighbor?
 

This was a fairly simple question posed to Jesus from a lawyer who asked him about the most important Law. 

Neighbor? The one right next door. For me, that would Mike and Kelly. And then, on the other side, Ron and Carol. While Trinity has made it our strategic plan and motto to “love Lake County” and beyond, I would love to see us reach our neighbors that live adjacent to our campus.

“Loving your neighbor” means the person right near you, right now, at the store or at work or this Sunday at Trinity. This includes everything from being courteous to still wearing a mask. It really is about loving my neighbor and being Christlike and “looking not to my own interests but to the interests of others” (Philippians 4). 

Jesus told the inquiring lawyer that the second big “Law” was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” And then he responded to his follow-up question, “Who is my neighbor?” by telling the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. My neighbor is the one whom I encounter along “my way” and who has a need. In this volatile day, my neighbor is also the African American, the oppressed, the one who needs my voice and my love. 

Close to Home

Okay, this Sunday, June 7, Trinity is very excited to reopen her doors for worship! The amount of deliberation and prayer and hard work that has gone into this decision and in preparing the building for the in-person Sunday experience cannot be overstated.

Here’s what to expect as you return: The worship times will be as they were before (9:30am and 11:00am). We will be following the Level 1 protocol in our re-entry plan (see chart here). The entire experience will be designed for social distancing. You will find separate entrances and exits. The seating in the Worship Center (all renovated and shiny new!) will be arranged with this in mind and the capacity will be reduced as well. Families will worship together (since there’s no kids’ ministry yet). There will be a venue in the Fellowship Hall and the screens in the Gathering Space will be on if parents of little ones want that option.

Sanitizing stations galore! All staff and ministry leaders will wear masks and all attenders are strongly encouraged to do the same (see above). A huge tent will be set up outside for wonderful yet appropriately distanced fellowship. It will be great to see many Trinity family members again! And, of course, if for any reason you don’t feel ready to return quite yet, our livestream worship at 9:30am is still available and a great option. Remember our call for this re-entry: unity and charity.

The World as It Is

When I went to first grade, I entered a new school. In those first scary, unfamiliar days, my best friends were Frank Jarrett and Derek White. We did everything together. Frank and Derek were African American boys. Even way back then, I saw the pain of bigotry and racism. In my young adulthood, I had a black friend tell me, “You don’t know what it’s like to be walking down the street and hear automatic car locks being engaged by people in the car because I am walking by.” Ouch! I could tell you more. You probably could, too.

Some have asked what they can do in these days of racial awareness and unrest. I want to develop a thoughtful plan for us, but for now, let’s profoundly and simply begin with prayer…and a movie.

Pray diligently and without ceasing for:

  • Your own heart—that God may reveal “if there is any offensive way in me.” And that the Lord may break your heart for the evil that racism is and for our friends of color who know it too well. 
  • For victims’ families—that they may find justice and be comforted.
  • For the police officers of our communities—that they may be God’s instruments of peace and justice and mercy.
  • For our extremely divided nation—that we may find peace and unity as we try to move toward “liberty and justice for all.”
  • For churches (Trinity included)—that they not become complacent but be instruments of peace seeking to be vessels of racial reconciliation.

And about the movie: Just Mercy is an excellent 2019 drama based on a true story of a contemporary death penalty “abolitionist.” This story of bigotry, justice system corruption, and brutality will break your heart and make you mad. I would love it if my entire church and other friends watched this film and embraced its cause. All of June, you can watch Just Mercy for free on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Google+. Read more about it here

#CultureNerd

Do you need a break from all of the stress right here and right now? Do you wish you could just leave this planet? Well, you can, sort of. In honor of the first crewed space launch from U.S. soil in nine years, check out this trailer for an amazing documentary about the Apollo missions (you can watch the entire documentary on Disney+ or Amazon Prime).And Then There’s This…

The Church and the world lost a brilliant apologist recently. Ravi Zacharias’ body succumbed to cancer and he went to be with his Savior on May 19. Ravi consistently fulfilled his mission and purpose to “make thinkers believe and believers think.” If you have never listened to him, or if you want to hear him again, here is a conversation that he had in 2019 with Dave Rubin, a secular Jew who hosts a popular talk show called The Rubin Report. Enjoy. Thank you, Ravi.

I’ll see you on the other side—in person or on the live-stream.
Pastor Paul