A Note From Your Council President

“I think Holy Trinity is on the verge of something really great!”

This comment came up in a conversation I had last week with a few of the Holy Trinity staff – and I totally agree! I am very excited about all that is being planned for the upcoming months at Holy Trinity and I would like to thank everyone for their work – Pastor, the staff, the council, committee members, the congregation and most importantly, thanks to God!

I challenge each of you to get involved – try something new; invite your friends and neighbors; help with planning and implementation; suggest new ideas. God has gifted each one of us differently – it is essential that all members of the congregation bring their gifts to the table to completely fulfill Holy Trinity’s ministry. Our congregation is abundantly blessed by God!

Here is a glimpse of things that are in store for the coming months at Holy Trinity – these are in addition to the Men’s and Women’s Bible studies, Confirmation, Kids Jam, Choirs and other activities that are well established.

  • Homecoming, September 9 – The first Sunday after Labor Day has traditionally been a time when we start the new church year and rally to get everyone involved. It is also the day the Synod celebrates God’s Work, Our Hands. Our focus this year will be Homecoming – a time for all of us to reconnect, renew our faith and serve others.
  • Life of Faith Initiative, September 9 through October 21 – This initiative, implemented as part of our worship service, will help us shift our focus from what we do as the church gathered to what we do as the church scattered. We will begin by reflecting on the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer – “give us today our daily bread” – and what that means for us in our everyday lives. The following Sundays will examine the Ten Commandments and how we can take God’s Work, Our Hands beyond a Day of Service into living a Life of Faith.
  • Fellowship of Faith, starting September 16 after worship – EVERYONE (young, old, and everyone in between) is encouraged to come for coffee, juice, snacks and fellowship after worship every Sunday. See Dale’s Dabbles for more details.
  • Bible Study on Affirmation of Baptism, starting September 16, after Fellowship of Faith– See Dale’s Dabbles for more details.
  • Women’s Tea, September 8, 11 am-1 pm – The women of Holy Trinity will gather for fellowship and to make plans for the upcoming year. I hear there is talk about wanting to do more bible study! This would be a great opportunity to invite a friend to church with you.
  • Blessing of the Pets, October 6, 11 am-1 pm – A day for the community to bring their pets for a special blessing.
  • Trunk or Treat, October 27, 1-3 pm – A day of fun and trick-or-treating for children from Holy Trinity, United Faith, Tiny Tots, Randolph and the surrounding neighborhood.

Yours in Christ, Debbie

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A Pep Talk in Each Drop: God Speaks in Unexpected Ways

Recovery from knee replacement surgery has proceeded on schedule to the point that just a few muscle groups have yet to recover. Unfortunately, when I try to sleep, the muscle group that stretches from my knee to my hip sets off alarms and I awaken frequently. So, last night was rough.

This morning I was on the phone praying with my prayer partner for other people to recover from illness or surgery and for other blessings from God. I was feeling sorry for myself, tired and hurting from last night. In front of me were several cough drops with their paper wrappers covered with the company’s logo. As I scanned over this pile, one wrapper caught my attention.

Centered on the wrapper in clear black letters it read, “”you’ve survived tougher.” I examined the other cough drop wrappers, and they either displayed no words or the writing was partially obscured by the twisted end of the wrapper. Before this I had never seen such a pep talk on a cough drop wrapper.

I looked at “you’ve survived tougher” and chuckled out loud. It raised my spirits and offered me hope that God had equipped me through earlier tough times. So, I can expect better times ahead. That was just what I needed at that moment.

I think of this as a God Sighting, partially because I have had so many God Sightings during this surgery and recovery process. It just fit with the others. I could have not thought about it, eaten the cough drop, and thrown the wrapper away. I could have written it off as a “coincidence” or as just “good luck.”

However, those attributions do nothing for my spirit or for my faith in a merciful and compassionate God, who is always with me, offering loving support. I believe that God is with me and that should be my first interpretation of events around me, whether those events are big or small.

Thank you, God, once again.

Submitted by Paul Stratton

What Our Confirmation Kids are Saying

I liked the baptism because I liked the words that Pastor said,  “People of God do you promise to support Amelia and pray for them in their new life in Christ

What part of the service did you like best?

  • The sermon because it was a good message about why Sunday is the Sabbath Day. [6-2-18, Blake W.]
  • The sermon because I like the song “sign” that the Pastor sang. [6-2-18, Ben W.]
  • I liked the skit part of the service because it explained a lot in a different format. [6-10-18, Haylee S.]
  • I liked the play that was done and thought it was a different way to send the message. I liked how each table was their own tribe and how it was like we were in Babylon days. VBS should be very cool this year and I am looking forward to working there. [6-10-18, Sean V.]
  • The sermon because it talked a lot about God. [6-17-18, Ben W.]
  • The Sermon because it made sense and wasn’t just words put together, but seemed like it actually made sense. [6-23-18, Aaron S.]
  • I liked the baptism because I liked the words that Pastor said,  “People of God do you promise to support Amelia and pray for them in their new life in Christ. [6-24-18, Faith C.]

How does the sermon relate to your life?

  • It relates to my life because it reminds me that the Sabbath is a day to reflect. Also, I should help others. [6-2-18, Blake W.]
  • It reminds me that the Sabbath is the day that I recharge my faith. I can also help others who need it. [6-2-18, Ben W.]
  • This week did not have a traditional sermon, however, teachings were around God’s support and love. God will always be there for us. [6-10-18, Haylee S.]
  • Sometimes life and school are hard and full of stress and changes. You have to learn to deal with all of this and remembering that prayer and God’s presence in your life makes it easier to manage. Change will always be there. You just have to have faith and believe. [6-10-18, Sean V.]
  • It relates to my life by God will bless my actions. Also how I thank God. [6-17-18, Ben W.]
  • It relates because I sometimes don’t feel safe obeying God.  But I know he’s always right, so I should. [6-23-18, Aaron S.]
  • I know that God is always the one that cares. I also know that God is always there for me. [6-24-18, Faith C.]

Collected comments from June 2018 submitted by Susan Mount-Campbell, Ed Team

Why Does God Let me Hurt So Much?

God’s work in my life is most evident to me during times of crisis. My recent knee replacement surgery has been one such occasion.  My last God sighting reflected on how I was encouraged when I accepted that my leg and knee were more God’s doing than my own.  I was encouraged when I accepted that God designed this body with the skeletal architecture, blood flow and immune system to make rebuilding after surgery possible. My contribution is minor by comparison; take my medication and do my exercises.  I closed that thought with, “God does not design junk.”

That begs the question, “why did God allow my knee to break in the first place?”  If God is a God of love, mercy and compassion, why did God allow me to hurt so much as to make surgery necessary, much less the pain after surgery?

Most of the time pain is a necessary sensation, just like seeing and hearing.  As a sensory input, pain allows us to navigate around our world and avoid things, like fire, that could hurt or kill us.  Before surgery the pain in my knee was God’s way of saying, “Something is wrong here. Do something about it.” Most often that meant that I would put less weight on that knee, support the knee with a brace, or just stop doing what I was doing. After awhile, the pain told me those things were not enough, and my knee needed professional help.  After several years of injections, which offered some temporary relief, surgery became the most pain-free option for  the long run.

But why did God design my knee to give me such pain in the first place? Why not design it to be indestructible?  I do not know any other body part that is indestructible. My eyes are wearing out. My bones are vulnerable to breaking if hit by a car.  Those bones lose strength as I age due to osteoporosis.  So, my knee is not much different from the rest of my body.  It gives me pain, when injured, and it wears out as I age.  I am grateful that God designed my knee to work as well as it did for as long as it did.

Perhaps that should be my focus. Be thankful for what I have and do not mourn for what I do not have.  The past is past and for all my crying and mourning, nothing will change that.  The future is ahead, and God has given me what is needed to move ahead.  God has given me my wife as my indispensible at-home support. God has given me excellent medical support in the doctors, nurses and physical therapists.  God has given me support through the prayer of friends and family in ministry. God designed my bones to grow into the new titanium knee to make it strong. God designed my blood to bring in nutrients and take away waste to allow my muscles to rebuild. God designed my immune system to beat down infection. God has given me what is necessary to allow me to do what I can do to rebuild after surgery, such as take my medication and exercise.

Thank you God, once again.

Submitted by Paul Stratton

An Insight From my Nightmare God Sighting

 

Have you ever asked yourself what is so difficult about being a witness for Christ?  While I cannot answer for you, I can better answer for me. I have experienced hesitating and then losing an opportunity to be a witness.  Sharing that experience may help you when you are reluctant to share your faith.

Recently I had a God Sighting that was very unusual for me. I wrote that down as “A Nightmare God Sighting,” which was distributed as an e-blast and blog.. I shared that God Sighting with great reluctance, and the process that I went through may be similar to what you have experienced.  You see, the God Sighting was a dream, like a scene from Revelation; fantastical, scary and full of symbolism.  It made sense to me, and, since it was my experience, I knew that it was real.

However, when it came to sharing my nightmare God sighting, I was concerned about what other people would think of me. Would they think that I just made it up? Was I just plumping up my own ego? Was I boasting? Would people think I was crazy for having such a bizarre dream? Or drunk or on drugs? Why put myself out there for people to criticize? Those are concerns about the “me” part of the equation that wanted me to just keep my experience to myself and to not share.

However, I did share my experience as a God Sighting, because my perspective changed. It changed from “me” to “we.” The focus of my concern had changed from how would my sharing would affect me to how my sharing could affect all of us, the “we.”  In other words, the benefits to other people could outweigh the cost to me.  That is more in line with Jesus’ commandment for us to “love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31)” and “you will be a witness to all people of what you have seen and heard (Acts 22:15).”

When I have more concern for other people, I have less concern for myself. Then I am more at ease sharing my experience of how God is working in my life with other people. That experience may be as personal as my recent nightmare, what I recently did at church, or as seemingly inconsequential as commenting on a cross that someone is wearing on a necklace.  The latter has initiated some interesting conversations about faith in the work place.  I have also had some interesting conversations with restaurant wait staff when I ask, “Before we eat, we pray. Would it be OK to include you in our prayer?” The most recent was a young woman who was to travel to Russia in two days, but her visa had yet to be approved due to international tensions. She was very thankful for our prayer of support.

Being a witness for Christ takes most of us out of our comfort zone and that makes us hesitant to share our faith. However, it is easier when we shift our concern from our self to our neighbor and focus on the healing that comes from that sharing. Being a witness for Christ is one thing that we can do to bring peace and healing to a world that needs what our faith has to offer.

Silence is the enemy of truth, and our truth is Jesus Christ.  Pass it on.

Submitted by Paul Stratton

Testify

I asked if he is a Christian, and that prompted his testimony about his faith and his having attended a church founded by St. Thomas in AD 52. We shared our faith stories . . .

Today (June 20) I had physical therapy at home, following my knee replacement surgery three days ago. The therapist was a pleasant fellow, who by his appearance and accent was most likely from India.  As we were planning our meetings, he said he would have to schedule around his vacation. So, I asked where he was going for his vacation, and he said that he was returning to where he was born in southern India, where there are a lot of Christians.

I asked if he is a Christian, and that prompted his testimony about his faith and his having attended a church founded by St. Thomas in AD 52.  We shared our faith stories, and, much to my surprise, his theology is very much like a Missouri synod Lutheran.

What a rich conversation we had! As he left, I felt that I had a new brother in Christ and that we had much in common, even though we were born and raised half a world apart. As a result I felt confident in his physical therapy and could relax into the pain and work that it involved.  Thank you, God, once again.

Submitted by Paul Stratton