Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just Something to Remember

Michele and I often talk about how quickly our boys are growing up. I remember my parents telling me how fast the time was passing, but what they were saying never made sense; it seemed to me that it was taking forever for me get older. But, now in my early 40’s (yes, EARLY 40's), the reality is that time does fly. I remember listening to my parents or grandparents talk about when they were children and I was amazed they could remember that far back. Now, I am the one thinking back. I came across this blog the other day and it reminded me of two things: (1) The precious young men that God has given me are not mine, I am just an overseer of them. (2) God has greater things planned for them than I can imagine. Think about getting this letter from your son or daughter. I pray it blesses you as it did me. 

Jim Elliot, who died as a martyr on the beaches of Ecuador (58 years ago tomorrow), to his parents when he told them he was going:
“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And he never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

‘Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of they wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.’”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Five Years

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 5th year serving as your Pastor at TBC. I have said before that if the Lord would have shown us in advance what the first five years would look like, I’m not quite sure I would have come here, nor am I sure you would have wanted me. But, God has been amazingly gracious as always.  We are not what we are going to be in another 5 years, but we certainly are not what we were. God has blessed us with the selling of our facility and in so doing, with an opportunity to not only clarify our direction over the next several years, but also to have an impact in His Kingdom far beyond what we have ever had. With my church anniversary being in January, it is only natural for me to review what all God has done in the life of our fellowship. We are now in a place as a church body to make gospel centered, Kingdom focused decisions and everything we have gone through over the last 5 years has prepared us for a time such as this. I have said and quoted that “big doors swing on small hinges,” and that is certainly true in our fellowship. This big door that is now before us is swinging on some seemingly small hinges. Let me share with you a few of them:


  • Staff Stability: I am the third Pastor in this location in the last 20 years, but in that same time frame (prior to becoming your Pastor) there had been almost 60 staff members come and go. One or two were here only weeks! It is difficult, if not impossible, to have that kind of staff turn over and a church that is stable. God has blessed us in a tremendous way with our present staff. As a whole, these men are the most theologically sound, Christ honoring, team focused group of men I have ever been around. We are prepared for this time primarily because of the way the Lord has used them to help equip this body.
  • Church Unity: I have shared multiple times, that I will never forget having a mass exodus after a service that focused on repentance. When some of our men led out in repentance over how Trinity had treated previous Pastors, many were not willing to follow.  The importance of going to one another and getting right, actually brought temporary harm to the body. It was that night, after that service, that I understood why there was so much division at Trinity - over everything from music to doctrine; it was either some people didn’t care to abide by the Word, or they just didn’t know what it said. I discovered later that there were people who fell into both groups. I thank God that through that time and through walking through the Word, through repentance, through understanding church and through attrition, this body is unified. We must also understand that unity is a fragile thing and we must all be consistently submitting to the Word of God.
  • Taming The Tongue: A church that is not unified by doctrine and like beliefs, and believers who are not committed to walk this life together will  be a fertile field for gossip. I was told by leadership that this was a stronghold in the body of Trinity, and after only 2 hours as Pastor it was realized somewhat. After 2 weeks I was fully aware of it, and after 5 years of preaching, teaching, the work of the Word convicting and sanctifying, we are finally free of that stronghold. Is it something all of us are susceptible to? Yes. Is it something that we have mastered? Certainly not. But, is it something that is crippling all we do as it was during the previous years? Praise God…no, it isn’t.
  • Family Worship: Our men are leading and we have families that are worshipping together at home and not just on Sundays. We have husbands and wives who better understand their roles and God is blessing that in a tremendous way. Family worship impacts our corporate worship. I thank the Lord for the work in this area in all of our lives.


I could list 20 more examples, but I believe these are the most amazing hinges that this present door swings on. It is incredible to see where we are vs where many probably thought we would be. God has been so much more faithful than we have been and for that, we thank Him for His grace. I love you, TBC and I thank you for your expectation to feed on the Word of God every week. These last 5 years have, in many ways been the best and worse in my life, but I am honored to be your Pastor and I look forward to what our Lord has in store for us in 2014!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Welcome Back!

Well, this is the first blog of the new year and a lot has happened. We have voted to sell our building, we have moved our schedule and we have no idea what all the Lord has in store for us. I guess as we begin this year I want to begin with a story and then lay out a few truths.

Around three years ago I sat across from a man at lunch and he said to me, “With the direction we are going, if someone held a gun to my head and told me to tell them if Trinity would be around in 6 months, I would tell them 'no.'” Now, I am happy that no one did put a gun to his head and I imagine three years later he is also…but I play that conversation in my mind very often. In fact, I have played that conversation many times over in my mind the last several weeks. To say that the Lord has protected us, undergirded us and shown us favor is still an understatement. But there are some things we would do well to remember during this transition.  I will only list a few, but these few are important.

  • We serve a Big God:  Even when we do not see His hand, we can rest assured He is working for our good and His glory.

  • Striving to “Do Church” Biblically Is Tough: In the American culture with the attitude of “live and let live,” it causes great struggle in the American church. It is messy and it is uncomfortable, but it is biblical to walk with others, confront with truth and grace and stand faithfully on the Word.

  • Unhealthy doesn’t turn to healthy overnight: It takes the Spirit working through the Word in the hearts of people to strengthen a church. Trinity is far from what we are going to be, but praise God we are not what we used to be. It wasn’t until this year (year five) that I really saw any signs of health. Now, the goal to be a God-honoring church is something that I believe we genuinely want and are working towards.

  • Expository Preaching is healthy food: Many believers raised in much of what is called “church” today are happy hearing “7 Ways to be a better….” They are not accustomed to walking through the Word of God and what it says, verse by verse. The Word of God cuts, it convicts and it makes my flesh uncomfortable, but it must be preeminent.

  • The Kingdom is so much bigger than Trinity: God is forcing us to look at more than just ourselves, even more than missions. As we will worship alongside another congregation in sometimes crowded spaces, we will have to learn to “wash feet” and to prefer others. This is very easy to preach but very tough to practice.

  • Relationships are mandatory: We must live our Christian life in community. God never created us to be isolationists, we are called to do all these “one another” things in the Word and it begins in our congregation. I have all these people in church that are not like me:  some are older, some are younger, different backgrounds, different preferences, and we live out life beside one another for the glory of God. The way we love each other is the greatest testimony to a lost and dying world.

There are many other lessons that I am sure we will deal with in the coming months. Thanks for your commitment to staying in the Word and staying faithful at Trinity.  The blog will be back up and running through this new year and will hopefully be one more way to keep in touch with what is going on and what changes are happening.  I pray that we at TBC are committed to Hold To Truth!