How Shall I Spread Abroad Thy Wonderous story?

Have you ever asked the question the hymn writer asks in our beautiful hymn we sang together at Maundy Thursday worship, “O Dearest Jesus, What Law hast Thou Broken? In verse 3 of the that hymn, the writer asks, “How shall I spread abroad thy wondrous story?” How do we tell the whole world that God loves each and every person so much that He sacrificed His own son, Jesus for our sins? We may support overseas missions or include the world’s lost in our daily prayers.

After Maundy Thursday worship, I asked my friend from Pakistan if she understood the service—after all her first language is Urdu, her second language is Hindi, and her third language is English. She smiled at me and nodded her head up and down.

“Even we sing the same hymns as you.” she said.

“Like which ones,” I questioned?

She started humming a familiar tune—the tune of O Dearest Jesus …and then in a beautiful soprano voice she sang this song for me in the Urdu language. What a joy to share with believers from around the world our precious Savior’s love in song. It reminded me of Psalm 86:9, “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” That evening this verse came true for me!

This was an Easter blessing I didn’t expect but I’m thankful to God to have the opportunity to sing with people from all over the globe. You can too! Find out how you can meet people from different parts of the world at Flint International Friends!

Holy Week at Trinity

This next weekend is Palm Sunday.  The day begins Holy Week –  the climax of the Lenten Season.  Holy Week includes special times of worship designed to help us understand and appreciate the price Jesus paid for our salvation.  This week also includes some faith milestones in the lives of our members. 

Please celebrate this special week with us at Trinity when we observe major events in Jesus’ life and celebrate significant faith events in the lives of our fellow Christ-followers.

Palm Sunday (Saturday) – March 24 – 6:15 p.m.

We recognize Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem less than one week before His crucifixion.  The crowds welcomed Jesus with hopes that He would become their king (Luke 19:28-40).  During this Saturday evening worship we  celebrate this event with a special service that includes our annual Palm Sunday Cantata featuring choir members from both our own choir and the choir of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Otisville.

Palm Sunday – March 25 9:15 a.m.

It’s Confirmation Sunday at Trinity!  While we celebrate the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, we also celebrate a faith milestone in the lives of several young people who have completed a two-year study of basic Lutheran doctrines.  We witness these young people confirm their Christian faith and we pray for them as they continue their journey as Jesus’ followers.

Maundy Thursday – March 29 @ 7:00 p.m.

On the night of Jesus’ arrest He celebrated His last meal with His disciples (Luke 22:14-23).  During this last meal, Jesus began the sacrament of Holy Communion which has been a weekly celebration for Jesus’ followers since the earliest days of the faith (Acts 2:42-46; Acts 20:7).  Our congregation gathers on this special Thursday evening to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ gift of communion.  We also celebrate this evening as some of our young members receive first communion after they have completed the “Early Communion Prior to Confirmation” course with their parents.

Good Friday Tenebrae Worship – March 30 – 7:00 p.m.

The name “Good Friday” hardly seems appropriate when we remember what Jesus endured and suffered on this day two millennia ago.  We gather and worship on this holy day to remember and appreciate what Jesus endured for us.  This is an specifically somber service: we begin by gathering in silence; we reflect on Scriptures that tell the account of Jesus’ suffering; and our service concludes in darkness.  Our youth play a significant role in this worship as they read God’s Word and extinguish altar candles leading to a worship that concludes in darkness. During this solemn worship we discover again that this Friday is “good” because of Jesus made it good through the terrible things that happened to Him.

Trinity’s 2017 Family Promise Contribution

This morning I had the opportunity to sit down with Mary Weeden who serves as Trinity’s Family Promise co-coordinator and Lindsay Moore, Network Director of Family Promise of Genesee County.   During this meeting in my study we had the pleasure of talking about our church’s contribution to Family Promise to help those who are homeless.  God’s people at Trinity are doing some good things together to provide shelter and meals to people who are homeless.  To be more specific, please look over the statistics below from our “2017 Congregational Review”:

Number of Host Weeks: 4 weeks in 2017 (15 weeks since 2014)

Number of Families Hosted: 11 unique families in 2017

Number of People Hosted: 35 unique people

Number of Night’s Sleep: 277 nights in 2017

Number of Volunteer Hours: 1,136

Amount of in-kind donation ($22.13 an hour/volunteer): $25,140

Family Impact: 24 (including one family from 2018) families who have stayed at Trinity Lutheran have successfully graduated from Family Promise and are maintaining their own homes.

Since March of 2014, Trinity members have taken part in 15 Host Weeks.  In order for us to continue this important ministry we need the continued support of our members.  Each host week presents dozens of opportunities to be part of Trinity’s Family Promise Ministry.  Please contact Mary Weeden for more information about Family Promise at Trinity.

 

It’s Our Turn

Remember back in the days before dishwashers, when after a family meal, an argument would sometimes develop about whose turn it was to do the dishes or carry out the garbage? I don’t know why but it seemed to my young mind that it was ALWAYS my turn.

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Fifth Sunday Council President Update

Council Update December 30 /31, 2017

Good Evening/Morning

Welcome to our first Council President Update!

As Pastor has already been announcing, these 5 minute 5th Sunday updates are intended to update our congregation as to what things, and how things are going on here at Trinity.

Since November we have appointed 2 new council members to fill empty seats: Christine Simmonds will be the new Education Director, and Vickie Foster will be the new Stewardship Director.

One of the biggest items on the radar of the Board of Elders as well as the Council, in light of the recent event in Texas, is Church security! We have been collecting information from our Church resources, other Congregations, as well as the Michigan State Police on what policies, plans and actions we can put into place to help prevent a tragedy from happening here at Trinity. We don’t feel there is any current threat but want to be proactive!  So, over the next few months we will be working to have some plans in place that will help ease everyone’s mind.

We have lots of outreach ministry items going on, and many of them could use an extra hand, so if the Holy Spirit move you in that direction, please volunteer: Coming up next week is Family Promise, also My Brother’s Keeper, the Mentoring Ministry, Quilter’s, International Friends, Services at Brookdale Assisted Living, and many more.

We have 2 different committees working on projects:

  • The first one is working on getting bids for replacement of the carpet in the Lobby, Halls, Offices and Stairs hopefully in time for our Easter Services!
  • The second is in the planning stages of our next big project. Some of the items they are working towards are the  Real Elevator, Updating the Current Kitchen, Remodeling of the Basement to use for events, Adding New Handicap accessible restrooms to the lower level, Converting the Trinity room into classrooms and more.

Other building improvements happening:  We are updating to LED bulbs in the sanctuary which are brighter. 4 have already been upgraded, so if you can see a little better in worship the last couple weeks that’s the reason!

The hot water heater and circulation system have been repaired so you can actually get warm water to wash your hands.

Consumers Energy came in and upgraded many of the fluorescent lights with LED technology, that will help save on our utility bill.

In November the voters decided to extend our Minister of Youth position! The position is showing signs of attracting the Jr. High and younger students. It is a crucial investment for our congregation; we need our youth to be active! This position is no longer a funded pilot program, and is budgeted out of our weekly income, so, please remember this is a very important ministry when you are budgeting for your tithes and offerings in 2018..

Finally, an update on the parking lot project. When we voted to rebuild the parking lot 50% of the funds $53,000.00 were to come from the Koester Estate funds, and the other 50% were to be matched by the congregation. Since May we have already matched over  $18,000.00 of the congregations portion. Please keep up the good work!

Thank you for this opportunity to update you!

I will be back for our next update in April!

Until then:

God’s Blessings and Happy New Year to you all!!

Got a Retirement Plan?

This isn’t a pitch for your retirement saving but rather a plea for those unreached by the Gospel. My friend is a Bible translator. This week she phoned me from an Asian country with news about her work that focuses on 2-billion people who have never heard of Jesus. She’s nearing retirement age and I asked her if she had any plans … to which she replied she’s considering going back to Botswana—a country that borders South Africa—to live in a village while teaching people about our loving Savior.

We reminisced about our time together in Botswana. I left her there at a cattle post—in a stick hut on the edge of the Kalahari Desert—about 15 years ago. We often laugh about this adventure—where her assignment was to live with an un-reached people group and develop a written language for the Bible.

I was in Botswana to write a grant for a Lutheran School there that was filled with orphans from the AIDS epidemic. We stayed with German Lutheran missionaries in a very-nice home—living in their attic apartment—with a thatched straw roof.  She was preparing to leave the apartment and travel to the cattle post where she would live with a tribe of people for over a year and learn their spoken language.

I remember the day we hopped into the German missionary’s pick-up truck …. filled with jerry cans of gasoline because there are no gas stations in the desert. It was a day’s drive to our destination and I was speechless in wonder of God’s miraculous creation. It’s one thing to see zebras and rhinos in the zoo, but to watch them striding or running in the African bush was amazing.

At nightfall we arrived at the cattle post—where we were directed to our tents. There was a big fire burning outside the circle of tents and wearily we cooked the food we brought with us. I had never been to a cattle post before—so I wasn’t prepared for the smell and the flies that assaulted me as I tried to eat my dinner. I gave up and headed for bed. In the morning we said our tearful goodbyes to my friend and headed back—hoping we’d brought enough gas to make the return trip and praying that our friend would be safe. (I later learned the big fire that burned all night was to keep the lions away from the cattle.)

Maybe your retirement won’t be as exciting as my friend’s—but you can serve Christ in many exciting ways with Most Ministries and LCMS missions. Stop by our display after church on Dec. 6, 9 or 10 and be ready to see a world or opportunities waiting—just for you!

Get Inspired

People often ask me why I get involved in foreign missions.  I’m sometimes asked, “Isn’t there enough to do here in the US without traveling around the world?”
 
My response is not what you may want to hear—but it’s based on experience. When I met my first “street kid” in South America, or saw a woman crawling to church on a dirt road in Africa, it changed the way I looked at the world. At home in the U.S. we have churches—some closing and empty, but they are there in almost every community. This is not true for the 2.7 billion unreached people. The Bible is readily available on-line or on the shelves of libraries and churches—although the pages may not be well worn—but it’s a crime punishable by death in some countries.
 
In all the countries where M.O.S.T. Ministries works, including Uganda where our team will be installing water filters that save lives while proclaiming the Living Water Jesus, we are serving people not as fortunate as the poorest in the U.S. These people are starving for the WORD…many without hope or saving faith in Jesus.
 
The question I ask is, “Do we put boundaries on God’s Word…..and only provide for the people who already have it? Why are we not feeding those without it?”
 
If you’d like to learn more about using your God given talents to feed those truly desperate join me on Saturday, Nov. 11th for the annual Most Ministries luncheon at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. It is a good chance to hear more about MOST Ministries, enjoy a nice lunch, and listen to testimonies from the mission field.  I guarantee you will ‘Get Inspired!’
 
Contact me at Katecole1@att.net for more information or to make a reservation and be prepared to expand your worldview.

Double-Up

Double-up!
 
The idiom, “double-up” can be confusing to international students when we ask them to share a ride with another student in the same car, or deal with something in pairs. When an instructor says, “We’re going to have to double up in this job and get it done,” some students are scratching their heads thinking, “How do I do that?”
 
We can double up with laughter when someone tells a hilarious joke, or when we don’t have enough hand-outs for our class we ask students to double-up with another student.
 
Today, we’re asking our Trinity members to DOUBLE-UP!  We’re going to double our impact when each member brings a friend to our Living Water Walk, Aug. 11th at 7 p.m. at Lake Callis Recreation Center.
 
By doubling-up, Team Colorado will have opportunities to double their impact when they take the water filtration equipment we will purchase with the money raised from our walk. Not only will more people be assured of clean water—more people will hear the Gospel that has everlasting affects.
 
Double-Up with us by bringing a friend. Share God’s love with those who are dying without it. Register on-line at www.trinitydavison.org/living-water-walk, or pick-up a registration form in the church narthex.  Let’s make this Walk for Living Water overflow with love!

Making a living … and making disciples!

I remember the days before retirement … when your feet hit the floor you were off to the rat race … well that’s how it felt sometimes. Earning a living is not easy—it wasn’t then and it isn’t now. Still, we can have the easy yoke that Jesus asked us to take when we dedicate our work to Him, He guides us through it.

What about making disciples….is that something we can put off until we retire? We asked our members in the “Missions Survey” to prioritize on a scale of 1-10, how important sharing the Gospel is?  The answers were encouraging—37 of the 46 respondents rated sharing the Gospel as their highest priority.

Jesus’ yoke must be worn if we are to make disciples. He tells us to put on His yoke, and learn from Him (Matthew 11:29). He will teach us how to make disciples. We can’t do this job without His help. But we can do this work anywhere God places us. We may make disciples at our work place—in our families—with our friends.

Today, we’re looking for people who will Bring a Friend to our Living Water Walk, at Callis Lake Recreation Complex on Aug. 11th at 7 p.m. By bringing a friend—one that may not be a Christian—you will be introducing your friend to a community of Christians from various churches. Non-Christians will get to experience God’s people in a non-threatening environment. This may change any pre-conceived ideas your friends has about Christians and open up a Christ-centered dialog with your friend.

Be a disciple-maker. Register today, at www.trinitydavison.org/living-water-walk  and don’t forget to bring a friend.

You were born in Bethlehem?

“Where where you born?

It’s a question I ask international students frequently and sometimes I’m surprised at their answers. However, when I asked this question of a clerk, while shopping with my Nigerian friend in a large department store near Flint, the answer we received surprised both of us!

“I’m from Bethlehem,” the clerk replied!

We looked at each other and then looked at the clerk again.  “Where Jesus was born?” we asked simultaneously.

She nodded her head yes. She explained she was a widow—who earlier with her husband migrated to the US and settled in the Flint area. She introduced us to her daughter who works with her and is a student at UM-Flint.

“I’ve never met anyone from Bethlehem,” my friend said shaking her hand and doing a little Nigerian dance. “Are you my sister in Christ?,” my friend asked.

The woman smiled and said, “Yes!  I returned recently to my home country to show my daughter where Jesus was born—and where the empty tomb is,” she continued.

Her daughter smiled back at us and told us about the church where they worship Jesus here in the Flint area.

We talked about how great our God is, to bring together believers from Africa, the US and Bethlehem right in the middle of a shopping mall in Flint.

At Flint International Friends, it doesn’t matter where you are from. We serve students from China, India and Africa. We try to introduce all our friends to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, who was also born in Bethlehem!