When you do something nice, why do you do it?
If you hold a door for someone, do you do it because of social pressure, because you “should?” Or out of a sense of obligation because someone just held the door for you? Or, do you hold the door just because you want to be nice?
Today we hear a story where Jesus’ disciples had… mixed… motives. But Jesus’ response is one that none of them saw coming. It showed them his true heart, a heart that inspires all of us to Serve Like Jesus.
What is God’s will for your life?
There isn’t one of us who hasn’t asked that question at one time or another. It comes from good intentions: to be a faithful follower of God. But what if that question is coming from the wrong direction—upside down and inside out?
This morning we hear the beginning of the story of Jeremiah the prophet. God tells him, “Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart.”
Yet, his purpose was to be found not within him, but around him.
When was the last time you threw a tantrum?
Yes, YOU. 😊 We’ve all seen kids lose control in a public place. The parents among us have all felt bad for the kids’ parents, while saying, “I’m glad it’s not me!” But if we’re honest, even the oldest among us have moments we’re not proud of.
This week, we hear such a story about a prophet in the Bible. Yes, that’s right, a prophet, chosen and equipped by God, sulking on a hillside.
If God can help him, then God can help us, too.
This week we examine our “stains” in the light of God, and specifically through the lens of Jonah—AFTER he got spat out of the whale. The good news is that God’s grace washes us clean and helps us to see that we are new creations in Christ. Join us for worship this morning as we sing, pray, and grow our way closer to God!
It's easy to put your suitcase in the closet, but what do you do with your internal baggage?
Do you know someone who says, "the only time that I think about that is when you bring it up, other than that it never really bothers me",? In reality, burying your baggage does not make the pain go away, and it keeps manifesting in ways that hurt you and others. Today, Pastor Jeff will be offering some insight on how to loosen our grip on past hurts so we can live a healthier, happier life.
Prayer is often defined as simply, “talking to God.” This isn’t a wrong definition, but there’s more to prayer than just talking. As we take a look at what it means to be intentional in prayer, we’ll consider how we learn to pray, even if you’ve been doing it your whole life. We’ll also consider how the seeds planted in prayer can sustain, equip, and transform us for God’s work in the world.
Ever been turned off by people who use scripture in a way that’s shallow or even harmful? We’ve all seen it, from quotes taken out of context to wall hangings that seem to do nothing but get dusty. This Sunday we will continue our series on how to rebuild our lives in a way that is intentional and profound by looking at the role of the Bible. We have a sense in our gut that God should be our foundation—the better we know the God revealed to us in this special way, the stronger that foundation will be for everything else. Maybe you even feel a longing for what scripture ought to be in your life.
This week we dive into our “Be Intentional” series in earnest: as we rebuild our lives post-pandemic, how do we include space for God to be our foundation? We use the word “worship” a lot in church, but this week we’ll talk about what it means and how we can do more to encounter God in it.
For the last year, life has happened “to us,” with little we could do to change our circumstances. But it doesn’t have to be that way going forward.
This week we begin a new series to help us rebuild our lives well, with the right foundation, in a way that will leave us healthier than we were before the pandemic. As life ramps back to normal (we hope,) what can we do to safeguard our hearts and our souls? What do we need to say “no” to? What do we need to say “yes” to that we used to neglect?
The series is called “Be Intentional.” Join us for worship this morning as Pastor Jeff gives us the overview and sets us up for a “new normal” that blows the socks off our old one!
How would you live if you already knew how things would end?
This week is the GRAND finish to our HOPE series as we dive into the biblical book of Revelation. Many find Revelation confusing or even scary, but when you learn more about it, it’s actually a book of profound hope. So profound, as a matter of fact, that knowing what it says will shape your outlook and your actions for the better—every day of your life.
Who first taught you to hope?
Was it a parent or a grandparent who assured you that your scraped knee would heal? Was it a teacher who believed you were capable of success?
God sent the world hope in a person—Jesus—so why shouldn’t we learn it from the people in our lives, too? This week we hear the story of Paul in the Bible, who clearly drew on the people he held close to sustain and motivate his hope.
Enough with words of hope. There comes a time for action.
Today our series looking at how God brings hope in the different parts of the Bible turns to the Gospels, the stories of Jesus. What we see is hope with flesh and bones—hope embodied in a person, actively working not to tell people about a better future but to help them get there for themselves.
Join us this morning to hear—and more importantly to LIVE—the hope of Jesus. Because he doesn’t only offer it for our own sake, but so that we can be a hopeful presence for the world!
Where do you find hope when all seems lost?
Sometimes we get discouraged when life is hard—not only in our life but in our walk with God, too. We ask questions like, “How could God let me go through this?” We wonder if God is even there!
But the prophets in the Bible speak directly to this question and show us that God is indeed with you!
Join us as we hear about just how hopeless life seemed in the times of the prophets. But far more important than that, come hear about how God was with them and turned their mourning into dancing!
I’m at the end of my rope!
Have you ever used that phrase? (Of course you have-- we all have!)
We’ve all found ourselves in situations where our strength wasn’t enough, where we couldn’t do it on our own. What exactly is God’s role in this? Today we start a new series walking through different parts of the Bible to see where good, faithful people of the past have found God’s hope.
It turns out the real question isn’t “are you at the end of your rope--”. The better question is “WHO’S on the other end of your rope!”
Do you remember when you first started to “get” what it means to be a person of faith? (Or, are you still waiting for that moment?)
This Sunday we have a special celebration. Baptism marks the beginning of our faith journey and how God claims us as people of great worth. But, when we’re baptized as infants, the time eventually comes when we claim that promise for ourselves, confirming our faith.
Join us, support our youth, and recommit to your own walk of faith as you do!
So many people get stuck on the cross of Good Friday or, more commonly, wallow in the neither-here-nor-there muck of Holy Saturday. But the risen Christ calls us to something greater: to embrace the new thing God is constantly doing in our midst. Just as Spring is popping up all around us, so new life blooms within us—when we let it.
This week is Palm Sunday, which we usually—and rightly—celebrate with palm branches and shouts of Hosanna, just as happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem. This year Pastor Jeff will fill in some of the political satire that was going on, too; you may be surprised by the not-so-subtle jab Jesus was directing towards the oppressors of the world from the back of that donkey.
Did you know there’s a prayer book in the middle of your Bible?
This week we continue to let God shape and mold us by turning to the Psalms, songs or prayers that have proven themselves valuable for several millennia and counting. Pastor Jeff will talk about why this is important, and we will pray together one of the most beloved psalms, but one you might not be familiar with: Psalm 51. Join us for worship to hear the story that inspired it, to realize that it speaks to you, too, and to pray it together with the church.
At Trinity, we talk all the time about being “Fully Alive.” (Or, about wanting to be fully alive, anyway!) But what does it mean?
This week we read one of the scriptures that inspired that phrase, not only for us but for a number of other great people as well. We’ll talk about how a form of death can sometimes sneak into our lives and how, exactly, we find a truer life on the other side.
Join us and find out what it means to truly live!
Jesus is angry.
Not an easy thought, is it? We tend to think of Jesus as the embodiment of love, and surely he IS love in the flesh. But in today’s scripture, he gets so mad at what he finds that he turns over tables and scatters coins to cleanse the temple.
What does it mean for you and me? What does it mean for our world today? Join us this morning for some “anger management—” Jesus style!
Has your life turned out the way you wanted it to?
None of us can say a 100% “yes” to that. Yet, while life might not be prefect, aren’t there things about it you wouldn’t trade for the world?
This week we hear a story of Jesus’ disciples reacting negatively when faced with the fact that following Jesus means encountering the cross. But Jesus knows that it’s the unexpected—and sometimes undesirable—parts of our journey that end up becoming the best things that ever happened to us.
When you hear “Noah’s Ark,” what do you think of? Animals 2 by 2? God giving up on humanity? Or the rainbow?
…and if you think of the rainbow, do you really know what it means? Because it’s about a lot more than floodwater!
Today is the first Sunday of Lent, the season of the church year where we do things differently out of a desire to draw nearer to God. For our worship services, our scriptures and themes are going to be assigned for the day rather than chosen by Pastor Jeff. The hope is that we’ll grow in ways we never expected, hearing scriptures that might not have been on our radar. That starts this week with Noah’s Ark. Join us for worship for a story of redemption not only from the past, but for your life today and always!
Isn’t it nice when music notes blend together in beautiful harmony? Don’t you wish people would do that, too?
This week we wrap up our series on the “One Another” phrases in the Bible as we hit the motherload in the book of Romans, culminating in “Live in harmony with one another.” Pastor Jeff, who loves thinking about music more than making it, is going to give us a music theory lesson (ok, he’s going to totally geek out at the piano) that will reveal some wonderful tips on how our very lives can resonate in beautiful harmony with those around us. After all, that’s what the “one another” phrases are all about, and it’s how God made us to be!
Do you ever shut the world out?
Ok, sometimes it’s a good idea, like when we crave solitude. But that’s not what I’m talking about—do you ever shut the world out from something in your life that’s meant to be shared? Like when you have a problem that others could help with? Or when you have a talent or a passion but keep it to yourself?
This week’s “One Another” phrase is “Submit to one another.” No, it’s not about being a doormat. It’s about being courageous enough to invite others to participate in your life.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever had to do to take care of someone?
This week’s “One Another” is one whose meaning is easily minimized by American Christians: “Wash one another’s feet.” It was even more unpleasant and undignified in Jesus’ time than in ours. Yet Jesus uses it as an example of what God is doing in the world—if you don’t “get” this, then you don’t understand any of it.
What don’t you know about yourself?
Ok, that’s an awkward question. How about this one: “Are you living up to all God made you to be?” Just as important and more to the point of today’s worship service: “Are you helping others to live up to THEIR full potential?”
This Sunday we continue our series on the “One Another” phrases in the Bible with “Spur One Another On.” The phrase is a little different in every translation, but the gist of it is sometime we need someone to give us a bit of prickly kick to make our “get up and go,” well, get up and go.
What’s your biggest burden? I don’t mean your physical work, nor do I even mean challenges around you in your work or family. I’m talking about YOU. What’s the heaviest weight that drags down your heart, your mind, and your soul?
This week we continue the One Another series with “bear one another’s burdens.” That’s right, we’re not intended to carry that weight alone.
As we settle into the new year, do you feel encouraged or discouraged?
Pastor Jeff is back this week as we start a new series on the “one another” phrases in the Bible. This week’s is “encourage one another.” Join us both to be encouraged yourself (no matter what’s going on in the world) and to become more of an encourager to others. Our Christian hope is meant to be shared!
This morning we will continue singing and praying our longing for Jesus. This week we’ll take a special look at Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. How did he wait during those long nine months between the angel in his dream and the manger in Bethlehem?
The answer will give YOU something to do while you wait, too!
Do you ever find waiting to be lonely? It doesn't have to be.
Have you ever wondered what Mary did for those nine long months between the angel and the manger? We don't know much, but the one thing we do know speaks volumes: she made special effort to go and visit Elizabeth, the only other person who could come close to understanding what she was going through.
There's a special kind of bond that forms when people go through similar situations together. Something about the sharing of it builds a type of community that can only be described as "holy." Sure, it can be hard to make friends and we all feel isolated sometimes. But when we seek relationship, first with God but also with others, it's amazing what happens.
Thanksgiving has passed, winter is approaching, and the days get darker and darker. I’m referring to the actual days, of course, but with the pandemic perhaps it serves as a metaphor, too.
The good news is that God knew there would be days like these.
That’s why God gave us Advent.
Advent is the season of the church year that’s all about waiting, hoping, and expecting. Today we begin a new series called “Waiting Room.” Do you have enough room for waiting in your heart? Are you waiting well— for more sunlight? For a vaccine? For God’s kingdom?
Do you have enough love in your life?
Now wait, I'm not just talking about sappy love-song love. That's nice when it happens, of course, but I'm talking about something WAY deeper-- the kind of love that transcends even puppies and the hugs of children. I'm talking about the kind of Love, with a capitol "L," that binds us together even with those we've never met, transcending even time itself.
Join in as we sing, pray, and finish our series inspired by the phrase, "Now faith, hope, and love remain-- these three things-- and the greatest of these is love." You're more connected to that Love than you know!
If faith is trusting in what you don’t see, then hope is the certainty that there is pure goodness beckoning us toward itself.
This Sunday, we continue our series inspired by 1 Corinthians 13: “Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things...” Join us as we ask what hope is and how we can be more in touch with it!
What would happen if you took everything-- and I mean everything, your house, your car, your family, your memories-- and boiled them down to only the parts that touch your innermost soul? If you crossed off everything that is good but not quite to the soul-touching level, what would be left?
This week we start a new series based on something Paul says in 1 Corinthians in the Bible: only three remain, "faith, hope, and love." This week we'll sing our faith, pray our faith, and Pastor Jeff will help us get in touch with and grow our faith.
We end the Unafraid series on a big note: fear of sickness, of growing old, and of dying. But don't think it will be depressing, far from it! In fact, surveys show most people only get happier in their old age and Jesus shows us that dying, while scary, leads to the greatest blessing of all.
We've come to the most timely week of the Unafraid series:
pandemic and politics.
We lived in an age of anxiety even before COVID-19. Global communication shows us more of life's dangers. Studies have been done on how politicians on both sides use fear to get elected. And now our fear of disease both for our loved ones and ourselves has reached new highs.
But what's real? What's really worth our fear? God has an answer for that! This morning we'll sing, pray, and read of how God is "our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of great trouble."
Who are you afraid of?
That question probably made you think of specific individuals, but I mean it more broadly: what part of town makes you lock your car doors? What convenience stores would you not go in because you're nervous? What part of the world would you not want to visit?
We all have a fear of people who are different than us, it's natural to be anxious about the unknown. But Jesus calls us to something better: love for neighbor. Some fear is healthy, of course, but by and large people are people and we're all the same deep down.
And learning to respect the image of God in the person you fear will change your life and change the world.
Are you ever lonely? More to the point: does loneliness ever make you anxious?
Despite our digitally connected world, there is an epidemic of loneliness. I doubt there are many among us who don't long for more and deeper friendships, and COVID-19 certainly hasn't helped. Teary-eyed emoji are nice, but they are no substitute for a hug.
This week our Unafraid series talks about fear of being friendless and alone. Here's the good news: our faith offers two fantastic tools to fight that fear by letting us know we're never alone.
Our topic in the Unafraid series this week is one we all feel, young or old: the fear of failure. Do you ever wonder if you're good enough? Do tests make you nervous in school? Do you grown ups ever feel like an imposter who's bound to be "found out" at any moment?
You're not alone. This week we hear the story of Moses, perhaps the greatest Old Testament prophet, who felt exactly the same way. And so did his successor. Join us to learn what God had to say to the both-- and to us today.
What role does fear play in your life?
We all struggle with fear and face seasons where the uncertainty and change in our life becomes a true challenge. Right now our world is facing massive uncertainty about the future in regards to COVID, politics, and race. Fear is natural and can’t be avoided— what makes the difference is how we hold it.
This week we start a new series on living life Unafraid. Each week Pastor Jeff will share a tool from psychology and one from our faith to help us through.
What do you know about Joseph of Arimathea?
Probably not much! He was mentioned in the King Arthur/Holy Grail legend, but little of that was grounded in truth. His brief appearance in the Bible, though gives us an inspiring glimpse of one of the very first Christians using his God-given ingenuity to take care of the practical side Jesus’ resurrection. After all, how could we celebrate the empty tomb of Easter if someone hadn’t thought to give Jesus a tomb in the first place?
Join us for “The Miracle of the Tomb Itself” as we not only hear Joseph of Arimathea’s story but consider the practical side our own role in God’s kingdom as well!
How often do you blame others for what’s wrong in the world? In our community? In your life?
Today is the last of our "Resting _____ Face” series, letting God shape our default reactions. Many of you have talked about how it has really affected you and been beneficial. It hasn’t been easy, but it HAS been worth it!
We’ll end by looking at our unhealthy default reaction to blame others when things are off kilter. Did you know the reason behind it is not only human nature but goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. But naturally, Jesus steps in to give us new life.
Are you ever angry?
Ok, stupid question, we’re all angry sometime. But do you get angry… too much?
This week we continue our series on changing our “defaults” by asking God why we get angry so much. It turns out there is an almost “magical” answer to this one: practicing the art of forgiveness, while not easy, has a way of changing our anger into, of all things, gratitude.
What’s your first thought when something seems… off?
Do you assume the best or do you get suspicious?
For most of us, the answer is suspicion. We’ve seen enough, lived enough, and been hurt enough that our reaction is usually to brace ourself for more of the same. Yet the love we see in Jesus is quite different and,
frankly, quite refreshing.
This week Pastor Jeff returns to the series “Resting _____ Face” as we examine and seek to change our default reactions.
Instead of a full sermon this week, Pastor Jeff spoke about what Confirmation is, reminded us each of our own baptism and place in the church, and then let the act of Confirmation itself do the talking. Join six of our young people as they claim their faith as their own-- and reclaim your own as well!
What’s your first reaction when life doesn’t go the way you want it to? What’s your default?
Some of us get angry, others judgmental. Some get quiet and depressed, others lash out. Almost none of us, though, can say that our “default” is a good one. But the good news is that not only can our default be changed, but in fact doing so is a big part of what Jesus teaches and shows us.
This week we begin a new series called “Resting ____ Face: Letting God Shape Our Default.” We begin this week by seeking to change our tendency to judge others into an attitude of grace.
Pastor Jeff talks about the movie Frozen II which speaks remarkably well to our current moment in history: when you’re lost in the forest and you cannot see the future, sometimes all you can do is the “next right thing—” which sometimes involves sacrifice. Good thing we have God to help us find our way!
This week Pastor Jeff will wrap up our series on the book of James and race with something you may not have seen coming: the power of words. James compares it to a rudder: that small piece of wood beneath a mighty ship that change its whole direction. So our own words, chosen— no cultivated— carefully, can change not only our hearts but our actions and the world. If you’ve ever wondered what YOU can do for the racial tension in our world, join us this morning for more!
This week Pastor Jeff continues our challenging series on James with an eye toward the racial tension in our country. We'll hear James the brother of Jesus say in no uncertain terms that if your actions don't follow what you CLAIM you believe then your so-called beliefs mean nothing. Harsh words but they also remind us that our well-intentioned "thoughts and prayers" toward minorities are meaningless-- if not hurtful-- if we just slouch back to the way things were.
We begin a new series this week on the book of James in the Bible. James was the brother of Jesus, and at least one thing clearly runs in the family— he tells it like it is. Fair warning: this series will be a challenging one, as Pastor Jeff also intends to help us find a faithful way to approach the racial tension in our nation.
Are you fully engaging worship from home? Forget the WFH ("Work From Home") movement, this is about WORSHIP From Home! We've been doing it via livestream for months now and are grateful for it. But worship is about so much more than what happens on Sunday morning!
Have you ever "gone through the motions" with Communion but sensed something deeper was going on? This Sunday we continue looking at the basics of faith with a special look at what theologians call "sacraments." For United Methodists that means Baptism and Communion. What makes them so special and why do we put so much energy into such simple things?
Is your faith as healthy as you'd like? Jesus once lifted up the idea of a fruit tree-- if it doesn't bear fruit, then something is incomplete. The same is true for us! Now before you get worried, take a close look... God may be doing more through you than you are aware. But that said, all of us could stand to live out our faith a little more-- with God's help.
Do you have enough friends? Deep friends who truly know you? Let's face it... even before COVID this was a problem for nearly all of us. Yet in the Bible, loneliness was present even before that first apple bite: "It's not good that the human is alone." We were quite literally made for connection!
How do you answer that yearning inside? Our yearning for God is like our thirst for water. Most of the time we don't even know we're thirsty. But take one sip and... oh, my, that water tastes good-- and we end up drinking the whole glass! The problem is that we don't always know where to begin.
This Sunday we begin a new series called “Home/Church” that will help us grow in the basics of the Christian life and the building blocks upon which our worship at home is built. This week starts out with “The What and How of Praying.” What is prayer? Does it do any good? Why bother?
Do you ever feel less than fully human? Have you ever noticed that some parts of this world just aren’t aligned with the way God made them to be? If so, then this sermon is for you! We’ll celebrate the Holy Spirit by hearing the amazing story of the first Pentecost day in the Bible. Part of what it shows us isn’t just a remarkable story of fire and wind, but one of imperfect people finally realizing who God made them to be.
Do you ever feel like God has given up on this world? You’re not alone… there are days when the evidence around us seems to suggest God has indeed given up. But this morning we’ll hear a message that may surprise you: the risen Jesus’ last appearance to his disciples offers evidence that not only has God NOT given up on us, but is, in fact, invested in this world’s future— personally.
So you’ve had some moments you’re not proud of. All of this social distancing and self-isolation has built to the point where it’s harder to bear. Maybe you’ve lashed out, maybe you’ve harbored resentment, maybe you just shut down more than you used to. This week’s sermon is for you. We’ll sing, we’ll pray, and we’ll hear the story of Peter who felt exactly that way after Jesus’ crucifixion and arrest simply broke him. But what Jesus says to him after he faces it? Wow— you’ll hardly believe it’s true for you, too!
Did you know Jesus had a sense of humor? This morning, Pastor Jeff will share a story of the risen Jesus doing something you may never have noticed— teasing! That’s right, there’s a moment where Jesus appears to be having a good laugh with his friends. We hope you’re doing the same and that you’ll bring your laugh with you today!
Pastor Jeff’s sermon includes a story of when the risen Jesus appears to his disciples— wait for it— while they were in a locked room. Sound familiar? Join us and find that the risen Jesus is in YOUR quarantine shelter, too!
Have you ever noticed how stress affects your body? Or how your body being sick keeps you from thinking straight? Our minds, bodies, souls, and spirits are all connected. So what can we do to support our soul and our spirit? This week we’ll hear about how the risen Jesus also embraced and cared for his own body and see how we bring our whole selves to our faith, too.
This week’s premise might sound familiar: two disciples are walking along the road, just like so many of us are doing during social isolation, and they’re feeling downtrodden, not fully understanding Easter. What they discover surprises them and makes them describe their hearts as being on fire. Listen in— you might say the same thing!
Ok, let’s say one thing straight out— quarantine isn’t how any of us expected to be spending Easter. We miss seeing one another and singing “Christ is risen!” with our church. But you know what? Christ is STILL risen! No virus can cancel the resurrection, nor our hope!