Author: Daniel Warren

Make a Difference!

Jude 22 — And of some have compassion, making a difference!

As part of a series about core valued, this past weekend, our church was challenged to show the compassion that should characterize our ministry as we reflect the character of Christ.  (Listen HERE

As I stood on stage worshipping with our church family at the end of the service, I looked out at the congregation/crowd, I was overwhelmed by the stories represented by individuals who were making a difference by showing compassion.

 

KRIS AND TABITHA PARSON

Kris and Tabitha Parson started the Believe Foundation in response to their experience of fighting childhood cancer with their daughter Carolina.  Kris has told me numerous stories of hour-long“counseling” sessions in Walmart, hospital rooms, shopping malls, and online as they show compassion to other families facing this disease with their child.  They are making a difference!  Visit their website to see how you can get involved.

 

ROBERT AND AMANDA KINDER

Robert and Amanda Kinder started the Brady Foundation after the sudden death of their son.  They use this foundation to serve at-risk and needy kids in the Jacksonville community.  They recently gave new shoes to all the children at the Trinity Women’s and Children CenterThey are making a difference.  Sign up for their 5K fundraiser HERE.

 

LORRIE DUFF

Lorrie Duff helped us start our Trinity Kids special needs ministry, Kaleidoscope.  Using a buddy system that allows special needs children to be included in our ministry, Lorrie and her team minister to families every week.  I heard just yesterday about a family that had not been able to attend church in 3 years due to the demands of caring for their child.  They are now able to worship with us weekly, knowing their child is being cared for.  She is making a difference! Volunteer in our Kaleidoscope ministry HERE.

The stories could go on and on: I received an email from Ryan Cosson who is using his business to raise funds for a family in our church whose 7 year old is battling leukemia (Click HERE).  Phylicia Perry and her Sisterhood of Servants ministry is building a school and vocational training center in a rural village in Chipata, Zambia, Africa. (Click HERE)

What about you?

How can you make a difference in someone’s life this week?

It may be as simple as taking the time to truly listen to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.

Followers of Jesus show compassion and make a difference in the lives of people!

You can do it!

Enough is Enough

Here at Trinity, we are currently in a series called “In God We Trust” that is focused on developing a biblical view of how we handle our money.  Click here for the sermon videos.

Most of us live our lives wishing we had more: more money, more time, more clothes, more, more, more.  The problem is that getting more doesn’t stop the itch.  The first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, was once asked how much money was enough.  His reply was “One more dollar.”

The Apostle Paul, while thanking a church for their financial support, said that he had learned to be content no matter what financial state he found himself in.  He had learned how to be content while having a lot of money and while having very little (Philippians 4:11–13).  Here are some things you can do to find contentment in your current financial position.

Learn to be Content – Philippians 4:11

Notice Paul tells us that he has “learned” contentment.  So many times we get frustrated with ourselves and others who are not content.  We expect it to come naturally, but Paul himself had to learn contentment.

Have you ever wondered how Paul could be content no matter what state he was in?  He had learned through experience that God had provided him with the resources he needed to fulfill His plan.  In your life, contentment is hinged upon your realization that God has provided the resources you need to accomplish His plan in your life.  His plan may not include a huge house and multiple luxury cars so you may never have resources to afford those.  If that is the case, you have to give up that goal and be content with the state you are in.  God will teach you contentment.  You can choose to learn it by experience or by example.

Know What “State” You Are In – Philippians 4:12

Paul says he knew how to be content with little money and with a lot of money.  This was possible because his life reflected this worldview:

I am content in my circumstances because I know God is in control and has provided me with the resources I need to accomplish His will for my life.

A problem many of us face is that we don’t know what resources we have and how we are using them.  We must evaluate our resources and our obligations and use what God has provided in the most effective way.

WHAT IS A BUDGET?

A budget is simply a plan to manage the money in your home.  When used correctly, a budget will help you determine what kind of house you could live in, what kind of car you could drive, what kind of clothes you could wear, etc.

HOW DO I BUDGET

Step 1 – Begin with your current situation.

  • Identify how much money you are currently making.
  • Identify how much money you are currently spending. Note:  If you are spending more than you are currently making – STOP!

Step 2 – Track your Spending.

  • Using a diary or an online tool, identify what you spend money on for one month. I use Personal Capital to track my spending. (https://www.personalcapital.com/)
  • Assign it a category.

Step 3 – Develop a plan.

  • Use a budget worksheet to determine what your expenses should be. Here’s a great budget tool. *Download Monthly Budget Plan
  • Discuss ways you can increase income or decrease expenses to make the plan work.

Step 4 – Work the plan.

  • Exercise your faith in God by trusting Him to meet needs with the resources He has provided.
  • Example: Your budget only allows $250 per month for a car including maintenance, insurance, gas, and payment.  Trust God to provide you a vehicle that fits with the means He has provided.  In other words – don’t drive a $500/month vehicle if God has only provided the $250/month!

 

Realize the Source of True Contentment – Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” has been used by athletic teams, motivational speakers and many others for multiple things.  Paul wrote it while talking about dealing with money.  His point was that he could handle any financial setting by relying on God.  Having a lot of money didn’t ruin him because Christ was his strength.  Being broke didn’t ruin him because Christ was his strength.

Acknowledging our dependence on God to use our finances in accordance to His will is the key to learning to be content and living within our means.  For you, it will not be your will-power or lack thereof that determines your success in this struggle for contentment; it will be your willingness to depend on God and His strength.

Breaking Ground on the Connection Plaza

This weekend we broke ground on the Connection Plaza, the anchor piece of the Generations campaign.  In less than 18 months, nearly 500 families have given over 1 million dollars to help us remodel our auditorium and get us to the groundbreaking of the Connection Plaza.  It is exciting to see our campus begin to take new shape as we start these projects.

The groundbreaking ceremony featured pastoral staff, as well as leaders in our church who have greatly helped with the Generations campaign.  It was great to have Richard Lovelace, Vice President at Stellar Commercial Group (the Jacksonville-based design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm that is building the Plaza) there to let the crowd know that, “the plans are done, the paper work is done and the permits are done.  It’s now time to get to work!”  David Long from Miller Electric and David Coxwell of JB Coxwell Contracting were also at the groundbreaking.  Both of these men and their companies have done so much for our ministry.  We are excited to have them involved on this project as well.

We believe that this building will provide a clear “front door” to our church, helping us to improve our guest connection.  It also will provide a community space for relationships to connect deeper, both on the weekend and throughout the week.  It also connects our main auditorium with our preschool and nursery building, improving security and ease of drop off for parents. Site work begins this week.  We are anticipating the building completed by late April or early May.

Our prayer is that the Connection Plaza will help us fulfill the mission that God has given us: to reach as many people as possible with the gospel and to develop them into committed followers of Jesus Christ.  We believe that everyone in our church has a responsibility to help our church fulfill that mission.  Here are three ways you can be “on mission.”

  1. Bring people with you to church. God connects you weekly with people so that you can connect them to Him.  We work hard to ensure that when you bring someone with you, they will have a positive experience and hear the Gospel of Jesus preached clearly. Let us know who you are praying for and we will join you in praying for them.
  2. Volunteer to do your part to minister to people who attend our church. We need people to use their talents and abilities so that our church can reach and disciple.  Let us know what area you are interested in volunteering. Click here for more information.
  3. Give generously so the ministry can continue to reach people with the gospel. When you give to Trinity, it helps us to do what we do each week to reach people, both here in Jacksonville and around the world.  It also helps us to expand our influence in our community through new initiatives like the Connection Plaza, new campuses and other opportunities God brings our way. Click here for more informaion.

This is definitely an exciting time to be here at Trinity.  God is clearly at work in many different ways.  You can join us as we seek to reach people and disciple them.  Take one of these steps today.

A Word to Us Children of the 80s

A few weeks ago I went to the dentist.  When the doctor walked in, I remember thinking this guy still has to be in high school.  It was confirmation that I no longer qualify as a “young adult.”  I am just an adult.  My wife and I regularly talk about how different life is from just 10 years ago.  Our schedules are different.  Our responsibilities are different.  So much has changed as we have transitioned from the youngest adult generation to make room for the Millennials.

I think it is vital for us as members of Generation X to be the adults in our church.  Not the YOUNG adults.  Not the SENIOR adults.  Just the ADULTS.  While each generation is essential to a healthy multi-generational church, I want to speak directly to us Gen Xers, the children of the 80s, on our role in the church today.

Generation X must be the adults in church. Click To Tweet

As the ADULTS, we can ensure a healthy culture in the church if we…

Solve Problems

It has always been easy for us to point out the problems with the church.  It was too this or too that when we were growing up.  Now it is too this or too that in church today.  At this stage of our lives, we have the opportunity and responsibility to solve those problems.  Our life experiences, values, maturity and stage of life give us a unique ability to solve problems because we understand the perspectives of each generation.  Our parents are Boomers or part of the Silent Generation.  Our kids are Millennials.

Generation X understands the perspectives of each generation Click To Tweet

Keep in mind, solving problems is different than pointing out problems.  Get involved in ministry and help make our church better.  We need leaders and problem solvers to come along side staff in every area of ministry.  We have problems that are waiting for you and your unique perspective to be recognized and solved.  Talk to a staff member this week about how you can get involved and solve problems.

Build Bridges

We have all experienced the Generation Gap in some way.  As young leaders in church, family, community or business, you hit a wall because you were too young or were trying to change things that weren’t supposed to be changed.  Some of us still carry some bitterness toward older generations as a result.

I believe God wants us as a church to be unified.  We need to be bridge builders between generations.  We need to ensure that the experiences and wisdom of older generations are appreciated and maximized rather than minimalized.  We need to ensure that the passions and zeal of the younger generations are encouraged and engaged rather than crushed or stifled.  Lead in the building of bridges between generations in our church.

Generation X must step up and work to solve the problems. Click To Tweet

In Philippians 2, Paul gives instruction on what I believe it looks like to be bridge builders.  In verses 3–4, he tells us:

  • Don’t seek personal glory or your personal preference
  • Humbly value others above yourself
  • Look to serve the interests of others

As our church continues to reach our community with the gospel and develop future generations to be followers of Jesus, let it be said of us that we didn’t just talk about problems in the church, but that we stepped up and worked to solve the problems. Let our legacy be a healthy church culture where all generations are valued, engaged and united in our mission, to reach people with the gospel and develop them into committed followers of Christ.

Let our legacy be a healthy church culture where all generations are valued, engaged and united. Click To Tweet