Through It All

Ephesians 1:19-22

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power
for us who believe him.”
(Ephesians 1:19a)

candleWhen we are truly honest with ourselves, acknowledging the discomforting uncertainty, the struggle, and the unpredictable messiness of life is unavoidable.  Absolute, easy, and predictable are the realities we, understandably, prefer.  Yet, since not a single day now passes without some measure of messiness – even unrestrained evil – to contend with, we need to be clear about how we will navigate the restless waters of our lives and time.  How do we, as Christ believers, contend with the loss of employment, or health, or marriage?  How do we keep moving ahead when long-cherished hopes and dreams have been crushed?  How do we breathe – much less heal – when someone we love has been brutally maimed or murdered?

Yet again we as individuals, as a nation, as a global community have been assaulted by the insanity of hatred.  In what has been described as “the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history”, a lone gunman stepped into an Orlando nightclub and killed 50 people, while wounding at least 53 more.  Whenever this kind of unspeakable attack on human life happens, we reason that such was perpetrated because of the victim(s)’ race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation – just to name a few of the usual “offenses”.  But in truth, the real reason for such hatred and vicious violence is the absolute insanity of broken minds, hearts, and spirits!

Our mourning continues either personally or as members of the human community.  A year after another lone gunman entered a church to shoot and kill eight welcoming and praying church members, one who had lost her mother in that evil attack admits that her life (and livelihood) were forever changed.  Her priorities were shifted… altered that bitter loss.  But instead of allowing her grief and pain to control and destroy her, she and also others who suffered the loss of their loved ones on that shameful night are using the experience to help others who know grief, which continues to be a gracious means of their personal healing.

Amidst all the pain and struggle and brokenness throughout our world, we, who know Christ also know that we have a Savior whose faithful Presence, power and grace continues to keep and console us through it all.  May we never ignore the privilege of turning to that Savior, in prayer, in every time of need.  And may we always embrace the graciousness of offering prayer and other forms of love to others in the bondage of pain.  May it be so!

We continue with our sermon series focused on how to discover the blessing of experiencing REAL JOY in these challenging times.  Join us, and invite / bring someone to worship with us!

Our study of Jesus’ “SERMON ON THE MOUNT” continues to challenge and edify us all.  Join us, and bring your Bible and a friend as we continue this great and blessed adventure.  The class convenes every Sunday, from 9:15 to 10:00 a.m.

The Word of God assures us that the fervent prayers of the “righteous” – of God’s people – results in an outpouring of our Lord’s great provision and grace.  I invite you to join me a time of prayer every Monday morning, between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m.  

Beginning on Monday, June 20th, pray with me and others in our church family as we lift up special prayers for the families, friends and communities of the victims of warring and violence, everywhere.

Rev. Colleen M. Norman, Senior Pastor

The Grace of Transformation

transformation“It’s time to accept the unchangeable past,  to embrace the priceless present, and to have faith in the promise of tomorrow.”

-Beth Moore

Greetings, my Trinity UMC Family!

I am writing this on the heels of an utterly honest and probing conversation with a remarkable twenty-something-year-old woman wrestling with the unimaginable challenge of a relentless and aggressive cancer.  This brave young woman shared the dreams that once gave her hope and strength – dreams of “climbing, unhindered, the professional ladder”, of meeting and wedding “the absolute love of [her] life”, of reconciling with her only surviving parent.  She couldn’t see anything else, didn’t want anything more…until, that is, she received the diagnosis that forced her to reevaluate everything.

I referred to this young woman as “brave” because of her un-common wisdom and strength:  “I never know what’s going to happen from day to day, even from moment to moment.  But I do know that I don’t want to waste whatever time God gives me looking back and wishing things were different.  This is now my path – chosen or not – and my Lord is still keeping His promises to me, especially in the midst of this struggle.”  She went on to give witness to her Savior’s bestowing of daily patience, and provision, and peace.  “As I continue to walk my path, I also continue to be informed and transformed by my great God and truest Friend!”

We always hope that God will lift us above and sweep us far beyond our troubles and tribulations.  Sometimes God does precisely that.  But at other times – in fact, most times, our Savior chooses to walk with us through our trials and challenges that we may discover and be marvelously transformed by new and unimagined dimensions of our Savior’s power, love and grace.

See you on Sunday!  And don’t forget to invite/bring someone with you to join us in worshipping the One who is true Life!

This weekend in WORSHIP... We will consider the issue of “UNFINISHED BUSINESS”.  Sometimes fear or haste prevent us from experiencing closure, from being able to “turn the page” and move forward in our relationships and lives.  We hope to see you on Sunday, as the Word of God teaches and empowers us.

The 2017 CONFIRMATION CLASS has begun… Many thanks to Jacki Bogolia, our Director of Christian Education, and to the parents who have chosen to walk with our young people on what is a quite special part of their spiritual journeys.  Please remember to keep us all in your prayers!

The Pastor’s Bible Study Class… continues with a focus on “THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT”.   Jesus Christ preached with the authority of the promised coming King, and in this momentous sermon, the Lord taught about the wonder of spiritual transformation, about how the Holy Spirit works in supernatural and life-giving ways in believers’ hearts and minds and communities.  I encourage you to join us on Sundays, from 9:15 until 10 a.m., in this challenging and renewing journey.  I’m confident you’ll find it to be a great blessing in your life!

I also encourage you to be especially attentive to all of the upcoming activities at Trinity UMC.  Thank you for your continued support of the church with your talents, resources, and prayers.  We need and faithfully using all that God has blessed you to share!

Are you interested in uniting with Trinity UMC, in Mount Prospect?  The process for joining begins with participating in an upcoming “Coffee With the Pastor” session, where you’ll learn a bit of the stories of The United Methodist Church and Trinity UMC, mp, and be introduced to some of our staff and leaders, along with learning about the expectations of membership.  To register your interest, please contact me, directly, at (847) 621-9160, or use the Sign Up sheet, located in the church office.

— Pastor Colleen

The Blessing of Pentecost

“And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit
and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”
(Acts 2:4)

pentecostObserved 50 days after Passover, Pentecost was known as the Festival of First Harvest.  It was one of three major annual festivals when Jews of many nations gathered in celebration.  After Jesus’ promised – and supernatural – resurrection, our resurrected Savior taught and encouraged His followers for a full forty days, before ascending back to the heavenly realm.  Then ten days after His Ascension, the promised return of our Lord’s Holy Spirit was revealed, as He descended upon His disciples gathered in Jerusalem.

Finally, out of hiding, Peter preached with wisdom and boldness before an international crowd!  Starting on that blessed day, baptism of the Holy Spirit became available for anyone open to His inward, spiritual transformation.  Starting on that day, the world was, indeed, forever changed.  Starting on that day, a massive and worldwide making of Christian believers began and continues to this day.

The blessing of Pentecost was and remains the presence and power of God’s Holy Spirit within and with every believer.  Many fear the consequences of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and empower their lives — the inability to continue to think and act as they always have.  And while it is true that God’s Spirit always expects and calls us to that which is beyond our human understanding and ability, it is also true that God is faithful in bestowing the power and faithfulness in doing Christ’s work in the world, that we may individually and together proclaim and embody God’s love and grace in our world.  Thanks be to God!

Greetings Trinity Family!

As I recall all that has happened, along with all that is about to unfold at Trinity UMC, I am both thankful for the many ways we are being blessed and excited about how God is leading us in being Christ’s blessing to others.  Special thanks to Rick & Judy Benzinger who were instrumental in coordinating our annual Rummage Sale!

Many thanks to all who helped in the receiving, sorting, and sale of the generous amount of donations we received.  The giving of your time and energies was essential to the success of this event!   And we thank those whose purchases also served to make this event so successful; greeting and meeting family and friends was great!

Electronic giving is almost here!  Research has shown that offering the electronic giving option has proved beneficial by making it easier for many to financially support the church’s ministry.  More information will follow, however, I offer many thanks to Jerry Askeland, our Committee on Finance Chair, for all of his efforts toward making electronic giving a reality at Trinity UMC!

Beginning in July 2016, “SPREADING THE JOY” will be a new addition to this publication.  Within the course of our daily lives, there is much that causes us concern and dulls our recognition of the Lord’s mercies and grace yet in our lives.  Therefore, I am inviting you to share a moment when the Spirit of God has brought celebration and joy into your heart and life.  Your submission may be edited and should be emailed to Martin, at [email protected].

A Pictorial Church Directory is being planned.  Many thanks to Jere Teed for, again, volunteering to coordinate this fun event!  More details to come.

Two books I’m currently reading are: “America’s Original Sin” by Jim Wallis and “Talking in the Dark”, by Steve Harper.  I recommend both!  What are you reading?  Send to:  [email protected].
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Colleen

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