Ponderings for August 11 2017

Greetings Trinity on this somewhat rainy Friday as I sit in the waiting room at Cleveland Clinic with my mother.

News swirling on my smart phone, the televisions and newspapers around me. Two stories, in particular, catch my eye. 

Angry rhetoric between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. Tense indeed! Let’s pray for peace and cool heads to prevail, instead of conjecturing about how God gives leaders the authority to wield the sword (Romans 13). Which has more to do with policing power among one’s own people than it does warring nations and potential nuclear apocalypse. 

And I see there is a Solar Eclipse coming! One like we haven’t seen in North America in a long time. I wish I lived closer to the trajectory “line” and could get a good view of this phenomenon. Others are foolishly speculating about what the upcoming eclipse might mean for America and God’s judgment on us for all the sins we tolerate (usually their pet peeves of sexual sins). 

That got me thinking about God’s “judgment of the nations”. (Lots of time to think.  When will this doctor show up?) In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus talks about his future judgment of the nations. His basis for judging a nation is not its materialism or greedy wealth, nor its violence or abuse of power, nor even its sexual immorality and confusion therein. (Much to the chagrin and erroneous speculations of many armchair theologians and prophets of our day.)

Rather, when the Lord judges the nations one day, it will be based upon how the weak and vulnerable were treated (the sick, the poor, the orphans and widows, the prisoners and refugees). Now that’s truly convicting and worth sitting up for. 

So, as we wait the final minutes for my mom’s doctor to arrive (maybe he went on lunch break), let me leave you with this–

I believe it is right and pleasing to the Lord (instead of making conjectures about what God is doing with various scenarios of apocalyptic judgments) that we:

**Pray for peace in our world and wisdom for our president and his cabinet as we proceed in these dangerous days. 

**Seek to care for the vulnerable in our midst and community. For it is these actions that please the Lord. (Thanks to all who helped with the Back to School Bash.)

**Find a nice place to see what we can of the solar eclipse. 

Oh, the doctor just came in. 
See you Sunday. 
Pastor Paul


Additional Pondering for August 4 2017

Because Commandment 7 is occupying my mind. And because adultery is so poisonous and rampant on our society. And because Sunday I will present a rather unique perspective on “You shall not commit adultery.”  I give to you a second Ponderings on the New Testament understanding about adultery and its prevention:

MARRIAGE: Marriage is sacred and not to be compromised or violated (cf. Eph. 5:31-33; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:1-4; Matt. 19:9). 

THE BODY: Our bodies belong to the Lord and therefore sexual sins defile God’s temple (1 Cor. 6:12-20). 

OUR THOUGHTS: Our thought lives are to be carefully guarded and kept pure (Matt. 5:27-30; Phil 4:6; 2 Cor. 10:5). 

OUR HEARTS: We must discipline and work on our hearts not just our habits (Matt. 7:23-24; Matt. 15:19; Gal. 5:13-25). 

See you Sunday. 

Pastor Paul 


Ponderings for August 4 2017

Pondering some ponderings:

  1. This week’s “Commandment” hits every one of us directly or indirectly. “Do not commit adultery.” Wow! How many of us have been effected by this?! Immediate families, close relatives, co-workers and neighbors; there is no immunity escaping this threat. And the shrapnel! Kids’ security shaken. Trust in the home shattered like a ceramic pot. Once friends, now enemies. God can heal and forgive, but the consequences and scars run long and deep.
  1. I just read about the110 of 111 brains of deceased football players that showed evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)! Wow. I wonder if supporting the NFL is becoming an ethical issue for Christians?
  1. Trinity staff just hosted a seminar for area ministry leaders on reaching young people and college students for Christ. I firmly believe God is calling us to be the “go-to” church in our area for ministry opportunities and equipping. We’ll host again.
  1. Sue and I enjoyed beach time away with family. I taught Mila (our 6-year-old granddaughter) how to body surf. I’m a champion at it, you know. That along with coaxing 8 baby sea turtles into the ocean made for a great holiday. My motto: “Work hard. Play hard.”
  1. Working on my marriage is like physically working out. I can ignore it and make excuses not to (yesterday the road to my workout facility was flooded!). But sooner or later I will pay the piper and what was once a source of joy and a vehicle for ministry becomes a pain and hindrance to a joyful life. Thanks for signing up for the October Marriage Retreat.
  1. Another thought about commandment 7. If tempted, stop it. Ask God to protect you, take away wrong desires, see how poisonous adultery is. Your will and God’s grace must be a team working together to defeat this short-sighted pleasure.
  1. Here’s hoping the Indians recapture their magic from last season. Going to the World Series would be a great regular tradition.

See you Sunday.
Pastor Paul


Ponderings for July 26 2017

Hello Trinity!
July is zooming by, isn’t it?  I hope you are taking advantage of the appropriate ministry programming this summer at Trinity–be it Kids Sports Camp or the special outing for Seniors or the multiple men’s opportunities, or…as at home the summer months are a good time to break the routine and try new and different ways to connect and enjoy others—and the Lord.

Well, this Sunday as we continue our interactions with the 10 Commandments through the message series “Loving by the Rules”, we will be exposed to a very dark side of our human potential. “You shall not murder.”

The words stand there so cold and matter of fact. 

The words make us think of wars and terrorist attacks and abortions and city killings and misguided drone attacks and gun violence.

Yet Jesus also calls us to go deeper than the headlines and those “others” who are both perpetrators and victims of such violence.

Jesus calls us to look long and hard into our own hearts and mirrors; asking us to see beyond the murder command in which Jesus says, “whoever is angry at his brother will be liable to judgment.”

You shall not murder and…

Let’s wander just a bit further for a moment. Murder is literally taking life. There are ways I take life away and stop life. Or let’s turn that around and be reminded about giving life as well:

  • When I forgive, I enable the restoration of life.
  • When I am generous and freely give to the other, I allow life to happen.
  • When I say a kind word or write a note of thanks, I share life.
  • When I share the peace of Christ with someone, I initiate life and its eternal offer.
  • When I am kind and patient unconditionally toward my spouse or best friend, I enhance life.
  • When I say, “I love you” or “I am sorry” or act anonymously on another’s behalf, I share life.

Now think about those things for a few minutes. Maybe an idea or two will work its way into your plans…

Until next time,
Pastor Paul


Ponderings for July 18 2017

Hello Trinity. Good start to your week?

A number of thoughts running through my Monday evening brain as I pen these Ponderings.  

Sunday at the beach was almost storybook nice. The weather–check. Thank you, Lord! The courage and faith of those who made a public demonstration of their faith in Christ–Yes!  Baptisms are so right and “historic.” The faithfulness and hard work of the deacons; setting up, grilling and tearing down, all with joy and right in the mix of conversations and laughter. No taking these vital guys for granted.  Happy birthday Nancy 🙂 BTW.  And the sense of community and camaraderie among us. Sweet! A oneness among all ages and between all ages. The family of Christ on display. Love it. 

Prayer. If I live to be 100, I’ll still not quite understand the nature and nuances of prayer. And I’ll probably still often try understanding prayer myself before I pray. But despite my humanity and shortcomings, prayer remains the powerful force–No! Make that THE force available to us that changes lives and converts hearts and heals bodies. Thank you Lord for superintending all the circumstances of Sarah’s brain surgery and recovery. For answering a million prayers. And for hearing our prayers tomorrow too. 

The Ten Commandments. The conversations and even conviction this message series has fostered is exhilarating. In the weeks to come, we will wrestle with family issues, life ethics, wandering eyes…Hmmm. More conversations and conviction a-comin’. I can see it now. Because he has redeemed us and calls us His, God wants us to live well by the standards he’s given us that we may be an example to our chaotic world. 

That’s it for now. 
See you around the bend. 
Pastor Paul