March 2014

Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, March 5 2014
 | We rarely have the chance to think deeply about the invisible, but substantial reality of our inner lives. Thank God for the yearly practice of Lent–six weeks in which we can place before God the direction of our lives and the inner impetus behind them. This year we will do so by introducing you to the practice of the Awareness Examen.
Upcoming Events 

Lent Retreat Day: Ruins and Restoration
Friday, March 7 2014
 | Join Holy Trinity Church as we explore a unique retreat day at the Mission of San Juan Capistrano. The historic grounds and gardens are a quiet, spacious environment to spend time with God. The Mission is a sacred space comprised of majestic ruins juxtaposed to vibrant foliage, reflecting pools and restored Serra Chapel, all of which invite contemplation of the redemptive love of God in our lives. RSVP by Thursday, February 27, 2014
Upcoming Events 

The Divine Conspiracy – Men’s Reading Group
Saturday, March 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 

The Day the World Came to Town  – Women’s Book Club 
Sunday, April 6, 2014 – The Holy Trinity Women’s Book Club meets monthly at the home of Kristin Carmody. The book for March is “The Day the World Came to Town” by Jim DeFede.
Upcoming Events 

 

Stay Connected

In the past few years, I have discovered the life and beauty of Wisconsin’s north woods. Three times now, when summer rolls around, we’ve retreated to a lakehouse for a week with dear friends—and it feeds my soul.

And here’s what I’ve noticed about the north woods:
lots of stuff grows right out of the ground up there.

I guess I’ve become too accustomed to Southern California where we place things on the ground or over the ground. Buildings, pavement, freeways. On top, but not rooted in.

But in the woods, seeing the trees rooted gladly in the soil and their leafy arms stretching out to the sky puts me in mind of those places in Scripture where our blessedness is described in just those terms.

Jeremiah 17:7-8, (echoing Psalm 1)

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
 whose confidence is in him.They will be like a tree planted by the water
 that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought 
and never fails to bear fruit.

I Cor. 3:6-7
I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow

Eph. 3:17
I pray . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

And of course, John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Nothing?! Really?
Apparently much depends upon staying connected to God.

We are accustomed to emphasize journey in speaking of our lives, and we should. But equally strong in the Bible is this metaphor of dwelling deeply. One point of the agricultural metaphor is that as our connection to God deepens, we thrive. As it grows shallow, we wither.

Even here in Southern California, when I see trees sprouting up solitary, hemmed in by the pavement, I am reminded of the one thing necessary—as Jesus and Paul both say: to send the roots down. And I ask my soul: how have I connected to Him? How am I connecting to others? What is it to send my roots down deep, every day–to dwell as I journey?

– Todd Pickett

512px-Beech_forest_in_Źródliskowa_Buczyna_reserve_near_Szczecin

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512px-Flickr_-_Nicholas_T_-_Tionesta_Scenic_Area_(4)

512px-Flickr_-_Nicholas_T_-_Sapling

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Epiphany Readings: Sunday, March 2

Readings:  Psalm 119:97-104 and Matthew 7: 24-29

  1. As you begin your meditations on God’s word, sit with the words of the psalmist in Ps.119:97-104. Are any of the psalmist’s sentiments true of you? Why or why not? Talk to God about how you experience his word in your actual life.
  1. Turning to Matthew’s gospel and the final words of Jesus in his teaching on the mount, read the passage a few times through. In honesty, consider what he says about the wisdom of obedience to his word. To what degree do you hear his word and do it? Where in your heart and life do you sense a chasm between hearing and doing?
  1. As you consider the picture Jesus paints of a life built with God and on his word versus one that is not, consider how you are building your life and what it is built on.  To what degree have you experienced ruinous effects of a life without God or choices made apart from God in disobedience to his word? If God was sitting with you at this moment, what would you ask him, what would you say to him?  What would you want him to do for you? Talk to God in prayer.
  1.  As you continue to consider your life, past and present, how do you experience the sturdy dependability of God and his word as a foundation that holds firm in times of storm? Respond in gratitude. Ask for the grace-filled capacity to wisely build your life in God by the integration of hearing and doing his word.

– Elizabeth Khorey

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, February 23

Readings:  Psalm 119:33-40 and Matthew 5:38-48

  1. Sit with God in quietness even before you open your Bible to this week’s readings. Acknowledge his benevolent presence with you as you open to God in honesty. What sense of God, what sense of yourself do you have in these moments? How are you? Agitated? Frustrated? At peace? Where do you find yourself? In difficulties? With anxieties?  Do you sense God near? Distant? Attentive to you? Speak to God about these things.
  1. Turning to Psalm 119:33-40, employ the words of the psalmist as your heart’s prayer to God in these moments of reflection on the Scriptures. Teach me, O LORD…Give me understanding…Lead me… Offer to God your truest intentions regarding your participation in his Kingdom way of life.

In Matthew 5:38-40, Jesus turns the corner in his teaching to demonstrate that God’s love has no limits.  Jesus moves from a focus on external behaviors, merely legal, that had no correlation to the heart,  to a revelation of how human actions, animated by the kingdom love of God, become a good for those around us —even our worse enemies!

  1. As you read Jesus’ depiction of the characteristics, the behavior of how true love acts toward others – ask yourself: Where do I sense stinginess in my loving? Where am I withholding good from others? In what ways might I seek God’s creativity to love beyond my self-imposed notions of love? Or self-preservation mechanisms I hold to minimize risk or cost to my own life?
  1. Paul invites us to experience the depths, the heights, the boundless love of God and to live out of the fullness of God, who is in you, with you, through the person of the Holy Spirit (Eph.3:18-19). Take a few moments to think about a time when you experienced the boundless love of God? When you were met by God’s generosity though you knew there was nothing in you or about your behavior that merited such luxury, such embrace. Spend some time in prayer to be transformed by God’s love that you might love others as you have been loved by God.

– Elizabeth Khorey