Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Love My Church!

February is I love my church month at Trinity. We began this celebration one year ago and while we do not want it to become just another annual event, we do want to have times in which we focus on our love for this body God has given us. So, through the next several blogs you will read letters from our staff as to why we love Trinity. I want to encourage you to get your love letters in; you can send them to one of our staff by e-mail or you can hand deliver them to the office or ticket counter during one of our services. This is a perfect opportunity to work with your children to help them write letters. Men, don’t let your wife write one for the family; each person needs to write individual letters because Trinity has blessed each person in different ways. So, take the time and just express what this bride means to you!

Dear Trinity,

The commitment we have not only to our Lord, but to one another reminds me so much of a marriage. In a day where commitments seem to change on a whim, ours has remained. We have had times of health and times of sickness, we have watched people move in and out of our lives but years have only seemed to help us. In some ways it seems like yesterday  that we began our journey together, but in other ways it seems like an eternity. At times I smile at the memories and other times I can still feel the ache of an old wound. This is life together in the local family of God: it is not always easy but it is good, and it glorifies God. If I had the space and time to share with you all the reasons I love you, you would grow tired of reading before I grew tired of writing. But, as I thought through the last year, I realized we are like a newly married couple in that life changes happen quickly and they are excited as they know their love will become even deeper and stronger.  When I arrived at Trinity I was in my mid-thirties with an 9 and 10 year old. I am now a officially in my 40’s with a 13 and 14 year old. Time changes all of us, some for the better and some for the worse, and I am thrilled to say that time has been kind to this fellowship.

I love you because of your hunger. As a body there is not simply an expectation for the Word, there is a demand for it. This has not always been the case, but it has now become the rule. I know of churches that just want “excitement” and unfortunately, that can be conjured up at any place not just a church. Ball games, concerts even wrong doctrine can cause excitement, but at Trinity your desire has become to “know Him.” Sometimes that brings joy and excitement and at other times it brings brokenness, but it always brings change. If we have excitement I want it to be based on truth, not simply on working up our emotion. Thank you for being a people that want the Word of God delivered consistently and thank you for being people who give me time to prepare to give you the Word.

I love you because of your grace. You love each other enough that when a brother or sister stumbles, you won’t let them stay there. It’s easy to love one another when everything is good, but you have shown your commitment to truth and the Word by loving enough to be out of your comfort zone and doing hard things. In most places this is where love proves to be nothing more than emotion, at Trinity you have shown that love is a commitment. You have shown that love doesn’t have anything to do with what your flesh is feeling at the moment, but what commitment demands that you do. That is not only refreshing in this world, but it is a blessing to me as your Pastor. You have not only shown grace by being willing to confront with truth and kindness, but you have shown grace by overlooking offenses. There have been mistakes that I have made and you have loved me through them. There has been truth stated that I could have stated with more tact, and you have received it and loved through it. God has used you to sanctify me and that is just one of the blessings of being part of this body.

I could go on, but I will end by saying that you have loved this staff. When I first came to Trinity, I knew we needed a Biblically solid staff that would make a commitment to plant their life. Through all the changes that took place with a new staff and "new everything" the first three years, you have loved these men and their families. I love these guys but constant discord and discouragement can cause the best of men to go elsewhere; you have loved and encouraged them. I walk in the lobby of our building now and see people smiling, praying and loving one another. I walk by conversations and hear people giving truth. I see a church who has become passionate about the gospel, the true gospel, and about carrying it to a lost and dying world. I love you Trinity! I look forward to writing an "I love my church letter" one day in which I talk about how my boys grew up watching your faithfulness and now have children of their own. I look forward to doing the weddings of our sweet boys and girls in Children’s Church. I look forward to us leaving a legacy of generations that will finish well because they have experienced truth and God’s grace. Thank you for allowing me to be your Pastor.
Bro. Chad

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One of My Favorite Blogs

There are few blogs that I like and then, there are even fewer that I love. One of the ones that I love is www.raisinggodlychildren.org
This blog just keeps truths in front of me that remind me the importance of training up my boys in the Word of God. We talk a great deal about grace, truth and sin in our house. We try to be quick to confess our sin when we wrong one another, but one sin that is not mentioned enough by me to our family is the issue of provoking our children to wrath. I do this more than I want to admit because sarcasm can be my second language - not only when just hanging out having fun, but even in my correction at times.  This sarcasm can breed anger in my children, but there are also other ways that we can provoke wrath; the blog below helps with bringing this seldom mentioned sin to our attention.


How To Provoke Your Children To Anger

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  (Ephesians 6:4)
I was thinking about this today as I prepared for a parenting class.  Here are some ways that we parents can provoke our children to anger.  I’ve done many of these, and for this reason I’m grateful for the blood of Jesus and the power of the Spirit to change.
We can provoke our children to anger:
- By constantly criticizing them and not encouraging them.  When they feel they can never please us enough.
- By having double standards – Do as I say, not as I do.  Expecting them to do things we don’t do, e.g. ask forgiveness, humble themselves, etc.
- By anger and harshness
- By a lack of affection
- By telling them what to do or not do without giving Biblical reasons (e.g., Do it because I said to do it, or because it’s just wrong).
- By being offended at their sin because it bothers us, not because it offends God.
- By comparing them to others (Why can’t you act like your sister?)
- By hypocrisy – acting like a Christian at church but not at home
- By embarrassing them (correcting, mocking or expressing disappointment in them in front of others)
- By always lecturing them and never listening to them
- By disciplining them for childishness or weakness, not for sin
- By failing to ask their forgiveness when we sin against them
- By pride – failing to receive humble correction from our spouses or our children when we sin.
- By self-centered reactions to their sin (How could you do this to ME?)
- By ungracious reactions to their sin (What were you thinking?  Why in the world would you do that?)
- By forgetting that we were (and are) sinners (I would NEVER have done that when I was your age).
May God give us gracious, gentle, humble, affectionate hearts toward our children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Loving Serving at Trinity!

I have just had the joy of celebrating my 4thyear as your Pastor at TBC. I must confess there were probably times both of us wondered if we would even make it to this point but, let me state that I am thrilled we have!  I love that we are here and I have an even greater understanding of the importance of spending your life in one ministry. The evident benefits of our TBC family "sticking together" were so vividly demonstrated at the end of 2012, when we interviewed our prospective deacons. I just wanted to pass along some of the quotes by these men or their wives, regarding our fellowship at Trinity:

“It is refreshing to see a group of people committed to the spiritual growth of one another”

“We have reached a point where there is a passion to love one another and we have accountability”

"There is a passion for Christ and people who are serious about their walk and this body”

 "There are a lot of smiles”

“There is no bitterness”

“We are deeply rooted in truth”

"Things are not surface, there is a desire to grow and not just play church”

“Things are real and there is service from a broad spectrum of members”

"There is real spiritual growth in my children”

“This staff genuinely cares for one another”

"We actually worship”

For this love and growth, we glorify our Lord!  This is only a work that God can do through His Spirit working in hearts and teaching us to abide in the truth of His Word. I pray that we stay the course:  I pray that we do not become complacent in this body. With the mission opportunities and the growth in truth and doctrine, I sincerely look forward to great days in 2013 for our faith family at Trinity.  We will all have an opportunity to participate in rejoicing over what our Lord is doing as during the month of February we celebrate “I Love My Church Month.” Please take some time each day and lift this precious fellowship up to our Lord. I love you Trinity and am honored to serve you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ideas for the New Year!

It seems everyone tries to do "cutbacks" in January. We cutback on our food intake, we cut back on our spending, we set goals and, a lot of those goals will involve some sort of cutback. Let me encourage you this year to actually increase! Sanctification is an ongoing process by God’s grace in our lives. While God’s grace is at work, there must be spiritual discipline in our lives to see great strides. I want to just challenge you to "gorge out" in three key areas of your spiritual walk this year:

First, read more good books than you have ever read before. Here is a list of suggestions to help you get started: http://www.holding2truth.blogspot.com/2012/11/final-blog-of-2012-great-resources-for.html  Too many times we set goals for every area of our lives, except our spiritual life: Our spiritual walk should be preeminent and can not be neglected! If you have had trouble in the past with consistency in this area, let me encourage you to begin your year by using the "Amazon search" link and type in Ordering Your Private World - it will take you to the book you need to start first. Between this blog and our book table at Trinity, there are numerous resources to enhance your walk for 2013.

Secondly, I would encourage you to give a greater percentage financially than you have ever given. Some have taken new jobs, some have taken cuts and others have gotten promotions. Regardless of where you are, you can make a commitment to give more to kingdom work than you have ever given from a percentage standpoint. I have said before that if you believe you have grown spiritually but this growth has not made an impact on how you give and how you spend…you need to check your idea of what growth looks like. Spiritual growth will impact every area of my life, especially those areas that demonstrate trust and that my security is in Christ, such as our finances.

Lastly, I would encourage you to disciple more. If you can not think of anyone that you are presently pouring your life and spiritual knowledge into, then you are not carrying out our King’s commands. We are called to be disciple makers and that means I have to give my time to others. This takes dedication and energy from all involved, but this is something every one of us can do. You can walk through a book with another person, you can take a couple who has not been saved long, or even been married as long as you, and help them grow in a biblical understanding of marriage. You can do this by investing in ministries here at Trinity, but this should be going on individually and privately as well.  Let’s use 2013 for His glory like no other year before!