Ponderings for April 6 2017

“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”  (Luke 8:18).

 What’s up Trinity Nation? How is your week proceeding? Not that any of us are sports fans, but wow! The Indians have gotten off to a great start. And maybe the Cavs have their mojo back! 

 So good to see so many women registering for the April retreat! We are prayerfully eager for our Good Friday service (“Stations of Love”). And Easter Sunday with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the observance of baptism. It will be a day full of life!

 And the unity and buzz around all of us reading the New Testament together in the Community Bible Experience is very positive!

 So I got to thinking, with us reading the Scriptures during the week, how can the Trinity family also best “hear” God’s Word on Sunday morning? To reiterate Jesus’ words: “

take care then how you hear…”

 Three suggestions for “taking care how we hear” on Sunday morning.

 1.  Come personally prepared for Sunday

Think of it this way: if we are truly worshiping and hearing from the God of the universe then what happens on Sunday morning is more important than a final exam or job interview. Think of it this way: corporate worship begins on Saturday evening. Getting enough sleep on Saturday; not staying out  too late; doing all the things to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually to hear from God are key here. Just as they would be to prepare for an exam or an interview.  

 “Take care then how you hear…”

 2.  Come relationally prepared for Sunday

Hear these words from the Psalms: “They grumbled in their hearts; they did not listen to the voice of the Lord.”  Nothing ruins worship and blocks the hearing of God’s voice than for a couple or a family to be fighting or grumbling. That goes for fellow Christ-followers too: “leave your gift at the altar.” 

 “Take care then how you hear…”

 3.  Begin worship spiritually attuned to the Lord

That’s why at times we do a gathering song before the services begin: that we may collect our thoughts and “center down” on the One whom we are exalting and listening to.  

“Be still and know that I am God.”  

 See you Sunday as we all will be taking care how we hear our Father…

 Pastor Paul


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Ponderings for March 29 2017

Hello Trinity friends. How is your week going thus far? 
 
So, how is the reading going? The Community Bible Experience is underway full bore! Is the Gospel of Luke challenging you? Not just the somewhat challenging number of pages, but the content and the stories in the text?
 
We can do this. And be bettered in the doing. Both the content on the pages (of course) and the discipline of the daily reading are good for us. 
 
And so as to not make this just something to check off a to-do list, but make it a meaningful spiritual experience; it is good to pray as you begin. Try this: “Lord, may this reading today be a lamp unto my feet and light to my path.” 
 
The discipline of regular and prayerful Scripture reading is like working to stay fit in the days of winter. The benefit of exercising, eating well and working out in the cold months is fully seen in the summer. And its neglect is also apparent when the coats come off and outdoor physical activity commences. 
 
In our Luke readings this week, Jesus contrasts the wise and foolish ones as those who hear his words and either do them or don’t. When the storms of life beat down, the one who has been strengthened by God’s Word will persevere. 
 
Whether we are basking in the joyous sun or hunkering down in one of life’s storms, having the Scriptures coursing through our veins and enlivening our souls gives us the perspective and power to live life well. 
 
See you around the bend. 
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 21 2017

Some months ago I subjected myself to the Whole 30 Diet. No sugars, no dairy, no carbs, no preservatives (no fun😩) for 30 days! Hard task for a man addicted to pasta and ice cream. 
  
And it was all or nothing. Which if I blew it, even in small ways or on the 29th day, I had to start again from the beginning.  But I did it! And it was to my good that I stayed the course. 
 
As a church body, together we are about to begin the Community Bible Experience (CBE). Each of us reading the entire New Testament in roughly 8 weeks. Awesome!
 
And a tall order. That’s a lot of reading over the next couple of months! The benefit will be worth the investment. Like Whole 30. 
 
But here’s a question: like Whole 30, is it all or nothing? If I blow it after the first week and read only 30%, do I start over? Quit?
 
Here’s my advice: resolve to really do this. It will be difficult some days, but push through. That’s why many are doing the CBE in Community Groups. Like a diet, it’s good to share the experience with others. (Sue did Whole 30 with me. Talk about sacrificial love!) We can do this. 
 
(If per chance you fall behind, don’t quit. Pick up where you ought to be in the time frame. The bookmarks tell where we are in any given week.)
 
If you would like to be a part or know more, contact me or the office. Or check out the website: http://www.biblica.com/cbe/

If you’d like to use the CBE app for reading and assistance and have an Apple device, download the CBE app from the iTunes Store. If you use an Android device, download the YouVersion (Bible) app and once the app is downloaded, access the CBE plan from the Plan menu.
And here’s an app for the kids: (Bible App for Kids by Life.Church)
https://appsto.re/us/P-22N.i 

Our reading will begin next Monday, March 27th. And we will start the church-wide diet, I mean, the reading experience this Sunday. 
 
We can do this.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 17 2017

Tell me your story. Yes, the story of your life.

To hear my 80-something-year-old mother tell stories of living through World War II, of immigrating to the US, of having to succeed as a single woman and mom after a messy divorce, of still living independently and vibrantly after all these years; it is quite inspiring!
 
We have been speaking about Spiritual Dryness on Sunday mornings. The overarching theme is that God is writing a story of the Christian’s life. Each story is unique, and yet, each story culminates with the believer being transformed into Christ-likeness.
 
God is writing that story of my life. Actually, we are writing it together. It includes my choices and his sovereign grace. It includes times of delight and pleasure, as well as dryness and disappointments.
 
When you have some time, I want you to think through your life story. Maybe, even with your journal or laptop, actually write it out. Your story includes all the relationships of your life and the events that God is using to mold you into the image of his Son. This process will be a journey for you that acknowledges God’s purposes and hand in your life. As “co-author,” God is providentially weaving the narrative of your life for his purposes and your spiritual maturity.
 
You are meant to bring honor and glory to Christ. As you carefully think through the story God has begun telling in you, may you see his kindness in your joys and, like Joseph, even see God’s hand through the difficulties and injustices done to you. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) Even the dry seasons have their place in God’s good plot for you.
 
Deliberately thinking on (and telling!) your life story can be a life-giving watering of your soul in it’s Spiritual Dryness. This exercise can also be a significant catalyst to your own spiritual formation.  One of my favorite authors Frederick Buechner writes on the value of personal reflection and listening to one’s life story: “What quickens my pulse now is the…search through where I have been, for some hint as to who I am becoming or failing to become that I delve into what used to be…I think of my life and of the lives of everyone who has ever lived or will live, as not just journeys through time but sacred journeys…What I propose to do now is to try listening to my life as a whole…for whatever of meaning, of holiness, of God, there may be in it to hear.”
 
More than just a spiritual “selfie”, this can be an avenue of humble confidence that God is in fact working in your life and calling you to be a living hashtag of love and grace to others.
 
Let’s start listening to our lives. Like my mom, let’s keep in mind our heritage, our heroes, our high times and our hard times. And let’s ask God to make us aware of recurring themes and his “hand” in our lives (both directly and “coincidentally”). And let’s not forget that, “he who began a good work (and story) in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
 
I’ll see you Sunday as we wrap up our Spiritual Dryness series.

Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for March 10 2017

As we prepare for a meaningful Sunday of unique worship and reflections on self-induced spiritual dryness, let me focus on…wait for it…
 
Some announcements…That’s right, several important Trinity “news” items I’d like the church community to know.
 
Our youth team is headed to Maine on Monday for a week of ministry in a familiar place called The Root Cellar. We will be praying for them in the services on Sunday. 
 
Sunday morning will be the first opportunity to hear about the upcoming women’s retreat on April 28&29. Sue will be speaking and special worship is planned for this significant weekend. Registration begins Sunday, March 19th.
 
Membership classes begin Sunday at 10:45am in Room 100. It’s not too late to be a part of these sessions. Church membership is all about things like unity and responsibility and ministry. Come and learn more about Trinity and come away calling her “my church.”  You can register at trinitymentor.com/membership
 
You’ll hear more about these at the beginning of the worship services on Sunday, and can check out the details on our website.
 
See you Sunday. 
And, oh yeah, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.
 
Pastor Paul

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