November 19, 2019

Preacher’s Corner October, 2019 In keeping with our October theme, ‘Devoted to Generosity’ (see Pastor Pondering), the preaching this month will focus on scriptures in the Gospel of Luke (and one in John) that Jesus uses to teach us all about generosity. Jesus teaches us to pray, tells stories, points out real-life examples, and goes to weddings—all of which serve as ‘teachable moments’ for those of us who are open to learning more about generosity. During worship, we will explore these themes of devotion through the preaching, the music, and the quiet time we spend in prayer and reflection. Please do come and seek the presence of God in this place, our Sanctuary…where we read together the words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

October 6. World Communion Sunday. Luke 11:1-13, Psalm 23:1. ‘Living Without Lacking’

October 13. Luke 16:19-31. Noticing Others: The Rich Man and Lazarus. ‘The Unseen’

October 20. Luke 18:9-14. False Righteousness: The Publican and the Sinner Praying. ‘Giving Isn’t About the Math!’

October 27. John 2:1-11. Wedding at Cana. ‘God Revealed Through Scarcity and Abundance’

Preacher’s Corner September starts a new season in the Church…the school year season! That’s not tied to any particular Church season, but it’s real. It’s here. The return to two services is a hallmark of this school year season. The first Sunday of September will be our ‘Farewell to Summer’ worship event, while the second Sunday will be our ‘Welcome Back’ worship time.

This summer has been all about preaching our favorite scriptures—giving us a fresh look at the ancient wisdom and guidance God provides us through the Bible. In looking at what people have requested, I have decided to continue on that path, linking favorite verses with passages from the Gospel of Luke. (Luke is the Gospel designated in this Church year for special attention.)

Someone asked to hear about the book of Daniel, which is quite an undertaking. That particular book has 12 chapters which cover a lot of territory. The final three Sundays in September will give us a chance to at least start to explore the power of Daniel’s life and prophecies. Daniel’s position in relation to the government of the time and in response to God’s calling to him personally offers us valuable insights, as well as questions. Come and be blessed in our worship of God and our immersion in the words of God from long ago for the people of God today. Thanks be to God.

September 1. Final 9:15 worship. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Luke 12:49-56. What’s Next???

September 8. Two services. Luke 13:10-13, Psalm 145, Romans 8:28. Homecoming & Healing.

September 15. Daniel 1-6, Luke 1:30-33. Dreams of a King.

September 22. Daniel 7-9, Luke 21:5-11. Visions, Signs, Persecution.

September 29. Daniel 10:1-3, John 1:1-5. End Times/A Word Revealed.

Preacher’s Corner August, 2019
This has been a summer of preaching “Favorite Scriptures.” Just so you know, I’m not being totally self-indulgent. I’m using a list of the 52 most important passages in the Bible that every follower of Jesus needs to know, according to Thomas G. Bandy, who has earned the respect of bishops and UM worship experts. From that list, I have chosen some of my personal favorites.
Somewhere in mid-June, I thought, “Why should I get to have all the fun of choosing Scriptures for preaching? I bet the Trinity people have some verses in the Bible that they would enjoy hearing read and preached, and sometimes we even find songs to sing with them!” Since then, I have been collecting requests and will use August and September as a time to preach what you want to hear more about.
Maybe some of you reading the Tower have a favorite verse. Or a question about a story. Do take a minute to call the office or e-mail us, and I’ll see about getting it on the schedule. Often, the sermons are taped and loaded onto the church website, www.imtrinity.org. Or a copy of the manuscript might be available to send to you.
Summer is a time to pause and take a breath, so let’s continue to enjoy the goodness of life and friends. Let’s be at peace with longer days, shorter nights, warm and sweet breezes. And let’s come together to worship our Gracious God, while enjoying the words of God for the people of God...Thanks be to God!

Aug. 4, Pastor on vacation. Joyce Erickson will lead worship.
Aug. 11, Communion will be served at the 9:15 worship time and again at Lake Antoine
during our annual church picnic. Romans 10:11-17. Luke 17:5-6. Faith Sufficient.
Aug. 18, Acts 2:22-24, 32-34, 36. Hebrews 12:1-2. We Are All Witnesses.
Aug. 25, 1 Corinthians 3:18-23. Luke 12:13-21, 32-34. We are Wise in our Foolishness
Sept. 1, the last Sunday with 9:15 worship. Labor Day. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Luke 12:49-56. What’s Next???

Don’t forget Evergreen Worship on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30 p.m. for the various Trinity members who have moved to the Evergreen Apartments. This month, it’s Sunday, August 18. All are welcome, and Communion will be served.
Preacher’s Corner June/July 2019
Summer is a time to pause and take a breath. It’s a time to enjoy the goodness of life and friends. It’s a time to take a break and be at peace with longer days, shorter nights, warm and sweet breezes. So it doesn’t make sense to have complicated sermons and convoluted Bible readings…sometimes our summer brains just don’t want to absorb complexities and intricacies.
So I, for one, am going to take a bit of a break for the summer. I found a book recently that listed the 52 most important passages in the Bible that every follower of Jesus needs to know. I’ve chosen some of those that are my personal favorites, thinking that they will be familiar to many of you, as well. Especially those of you who have read the Bible in 90 days, or in a year, or have come to worship for years and years.
We can re-read them together and let their familiarity blend in with the comfort of summer. Who knows? There may be some new insight or understanding or Holy Spirit spark that lights a warm glow in your heart and mind. I hope so. Let us come together and worship our Gracious God, while enjoying the words of God for the people of God...
June 2, Ascension Sunday. John 17:6-10; Philippians 2:1-11. So What’s It to You? Jean Larson, Preacher.
June 9, Pentecost Sunday. Romans 8:14-17; Acts 2:1-21. Pentecost Preaching. Communion.
June 16, Trinity Sunday. Psalm 8; Proverbs 8:1-14; John 16:12-15. Trifecta: Wisdom, Truth, Heart, Courage.
June 23, Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 3:23-29. Good Samaritan Reflections.
June 30, 1 Peter 5; Psalm 77. Real Life Choices: What do we owe one another?
July 7, Galatians 6:1-10; Isaiah 6:1-8. All Are Called.
July 14, James 1; Psalm 82. Integrity: Holding it Together.
July 21, Psalm 52; Luke 10:38-42. Good, Better, Best.
July 28, John 4:1-42; Acts 2:37-41. Why Jesus Matters

Preacher’s Corner--Season after Easter Every year I remind people: Easter isn’t just a day. Easter is a season, and Easter is a way of life! For the six weeks after Easter, I will focus on Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and how it informs us of the vision Jesus has for us. It was the night before his crucifixion, and Jesus prayed with the shadow of the cross looming over him. His prayer was for all of his followers that they might live in joy as they unite in the truth of God’s love and grow in being his followers in the world…so that all may come to know God’s love through Jesus.

We as individuals and we as a community of faith are called and challenged by this John 17 prayer to make deliberate and intentional choices about how we spend our time and how we live out our faithfulness. The sermon series will tie in with the Church Unique workshops that will be happening over the next few months, as well. We are a special group of people…unique and wonderfully made for a specific, God-given purpose. Our challenge is to discover that purpose. The John 17 prayer can help us see ourselves the way God sees us…and go forward from there!
Do come and be blessed by the words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
April 28, John 17 excerpts, Acts 5:27-32. Does Our Church Have a Prayer?
May 5, Mark 9:30-35, Acts 9:1-6. Asking the Right Questions.
(Joyce Erickson preaching)
May 12, John 17:17, 20 – 23, Ephesians 3:14-19. Holiness/Sanctification.
(Phil Lynch & the Red House Revelation)
May 19, Numbers 13:17—14:9. Choosing Reality and Overcoming Giants.
May 26, Mark 8:34-37, Revelation 5:11-14. Beyond and Within.
June 2, John 17:6-10, Philippians 2:1-11. Entering God’s Promised Land.

Lenten series overview: In this season of formation and preparation, we again approach the 40 days of Lent from a variety of different perspectives and points along the Christian journey. During this season, new and longtime Christians alike hear the call to return to God with all their hearts, thus entering a season historically characterized by much prayer and fasting. These works of discipline have for hundreds of years served as a means by which new converts prepare for baptism, which occurs as a part of the Easter Vigil. Using the words of Wesleyan theology, we believe all this work is initiated by God, who invites us to come before God with all our hearts.

There is much of disruption and disturbance within our United Methodist Church, within our community, our country. Everywhere, it seems, and yet God remains constant and steady…for us. May your Lenten season be one of challenge, commitment, and support as we and the church respond to the call of God

“Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).

Week 1.1: Ash Wednesday, March 6 at 6:00 p.m., Return to Me. Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Week 1.2: First Sunday in Lent, March 10. God’s Generous Heart. Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13

Week 2: Second Sunday in Lent, March 17. Imitating. Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1

Week 3: Third Sunday in Lent, March 24. Repenting. Isaiah 55:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Week 4: Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 31. Coming Together. Joshua 5:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Week 5: Fifth Sunday in Lent, April 7. Making a New Thing. Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:4b-14

Week 6: Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14. Confirmation Sunday. Preparing. Isaiah 50:4-9a;
1 Corinthians 15:19-26; John 20:1-18
Week 7: Easter Day, April 21. Believing. Acts 10: 34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24;
Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 19:28-40

Pastor’s Ponderings April, 2019

Much can happen so quickly. Last month, as I wrote for the March Tower, I wondered what was going to come of the St. Louis General Conference of The UMC. Even before the Tower was taken to the post office for mailing—the news broke. The internet exploded. Facebook wept, and there we were…our United Methodist denomination on TV news, blogs, international newspapers, Twitter, and podcasts. Who would have guessed that we UM people would be the flashpoint of world attention. For a minute, anyway.

Since then, the secular news outlets have moved on, but for us…the home-folks, the local church people and the denominational leadership—there is so much more to think and say and pray and consider and, ultimately, to decide. Let me summarize what’s going on:

· UM delegates from continents and countries around the world (including eight from Michigan) came together at a Special General Conference to vote on a plan to address two divisive issues:

1. Can non-heterosexual (LGBTQ etc.) people be UM ministers? 2. Can UM ministers officiate and participate in same-sex marriages?

· The purpose of that Conference was to identify a Way Forward that would maintain the unity of United Methodists while addressing the various and contradictory perceptions of what the Bible says and how Jesus wants us to behave towards and with each other.

· The result: A majority vote was delivered by all the delegates in favor of what is called the Traditional Plan, to be effective January 1, 2020. This approved plan maintains the traditional (current) stance that non-heterosexual (LGBTQ etc.) people are not to be approved for ordination as UM ministers. And UM ministers cannot participate in same-sex marriages.

Does this Traditional Plan address the various contradictory perceptions and practices of current United Methodists? Does it strengthen the unity of the denomination as it exists right now? The answer…I believe most people would agree with me when I say: No…to both questions. The Traditional Plan, in fact, contains very specific provisions related to individuals, churches, and conferences who disagree with them…exit plans, specifically, are spelled out with dates and consequences for failing to abide by the exact terms of the plan as it was approved.

What’s next? It’s easy to list the next steps institutionally.

· Judicial Council Review, April 24 – 36, in Minnesota to determine the UM constitutionality of the Traditional Plan’s various details.

· A 12-person Committee has been formed to review voting irregularities.

· Michigan Annual Conference, May 29 – June 2 in Traverse City. Bishop Bard has talked about seeking a way to measure the feelings and position of the Michigan local churches in relation to the Traditional Plan.

· 2020 Decisions re. schism, the creation of a new denomination, exit will be necessary wherever there are people who don’t want to subscribe to the Traditional Plan in all of its details. In response to those decisions, the leadership of the denomination will need to make necessary organizational adjustments in terms of structure and finances.

It’s much harder to describe what’s next for the people of the UM church and the local congregations. Right now, it’s hard enough to grasp the vast range of individual and communal reactions. There is satisfaction by some, intense pain by others. Disgust and impatience by some, excitement and eagerness by others. Humility and embarrassment by some, renewed energy and affirmation by others. Hope and excitement for the future by some, fear and distress and grief by others. Our human reactions to this action at the highest levels of the denomination cover the entire range and scope of the spiritual and emotional dimensions of our existence.

I invite you even more strenuously to talk with each other…about your individual reactions. Use your words to translate your feelings, and then, with grace and kindness, dare to ask someone else how they are feeling. Ask and listen even before you share your words and thoughts and fears. Ask and listen so that we can create a safe space for ourselves and our brothers and sisters to absorb this new and oh-so-public reality. Ask and listen so that we can learn from each other. Ask and listen so that Jesus can be seen and heard and felt as we discover new truths, hard realities, and difficult futures.

This is a lot for all of us to absorb. Please know that I, as your Pastor, am using every gathering as an opportunity to ask if there are questions, reactions, ideas within the Trinity UMC that we can share with each other. I am also making myself available for one-on-one conversations with those who prefer not to be in a group setting. I am willing to talk with anyone about any of this, if that would be helpful to you. I am your minister, to everyone here.

I also encourage you to consider coming to the Church Unique Workshops that are described on this page. They will serve as a safe space in which we can explore who we are as the followers of Jesus and who we are as the Trinity UMC. Pondering, thinking, talking, learning about ourselves right now may well be the very best thing we can do to prepare for an uncertain future and the decisions we may face in the coming years.

God’s peace to us all even in the midst of so much conflict and disturbance. God is not done with us, and the best of who we are is still about praising God, feeding the hungry, tending to the children, and loving each other. Times may be rough, but don’t forget…Easter is coming. New life, resurrection, and the sunlight of God’s love are just as real, if not more so, than anything we human beings can come up with…Hold that thought!

In the name of Jesus, Pastor Geri

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Strength in Scripture:

But what happens when we live God’s way? God brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing

this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

Galatians 5:22-23 MSG

Epiphany: Preacher’s Corner The Party Goes On…

We started the calendar year in the Season of Epiphany, focusing on how our growth as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ is kind of, sort of like a party. God’s party…Jesus encourages this image in the way he lives…going to weddings, dinner parties, creating picnics spontaneously on hillsides. He also uses parties and celebrations as the setting for his parables and teachings about lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons. It is good for us to consider: What do we bring to the party? What’s the miracle at our party? Who will we bring to the party?

The preaching in February will continue along those lines with the added bonus of our 65th anniversary Worship Celebration of Founders’ Day on Sunday, February 10, followed by an All-Church Birthday Party luncheon.

Do come to Sunday worship and give yourself the chance to be nourished by the words of God for the people of God. And if you can’t be here with us, take some time to consider the words of the Psalmist (‘The Message’). Psalm 5:11-12
But you, God, will welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-
seekers, for decking us out in delight.

February 3, ‘Who Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 14:16-24, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

February 10, Founders’ Day. We are going to celebrate the first worship service in our building back in 1954. Scriptures and songs will be taken from the bulletin for our very first worship service.

February 17, ‘Party Favors?’ Luke 6:17-26, Jeremiah 17:5-10

February 24, ‘Living the Party.’ Luke 6:27-38, Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 (UMH 772)

Tender Hearts Worship, Saturday, February 16, at 4:00 p.m. for those whose hearts are heavy with grief, sadness, worry.

Evergreen Worship event, Sunday, February 17, at 3:30 p.m. on behalf of the various Trinity members who have moved into the Evergreen Apartments. All are welcome, and Communion will be served.

Preacher’s Corner January, 2019

What do you bring to the party?

Our growth as faithful disciples is described in so many different ways: a journey…an adventure…a mountain. All these images, and many more, are useful—each in their own way. For the Season of Epiphany this year, let’s consider the way that life in and with Jesus Christ is a party!

In the Gospel of John, he started his ministry at a wedding banquet. He told stories about people celebrating the recovery of lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons. Jesus attended many dinner parties. It’s a great image, so let’s use these weeks of worship after Christmas to ask ourselves: What do we bring to the party? What can we bring? What will we bring? Who should we bring? There’s lots to consider as we read the Scriptures and worship together.

Consider the words of the Psalmist (‘The Message). Psalm 5:11-12, “But you’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight.”

Do come and be blessed by the worship and preaching for this winter season of the year as we share together: The words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

January 6, Seek & Find. ‘Where is the Party?’ Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:12
January 13, Baptism of the Lord. ‘Whose Party is It? Luke 3:15-22, Acts 8:14-17
January 20, ‘What’s the Miracle at Your Party?’ John 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
January 27, ‘What Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 4:14-21, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
February 3, ‘Who Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 4:21-30, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Tender Hearts Worship, Saturday, January 19, at 4:00 p.m. for those whose hearts are heavy with grief, sadness, worry.

Evergreen Worship event, Sunday, January 20, at 3:30 p.m. on behalf of the various Trinity members who have moved into the Evergreen Apartments. All are welcome, and Communion will be served.

Preacher’s Corner
Prepare the Way of the Lord Luke 3:4
The coming of Christmas is a time of many ‘once a year’ tasks. We bring out Christmas decorations. Maybe write Christmas cards? Or make special Facebook entries. Snapchat pictures. Twitter comments. We gather with friends and family for special lunches and dinners and parties. And sometimes there are birthday events, baby showers, or retirement celebrations. Not to mention the shopping, the gifts, the wrapping, and mailing. All to prepare for…the love of God revealed to the world through the birth of the baby Jesus.
Let’s keep it simple this year…as best we can. The preaching will reduce all of the complexity to one word per week, to help us remember that preparing the way of the Lord can be as simple as standing still, refining our expectations, doing what’s right in front of us.
We can welcome God’s love. We will arrive at the humble manger, and we will continue to search for the joy and the gift that is promised in our scriptures and in God’s covenant with us down through the ages. Then, along with the Wise Ones from the East, we just might find that the gifts we give and receive are as simple as hope, joy, love, and peace.
Do come and be blessed by the worship and preaching for this wonderful season.
Praise God! The words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
December 2, Stand. Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 21:25 – 36
December 9, Refine. Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6
December 16, Do. Zephaniah 3:14-20, Luke 3:7-18
December 23, Welcome. Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:39-55
December 24, Arrive. Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-20

The final Prayer Meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.

Jubilee Prayer for November
Lord, thank you for this congregation of believers who walk in your light with faith, hope, and love.
Thank you for the peace which comes from loving you with all our hearts, souls, and minds and from loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and give witness in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Choir
is Back! Wednesday nights, 6:30 to 7:30...Come and add your voice to the Praise of God. Choir is always looking for additional people to join the gang and to sing for the Lord! Call and leave a message at the church office, 774-2545, if you are interested in making a joyful noise unto the Lord!
“Building Up the Temple” Giving Goal Campaign, October 14 to November 11, 2018
By the Stewardship/Generosity Team
Building up the temple of the Lord begins with us! Each of us brings our individual abilities together with others to share our ideas and dreams for the present and future of Trinity UMC. When we use our time, talents, and treasures, we are able to extend our temple out beyond the walls of Trinity.
Please come to worship during this time! We will be praising God and celebrating the many ways in which we draw closer to God, to each other, and to our community through this Church. You are part of all of that, and together we can do so much more to share the love of Christ with each other and the world.
A special letter will be sent in mid-October to the families of the church, and we are planning a spaghetti family dinner on October 14. Come if you can, and please pray always for the faithfulness and hopefulness of our Church.

Preacher’s Corner--November

As November approaches, we continue with our ‘Building up the Temple’ Giving Goal Campaign. The theme scripture for preaching is 1 Chronicles 28: 20,
Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed:
for the LORD God, my God, is with you.
God will not fail you or forsake you
until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.
We have already considered the foundation of the Temple with Jesus as the cornerstone. Walls and doors and windows looking out into the world are part of our Temple. From here we will consider the pillars of humility, patience, trust, and the over-arching roof of God’s love that shelters and protects us as a community of faith.
November also brings special celebrations for All Saints Sunday and a mid-week Thanksgiving worship service. Do come and be blessed by the words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Nov. 4, All Saints Day. Psalm 127, Revelation 21: 1-7. Pillars of the Community
Nov. 11, Giving Goal Celebration. Hebrews 9: 24-28, Isaiah 54:2-3. Stretch the Tent
Nov. 18, Charge Conference Sunday. Hebrews 10:19-25, Ephesians 2:21-22. Jubilee Year Recap
Nov. 25, Christ the King Sunday. Psalm 132, John 18:33-38. Thanksgiving Truth

Thanksgiving Eve Service…Invit your friends and family to give thanks to God on Wednesday,
Nov. 21 at 5:45 in the Sanctuary at Trinity UMC.
Preacher’s Corner--October into November
October 7 will be our annual celebration of World Communion Sunday, along with finishing out our series ‘Imagine the People of God.’ We are a world-wide church, and that is something to celebrate along with other churches around the world!
October 14 will begin our Giving Goal Campaign season, and the preaching will mirror that theme of ‘Building up the Temple.’ The theme scripture for those five weeks will be:
1 Chronicles 28:20, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.’
There are some wonderful connections and tie-ins with ‘Building Up the Temple,’ and our Jubilee Year activities and focus on opening ourselves up to God’s future for our Church. We will consider the foundations, the retaining walls, the pillars of humility and patience and trust, the sheltering roofs that God provides for us as a community of faith. Do come and be blessed by the words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
October 7: Galatians 5:13-23, Leviticus 25. The Sabbatical Year of Jubilee. World Communion Sunday
October 14: 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, Hebrews 1. Jesus as the Foundation of Our Temple.
October 21: Jean Larson will be preaching while Pastor is on vacation.
October 28: Hebrews 4:12-16, 1 Chronicles 28:20. The Bible as the Retaining Walls of Our Temple.

Preacher’s Corner--September Our summer preaching has focused on the seven churches of John’s Revelation and on the various ways (described in the Bible) in which God reveals to humanity…the bigger project that God intends for the world. At Trinity UMC in Iron Mountain, our Jubilee Year is preparing us to hear and respond to God’s desire for our future. Going into September, we will engage in imaginative inquiry… What does a ‘Community of Faith’ look like when Church is living out its call to be the “people of God”?

In this five-week series, Imagine the People of God, we will use our imaginations to conceive of our Church, here in Iron Mountain, as a place where the people of God care, share, believe, receive, seek, dream, and grow. Readings from the Epistle letters to early Christian communities will help us enter into this conversation that is as old as Christianity itself. We will be reading from The Message/Remix, Eugene Peterson’s respected paraphrase in more contemporary language.

Let’s come together to imagine what it can look like to create deeper relationships, livelier church, bolder missions, transformed lives, fruitful activities for our friends, our neighbors and the world! Come and be blessed by the words of God from long ago for the people of God today. Thanks be to God!

Theme Scripture: Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. 1 Peter 4:1-2

Sept. 9: Imagination. Ephesians 3:16-21
Sept. 16: Invitation. 1 Peter 4:9-11. Guest preacher Naomi Garcia
Sept. 23: Responsibility. Romans 12:1-3
Sept. 30: Transformation. 1 Peter 1:3-9. Guest preacher Naomi Garcia
Oct. 7: Fruition/Harvest. Galatians 5:13-23. World Communion Sunday

Pastor’s Ponderings August(written 8/23/18)

We’re less than a week away from school starting up again here in this area. So many of our college kids are already on campus and settling in for the fall semester. Pre-schools are welcoming little ones for their first experience, and bus drivers are checking out the routes for the first day of school. At this time of year, I can’t help but think of that age-old question… ‘What Did You Do for Summer Vacation?’

As warm as it’s been, we can honestly say that this has truly been a Real Summer. Here at Trinity UMC we have used the season to relax and enjoy each other in a variety of ways, right here at our own building. In June we had a Family Table brunch after worship in the Fellowship Hall and shared a meal with each other before all of the summer travels and camps got started. In July we hosted a four-day VBS (thanks to an amazing team of women who put it all together—you know who you are!) for 35 children …using our building and our parking lot and green space for fun and learning about the heroes of our faith. A couple of weeks later we had a first-ever, midweek Marshmallow Roast, which was delightful out in the garden area of our church. (Thanks to the Generosity Team for that great time!) People from all generations came and enjoyed the chance to sit around the charcoal grills together. Then in August, our Church picnic was outside with awnings and tables set up along E Street, and many people stayed after worship to share in food and fellowship.

It is GOOD when the people of God gather together…

I know that summer can be difficult for some of you to make it to worship. The earlier worship time is not compatible with everyone’s schedule. Travel plans and sports schedules can interfere with Sunday morning worship and picnic attendance. Jobs sometimes make overtime and Sunday shift work demands on some people. Ill health and life’s challenges get in the way of the best laid plans.

But know this…even in your absence, the good-will, the kindness and caring, the love of God continues from within this Trinity United Methodist Church. The Jubilee Prayers, the Reading Through the Bible in a Year, the focus on history continue to create room in our hearts and minds and schedules for each other and for the fun gatherings that create lasting memories and joyful bonds of friendship. If you haven’t been around for the summer…know that you are missed. And know that God’s people are still here, singing and praying and eating s’mores and talking and loving you and each other!

My prayer is that the fall schedule will bring you back to worship on Sundays as we return to the 8:00 and 10:30 worship times. You will see in this Tower that Sunday school for the children is starting up again on September 9. Choir practice begins on August 29. There are wonderful workshops scheduled for September 14- 15 and September 28- 29 (see page 2) and an adult Sunday school book study planned (see page 2).

Is there something special that you would like to do this fall as we gather back together? There is time in the schedule and money available that can be used to enhance the life of the Church, to the glory of God, whenever you or someone else has an idea of how to do that. Just let me know, and I’ll help your dreams come true…because our dreams are a reflection of God’s hope for us to share in the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. Let’s do it! It will be fun! God’s peace and the Holy Spirit be with us all.

In the name of Jesus, Pastor Geri

Preacher’s Corner--July/August

We will continue in July with the Seven Letters to the Churches in John’s book of Revelation. It’s hard to know what God wants of us as a specific community of faith, but we can always look in our Bible for ideas and lessons. The seven churches in Revelation have much to teach us about strengths, weaknesses, direction forward, and what it means to be faithful to God.

Once we are done with the Seven Letters, we will spend some time looking at the many different ways in which God reveals ‘Mission’ and ‘Vision’ to various people and groups in the Bible. We are all familiar with Jesus being the Revelation of God, but there are lesser-known stories that may be helpful to us at Trinity as we continue to seek God’s desire for us as a community of faith.

Come and be blessed in the worship of our Loving God with the fellowship of believers who use the Words of God for the people of God to draw closer to God. Thanks be to God!

July 1, Philadelphia Rev. 3:7-13, Mark 6:6-13 ‘Persistence’

July 8, Laodicea Rev. 3:7-13, Matthew 7:7-8 ‘Knocked Out’

July 15, Revelation Wrap Up—‘Odds and Ends, and Even New Beginnings’

July 22, ‘When God Spoke Face to Face’ Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Saul/Paul

July 29, ‘Visitors from Afar’ Abraham, Jacob The Wise Ones from the East

Aug. 5, ‘Prayer’ Jean Larson in Pastor’s absence Psalm 118, Luke 11:1-13

Aug. 12, ‘Dreams and Signs’ Two Josephs—Son of Jacob, Husband of Mary

Aug. 19, ‘Prophets and the Law’ Moses and Paul

Aug. 26, ‘Prophets and Visions’ Elijah, Isaiah and the Gang

Preacher’s Corner
         This has been a summer of preaching “Favorite Scriptures.” Just so you know, I’m not being totally self-indulgent. I’m using a list of the 52 most important passages in the Bible that every follower of Jesus needs to know, according to Thomas G. Bandy, who has earned the respect of bishops and UM worship experts. From that list, I have chosen some of my personal favorites.
         Somewhere in mid-June, I thought, “Why should I get to have all the fun of choosing Scriptures for preaching? I bet the Trinity people have some verses in the Bible that they would enjoy hearing read and preached, and sometimes we even find songs to sing with them!” Since then, I have been collecting requests and will use August and September as a time to preach what you want to hear more about.
         Maybe some of you reading the Tower have a favorite verse. Or a question about a story. Do take a
minute to call the office or e-mail us, and I’ll see about getting it on the schedule. Often, the sermons are taped and loaded onto the church website, www.imtrinity.org. Or a copy of the manuscript might be available to send to you.
         Summer is a time to pause and take a breath, so let’s continue to enjoy the goodness of life and friends. Let’s be at peace with longer days, shorter nights, warm and sweet breezes. And let’s come together to worship our Gracious God, while enjoying the words of God for the people of God...Thanks be to God!
Aug. 4, Pastor on vacation. Joyce Erickson will lead worship.
Aug. 11, Communion will be served at the 9:15 worship time and again at Lake Antoine during our annual church picnic. Romans 10:11-17. Luke 17:5-6. Faith Sufficient.
Aug. 18, Acts 2:22-24, 32-34, 36. Hebrews 12:1-2. We Are All Witnesses.
Aug. 25, 1 Corinthians 3:18-23. Luke 12:13-21, 32-34. We are Wise in our Foolishness
Sept. 1, the last Sunday with 9:15 worship. Labor Day. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Luke 12:49-56. What’s Next???

Don’t forget Evergreen Worship on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30 p.m. for the various Trinity members who have moved to the Evergreen Apartments. This month, it’s Sunday, August 18. All  

 
 
Gratitude/Thanks  by Pastor Geri    I want to thank the following people for their faithful service to God in this church.
They have served diligently and graciously on committees and are now moving on to other faithful activities. Committee work is not always the most fun thing in the world to do, but in our United Methodist system…committees and teams do have the responsibility and the opportunity to keep the wheels of the church going round and round. On behalf of the Trinity United Methodist Church, I offer you our gratitude and appreciation for your time of service:
Drew Champagne: Worship Team leadership extraordinaire
Jon Harry: Long-time Trustee and Endowment Committee participant
Scott Ritsema: Lay Leader and active on many (!) committees
Nathan Ruble: Stewardship/Generosity Team
Don Yuhasey: Decades of opening the building for the 8:00 worship group on Sundays…We miss you, Don, but rejoice that you have gone to your eternal reward.

I also want to thank the following people who are taking on new responsibilities in 2019.
These folks are accepting the challenge of serving God and our congregation in new ways this year. Please support and encourage them, and maybe even, if they ask nicely, assist them in their new responsibilities—serving God through this Trinity United Methodist Church so that all may come to know Jesus, on earth as well as in heaven!
John Erickson: Camp Michigamme contact
Heidi Harwell: Coffee Time set-up
Jerry Harwell: Council member at-large
Jill Noyce: Altar decorations
Jen Rietveld: Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee
Patty Ronan: United Methodist Missions coordinator
 

Preacher’s Corner

Lenten series overview: In this season of formation and preparation, we again approach the 40 days of Lent from a variety of different perspectives and points along the Christian journey. During this season, new and longtime Christians alike hear the call to return to God with all their hearts, thus entering a season historically characterized by much prayer and fasting. These works of discipline have for hundreds of years served as a means by which new converts prepare for baptism, which occurs as a part of the Easter Vigil. Using the words of Wesleyan theology, we believe all this work is initiated by God, who invites us to come before God with all our hearts.

There is much of disruption and disturbance within our United Methodist Church, within our community, our country. Everywhere, it seems, and yet God remains constant and steady…for us. May your Lenten season be one of challenge, commitment, and support as we and the church respond to the call of God

“Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).

Week 1.1: Ash Wednesday, March 6 at 6:00 p.m., Return to Me. Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Week 1.2: First Sunday in Lent, March 10. God’s Generous Heart. Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13

Week 2: Second Sunday in Lent, March 17. Imitating. Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1

Week 3: Third Sunday in Lent, March 24. Repenting. Isaiah 55:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Week 4: Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 31. Coming Together. Joshua 5:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Week 5: Fifth Sunday in Lent, April 7. Making a New Thing. Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:4b-14

Week 6: Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14. Confirmation Sunday. Preparing. Isaiah 50:4-9a;
1 Corinthians 15:19-26; John 20:1-18
Week 7: Easter Day, April 21. Believing. Acts 10: 34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24;
Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 19:28-40

Epiphany: Preacher’s Corner The Party Goes On…

We started the calendar year in the Season of Epiphany, focusing on how our growth as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ is kind of, sort of like a party. God’s party…Jesus encourages this image in the way he lives…going to weddings, dinner parties, creating picnics spontaneously on hillsides. He also uses parties and celebrations as the setting for his parables and teachings about lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons. It is good for us to consider: What do we bring to the party? What’s the miracle at our party? Who will we bring to the party?

The preaching in February will continue along those lines with the added bonus of our 65th anniversary Worship Celebration of Founders’ Day on Sunday, February 10, followed by an All-Church Birthday Party luncheon.

Do come to Sunday worship and give yourself the chance to be nourished by the words of God for the people of God. And if you can’t be here with us, take some time to consider the words of the Psalmist (‘The Message’). Psalm 5:11-12
But you, God, will welcome us with open arms
when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-
seekers, for decking us out in delight.

February 3, ‘Who Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 14:16-24, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

February 10, Founders’ Day. We are going to celebrate the first worship service in our building back in 1954. Scriptures and songs will be taken from the bulletin for our very first worship service.

February 17, ‘Party Favors?’ Luke 6:17-26, Jeremiah 17:5-10

February 24, ‘Living the Party.’ Luke 6:27-38, Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 (UMH 772)

Tender Hearts Worship, Saturday, February 16, at 4:00 p.m. for those whose hearts are heavy with grief, sadness, worry.

Evergreen Worship event, Sunday, February 17, at 3:30 p.m. on behalf of the various Trinity members who have moved into the Evergreen Apartments. All are welcome, and Communion will be served.

Preacher’s Corner January, 2019

What do you bring to the party?

Our growth as faithful disciples is described in so many different ways: a journey…an adventure…a mountain. All these images, and many more, are useful—each in their own way. For the Season of Epiphany this year, let’s consider the way that life in and with Jesus Christ is a party!

In the Gospel of John, he started his ministry at a wedding banquet. He told stories about people celebrating the recovery of lost coins, lost sheep, lost sons. Jesus attended many dinner parties. It’s a great image, so let’s use these weeks of worship after Christmas to ask ourselves: What do we bring to the party? What can we bring? What will we bring? Who should we bring? There’s lots to consider as we read the Scriptures and worship together.

Consider the words of the Psalmist (‘The Message). Psalm 5:11-12, “But you’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight.”

Do come and be blessed by the worship and preaching for this winter season of the year as we share together: The words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

January 6, Seek & Find. ‘Where is the Party?’ Isaiah 60:1-6, Matthew 2:12
January 13, Baptism of the Lord. ‘Whose Party is It? Luke 3:15-22, Acts 8:14-17
January 20, ‘What’s the Miracle at Your Party?’ John 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
January 27, ‘What Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 4:14-21, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
February 3, ‘Who Will You Bring to the Party?’ Luke 4:21-30, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Tender Hearts Worship, Saturday, January 19, at 4:00 p.m. for those whose hearts are heavy with grief, sadness, worry.

Evergreen Worship event, Sunday, January 20, at 3:30 p.m. on behalf of the various Trinity members who have moved into the Evergreen Apartments. All are welcome, and Communion will be served.

Preacher’s Corner
Prepare the Way of the Lord Luke 3:4
The coming of Christmas is a time of many ‘once a year’ tasks. We bring out Christmas decorations. Maybe write Christmas cards? Or make special Facebook entries. Snapchat pictures. Twitter comments. We gather with friends and family for special lunches and dinners and parties. And sometimes there are birthday events, baby showers, or retirement celebrations. Not to mention the shopping, the gifts, the wrapping, and mailing. All to prepare for…the love of God revealed to the world through the birth of the baby Jesus.
Let’s keep it simple this year…as best we can. The preaching will reduce all of the complexity to one word per week, to help us remember that preparing the way of the Lord can be as simple as standing still, refining our expectations, doing what’s right in front of us.
We can welcome God’s love. We will arrive at the humble manger, and we will continue to search for the joy and the gift that is promised in our scriptures and in God’s covenant with us down through the ages. Then, along with the Wise Ones from the East, we just might find that the gifts we give and receive are as simple as hope, joy, love, and peace.
Do come and be blessed by the worship and preaching for this wonderful season.
Praise God! The words of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!
December 2, Stand. Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 21:25 – 36
December 9, Refine. Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6
December 16, Do. Zephaniah 3:14-20, Luke 3:7-18
December 23, Welcome. Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:39-55
December 24, Arrive. Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-20