Archives for posts with tag: haggai

This has been quite the week in the Trindade household. My wife has been working very hard to unpack some of our things. After much labor, she was able to get the downstairs ready. Now on to the second floor.

As I write this, I am sitting in our dinning room, enjoying the company of our childhood friends from Brazil, Zelia and Felipe Hodgdon, who traveled to Lititz to accompany Jay Rocha, my new assistant, and his parents. What a joy it is to be among old friends!

So I have more than one excuse to be late with this blog post this week. Next week is also my wife’s Birthday (on Valentine’s Day!) and we are going away for two days to celebrate, which means that I had to do work for this week and next. But it is all good because this particular series we are going through now on Haggai is keeping me awake with excitement at all hours of the night.

Now I am not exactly known for being loquacious… And being excited about a series normally means that I have a lot to say. Which then means I have to choose to leave things out that I don’t have time to say!

God, on the other hand, contrary to His messengers, is never long-winded. When it comes to getting his message across, God is the master of short discourse.

Okay, I made two mistakes in my sermon last Sunday. First, I said that Jeremiah was a post-exilic prophet. Actually, he was pre-exilic. I confused him with Malachi. Secondly, I said that Haggai preached four messages. Well, this last one is not technically a mistake. There are four dated messages in the book of Haggai. But there is another message hidden throughout the book. Commentators miss it because it is so simple, so plain, so unmistakably clear.

The message is made up of four words (2 in the Hebrew): “I am with you.” The message was delivered to God’s people when they repented and decided to take up the work of rebuilding the temple of the Lord after about 16 years. I can’t begin to tell you how encouraging these four words have been to me this past week. After rebuking the people for putting off the construction of the God’s temple for so long, as soon as the people showed signs of movement in the right direction, God stepped into the picture with those reassuring words.

And when you think about it, what other message does the child of God need to hear? “I am with you. Need I say more?”¬†When you are going through doubts, I am with you. When you feel weak, I am with you. When you tend to dwell on the past, I am with you.

This is, in essence, the what you will hear tomorrow. It will be an encouraging message. It will help us lift up our heads and look at the future. And I am convinced that God has some great things in store for us at Grace Church as we follow Him in obedience.

Come and be challenged by Haggai’s shortest message tomorrow (I will endeavor to be as brief as possible… :)). And if life has been rough lately and you have been tempted to lose faith, remember: God is with you, no matter what.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

So on Sunday we launch a new series on the Book of Haggai. But before we get there, I am just wondering: what did you think of the service last Sunday? Did any of you decide to go watch the movie because of our service?

I am taking my staff through an exercise that is helping us think long and hard about what it is that makes our church UNIQUE. One of the questions we are asking ourselves is: what can we do that 10,000 other churches cannot do? Well, last Sunday was an example of that, but there is so much more, I believe, by way of hidden talents, untapped potential, and doors that could literally burst open for significant ministry in our community. Please keep praying for clarity for us and bring your contribution to the table of uniqueness.

By the way, if you missed the service, you may still catch it here.

Back to Haggai. He is the first of the post-exilic prophets. That means that he wrote after the people of Judah had returned from 70 years as exiles in the land of Babylon. He is also one of the 12 minor prophets (the first 9 preached before the people went into captivity and the last three, Haggai, Zechariah, who were contemporaries, and Malachi, who lived 100 years later, preached after the people returned to Jerusalem).

Though historically far removed from us, the word from these prophets, and especially Haggai, is especially relevant to the masses yearning to breathe free from what I call the “tyranny of stuff.” By the time Haggai started preaching the people had been back for about 18 years. They had laid the foundation of God’s house about 16 years earlier, then they stopped, claiming that “it was not time yet” to build the house of the Lord. Meanwhile, they were busy building their own little palaces. God tried to get their attention to no avail.

I once heard a story of a north American pastor who went to China on an underground trip to visit Christians who were involved with the “illegal” house church movement. This trip was the biggest eye-opener of his life and ministry. As he was getting ready to return, he asked one of the Chinese pastors who had spent many years in forced labor camps for refusing to stop preaching the Gospel, “How can the people in the U.S. pray for the persecuted church in China?” The answer hit him like a tsunami, “Isn’t it more like how we can pray for you?” The Chinese pastor asked. Then he added, “It seems that we have handled persecution better than you have handled prosperity.”

Now you may say that the Chinese pastor was being a bit arrogant. You may say that he was suggesting they didn’t need prayers. You may say that he was bunching everyone together in the same material-loving pot. As for me, I take that injunction humbly and try to learn what it means to me living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world. And I make mine the words of the prophet — consider your ways!

This Sunday we will understand more clearly what are the potentially catastrophic consequences of choosing not to put God first in all our affairs. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in our midst as we study this little book together.

See you on Sunday!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade.