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 for more information or to make a reservation and be prepared to expand your worldview.


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, 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  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!

Are you ready to get your hands & feet dirty?

Last Sunday, Pastor reminded us that following Jesus sometimes means we get our hands and our feet dirty. Pastor spoke about the volunteer who had a panic attack in the middle of the Guatemalan garbage dump. A local man gave her the help she needed—pieces of cardboard he had collected in the dump for recycling—so she was able to step on them and not the garbage to get to a place of safety.

I went with my previous church family, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bridgman, Michigan, to the Guatemala garbage dump on a mission trip almost 20-years ago. Immanuel members still volunteer there today—literally lifting people out of the heaps of garbage into better lives and into Jesus’ arms. I remember the garbage stench that permeated everything and how that didn’t stop those volunteers for caring for those less fortunate.

Here at Trinity—we’re asking you to help us bring clean water to an area in Africa where children are dying in large numbers from contaminated water. You may get your feet a little dirty when you hike around Lake Callis on August 11th to raise funds and awareness, but you will find your heart dancing to a different tune—when the mission team reports back to us—about lives saved and lives changed.

Remember our Loving Savior washed the feet of his disciples and told them to do the same for others.

Check out our website, and click on Living Water Walk. You can register for the event and help us—bring the water of life to others. You will double your impact by asking a friend to join you!

Read more about the Living Water Walk:

On your mark, get set, GO and make disciples…

Yes, you and I are called to go and make disciples but sometimes we are content to live our lives in our cozy and safe circle of friends. Still, our Good Shepherd is calling us—to come out of our cramped lives into broader horizons and new places—where 2.7 billion people are still waiting to hear the Good News.

But….but….I know…..we have our priorities….and jobs, and family…and the list goes on. Maybe God didn’t mean for EVERYONE to go….just a few chosen ones?

It’s true, not all of us can go, but if we can’t go we can be senders….those who send others to tell the only truth that is worth living and dying for.  Sunday, June 11, after morning service a team of mission-senders is joining with MOST MINISTRIES, to send Living Water to Uganda. We’re preparing our senders-team—which we hope will include you, on a one-mile Living Water Walk, on August 11, at Davison Township Park in conjunction with the “Celebration of Life – Christian Family Event.”

 Our Kickoff on June 11th begins with a short introduction to why we send—what our missionaries will do—and then we’ll put on our walking shoes and begin our outreach exercise carrying water buckets—in our sports fields—to get a feel of what it’s like for our Ugandan friends who make this water run daily.

Each week thereafter, we will have a living water exercise to prepare for our 1 mile walk—that will provide clean and living water to people in Uganda—and refresh our spirits as senders of the Gospel.

So…plan on sticking around after service on June 11, and open up your heart and mind to a world that is dying of thirst—for the Living Water—Jesus!

One more thing, please

One more thing….please!

Our congregation has served at My Brothers’ Keeper, (MBK) in Flint for several years—donating food, cooking and serving dinner and donating warm clothing. Most importantly we’ve been sharing the Gospel with them. Now, we’re asking YOU to do one more thing–spend some time in prayer for them.

On May 4, the National Day of Prayer, we asked our MBK guests to fill out a prayer request form.  Twenty-three men wrote heart-wrenching requests—as they seek their way back into employment and their own home, praying their families will be once more united and health issues resolved.

If you’d consider praying for these men, faithfully this month, here’s a prayer that encompasses most of their requests.

God, our Father, our church has seen the homeless and the hopeless up close and met them in person. It  breaks our hearts to know that we cannot do more than our once-a-month ministry.

Father, sometimes we feel helpless because their hope is dried up, they have nothing left. Several of these homeless men are veterans who served us and our county honorably.

God, use these homeless people’s problems to draw them closer to You through Your Son’s redemptive work at Calvary. Help each one today, receive a bit of hope but most importantly, give them the only hope in this life and the life to come that is found only in Jesus Christ. Many of them have lost everything –but still have faith in You. They requested prayer- I pray for them in Jesus Holy Name, Amen.


Chocolate or Ice-soldier?

Many of you remember the hymn, “Am I a soldier of the Cross, A follower of the Lamb, And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?”
Recently, Christians have been challenged by society to be still and not discuss Christian views on sex or science. Our universities that we support with tax dollars promote two lies—first, that God did not make the world and everything in it as the Bible describes, and secondly, that people have the right to determine which sex they prefer to be no matter which sex one is born with!
At Flint International Friends we are working to destroy these lies with God’s word. Last month we took over a dozen students to view the movie, Is Genesis History”, which defends the Christian view of creation with scientific evidence.
This week, our partner church, St. Paul Lutheran Church (Flint, MI) hosted a movie and lunch event for our students showing the film, “God’s Not Dead – Part 2.”  Students were challenged by the film to speak out in school when their beliefs are threatened by godless theories taught as truth.
A famous missionary to China, called for Christians to speak up and not be Chocolate Christians of the Cross—that melt in the face of opposition, like our familiar hymn warns. Instead we are to be like the 40 ice-soldiers bound in an icy pond who died rather than deny their Lord.