Pastor Ethan's Blog
Wednesday, January 31 2018
Ever feel powerless? Last night, as I watched the inevitable spin machines launch into full force after President Trumps “State of the Union” address, I felt a bit helpless. Yes, I had my opinions about the evening, but the bad lingering aftertaste had little to do with any actual speech given by either side, but rather how the default response of virtually every media outlet was to bring in a democrat, a republican, tee them up against each other, and let the blame, accusations, and acrimony fly. What can a person do to push against this rapidly rising tide of bitterness in our culture? Wouldn’t it be cool if you possessed some super power that would allow you to teleport onto the political stage, or newsroom, and force the people there to be completely honest and respectful? You know, kind of like Wonder Woman’s lasso that forces people to tell the truth? But alas, we think, there’s nothing we can do about all this bitterness and acrimony, because we possess no such powers.
Unless we do.
What if I told you that we all possess immense power to bring about change in the people around us? To really fight the ever increasing culture of dishonor and disrespect? As individuals, we might not be able to change the person on the TV screen, but we have amazing powers of influence over the people in our own circle of influence. What would those powers be? What would they look like?
If you’ve been tracking with our current message series, you know where I’m going with this. We absolutely have super-powers, or better put, supernatural powers.
The power of patience. Go ahead, try throwing out that super power in your next family argument.
The power of kindness. The self-aware power to intrinsically value another person, and really care for them. Really listen to them. Wonder Woman’s lasso has nothing on this.
The power of a humble spirit and countenance. Want to be a secret agent, welcomed incognito into almost any context? Try on the supernatural cape of sincere humility and integrity.
And for this Sunday’s super power, think of a person who is disrespectful, angry, selfish, and keeps grudges. Then, don your super-suit of spiritual and emotional maturity, and be the opposite.
You want super powers? Next time you find yourself feeling helpless over the darkness of dishonor, disrespect, and just plain old mean-spiritedness, break open a secret vial of Romans 12:18-20 (go ahead, look it up!). You’ll be amazed at the results.
By the way, these super powers have another name. They are called the Glory of God.
Jesus: “…I am the light of the world.”
Jesus: “You are the light of the world.”
Love… does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13:5
Growing with you,
Friday, January 19 2018
Hey there Trinity…
Ever had one of those weeks? Whew! If I could prevail upon your patience (shameless reference to last week’s message), let me tell you about the week here.
Sunday was an amazing day! We had a wonderful crowd at both Beaver Creek and Edwards, as we continue to see new faces and meet new people. Everything was going well until about an hour after my lunch, when some microscopic work of evil decided to unleash full-on warfare with my digestive system. Enough said. Ugh.
Monday. See last statement above. Mega-ugh.
Tuesday-Friday. Slowly crawl back into the land of the living. Time for a cheeseburger!
Okay, enough about my battle with the bug. We’ve all had those weeks, when our carefully laid plans are laid bare by something from left field- often far more serious than a two day stomach bug. But during my own little healing process, something else happened here. We saw God’s Glory this week.
There was the call I received from a man in our church family, telling me one of the best friends of his life had tragically been found dead. Then, through deep heartbreak and tears, this man went on to describe his deep trust in God, his love for our church family, and how he knew God was with him, carrying him, in the midst of his shock and pain. There are similar stories I could tell. Friends, that is the Glory of God.
There are the volunteers who have been spending hours, in one case weeks (months!), helping Trinity through our time of administrative transition. That too, is the Glory of God.
There are the other volunteers, cooking meals for our youth, teaching and mentoring our students, preparing for new growth in our children’s ministry, (and more)- all serving because they are reflecting the Glory of God.
There was the last check of 2017 we received in the mail (month long journey through US Postal System) putting us $15,000 in the black for the close of 2017. Friends, that is God’s provision, and every last dollar contributed to God’s work here over the year, each one, was a reflection of His Glory.
Finally, there are the steps God is taking to strengthen our church as we grow His ministry in 2018. I look forward to sharing these with you very soon, because they are a reflection of His Glory!
Friends, church newsletters say this everyday, but God is at Work. Each week, hearts are being convicted, encouraged, and strengthened. Friendships are growing. Yes, balls are dropped, feelings get hurt, and we must always be ready to learn, forgive and start anew, but God is at work in that as well (maybe especially so!). Thanks be to God that He didn’t come to redeem the healthy, but the sick, the broken, the confused, and the worn out. He came to reveal his Glory to, and through, people just like us.
My friends, that is a miracle. And that was the week here at Trinity.
Experiencing and expressing God’s Glory with you,
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors,
they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Love is Kind
1 Corinthians 13:4
Thursday, January 11 2018
Hello Trinity Family!
Last week we kicked off our new winter message series, “Reflecting Jesus in Everyday Life”, by asking the question “What does it look like for the Glory of God to be reflected in my life?” Sunday we will start to answer that question, as we take an in-depth look into what might be the most commonly read passage written by the Apostle Paul. It’s the ‘love chapter’, from 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Paul starts by arguing that if we don’t have Love, we have nothing. With this assertion, he echoes the great ‘meta-theme’ of the entire Bible, which is summed up with the two thoughts “Love God, and Love People”. The greatest command is to Love God, and the greatest expression of Love for God is how we Love people. We talked about this almost every week last year. But it’s one thing to say “Love people”, and it’s something different to actually work through what this actually looks like. This is the question Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 13, and the first descriptor he gives is one of the most common needs of every person alive. Patience. Love is patient! When I find myself becoming impatient with people or my circumstances, the Spirit reminds me to consider the amazing depths of patience God has shown (and daily shows) to me. Patience, as an inseparable attribute of Love, is something no society, relationship, or person can be healthy without. Likewise, patience is a powerful healer in the midst of brokenness. Got patience? Patience is essential to God’s nature, and thus essential to His Glory being reflected in our lives.
Experiencing and expressing God’s Glory with you,
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,
Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example
for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16-17
Love is Patient
1 Corinthians 13:4