Listening to God’s Call

Where Are You Going?

by Ellen LaCroix

Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children's Choir
Ellen LaCroix, Director of Children’s Choir

When was the last time you closed your eyes and let yourself imagine? I don’t mean just letting your mind wander, I mean actively imagining your future. Take a moment to think about the next two years. Where are you? Are you still here in Virginia or have you moved? What do you do with your time? Who is around you? But here is the real question: What is the life God is calling you to live? Let that question sit on your heart for a moment. Can you see it?

“Cheshire-Cat,” said Alice. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—,” said Alice.

Then It doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

 What is the future God is calling you to live? What future are you walking towards now? Moving in the direction God calls does not happen by accident. It requires an intentional choice and active navigation. It happens slowly, one day at a time and one step at a time. This journey starts with the willingness to open your heart to imagine and receive God’s vision of the future.

 


 

Wesleyan Structure for Small Groups

by Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Nick McMichael, Youth Director
Nick McMichael, Youth Director

Sunday morning worship at 8:30 or 10:30 is a wonderful time to come together to worship God in a community of believers. And yet, church is so much more than the one hour you sit in a pew. Coming to church is about coming closer to God. Coming to church is about digging deeper into scripture and into yourself. John Wesley, an Anglican priest who became the founder of Methodism, had a lot to do with our modern day interest in small group meetings outside of Sunday morning worship. Wesley thought that true believers would hunger and thirst for a closer relationship with God and themselves, and he thought small groups were a great way to satisfy that desire when attended hand in hand with worship. When Methodism was getting started Wesley set up a system where there were three different types of small group meetings. Those groups were: Societies, Classes, and Bands.

  • Societies were held lecture style, where the leader would get up and preach or speak to the group without any time for questions or feedback. Societies focused on central theological and doctrinal questions, and were very academic in nature.
  • Classes became the most popular and were more intimate groups of about ten people who came together to talk about what they experienced in their lives rather than just focusing on scripture or academic pursuits. Classes were more conversational, and the leaders discussed their struggles just as much as everyone else. These became popular because of their common shared humanity within the group.
  • Bands were even smaller groups of people who came together in blunt, and sometimes harsh honesty, to discuss how they might live better lives. These were, more or less, the first accountability groups.

Here at Trinity we have two options for worship on Sunday morning with an hour in between that is set aside for these types of small group meetings, along with several options throughout the week including Youth Group on Sunday nights. If you are interested in being more than just a one-hour-a-week Christian and want to dig a little deeper into this God who is King, then I would highly recommend looking into these groups and joining in for some real learning and conversation. You can find more information about these offerings on page 2 of the Sunday bulletin, or ask one of our pastors which group would fit you best.

 

A New Year(ning)

CRISP-ANDREW-113by Amy Crisp, Minister of Education

The beginning of a new year calls us to reexamine our lives. What is working? What isn’t cutting it anymore? Am I the person that I want to be?

These questions lead to new resolutions. I am going to lose weight. I will cross some things off my bucket list. (Skydiving, anyone?) I will finally read the books that have been sitting in a pile on my nightstand. I will spend more time with my family.

As John Wesley would say, we are always “going on toward perfection.” But he wasn’t talking about our physical selves. He was referring to our relationships – with God and with each other.

So what would New Year’s resolutions look like from the church, or from anyone who claims the name “Christian”?

 

1. Pray more. Your relationship with God is exactly that: a relationship. Relationships require communication. One of the ways of speaking to God is through prayer. Not only does communicating with God strengthen your personal relationship with God, but praying for others also strengthens your relationships with other people.

2. Invest in your spiritual gifts. Are you a teacher? A preacher? Full of wisdom? A powerful prayer warrior? We all are blessed with spiritual gifts which God calls us to use to build up the body of Christ. Working together, with all of the gifts and their various expressions, is how we do the work of the church. So what are you passionate about? What are your gifts? And how can you use them to reach out to others in the love of God?

3. Care for yourself spiritually. Your faith is important. Are you taking the time to worship and study God’s word? Are you seeking after God in ways that nourish and rejuvenate you? At Trinity UMC, we have classes and worship services available to feed your spiritual life.

4. Build community. The church is all about community. Each of us has been created in the image of God. It is only in the presence of one another that we begin to see more clearly who God is and discover who we are as God’s children. In community, we lift each other up, hold each other accountable, and love one another as God has called us to do.

 

As we usher in a new year, I pray that we also usher in new yearnings to be in relationship with God and one another. May we continue to grow in discipleship and in love for one another.