When We Have Christ

One of the best newspaper cartoons of all time is Calvin and Hobbes. One day Calvin and Hobbes come marching into the living room early one morning. His mother is seated there in her favorite chair. She is sipping her morning coffee. She looks up at young Calvin. She is amused and amazed at how he is dressed. Calvin’s head is encased in a large space helmet. A cape is draped around his neck, across his shoulders, down his back and is dragging on the floor. One hand is holding a flashlight and the other a baseball bat.
 
“What’s up today?” asks his mom.
“Nothing, so far,” answers Calvin.
“So far?” she questions.
“Well, you never know,” Calvin says, “Something could happen today.” Then Calvin marches off, “And if anything does, by golly, I’m going to be ready for it!”
Calvin’s mom looks out at the reading audience and she says, “I need a suit like that!”
 
That’s the way many of us feel as we see the news and deal with life. Sometimes this world seems quite violent and people seem to be at each other’s throats. A suit like that would help, so we can say with Calvin, “Whatever may come my way, I’m going to be ready for it! Bring it on!”
 
Well, I don’t have a suit like Calvin’s to give you, but I do have words: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
 
There is a defining phrase in that statement. One that tells us what kind of peace it is that Christ gives us…
 
See you in Church where the Peace of Christ is offered every Sunday,
Nels


Recovering our Servanthood

One of the worst things the secular world has brought to the church is consumerism. Church members have bought into the concept of consumerism. They don’t see themselves as servants, but as customers to be waited upon. Complaints about the church are frequently followed with the expression: “I do pay my money.” That is consumerism. It is a way of saying: I am the one who is to be served.

When a church buys into consumerism, they go about meeting the defined needs of the customers, rather than meeting God’s need for a redeemed world. Too often people treat church membership as though they are selecting a supermarket rather than a relationship. The call of Christ is not for consumers; it is for disciples. If we treat church members as consumers, then at what point do they quit becoming customers and start becoming missionaries. To make matters worse too many churches attempt to market themselves and in the process of developing a market strategy the subtle message is released: discipleship and missions are optional. Friends, they are not optional. The call of Christ is: You must lose your life in order to save your life. We dare not fall down before the idol of institutional success. When consumerism gets into the church, more time is spent on membership and expenditures than God’s dream of the Good News proclaimed, justice administered, and inclusiveness and healing accomplished. Discipleship cannot be seen as a church option, alongside volleyball and jazzercise. Likewise, worship cannot be viewed as a weekly variety show, but an opportunity for us to get in touch with the Transcendent God. And yes, clergy are guilty as well. Too much time is spent encouraging people to think positive about their sin. Our Pastor and Church leaders are preparing to move us towards reclaiming the Church God wants Trinity to be. You will be hearing more from our Leaders and in Church Sermons very soon. Get on board! Great things are going to be happening at Trinity.
 
Nels


Are You Ready for Easter because it’s the Season of Lent?

In a Danish village there was a Lutheran Church where each Sunday the people would walk into the church by way of the center aisle. At the front of the church, there was a break between the pews and a blank white wall. Every Sunday, the people of that church would walk down the center aisle to the front of the church and genuflect at the blank wall. A man visiting the church did not understand what the people were doing; when he asked them they said that they had always done this. Upon further investigation, he learned that hundreds of years before there had been a painting of the Virgin Mary on that wall. At the time of the Protestant Reformation when the church became Lutheran they had painted over the display of the Virgin Mary. Since the people had always bowed before the Virgin Mary, they just kept on bowing even though there was nothing there. There are many people in church who simply go through the routine Sunday after Sunday. They know all the prayers by heart and could go through the entire service without ever opening the hymnal. For some that is all it has ever been. They do it because they have always done it that way before. But God wants to move beyond the routine. He wants the gospel to become so real that we confess with our own lips that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. God wants his love to be routine no longer but to be very real in our lives.
 
In this Lenten Season, we are called to attend Church, examine our relationship with Christ and rededicate our faith.  This is a time we renew our love for Christ and His Church.  Our Church is very much in a “routine”.  Let’s work together so the Gospel becomes real, relevant, with Christ being the Lord of our lives.
 
I’m serious about putting new life in our Church.  Are you?
 
Your Pastor,
Nels


Tell the Cats to Turn Around

Bill Bouknight, a retired United Methodist Pastor that reside in Columbia SC, told this story in one of his sermons.
 
We despise people who challenge our cherished myths and kick us out of our comfort zones. The truth is that when Jesus sets about the task of saving us, he has to heal us of any myth or prejudice that is contrary to the spirit of Christ. Billy Sunday was the Billy Graham of a previous generation. He was conducting a crusade in a particular city. In one of his sermons he said something critical of the labor conditions for workers in that area. After the service, several prominent businessmen sent a message to him by one of the local pastors. The message was this—Billy, leave labor matters alone. Concentrate on getting people saved. Stay away from political issues. You’re rubbing the fur the wrong way.” Billy Sunday sent this message back to them: “If I’m rubbing the fur the wrong way, tell the cats to turn around.”
 
Often the true words of Christ confront us and when they do not look after our own needs and desires, we become angry and even take it out on the preacher. If God’s word in rubbing us the wrong way, we need to turn around.
 
See you in Church where the Word of God is preached and heard!
 
Your Pastor,
Nels