Archives for posts with tag: hope

Sermon Series - ColossiansA few years ago no one had even heard of iCloud. Now the word is in everybody’s mouths, including the ones who have no idea what it means.

My understanding is that the iCloud is where you keep things stored outside of a physical place in one of your many mobile devices. Since it’s always there “on the cloud” the idea is you can access it without any trouble at any time — as long as you have Internet.

And iCloud has already saved me on more than one occasion. Once I managed to lose all my contacts on my phone; when I upgraded my phone recently I found out that all my apps had been transferred to my new phone effortlessly.

But there is a catch. First, as I already indicated, you gotta have Internet. Then, and this is even more important: You gotta sign up for it — it doesn’t happen automatically.

And that’s where Colossians 1:5, 6 come in. Ages before the Internet, God revealed to us that when we cross that BC/AD line, an iCloud account is immediately available to us. You think I’m kidding, right? No, I’m not. Here is what the text says:

… the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” 

Did you catch that concept? “Stored up for you in heaven.” That’s God’s iCloud for you, replete with faith, love, and hope, always available as an inexhaustible fountain of divine blessings that only one who had experienced a new birth can get.

Now, why is this so significant? Because for people like myself who grew up with a certain type of evangelicalism where guilt was brandished as a sort of a knight’s shinning armor,  when we think about the idea of God storing things up in heaven, we normally think of God storing our sins. We think of a long book where all of the places, times, and nature of our offenses are registered just so God can slam us with it one day when we get to haven just in case we get any illusions that we may be there based on our own merit…

Now, I hope you don’t hear me saying that we shouldn’t worry about giving an account to God someday about our actions. That’s not what I am saying at all. But it is refreshing for me to know that the things God stores up in His iCloud for us are good, positive things, like love, faith, and hope. That’s the kind of stuff I want to have in reserve in a “savings account” somewhere as I seek to live my life below the AD line. And that is exactly what God provides for me in Jesus Christ.

But even though this iCloud exists, like the one in cyber space, you gotta sign up for it, by crossing that BC/AD line, and you gotta keep connected to the “Internet” (in this case, God Himself) to enjoy its benefits.

This is only the first of several messages I will be preaching through the book of Colossians in the next several weeks. Here is what I have stored up for you:

  • April 12: God’s iCloud: What Happens When BC/AD Meet (1:1-14).
  • April 19: No Match For the “D” in AD (1:15-23).
  • April 26: Mystery of AD Living (1:24-2:5).
  • May 3: BC Tries to Fight Back (2:6-23).
  • May 10: AD Operator’s Manual Part 1 (3:1-9).
  • May 17: AD Operator’s Manual Part 2 (3:10-17).
  • May 24: AD Living in 3D (3:18-4:5).

Thank you for your prayers!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz,  PA

This last week has been filled with emotions of all sorts. Interviewing my parents in the services last Sunday was certainly a highlight. Oh how I praise God for them! But there were some low points as well, like sitting and praying with people who are very ill, whose marriages are in crisis, or who are dealing with one sort of addiction or another.

I feel that there is so much spiritual warfare going on around us and I am not the only who has noticed it. Last week one of our staff members sent an e-mail asking for prayers as we were getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt Party. There was so much going on and we were all feeling overwhelmed. By the grace of God, He saw fit to answer our prayers and granted us a fabulous Saturday with great weather and some tremendous opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of so many people. But the challenges continue.

In fact, this week they have only increased. Yes, my heart is heavy as I write this. My friends and fellow believers in the Central African Republic are suffering. An American-born Iranian Pastor, Saeed Abedini, is still lingering in a jail in Iran, even after protests from the U.S. Secretary of State asking for his immediate release.

Closer to home, I just got off the phone with a man who was asking about our church’s teaching on the Trinity. As it turned out, he just wanted to call to argue and didn’t want to listen. Politely, I told him I didn’t like his tone and would appreciate if he would slow down so I could try to understand him. He said, “I don’t care if you don’t like my tone, and I don’t care if you hang up on me.” So I did, politely, but I did.

My heart is also heavy as I await the news of the Supreme Court decision about the so-called “Freedom to Marry” act. Though I have an inkling that traditional marriage will lose again, I am not worried about the impact this might or might not have on the family as we know it. People who believe in marriage between a man and a woman only will continue to believe that; and people who believe in same-sex marriage will also continue to do the same. This will not substantially change the mood in the country either, which is remarkably tilting toward support for same-sex marriage.

I am more concerned for how believers will react, what they will post on FB and other public social media sites. I am concerned because I don’t know if the majority of God’s people will remember not to panic and will continue to believe that God is still in control and that homosexual people are NOT our enemies. Let’s all clothe ourselves with humility, folks, and allow God to be God.

I want to share with you that despite the struggles we are having with personal and global issues, and despite of the ravages of sickness that affect so many of us, there is still hope because of the FACT that Jesus Christ, our beloved Lord, rose again from the dead and by doing so He has given all of us hope that one day we can also overcome death, our greatest enemy.

This Sunday, we  will kick off our “Picture (Im)perfect” series by celebrating Christ’s resurrection with a sense of renewed hope that our God can turn calamity into calm, concern into confidence, chaos into celebration. Remember how Paul ended his expose on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

He is risen!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade