Meeting the Needs of the Young

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

There is today a cultural war for the hearts and souls of Protestant denominations. People are drifting away from the two most centrist denominations, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Methodist Church. These mainline Protestant denominations are not successfully engaging with the young in this country or protecting them from the erosion of contemporary culture. We need to stress wholesome fun, sports, warm mentoring relationships tied to Bible study and a personal relationship with Jesus. We need to provide a remedy from the isolation experienced by our young from the adult world and provide alternative models to the entertainment industry’s portrayal of adolescence, adulthood and family.

The mainline Protestant denominations must renew our focus on the needs of our young. Our graying mainline churches have, in the past, interpreted Christianity through the demands of peace and social justice agendas. And there is nothing wrong with these agendas so long as we don’t neglect the weighty needs of a personal salvation and relationship with Christ. Social justice and loving Jesus do not have to be in tension. Perhaps mainline Protestant churches need to initiate fresh discussions about the relation of traditional Christian beliefs to social justice issues.

Trinity Church addresses these concerns by beginning to focus on the individual child, partly out of the traditional evangelical impulse to save souls, but also out of concern for children in today’s culture. Our leaders here at Trinity are waking up to the real moral and spiritual forces of evil abroad that our young need our support to withstand. Every ministry at Trinity is trying to discover new ways for praise music to join hands with prayer book – that is to say, joining the love and merciful lifestyle expressed in the Gospel with the character formation our young need to live in the real world.

Trinity Church’s leaders believe that societal needs are changing rapidly, and in ways that call for our rethinking (and re-imaging) our understanding of the Christian mission. The Christian Church has undergone a reformation every 500 years. The spiritual reformation of the 21st century is underway. So what we do at Trinity now will make all the difference to our future. We seek a renewed pursuit of personal salvation without undermining our corporate responsibilities of the church to society. We seek to reach more young people in the McLean area and open their hearts to both the inclusivity of the Gospel and historic Christianity.

Perhaps we are living through a seismic shift in Christian history. That’s okay, provided we learn to keep a period of silence too, in order to discern God’s leading.

Shalom,  Jim Sprouse

 

Self-Knowledge and God Knowledge

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

As we dive head-first into the dog days of summer, I’ve been looking for just the right beach read. I already read a lot of books that pertain to God, scripture, church and leadership. Lately I’ve been looking for something to read during a trip to the beach—something to read for fun.

No matter what other books I might take with me, I won’t leave behind Yes, and …, a book of daily meditations. It’s by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and prolific author. I love his writing style. He pulls no punches for those of us who call ourselves Christians. He calls out our hypocrisy and shallowness. Sometimes his words can sting, but that’s only because they’re true.

In one of his devotions he speaks of our “operative God image” as being a subtle combination of our mom, dad or any other important authority figure in our life. In order for us to move past that view of God (for some that can include an image that is unreliable, scolding or punitive), we must begin an “inner life of prayer and in-depth study of sacred texts.” If we stay stuck in this early “God talk” and skip the self-knowledge and inner journey, Rohr says we remain in a “sincere pretense.”

But if we immerse ourselves in prayer and scripture study, Rohr says our lives are changed forever. “The miracle of grace and true prayer is that they invade the unconscious mind and heart (where our real truth lies)—and thus really change us!” This allows the love of God and love of self to “proceed forward together.”

Rohr also shares a phrase that he considers a foundation in our faith. It is: Your image of God creates you. I find this phrase so powerful in its truth. If your image of God is that of an earthly mom or dad, then you will assign human faults and limitations to God’s mercy and love. Alternately, if your image of God is one of limitless power, love and forgiveness, you are freed to be the people God is calling us to be.

I hope you have a great rest of the summer. When you’re in town, I look forward to seeing you in church!

 

Too Busy to Pray?

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

No worries, I get it. There is so much going on even weekly church attendance is a stretch. Because we are so busy the activity of just sitting there seemingly doing nothing feels odd. Therefore, it does not climb high on our priority list. When I was in seminary the professor from Spiritual Discipline class noted that pastors pray an average of 20-25 minutes a day. This stat came from the nineties. I bet it is much lower now. Imagine. If pastors do not pray much, how much less do lay people pray? (If I’m making a wrong assumption here, please shoot me an email.)

So, it is understandable that prayer is not the most sought out activity of the day. I get it.

But here’s the thing. Prayer does not have to be something artificial where you set aside special time to do it. Of course, it would be nice if you had extra thirty minutes or an hour a day where you could go and lift up your petitions to God. That would be so nice. And if you have the time, more power to you. Keep doing it.

However, if you are like most NOVA folks, you probably find it hard to even sit down and chat with your loved ones. Being too busy to pray is totally acceptable. However, deep inside you, there is this little voice that says, “you should pray a little bit more.”

Let me help. Brother Lawrence in his book Practicing the Presence of God makes this uncanny observation: we can communicate with God in the most common and mundane situations. You do not have to go to the desert and sit alone for years in order to commune with God. You do not have to drive yourself to a sanctuary. You do not have to set aside a swath of time and clear you schedule. You can just practice God’s presence when you are out and about doing your everyday tasks.

This insight has helped me to pray through busy times. I am in my car at least two hours a day for my commute. It has been one of the most blessed times for prayer. Yes. I pray while I drive! I do not close my eyes of course. During these long commutes, I often practice silence. Not all the time. I drive in silence and have a conversation with God. It helps me go through the day.

Too busy to pray? Try praying while you drive. Let me know if it helps.

 

August 2019 at Trinity

Aug. 5 – 9 Vacation Bible School Register/Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs
Aug. 11 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
Aug. 12 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-vT
Aug. 17 Christ House  
Aug. 18 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
Aug. 18 Child & Youth Outing Nationals Game, contact Keith if you’re interested in attending
Aug. 18

 

Celebration of Life: James Hanson

2 p.m.

Aug. 25 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

 
Aug. 26 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

https://wp.me/p3ZFFv-vT

Ten Reasons to Join a Choir

by Jerry Rich, Director of Music

  1. You’ll serve God through musical prayer and help others praise God through hymns
  2. You’ll stimulate your intellect by engaging both sides of the brain
  3. You’ll have a creative and enjoyable way to express emotions through music
  4. You’ll belong, feel wanted and be a part of something positive
  5. You’ll gain self-confidence through teamwork
  6. You’ll improve your music skills while enjoying both traditional and contemporary styles
  7. You’ll create an extended family and find new friends (42 million Americans are in choirs)
  8. You’ll be in good company: actors (Sandra Bullock, Kevin Costner), singers (Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz), athletes (Troy Aikman, Sugar Ray Leonard) and political leaders (Kamala Harris, Barack Obama) all participated in choirs
  9. You’ll have the congregation looking up to you—literally
  10. You’ll be invited to our choir parties!

Want to learn more about choirs at Trinity? Talk to Jerry Rich. Summer Choir continues to meet on Sundays at 10 a.m. in Room 115 and Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers will resume regular rehearsals in September.  Children’s and Youth Choirs will also resume in September.

The Importance of Rest and Play

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Now that we are into the midst of summer, I hope you’ve either taken some time to relax and renew, or that your plans are in the works. Taking a break isn’t just an extravagance, it’s vital to our health and well-being. When we were children, few of us had to be told to stop working and start playing. Somewhere along the line, most of us lost sight of the importance of play.

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! Psalm 149:3

The Bible mentions play, joy and celebrations many times. It also speaks of the importance of taking time away from our everyday lives and stressors. Jesus guided his disciples about the importance of time away.

He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Mark 6:31-32

We read of the importance of celebrating and of getting away from the noise that can fill our lives. We can find guidance in the Bible on how we are to situate our lives even during the times of rest and relaxation.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether you are here at home amidst your daily routine or find yourself taking some time away, I hope you’ll seek out ways to do everything to the glory of God. When you’re in NOVA this summer, I hope you’ll join us for worship at Trinity Church. In addition to our regular Sunday morning worship at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., we invite you to join us for the Wednesday noon Communion service. There’s also our Celtic worship on the last Sunday of each month at 5 p.m.

No matter which service you attend, I’ll see you at church!

 

July 2019 at Trinity

July 1 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

 
July 4 Office Closed
July 9 Youth Trip:

Kings Dominion

Contact Pastor Keith, klee@umtrinity.org
July 14 Martha’s Table Snack Making Sunday
July 15 Crafts for a Cause

7 p.m.

 
July 16 Trustees

6:30 p.m.

Meeting by telephone
July 20 Christ House  
July 28 Executive Council  
July 28 Celtic Service

5 p.m.

 
July 24 – 30 Mission trip to Honduras’ Heart to Heart Contact Keith Lee to get involved klee@umtrinity.org
Aug. 5-9 Vacation Bible School Register/Volunteer at http://umtrinity.org/education/vbs

Pastor Keith’s Prayer of the Month: A  Summer Prayer

Creator of all, thank You for summer! Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight. Thank You for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation. Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family, and for the more casual pace of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer. Teach me how I can pray no matter where I am or what I am doing. Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence, and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.

As I enjoy Your creation, create in me a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You. Amen.