Ponderings for June 27 2017

In his book, Seeing With New Eyes, David Powlison gives a series of questions that are good as a diagnostic test in our lives that help us identify idols in lives.

Give these some thought:

  • What do I worry about most?
  • What, if I failed or lost it? Would it cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
  • What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
  • What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
  • What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
  • What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
  • What do I lead with in conversations?
  • Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
  • What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
  • What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
  • What is my hope for the future?
  • What do I blog, tweet or post the most about on social networks?

Pastor Paul


Ponderings for June 26 2017

Trinity friends,

This past Sunday we began our summer series on the 10 Commandments entitled, “Loving by the Rules”. 

In an effort to prepare us for this coming Sunday, I will send several Ponderings all having to do with the first two commandments: “you are to have no gods before me” and “you are to make no idols.” 

Though in our contemporary society we may think ourselves too sophisticated to have idols, ‘fraid not. There are innumerable things in our world that can become our idols and take the place of God in our hearts. 

So, this week we will be investigating the idols that potentially occupy our hearts and minds.  Stay tuned as I prepare us to obey the first two commandments and keep Christ preeminent in our lives. 

Pastor Paul


Ponderings for June 23 2017

Mentor Beach Park on Wednesday evening could not have been more idyllic. Several serene sailboats meandering out on the glassy lake, a fine sunset promising a beautiful display in due time, children running and laughing on the playground equipment as if it were recess with no threat of school looming, and many in their lawn chairs listening to music as if they were at Blossom Music Center. But instead of listening to the Cleveland Orchestra or Lady Antebellum or Deep Purple, they were listening to the Trinity Praise Band! How fun! How right! And wow, the harmonies and the instruments sounded so precise and clear. And the celebration of Christ and the greatness of our God–equally clear!

Throughout Mentor on Wednesday, there was an assortment of musical venues in a number of places–even Trinity’s front lawn. It was Make Music Day all over the world, including Mentor. Did you see the front page of the News Herald? Nice article and exposure for our church.

Thanks, David Erlandson for all your work in orchestrating the day, not just for Trinity but for all of Mentor. Along with a wonderful gift of music to the community, it was a creative example of what we mean by #WeLoveLakeCounty. (The Trinity Praise Band actually wore shirts proclaiming just that.) By loving our community, David organized the entire day (venues, musicians, etc.) so everyone in our area could enjoy the gift of music (check out the newspaper article). As part of Lake County and as Christ-followers, we had the opportunity to go and be present in any of the venues where music was played. And at Mentor Beach Park, those who came got a taste of the beautiful worship due our Lord and that we experience every Sunday.
May all our lives be a tangible example of our love for those around us. #WeLoveLakeCounty.

This Sunday we will be starting a message series entitled, “Loving By The Rules” (on the 10 Commandments). My hope is that it will be a compelling series on these familiar words that call us to live well in the midst of a morally dysfunctional world.

See you Sunday.
Pastor Paul


Ponderings for June 15 2017

 Happy Thursday Trinity Community. It is good back to be back among you in Northeast Ohio. Sue and I flew in late last night after a couple of weeks of positive ministry in Italy. It is nice to be home. And it will be nice to be with you and our church family this Sunday as we worship Christ and celebrate Father’s Day together.

As a bit of a different Pondering this week, I am including three things for you. They are meant to spiritually challenge you and to prepare you for Sunday.

You will find, as a part of this e-mail, a text of Scripture (Luke 15-the Parable of the Prodigal Son); a painting (the Return of the Prodigal by Rembrandt); and a brief “message” by me on this great story.

Please give each a good look in the above order. It will take a bit longer than a normal Pondering. So, grab a cup of coffee or schedule a time to be alone with the Lord and be encouraged by the story of God’s compassionate grace.

See you Sunday.
Pastor Paul

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[b] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16

And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[c] 22 But the father said to his servants,[d] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32
It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Click on the Prodigal Son picture to read Pastor Paul’s message.


Ponderings for June 2 2017

Greetings again Trinity Community. I trust your week is going well and June is off to a good start.

Last Sunday and this coming one, we are being reminded that the Christian life is not just an assent to some beliefs nor simply the growing attainment of more Bible knowledge. It is a living “relationship” with our Great God who desires us to live a particular way and through his Holy Spirit he empowers us to do so.

Many of us do not realize that the Holy Spirit indwells us, and that He desires to “fill us” in order that we can live our lives in joyful obedience. This is also called “walking in the Spirit.”

So how is the filling of the Holy Spirit received? It is certainly a matter of faith that includes my yielding to God’s will. This yielding includes confession of known sin in my life and submission to God’s Word and commands. As the Spirit prompts me, I choose to obey and live in a manner pleasing to him and beneficial to others. So, we receive the filling of the Holy Spirit by faith. “As you received Christ Jesus [by faith] so walk in Him [by faith]” (Colossians 2:6). 

Through his filling, the Holy Spirit guides us, convicts us, and empowers us to live Christ-like lives as we live and walk by faith.

During last Sunday’s morning services, I led us in a prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill each of us; that we may better serve our spouses and love the “other” as Christ would. Not just for married people :), all of us need the Spirit’s power to live as we should in whatever state we are in.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is a temporary thing (unlike the permanent indwelling of the Spirit). By faith, we ought to seek to be filled regularly as we daily confess and submit ourselves anew to his will and guidance.

This coming Sunday we will hear the Lord calling us to “Come!” as we reflect on Isaiah 55 together. Another reminder of the participatory nature of our Christian faith. In response to the Lord’s call, there will be opportunity to come and pray and be prayed for in each of our services this week.

No religious people of a cold, dead faith are we…But living, joyful participants of the divine favor and power that is ours through our faith in Christ.

 May your week be one of joy and spiritual fruit in our lives and relationships.

Thanks for being the church!

Pastor Paul