Archives for posts with tag: salvation

As I read Acts 10 and 11, I’m forced to ask myself: who do I resemble more? Peter or Cornelius?

Most of my life I have been part of a group that is on the outside looking in.

In my pre-teens, after my family moved from the islands to the city, we were the “hillbillies.” Our accent betrayed our origins. We bore the marks of the underprivileged and the undereducated. We were not even accidental urbanites.

We were also poor. That was not necessarily a minority, but in a school where everyone was trying to pretend they were somebody, our plain and smelly rubber shoes gave us away too easily.

During my teens I became aware of another type of label I would have to contend with. I was a “Protestant,” usually the only one in my classes, all the way through high school. Mocking does not even come close to describing it. I was downright abused by my Catholic friends, who tried to force me to kiss “pictures” of Mary and came up with songs about how my dad robbed his parishioners of 10% of their salaries.

My four years of university were not much different, only this time I was swimming in a sea of Marxist-Communists or people who were so confused that the mere sight of somebody who claimed to believe something sent them into a tizzy. I also kept having interest in girls who were from a higher economic class than me. I could aspire to be their tutor, never their suitor.

Then in the early 80’s I landed in a small town in Indiana to start graduate school. My wife and I arrived in January in the middle of a blizzard that forced us to stay in Miami for 24 hours. When we were finally allowed to fly, after landing in what appeared to be Antarctica, from all we knew, we got off the plane, my wife promptly fell on her back after taking only a couple of steps, and I heard my brand new leather shoes cracking, as I walked on ice for the first time ever in my life. Apparently my tropical shoes had not been made for these extreme northern temperatures. We knew we were in for the trip of a lifetime.

Now for the last 22 years, my family has sojourned through this fascinating land of the free and home of the brave. We feel very much at home here and yet we are fully aware that we are also different in so many ways. Like they say in SE Asia, “same same but not different.”

I should say am different. I mean, I like to wear silver rings. I keep my nails neat (and polished!). I am known to have a few “man-purses.” I used to wear hats a lot (inside and out) until I decided recently that this was not a hill I was willing to die on. I have created some discontent among some who don’t think preaching from an iPad is kosher. I have a weird sense of humor and I eat sandwiches with a fork and knife. I could go on…

So who do I tend to resemble most? Peter or Cornelius? Neither. I am Ivanildo. I am unique. I am rare and the phrase “God is no respecter of person” (Acts 10:34) tends to electrify my bones.

If you ask me, I am beyond exhilarated that the gospel is also for people like me, quirks and all. The details are trivial; what matters is the core, not the superfluous. And here is the conclusion of it all to me: “I am a sinner saved by grace and Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Pastor Ivanildo Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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Care2Share Blog

There are some people who just don’t seem to get things right when it comes to sharing matters of faith. They are standoffish. They can’t help but come across as judgmental and the “know-it-all type.” And they always carry that air of superiority about them. In one word, they are obnoxious. This type of behavior is so prevalent in our days that it would do us all a lot of good if we read these words about 10 non-obnoxious ways to share your faith.

I find it amazing that Paul, who nowadays is often accused of being somewhat of a bully because of his strong views, was bold but not brash when it came to his witness. He never ran away from telling the truth, but he did it in a way that drew the listeners in. Paul was a genius when it comes to sharing truth with sensitivity to an often hostile crowd.

Two examples. The first one comes from Acts 17. When Paul was in Athens his heart was stirred by the number of idols he saw in the city. The word in the Greek is very strong. You could say that the multiplicity of idols and shrines in the city upset him. He was more than a little annoyed. He was terribly upset.

But when he had a chance to speak to the people, he didn’t start out by saying, “You bunch of idol-worshipers, worthless idolaters Athenians. How can you believe in the sort of nonsense I saw around your city?” Rather, Paul kept his revolting heart in check and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all things.” Really? Then he goes on to use the very fact that they had an altar to an “unknown God” to announce to them that this God they worship without knowing is the true God, the creator of the universe. What a lesson in magnanimity that should be to us!

The second example comes from Acts 14 Paul and Barnabas were in the pagan city of Lystra. While there, Paul healed a man who had been crippled. When the crowd saw this, the people rushed to bow before the apostles, worshiping them, and even attempting to offer some bulls in sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. Being good Jews they were, these two men were outraged. They tore their clothes and started running among the people asking them to stop that nonsense.

When the crowd finally calmed down, instead of engaging in a vituperating speech about how blasphemous their behavior was, when Paul began to speak, the first words out of his mouth were, “Friends, why are you doing these things? We are only human beings like you.” Then he went on to present to them the true God their hearts should go after. Notice, there is not even a hint of superiority in Paul’s opening statement.

The reason Paul could be so kind even in the face of some most egregious religious behavior, I believe, is because the living Christ was living in him. And Paul was interested in presenting the Person of salvation first before he presented the plan of salvation. Paul was displaying the kind of behavior that genuine Christ-followers should show before a world that is skeptical. The plan of salvation without the reality of the Person of salvation living within us is just noise and often that noise is annoying.

Learn how to share the Person of salvation before you present the plan of salvation this Sunday as we continue our series we are calling “Care 2 Share.”

Hope to see you there,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade