Month: March 2016

10 Tweets From Easter’s Sermon — Life Changing Hope

Encourage someone with one of these tweets.

  1. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]The resurrection of Jesus is what gives us hope both for this life and for after this life. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  2. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]His resurrection gives power and hope for every single problem that we are dealing with in life today. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  3. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]The resurrection of Christ is the greatest proof of His power over our ultimate problem, death. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  4. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Jesus restores hope. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  5. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Jesus finds people in times of desperation. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  6. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Jesus shows compassion by His Words and His Works. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  7. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]You have nothing in your life too dirty that can’t be cleaned and too broken that it can’t be healed. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  8. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]If Jesus could bring life out of the barbaric mess of the crucifixion, then he can make clean the mess that has stained our conscience.[/clickandtweet]
  9. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]In the resurrection, which every believer will experience, we are going to be brought to life, given a glorified body and never die again.[/clickandtweet]
  10. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Hope is believing that Jesus can bring dead things back to life. #EasterAtTrinity[/clickandtweet]
  • [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]We hope you enjoyed these 10 tweets from Sunday’s message at Trinity (audio here)![/clickandtweet]

    How to Live a Life on Mission

    Almost everyone knows that Easter Weekend represents the best time of the year to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The facts are obvious, more people attend church on Easter than any other weekend of the year and the message of the resurrection, core to the gospel, is on more people’s minds. It is hard to imagine that pastors and churches would not see this as an obvious time to put an emphasis on evangelism and outreach. However, we would do well to remember that outreach is not tied to a seasonal event; it is something that should be lived out every day in the life of those that follow Jesus Christ.

    The best ideas to convey effective evangelism is found in the terms “mission” and “sent.” Jesus said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” We are to live our lives on mission for Jesus Christ.  Anything short of living out the gospel intentionally, in both word and deed, is just disobedience. We need to make both verbal and non-verbal expressions of the gospel.

    Here are a few suggestions that will help you become more effective and more fulfilled in engaging in outreach:

    1. Invite People

    The first step of engaging in sharing the gospel is finding a platform to invite people to join you on your journey of following Christ. That may well begin with a simple invitation to people to come and visit church with you on Easter. I am planning on inviting as many people as I can in my neighborhood to visit our church this weekend. Already, people that I have invited have attended a service, proving the adage, “if you invite them they will come.” You never know what will happen in the life of someone if you do not ask them to come with you.

    2. Invest in People

    In the story of the Good Samaritan, you see that he was willing to sacrifice and even expose himself to danger in order to meet the physical needs of the man that was ambushed on the Jericho road. Often times the best way to share the gospel is to build a platform to speak into people’s lives. You may have to work to be a friend, a good neighbor, a helpful co-worker, or someone that can lend a listening ear. Sometimes you need to invest sacrificially in helping or giving to gain a footing for people to allow you to share the gospel. Every time I hear of someone being reached through our Academy or through our Rescue Mission, I am reminded that as a church we are investing in people so that we can share the gospel with them.

    3. Intercede for People

    There is a connection between fruitful evangelism and intercessory prayer. Recently, we baptized a man whose wife and daughter were saved and baptized here several years ago. To say that we began working on him and sharing the gospel with him nearly 10 years ago would not be an exaggeration. The reality is that, with all the interaction and contact that he had with the church, prayer was the one strategy that proved effective.

    Christopher Wright in his book, said, “Jesus did not give his church a mission, he formed his church for a mission.” The mission of Jesus is to preach His gospel to every person. This is the time for us to enlist in the work of the Great Commission.

    Ministering to the Overlooked Children in Society

    Children with special needs are a group in society that is often overlooked. When it comes to church, parents can feel at a loss. Unfortunately, special needs ministries are still fairly rare in churches, and parents of children with special needs are often left with no choice other than to miss church altogether. Children with special needs are among the most innocent and vulnerable of our society and it can be a frightening experience to leave your child while you engage in a worship service. Our Kaleidoscope (special needs) ministry supports these families on their journeys to know God more. Our ministry is trying to relieve the concerns of parents and provide them and their children a reliable place where they know they will be cared for and loved. We accomplish this in a few ways. 

    1. Safe Environment

    We provide families with a safe environment for their children, filled with people who understand their unique needs so that parents can worship and hear the Word of God. 

    2. Volunteers

    The Kaleidoscope Ministry is possible because of wonderful volunteers, “buddies”, who are dedicated to showing the love of God to precious children. Our buddies are guided by leaders who are either educators to students with special needs or the parent of a child with special needs. Our volunteers have the support they need to create and maintain a safe environment for the children we serve. 

    3. Worship Experience

    We provide the opportunity for children with special needs to participate in the E-Theatre, which gives families an inclusive worship environment for their children. Every Sunday volunteers can be seen walking children (often hand in hand) from the Kaleidoscope Ministry to the E-Theatre to participate in Children’s Church along with their peers. The children can be a part of game time, the Bible lesson, and music, in their own way. It’s often agreed on that music is the one of the best experiences with the kids; the joy on their faces while they sing and dance is contagious. 

    4. Bible Teaching

    We provide a place where families can know that their child is being taught stories from the Bible and the love of Jesus in a way that their children can understand. Being a special needs educator myself, I knew the importance of teaching the children Bible lessons unique to their learning. 

    Ultimately, our goal is for this ministry to reflect the mission of the church, which is to reach as many people as possible and develop them into committed followers of Christ. We believe that we can do that by loving, serving, and teaching children in our community with special needs, while allowing their parents to attend small groups and worship services so that both the parent and the child can come to know God more and make Him known.

    5 Helpful Tips to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

    Spring break typically finds me when I need it the most. In the hustle and bustle of our weekly routine, spring break gives us one whole week to be rescued so we can relax and just take a break from the monotony of it all.

    Spring is also my favorite time of year. I love watching new growth break through the ground, hearing birds sing actively in the morning and finding ourselves outdoors a little more, enjoying the longer days. I hope you find the tips below helpful as you seek new experiences, get active and be inspired this spring break!

    1. Unplug: Encourage your kids or yourself to spend at least one day or a portion of each day away from technology. Put phones down and shut off computers to engage in more conversations, take walks or simply rest your eyes. Our culture is so wrapped up in our virtual lives that we forget to enjoy our real lives.

    2. Organize / clean out: Find a corner, a drawer or a cabinet that has been neglected. Throw out what you do not use! Rearrange to make it more functional. Declutter a shelf. Organize a closet. I find spring cleaning so much easier when I tackle one project at a time! Not to mention how great your home will feel without the mess!

    3. Get Active: Find activities outside to use up that stockpiled winter energy! Remind yourself of all the beautiful amenities we have in Florida that we take for granted. Visit the beach, walk the river, take a day trip to St. Augustine! We always enjoy exploring Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!

    4. Do something new and out of the ordinary. Try a new hobby. Eat at a new restaurant! Be spontaneous and go on an adventure! Some of my most memorable days from childhood were when my mom, brothers and I jumped on the city bus not knowing where we were headed. Sometimes we would get dropped off with only our bikes and a little bit of dad’s money! The only thing we did know was that by the end of the day our feet would be tired, money would be spent and our hearts would be full. 

    5. Find a way to be a blessing. Look for an opportunity to do something for someone else. It can be so small, but we get our greatest blessings when we turn our focus on others instead of ourselves. Buy someone’s coffee, make a donation or consider volunteering your time! You will not regret it and your children won’t forget it.

    4 Ways to Enhance Your Private Prayer Time

    This past weekend at Trinity we taught on the importance and power of prayer. It was a helpful study that allowed us to more deeply appreciate the opportunity we have to communicate personally with God. (watch the message)

    While a deeper understanding and appreciation of prayer are so important, I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what the practical application of that understanding actually looks like in daily life.

    Prayer is a practice and experience that I believe many (myself included) often wish was more fulfilling, powerful and personal.

    In no order of importance, here are 4 practical ways to enhance your private prayer time:

    1. Change Your Location
    There are many times when I find prayer difficult because of the room, situation or environment I’m in. If you’re like me, sitting in one spot doesn’t always help either. My mind will wander, or if it is early or late in the day I’ll find myself tired or dozing off. So, change your location. 

    There is a large pond next to my home and I have enjoyed some of my best talks with God walking outside around the water. 

    Try praying while you drive. Some of us could transform our daily 20 or 30 minute commute into a meaningful time with God.

    Don’t lock yourself into thinking that prayer must be done kneeling by your bed, in a closet, or in your home. Consider changing up the location where you pray.

    2. Have An Out Loud Conversation
    Inevitably, people ask the question when talking about prayer: “What do I say?” 

    We must have modeled this poorly over the generations in the church, because many seem to miss the fact that prayer at its simplest form is not a rehearsed speech, but is just a normal conversation with God.

    When you pray, don’t worry about the right words. Just talk to God like you would speak to a person sitting across from you. It helps me to pray out loud and in the same vernacular as I would address my friend or my wife.

    3. Let God Talk Back
    Healthy conversations in any relationship are never one sided. Thismeans at some point during our prayer time, we should stop talking and allow God to speak.

    God can respond any way He wants, but if you are looking for an audible reply, you might be waiting a while. God has given us His preferred means of conversation through the Bible.

    It only makes sense that when we are talking to God, we should open the Bible and allow Him to speak back.

    4. Schedule It
    I have multiple conversations every day with my wife. Good relationships embrace frequent and healthy communication. But, there are also specific times I block out of my calendar for intentional and important conversation.

    This past weekend we talked about the importance of inviting God into all of our experiences through prayer. But don’t miss the opportunity to specifically block time out of your schedule for conversation with God.

    Maybe you need to schedule a lunch for the purpose of prayer. Take a half-day and plan to spend the time talking with God. Open up your calendar and go ahead and block out that time.

    I hope these ideas spark a creative thought process about how you might enhance your conversations with God. We would all enjoy hearing more ideas about prayer from you in the comments below.

    3 Questions That Will Help You Cast the Right Vote

    The upcoming Presidential election in November has dominated the news for the past several months and continues to be on the forefront of most people’s minds heading toward the next election. Every time I try to distance myself from watching the news coverage, I keep being drawn back in like someone that is waiting for an inevitable crash to happen. I find that it is easy for Christians to either withdraw from political engagement or to put too much stock in getting a particular candidate elected to office. 

    Christians have a unique relationship to government and participation in the voting process. While the Bible is not silent about how we are to engage, you have to work through and understand the context of the early Christians’ relationship to the government of the day (Rome) and how we are to engage in the political process that is unique to our own form of government in America.

    Jesus reveals an important truth about the role of government when he talks about the issue of paying taxes. If you remember the story, Jesus was asked if he was going to pay taxes. He replied by taking a coin and asking whose image was on it. 

    “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) 

    This passsage teaches that there is both a legitimate role of government (you give to Caesar that which belongs to him) and there is a limited role of government because while Caesar’s image may be on the coin it is not on you; you belong to God.

    Paul develops the principle a little further when he says in Romans 13 that the sword of justice is given by God to those whom He places in power. Those who stand in that role of civil authority are accountable to God. That means that in a government like ours that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, the final authority for making those decisions rest with its citizens. When we go to the voting booth this coming primary we are choosing those leaders that we want to represent us in the business of government. 

    As we consider who we are going to vote for this election cycle, I want to suggest that there are three important questions to be considered when formulating criteria for choosing how to use the vote given to every citizen in the United States. 

    1. Where does a candidate stand on the important issues? 

    Our country is facing an enormous number of critical issues ranging from foreign policy that will help keep our country safe, to immigration reform, to debt reduction and balanced budgets, to right-to-life issues, to the issue of marriage, to Supreme Court appointments, and to keep the defense of religious liberty. My prayer is that a clear candidate would emerge who can articulate a coherent strategy that will offer a way forward for the country and move us in a direction that respects individual rights and freedoms, expresses a grasp on important social issues, and is committed to keeping our country safe.

    2. What kind of character does a candidate possess? 

    The Bible is a remarkably honest record of the reign of different kings. Some are known for what they did well and others are marked by their personal failures. The Bible speaks to the fact that those who represent God in positions of authority are defined by their character and integrity. I know that almost any politician is going to say whatever they think needs to be said in order to be elected; however, I am hoping and praying that a candidate will emerge that possesses both the God-given skill to lead others and the personal integrity to do it in a way that reflects the character expected of those who will rule over others.

    3. Am I allowing my faith to influence my decisions? 

    When it comes to choosing candidates we are often tempted to opt for pragmatism, voting for people that may be most likely to be elected and yet are least aligned with gospel truths. That means we should be modeling a Christian political engagement that doesn’t start or end with politics alone. It starts and ends with the gospel and the kingdom of God. For the follower of Jesus, we should set the cross at the center of our lives and address every issue in life through the lens of the cross.