Archives for category: General

Last Sunday I preached on the brevity of life. Little did I know that just a couple of days later a dear friend of mine, John Weaver, would die suddenly in Wooster, Ohio. John’s funeral and memorial service will be this coming Sunday at Wooster Grace and I will have to miss it because it is my installation service at Grace Church, Lititz.

This turn of events and the coincidence of services have given me much more than pause. What if it was my service in Wooster and John’s here in Lititz? John was a godly man. Though a builder by trade, he could well be a pastor somewhere based on his knowledge of Scriptures and love for people. I, on the other hand, can’t build even walls made of Lego’s.

The last couple of days I have only heard (and seen) positive, God-honoring comments about John and his legacy. John touched literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of people with his gentle ways, his firm convictions and exuberant love for God’s Word. I just can’t help but think about what people would be saying and writing about me if it was my service there and his service here… Do you ever think that way? And do you think that you would be remembered as a godly person who left a legacy of love for God and compassion for people? Would people would not only you but your character and integrity also?

Yes, people miss John’s character and integrity. I also miss his generosity. John gave in so many ways. A thoughtful guy, he never missed an opportunity to bless someone, even if he did it behind the scenes.

Today I thought of Dorcas, “who was always doing good and helping the poor,” according to Acts 9. When she died suddenly, the poor widows who came to her funeral actually brought with them Dorcas’ evangelism tools — the robes and other clothing she had made and given them while she was alive (Acts 9:39).

What would people bring to my funeral? Only the funny jokes I told or a memory of a time I actually went out of my way to make sure that they were blessed? Scraps of memory from a reluctant follower or a flood of vivid reminders of an unwaivering faith in a God who delivers?

What would people bring to your funeral? On Sunday the auditorium at Wooster Grace will be filled with people who loved John and there won’t be a single one who will have any doubts where he stood in his love for God and people. I can’t think of a better memory to bring to a funeral. May it be that way for ours as well.

And sorry for the morbid tone. Death does make us melancholic, especially on the eve of a great celebration.

Ivanildo C. Trindade

I am sitting at Starbucks in Lititz watching the snow fall and thinking about what I just did in the last 24 hours. My wife and I got in a car, drove less than 3 hours and stopped at a Hampton Inn in Elizabeth, NJ. Our son was going to catch a plane to Brazil the next day. I slept 3 or four hours, got up at 3:30 a.m. and drove to JFK. My son and wife didn’t even sleep. They were talking, laughing and packing through the night.

We sad our teary good-byes and saw Josh get lost into the crowd going through the security line. He was flying to Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world, on his first international trip by himself. Needless to say, we did a lot of praying. We drove back to our hotel to catch some rest — and the “breakfast included” feature — and waited until our son texted to say he was sitting on the plane.

Then we drove back to Lititz to be reunited with our two dogs who had been cared for by our neighbor in our absence, had a couple of visitors and waited until we could call our son to make sure that he arrived safely in his destination, which we did sometime early evening.

Not too long ago we would have never been able to accomplish that much in only a 24 hour period. It would have taken a day by carriage to get to New Jersey and my son would need at least 30 days to get to Brazil aboard a transatlantic ship. Once there, we would need to wait until he got to a place where he could send us a “cable” saying he had arrived, but by then he would probably already on to his next stop on his South American trip.

So we are, officially, the generation with the capability of doing things faster and more expeditiously than any other that ever lived before us. And yet, are we any farther ahead than they were?

In the song that we will be looking at this Sunday (Psalm 90), one of the few written by Moses, he asks God to “teach us to number our days aright so we can achieve a heart of wisdom.” What I have learned as I studied for the message this week is that Moses is praying that we will learn to take into account the limitations of life as we carry on living.

 

In other words, in spite of the fact that we have access to the fastest and most reliable technologies to get things done, we are still fallible — our mind is limited, we are prone to make mistakes, and in the end we all die too soon.

I guess that is the reason many people who live without any of the technological advances we have in this part of the world can still experience joy and fulfillment — they understand that life is short and they try to make the best of every moment. And they have learned not to depend on stuff.

You would be surprised about what happens when sudden events force people to be stripped away from all the stuff in their to lives. In an instant, they have no other alternative but look inside themselves and realize what they really are. And if they are blessed, they will learn to look outside themselves as well and realize that their ultimate reason for living is none other than bring glory to the One who gave them life and sustains them. To Him alone be glory forever and ever.

Have a blessed New Year!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God.” (Psalm 90:1, 2).

 

Most of us at some point have heard about the Pageant contestant who was asked, “What is the one most important thing our society needs?” She replied, “That would be harsher punishment for parole violators.” Then, noticing that the audience was silent, she added, “And world peace!” Yes, the idea of world peace is so easily that it has become a joke in the mouths of many. But is the trivialization of “peace” good for us?

On the night of Christ’s Birth the angels sang about Peace on Earth, but no matter how hard we work at trying to achieve peace, the world is still very much in a state of unrest, even chaos. It is estimated that 60 countries are engaged in wars today involving more than 368 militias, guerrillas, and separatist groups. The irony that it is an organization called the UNITED Nations that often tries to resolve these conflicts cannot be escaped.

What I discovered, as I studied for the sermon I will be preaching this Sunday, is that the best definition of peace is “the end of all feelings of alienation.” Peoples’ hearts are in constant turmoil because they are unhappy with themselves. When you look inside your soul and you don’t like what you see, you will have trouble making peace with yourself and with others.

The Bible talks about an event that ended all alienation once and for all. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Colossians 2:14).

Paul is here talking about two radically different groups of people — Jews and Gentiles — who were not exactly best friends (“barrier” and “wall of hostility” don’t exactly evoke the picture of neighbors bring Christmas cookies to welcome you into their neighborhood). But the wonderful news is that through Christ’s death and resurrection (“in His body,” “through the cross”), Jesus DESTROYED the wall of hostility. Notice, He didn’t simply breached the wall or even knocked it down — He DESTROYED IT. In other words, through His power, anyone can overcome the sense of alienation sometimes plagues us. We we are no longer aliens or foreigners in relation to God or to our fellow men. You can still be at war but not because you lack the tools to defeat this enemy.

And that is the reason Christmas is so important because we celebrate the Prince of Peace. “HE is our peace,” the Bible says. In other words, peace is not a treaty, nor even a state of mind. Real, transforming peace is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through which He has erased all feelings of alienation that impeded our progress. Now we can be all that God meant for us to be.

I hope you will join us this Sunday at Grace as we celebrate the Birth of the Prince of Peace!

Merry Christmas everyone,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

My friends,

I am about to finish my second week at my new post here at Grace Church. During this time I managed to misplace my wallet, get lost on the 501 and turn the wrong way on a one-way street (at least once!). My wife has been sick almost this whole time we’ve been separated and we’ve had to make adjustments to our moving schedule. Please continue to pray for her recovery. She is starting to feel better now and I can’t wait to see her (and Joshua!) this Sunday night!

On the other hand, these have been days filled with the joy of meeting new people and learning the ways of our office on 501 West Lincoln. I am very thankful for a staff which has been welcoming and fully cooperative as I am making this transition. I admire all those who stuck around, worked hard and prayed hard for the last two years. I believe that the best years are still ahead of us and I look forward with anticipation to walk this journey with you.

The purpose of this weekly blog is to encourage the people of Grace Church and to highlight some of the thoughts God has been impressing upon my heart, as I prepare for the following Sunday.

This week God has spoken to me through a couple of verses from Colossians, “He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code (“certificate of debt,” “promissory note,” if you will), with its regulations that was against us (we still had much debt outstanding, actually, all of it!) and that stood opposed to us (the debt collector, our enemy, didn’t leave us alone, keeping us under bondage, making us feel guilty); he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (1:13-14). 

Isn’t it great to know that we no longer have to live in fear? That Christ has satisfied all the demands imposed on us by God and now we can be free and fulfilled. I think that is absolutely awesome!

This week I will speak on the topic of “A Vision for God’s Glory.” I trust you will plan to join us and invite of your friends to come as well. We will be reminded of who God is in all His power and splendor and how this ought to impact the way we live today. I know you will be encouraged.

Last week we got the names of 257 people who our people were committing to inviting to one of our services during this Christmas Series. You have two more Sunday mornings to invite and, of course, four services on Christmas Eve, 4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Our staff is praying for every one of those people whose names you gave us last Sunday.

With God, for the nations,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church

Dear friends at Grace Church and community,

As I start my first official preaching series at Grace Church on 12/09/2012, I cannot help but think of God’s goodness and faithfulness. My heart is full of gratitude for the way God worked in bringing my wife and me to Lititz. And I want to honor Him first and foremost with all I say and do. “He must increase; I must decrease” (and may my head not end up on a platter as the one of the author of this phrase did!).

As we start our ministry here at Grace Church, I would like to state as succinctly as I can the reasons I have come here.

I have come here, first of all, because I believe God’s glory in our lives and through us into the world can radically change the way we live. “Oh God, please help me help the people of Grace Church to enter the threshold of your throne and take in the full extent of your glory and then be ready to irradiate the glory of your presence into other people’s lives.”

I have also come here because I believe we must storm the gates of hell with the authority of the King of the universe, the builder of the Church, the Victor of all victors, Jesus Christ, our Lord. “Oh God, please help me  help the people of Grace Church to fully understand that they have been commissioned by you to go against the strongholds of the enemy. Help them to see that they don’t need to be intimidated by the biggest bully and noisiest usurper there is and believe and act as though they can have victory, because they can. As we experience victory, may we tell others about how they too can be victorious in Christ.”

Please join me in the greatest endeavor there is — to make His Name famous, starting here and not quitting until we reach the ends of the earth. “As long as I have breath, Lord, give me the ability to help men, women and children partner with you so the glory of God can fill the entire universe and Jesus can come. Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

With God, for the nations,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade