January 2014

The Divine Conspiracy – Men’s Reading Group
Saturday, February 22, 2014 the men of Holy Trinity are invited to join Todd Hunter to a monthly reading group. The book we are reading together is Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy and we will be discussing one chapter each month.
Upcoming Events 

January Monthly Gathering: A Fire-side chat with Gary Moon
Friday, January 17, 2014 at 7pm: Join Holy Trinity Church for our monthly gathering. We’ll have a fire-side chat and share dessert as we welcome our friend Gary Moon to talk with us about spiritual formation.
Upcoming Events 

Reflective Retreat Day with Kristi De Vito
Saturday, January 18, 2014: Join Kristi De Vito on a half day reflective retreat. Slow down. Stop the noise. Breathe. It’s in the quiet that we can be attentive to God’s presence and recognize what he’s up to in our lives.
Church Retreats 

The Book Thief – Women’s Book Club
Sunday, January 19, 2014 the Holy Trinity Women’s Book Club meets monthly from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the home of Kristin Carmody. Same day, NEW time & NEW location for this event. Please join us as we discuss The Book Thief by Markus Zusak at our next book club meeting. See the calendar or call/email the church office for more information.
Upcoming Events 

Christmastide Readings: Sunday, January 5

Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-14 and John 1:1-13

Reflection Questions:

A favored tradition at Christmas time is the decoration of homes with bright colored lights. I live in a neighborhood where Christmas lights are a big deal; even boats are ornately adorned with lights and the Newport Beach Harbor puts on a parade of lights with fireworks! But the spectacular ornamentation of homes and harbor lights is really only enchanting at night! John’s gospel tells us that the True Light has come into the world giving light to everyone and the darkness cannot conquer it. This Light, namely Jesus, is a gift to us in darkness; John doesn’t say the darkness is eradicated…at least not yet!

  1. As you continue to celebrate Christmas how might you embrace the truth: the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it, as a gift and allow it to illumine dark areas of your life?
  2. By virtue of The Light that dwells within us, we have a vocation to bring light into the world, to be the light of the world (see Matt.5:14-16). How might you become a luminaire of God’s love to others who still sit or walk in darkness?
  3. Where are you experiencing the oppression of darkness (maybe in doubt, distress or depression)? Prayer is said to be like a light leading us to God. Take moments now to ask God for the light of his wisdom, love, aid, and his consolation in your dark hour.

Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant?
For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going,
anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD.
Lean on your God!
Isaiah 50:10 (The Message)

Face the New Year with Hope

For Christians who follow the church year, New Years Eve occurs in Christmastide, the part of the church year pointing to the Epiphany of Jesus. This is not to belittle New Years Eve. Glittering lights, balloons, plastic horns, streamers, fireworks and the hope represented by the popping of Champaign are good things. The reflection that happens on New Years Eve often leads to thankfulness for the goodness of God over the past year. Bright sparks and celebratory music tell the truth—there is hope in the coming of a new year.

But how does one live into this hope when the signs around us may be anything but sparkling with optimistic expectation? Romans 15:13 points us to a few realities for finding and hanging on to hope:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“The God of hope” means that God is hope in his very being. He contains it and liberally supplies hope to his people, filling them to overflowing with joy and peace as we recognize and grasp onto God’s hope. This is big: it means you don’t have to “work hope up” when you are feeling hopeless about something. You just have to ask. But to ask, you have to “trust in him”. You have to place your confidence in him that you are not somehow singled out among the masses to live in hopelessness.

Hope is the fuel for life. We cannot live without it. Paul is not just spouting words. He thinks he is saying something important. He is.

This News Years Eve, before you head out to your party or get-together of what ever kind, or even if you are staying home to watch the East Coast version of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve you so can go to bed early, take a few moments to place the hope-challenged parts of your life before God. With conviction ask him to give you some hope, even just a bit, so that you can get up on the first of January with some joy and peace through which you can face to the New Year.

– Todd Hunter

Christmastide Readings: Sunday, December 29

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 and Matthew 2:13-23

Reflection Questions:

  1. After the joy-filled celebration of Christ’s arrival on the scene of human history, (Christmas) we are immediately thrust into the drama of the holy family’s flight from Israel to Egypt due to threat of death and destruction. The journey was riddled with uncertainty and perplexity, and yet divinely guided by the Word of God. In what areas of your own journey are you faced with uncertainty and perplexity, yet invited to trust and rely on God?
  2. Considering your own journey, the winding road of future unknowns and needs for adaptability and patient trust, how might Isaiah’s practice of recounting the steadfast love of the Lord over the course of your life aid you as you journey onward?
  3. Our Christmas story recounts and freshly imprints on our imaginations the promise of Immanuel: God with us. Now, as we face the New Year we are invited to trust the Gift given and received. How might you take courage in facing your new year as you remember that Jesus faced real human struggles of survival, displacement, and threats to his security, yet journeyed trusting the One who was with him? Take moments to pray, asking God to preserve your path, to give faith for the journey ahead, to carry you all the days of your life – and all for his love’s sake.

– Elizabeth Khorey