Ponderings for February 17 2017

Greetings Trinity community. Are you ready for a warm weekend?  And for some, this is a three day break with President’s Day on Monday. May your days be filled with fresh air and love and rest and meaningful times with others.

We seem to be in a season of “plenty” in the church! A lot happening!
Events that have recently happened (Valentine’s Dinner, Youth Retreat, etc., etc…)

Things still coming down the pike (our new “Trinity” sign, a Women’s Retreat, etc., etc…)

More than our fair share of funerals (Jeff Elwell’s “homecoming” is Friday evening.)

I could go on and on…The initiating of our Peace Plan 2017, our men’s “Stepping Up” mornings, finishing our Jonah series on Sunday…I’ll stop or else this could become a three pager!

All good stuff. All purposeful and falling into our strategy for the year.
In all of that I remind us–just as the aim is Christ’s peace, so also our calling and desire is to experience peace in our souls and in our relationships. Sometimes tough when life gets busy.

So I call on us all (starting with me), to pause and take a deep breath. And to call on the peace of Christ for our hearts and lives. And I remind us of how profound this mission and concept of peace really is. These are words from a favorite writer of mine, Cornelius Plantinga, on God’s concept of peace (shalom): 

“The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets called shalom. We call it ‘peace,’ but it means far more than just peace of mind or cease-fire between enemies…
…(it) means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight–a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, all under the arch of God’s love. Shalom, in other words, is the way things are supposed to be.”
 
I’ll see you on Sunday, or at Jeff’s Memorial service, or out and about in the sunshine tomorrow. 

Pastor Paul

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Passing The Peace Prayer February 12 2017

“Passing the Peace” Prayer
by Pastor Paul Sartarelli
Sunday, February 12, 2017
 
Our Father in Heaven. Oh, how you love the Ninevite, even as your holiness is offended by his sin and idolatry.  We confess the Jonah in all of us. Too often we run from where you call us to go. We’d rather not be out in the world among the unbelievers representing you…We really like the comfort of our fellowship and the safety of our Christian community and friends. People around us are perishing and we often care more for ourselves and comfort than we do for those you love and for whom Christ died.

 

Lord make us care enough to pray. To pray for the lost and the unbelieving. To pray for our own hearts and willingness. Father, please break our hearts for our neighbors and co-workers. For all of those near us who desperately need Christ and don’t even know it.

 

Father, we pray that you would make the people of Mentor and Lake County keenly aware of their sin and of the idols they have embraced instead of you. And aware of your holiness and compassion. Please, through your Holy Spirit convict our city of sin, righteousness and judgment. Open their eyes to your holiness and love. Open their ears to the Gospel and to your call for repentance and faith. Open their minds to the truth that you are not willing that any should perish but that all may come to know you through their repentance of sin and faith in your Son Christ.

 

We ask Father that you give Trinity a second chance. That we might become a vibrant vessel of your love and grace; a beacon of light in our dark world. Give us the will to do whatever you call us to do here in Lake County. Show us how we may invest in others and readily invite them to the things of Christ, and show them the love of our compassionate God. Please Lord, give us the courage to be the kind of people and the kind of church that you could use to bring renewal and revival to Mentor, even as you did in Ninevah.

 

Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.


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Ponderings for February 10 2017

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”  I just read those words again from Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland. Ex-Beatle, George Harrison, also sung them in a song shortly before he lost his battle with cancer a number of years ago. 
 
Pretty profound, wouldn’t you say? 
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Makes complete sense.
 
I am going to route 271 South…Or maybe 90 East…Johnnycake Ridge is a good one.  Or how about Route 2 West?  Where am I going?  I don’t know.  Then any one of those roads will do.
 
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
 
It would seem that the more important question is, “Where are you going?”  At work. In your marriage and family.  At school. In your spiritual journey. In life!  Where do you want to go?  Is it meaningful?  Is it worthwhile?  Is it your first choice? Do you know how to get there?
 
A very creative and fanciful author, Lewis Carroll was an Anglican deacon. Did he know the road to take him where he needed to go? George Harrison was a devout Hindu. He made no bones about the road he had chosen, being a spiritual one, paved with the practices and beliefs of Hinduism.
 
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
 
For two millennia, the Christian church has followed the life and teachings of Jesus, who proclaimed that he not only knew the way but in fact was the way.
 
If I want to go to a place where forgiveness and love and justice prevail, and where death has been dealt a fatal blow; then Jesus, the one who rose from the dead, is a great road to be traveling down.
 
Is He your “road”? Whom are you inviting to travel it with you?
 
See you Sunday.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for February 3 2017

Hello Trinity Community. In honor of February and “the month of love” here are some thoughts on love and marriage. 

 “Marriage is the ultimate communication endeavor between two people.”  You can quote me on that. 

 Aristotle knew a thing or two about communication. He summarized all communication as needing and having three components: 

    Logos-the words or reason of said communique or speech. 

    Ethos-the character and ethics of the communicator. 

    Pathos-the emotions and appropriate feelings that are stirred up. 

 Okay, quick check on your marriage/love life:

 
Logos-Do you speak to each other? Nicely? Clearly? Deeply (at times)?

 

Ethos-Is there trust in your relationship? Does the integrity of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit ooze out of you? Not perfection, but Christ-likeness in grace and honesty. 

 

Pathos-Is there a sense of joy and romance. Does each person consider the feelings (and needs) of his partner above his own? Feelings of love come and go. And yet can be counted on to show up a lot more and stronger when the logos and ethos are present.  

 

Please don’t just read this and file it away. Talk about it with your spouse or friend. Pray to the Lord that he make you the lover and “communicator ” your relationship so desperately needs. 

 

See you Sunday. You can still register on Sunday morning for the Valentine’s Dinner. 

 

Peace 

Pastor Paul

 

 


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Ponderings for January 20 2017

It is a good day to follow our Lord’s instructions and pray for our new leaders today. We ought to be faithful in praying for our new president and our country. As the Apostle Peter wrote to believers living under the rule of Roman Emperor Nero,

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” As well the Apostle  Paul reminded Christ followers to pray for their leaders

 — ” I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

So dear gracious and sovereign Lord, we lift up President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence in prayer. Please grant them the wisdom and grace to lead this entire country in freedom and in peace.

Our Father please give him the wisdom to bring unity to our divided country. May you use him to build bridges of peace between party lines, racial lines, cultural lines, gender lines and spiritual lines. 

Father enable our president to be the leader and guardian of all peoples. Men and women. Rich and poor. The born and the unborn. The old and the young …To all who bear your image. 

And Lord we pray that you would enable President Trump to have the wherewithal and balance to lead in these troubled times globally. We pray specifically for the mess and instability in the Middle East. Please allow him to have the insight and wisdom to help establish with others a just and merciful peace for all in that region. And as always, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 

Lord, for President Trump and for all we pray: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord turn his face toward you and be gracious to you. The Lord make his face shine upon and grant you his peace. 

Amen and amen

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