Ponderings for July 24 2019

Today would have been my dad’s 95th birthday. He’s been gone over twenty years. I can still hear his voice. As an unspoken tribute to him, my brother and I have been texting funny (to us) things that he would often say. I just texted, “I hate indecision!” Robert texted back, “Don’t be ridiculous!” I can still hear Dad’s thick Italian accent.
 
Anyway, let me clear some things off my desk for our Ponderings today (*insert stream-of-consciousness warning here*):
 
Thank you to the many who said “I want to serve” at the Back to School Bash in early August. What a great way to love Lake County. And what an encouragement to me and the staff to see so many from Trinity want to be a part of that day. Yes! We see an “open door” and we seize the opportunity. I love it!
 
The Gathering Space is almost completed. The finishing touches are being applied. I can’t wait to see the full fellowship of people (new and old) that will be gathering in there every Sunday and other days as well! On the evening of August 25, we will have a pizza reception as the “grand opening.” Mark the date down!
 
It’s exciting to see the Indians competing for the pennant again, isn’t it?! I sure hope they don’t trade important players now.
 
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” Those were Socrates’ words. Our August message series captures that in title and sermons. As we probe various themes in Proverbs, we will encourage you to join us in the discipline of reading one chapter of Proverbs (there are 31) every day in the month of August (#31in31). And then—post your learning and insights on our Facebook page!
 
My granddaughter Mila loves coming to Trinity when she is visiting from Cincinnati. At lunch today she tested me, asking, “When did God begin?” In all of my theological correctness I, of course, responded that God is eternal; he had no beginning. “I know that,” was her response with a smile. I believe they spoke about that and other concepts in Mrs. Dengel’s class on Sunday. Mila really likes Jaden, the teenage assistant. And she adores the Guerra family, who have taught her so many times as well. Those who serve with our kids are a big reason why families call Trinity their home. I would love to see the number of “faculty members” increase. To keep up with our growth, we really need it, too. Would you consider serving in our all-important children’s ministry? Contact me. I’m serious.
 
On Sunday we conclude our “Making the Grade” message series on the seven churches in Revelation. I want to say that although no church is perfect, I am grateful for how we measure up in faithfulness in both Word and deed. As we explored the specifics of a FAT church last week, I am rather encouraged that Trinity is indeed faithful to the uniqueness of Christ, available to the open-door opportunities God puts in our path, and true to the Scriptures in all that we believe. Now, lest we rest on our laurels, this Sunday we will be confronted with the charge of “lukewarmth.” Churches and believers alike are often challenged with that sense of apathy and dryness that can develop over time. By God’s grace, let’s identify it and run from becoming lukewarm. I am confident we will.
 
See you Sunday.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for July 16 2019

“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!” 
 
I heard that song all day long as Master Creator LEGO Camp kicked off yesterday at Trinity. Many excited kids are having a truly fun and Christ-centered experience this week as they sing about the awesomeness of being part of the Lord’s team.
 
“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!” 
 
We all experienced the power of that song Sunday afternoon as we enjoyed a fabulous picnic and baptisms at the lake. All those who are part of the Deacon/Deaconess team served us so well! The food preparation, the organization of all the details, and the behind-the-scenes work by everyone involved was awesome indeed!
 
The meaning of this song was seen so clearly on the first day of LEGO Camp as the entire Trinity staff pitched in to put on a wonderful program for the many youngsters. From rallying the children en masse into the big room, to working the registration tables, to teaching the classes, to planning the entire event—your Trinity staff was great. It is so cool to be part of that team!
 
On August 18, we will hear from that same staff as they describe their hopes and dreams for their ministry areas in the year(s) to come. Lives will be blessed as those plans come to fruition and Christ will be glorified as the church accomplishes his loving will “on earth as it is in heaven.” It will take a full and committed team for our ministries to accomplish everything we can dream of. It would be awesome if you were part of that team. Would you begin praying how you might in fact be a part of the Trinity ministry team? That would be more than cool—it would be (all together now) awesome!
 
“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!” 
 
What a privilege it is to be a part of and lead this beautiful team called Trinity Church.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for June 25 2019

Where do you live? Mentor? Concord Township? Chardon? Maybe Painesville Township? Each of our hometowns comes with a unique distinction, doesn’t it? My parents came from Rome, Italy, a city known as the Eternal City! Cleveland used to be called the Comeback City. My daughter lives in the Queen City. Do you know which city that is?
 
On Sunday, we will continue our series called “Making the Grade.” As we study and apply Christ’s letters to seven historical churches in Asia Minor, we will examine the letter to Pergamum. Do you know the nickname that the Lord gave to the city of Pergamum? “Satan’s City.” Yuck, talk about bad PR. And you though Vegas had it rough with “Sin City.”
 
“I know where you live,” the Lord tells them. “Where Satan’s throne is.”
 
We will look at the spiritually dark details that earned Pergamum its dubious title. And we will delve into the implications for the Christ-followers who lived there. How does the church earn a passing grade when it is living in the middle of “Satan’s City”?
 
This week and as we prepare for Sunday, let’s be encouraged that Christ “knows where we live.” No matter how dark or dismal, or how immoral or oppressive, the Lord knows where you live. Like the believers of Pergamum, Christ knows our diabolical circumstances and the loneliness that comes from trying to live with his ethics in a world of upside-down ethics. And, like the Christians in Pergamum, he promises to be with us, too.
 
Here’s what I want you to know: Christ knows exactly where you are right now! Stop and think on that for moment. Whatever your address or present circumstances, the Lord knows where you live. And more than just being cognizant of where you are, Christ strategically and providentially has you there for his purposes. We are all to bear witness to God’s grace and love. We are all to deliberately love Lake County. We are all to be a light to dark Pergamum.
 
I’ll see you on Sunday and, in the meantime, we can all rest in the fact that the Lord knows where we are.
 
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for June 12 2019

Hello, Trinity family and friends. I sit here typing this in my hotel room in London. Heading out soon where it is barely in the 50s and pouring down rain—and it’s the middle of June! Yuck!
 
From what I can tell, it seems like you’re having a nice week weather-wise there. (Earthquakes aside! I wonder if all of our paintings on the wall at home are crooked.)
 
Not sure where you are reading this Ponderings, whether at home or at work or thousands of miles away on a business trip, but I hope you can appreciate the life and place where you are right now. See it as a gift from God’s hand. And maybe don’t complain too much, like someone I know…in the rain…in London.
 
We sometimes pray “your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What if you were the answer to someone’s prayer like that today?! That by your love and kindness and Christ-like grace, the heaven and good will of God that someone really needs to experience today could come in the form and actions of you. Keep your eyes and heart open. You can be just what someone needs today.
 
We will come together on Sunday and celebrate Father’s Day and the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father. His presence will be evident among us through his Word and our worship and fellowship. And still, in the meantime, his presence and “kingdom” can be very real to many as we choose to love others and let the Spirit of Christ live through us. Kingdom behavior = random acts of Christ-likeness (I just made that up, but I kind of like it)! 🙂
 
Anyway, I’ll catch you on the other side. See you this weekend. Hope I don’t need an umbrella.
Pastor Paul

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Ponderings for June 4 2019

Happy June, Trinitarians! As I write, the sky couldn’t be bluer—a good thing! And as I write, the contingency plan for working without power tomorrow is being bantered about. One more step toward the completion of the Gathering Space—a very good thing!
 
So, this Sunday is historically and globally recognized as the Feast of Pentecost. In essence, it is a commemoration of the Church’s birthday—a great day indeed. In honor of that, I have composed a “creed” of what it is we believe about the Church in light of the Day of Pentecost:
 
We believe that the Church, the Body of Christ, was birthed and designed to be God’s vehicle of hope for the world.
 
And we believe that just as the Holy Spirit indwelt all believers on the original day of Pentecost, he does so now on the very day anyone trusts Christ as Savior.
 
And we believe that just as God miraculously empowered the disciples to proclaim his Good News in multiple foreign languages on that day, he still compels us to take the Gospel to every nation and people in their native tongues and culture.
 
The Church lives on
Happy Pentecost!
Pastor Paul

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