Bananas & Breakfast—Where to Start?

February 29, 2012

I toss on my jacket and step out into the apartment parking lot. As the car warms up, I make a mental note to say hello to the new neighbors when I get off work today. They’re moving from another corner of the metroplex, but before that they lived in Honduras. Or was it Guatemala? I’ll find out this evening.

I turn out of the driveway, on my way to work.

Bananas! I remember that I need to get some today during my lunch break. On the way to my school, I pass a Braum’s, but they’re not open yet. Next comes El Ranchero, Hong Kong Market, Kroger’s, Aldi’s… That’s five potential banana vendors, and I’ve still got a mile before I get to the school. I wonder where my students get their bananas?

One day I’ll check out Hong Kong Market or El Ranchero – their ads sometimes have decent produce prices, and bell peppers can be so expensive – but even though I have friends who work there, I’m still kind of wary of standing out or of making an embarrassing shopper’s faux pas.

Driving through Richardson can feel like international travel, and that’s one reason I love it. I love being able to shop in a Vietnamese grocery store and hang out with friends from around the world without even having to leave the suburbs. Still, I sometimes pass up opportunities to interact with a neighbor or try out a new restaurant simply because I’m nervous, I’m uncomfortable, because I don’t want to make a mistake.

The focus of this year’s women’s mission breakfast is tearing down the barriers that make us shy to cross cultural lines and spend time with our neighbors. Lisa Goins, recently returned from Indonesia, has absolutely packed the morning with amazing discussions and activities that we hope you will talk about for months to come! In other words, don’t show up expecting Pop-tarts, pancakes and casual ice breaker games ;). As always, it will be a fantastic time of fellowship with friends you love and with wonderful women you have yet to meet.

Traveling abroad is full of surprises. So is this year’s breakfast! Please pray for our time together, and bring your open mind and open heart. Expect to leave more equipped for fellowship with your neighbors, whether they’re from Plano or Papua New Guinea.

Breakfast is 9:30-11am, Saturday, March 3rd in the Youth Room at TFC. Daughters old enough to have fun with their moms at the breakfast are welcome to join!

Liz Shaw
TFC Missions Committee


Missions Week Dinner Theater: Double Duty Dine ‘n Drama Family Night

February 14, 2012

Corrie ten Boom is coming to Trinity Fellowship on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at 6:30 pm. She will share her story, faith, and World War II concentration camp experiences. Many of you have read her compelling autobiographical book The Hiding Place—now you can meet her in person!

Oops. What I meant to say is Evelyn Hinds is coming to Trinity to portray Corrie ten Boom (she does such an authentic job you will think you are seeing and hearing Corrie herself).  Her dramatic presentation will be held in the sanctuary at 6:30 pm following an extra special meal from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in the fellowship hall. Unlike other Wednesday night dinners, the Feb. 29 meal will be served on Leap Day.  If you miss it you will have to wait four long years before you get another opportunity.

Oops again. What I said above is true, but the special thing about this meal is that the youth are serving a special menu as a fundraiser for their Summer 2012 Homeland Mission Trip.   The meal will feature Savory Garlic Chicken, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Divinely Chocolate Brownies. You will want to make reservations for this exceptional dinner. Sign up in the fellowship hall after church on Feb. 19 and 26, or call the Church Office.  Prepaid reservations are $6 per adult and $3 per child. At the door on Feb. 29, the meal will be $8 per adult and $4 per child as long as availability lasts.

Support the youth’s Homeland Mission Trip by bringing your family and neighbors to the dinner theater event.

TFC Missions Team member Kelsa Waite comments, “Having seen Evelyn’s theater ministry last fall, I had a strong desire for my TFC family to experience, as I did, God’s continuing work through Corrie ten Boom’s life.”  She continues, “During World War II Corrie ten Boom and her family hid Jews in their home in Holland until the family was arrested and put in a concentration camp.   After the war, as a Nazi holocaust survivor Corrie traveled internationally sharing the remarkable story of God’s hand upon every detail of her life.  Evelyn’s accurate and moving portrayal of Corrie’s example of love, faith, hope, perseverance and forgiveness was used by the Holy Spirit to touch my heart.”

TFC has invited Evelyn Hinds to present Corrie’s life in Christ as a gift of encouragement to us as we move forward in God’s plan for the body of Christ at TFC.   As Corrie said, “We are a glove that must be filled with the Holy Spirit of God to do the work He has planned for us.”

Set aside the evening of Feb. 29 for this inspirational presentation.

Kelsa quoted one of Corrie’s well known gems. Corrie ten Boom shared much of her wisdom in her writing. One example is, “Don’t bother to give God instructions; just report for duty.”

Share your favorite Corrie ten Boom quote with Trinity blog readers by selecting “Comments” below.

Nancy Kerstetter
TFC Missions Team Member

(Side note: Dinner is available to all TFC body & guests; please pre-register and pay on Sundays in the fellowship hall, or through the Church Office!  The “Corrie ten Boom Live” presentation is free to all.  Children ages 3rd grade and up will attend with their family.  Children 2nd grade and younger will have childcare.  No TFC children’s programs will take place this evening including TBIF, TGIF, and Joyful Noise Children’s Choirs).


“Oh The Places We’ll Go!”

January 27, 2012

Last weekend, 45 women from TFC heard stories from six of our elders’ wives about the places God has taken them on their journey to follow Him.

If I had to choose one word to describe this weekend of stories, that word would be, “important”.  I hope that does not sound arrogant, because I don’t think that I, the elders’ wives, or anyone else there was the “important” I am describing.  What seemed important was the truth of the Gospel and the power of sharing it together in community.

The stories these women told were real.  They were raw.  They were honest, which is not always good (it can be self-focused and even damaging), but in the case of these six women, the honesty was full of humility.  They were honest about their joy, their pain, and deeply honest about their sin.

And even that is not what was important about the weekend.  But it led us to the important.  The important was that as these women shared what was true, they led us to their only hope–to their amazing, overwhelming, joyful hope of forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and new life in Jesus Christ.  Woman after woman shared ways God had emptied/is emptying them of everything they have depended upon, and ways they are being filled with the sure and certain hope of life in and dependence on Christ.

It changed THEM–even the process of writing and giving these talks gave them new opportunities to confess sin and receive grace and hope in Christ, which they were then able to offer to us.  It changed US–no longer did we see these women as separate from us or “having it all together”.  And no longer did we feel the need to present ourselves as such, either.  One woman said it well:  “The conversations I’ve seen happen this weekend are very different than what I’ve seen before.”  We went to places in each other’s hearts where the Gospel is needed, and where joy and hope replace fear, doubt, mistrust, and bitterness.

There’s one more thing that seemed important about this weekend.  We were unified.  The differences in ages and stages of life melted away, and we were a solid group, moving in the same direction–toward the cross, and then to each other in light of that.  And it didn’t stop there.  Saturday afternoon, an impromptu gathering on couches in the lodge became a brainstorming session for how we could do something to reach out to women in our community.  It was as if we had heard the good news, and our passion was newly aflame to share what we had heard and seen and experienced with others–to invite them into the life we were seeing afresh.

This important weekend was a joy to me, but not a surprise.  This is where we are as a church at TFC.  We are looking at things as they really are.  We are confessing sin.  We are asking for forgiveness.  We are seeing our need for the Gospel in new ways, and we are seeing the power and hope of the Gospel in new ways.  We are moving together toward the cross, and we are finding new life among us, life in Christ that we are eager to share in new ways with each other, and with visitors, and with our community, and with our world.
God is writing for us a corporate story, and our individual stories are small parts of that.  The stories told at the women’s retreat, not just from the elders wives but from all of us, help tell others the story of Christ and His Kingdom–and that is what is important.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director


Sharing Good Works with Christmas Joy and Hope

December 23, 2011

In most church lectionaries (a list of various portions of Scripture arranged by theme for reading within churches) the reading from the epistles for Christmas is from Paul’s letter to Titus, chapter 2, verses 11-14:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 

Notice the straightforward flow of Paul’s presentation: Grace appeared through Christ to bring salvation to all who would believe, to make a holy people, awaiting his “advent.” And while we wait, we are to be a people zealous for good works. May God’s gift of Jesus Christ so stir you and your family this Christmas and into the new year that you are eager to serve others with grace and joy.

It is in this theme that I am so grateful to share with you two stories of joy shared with the completion of our annual Giving Tree project. Thanks to the incredible generosity and good works of our body, we were able to deliver gifts, hope, and Christ’s love to 3 families in great need from the Richland Elementary School in our neighborhood. Keith Mason and Kari Jane Smith’s accounts of their experiences are included so that you too may share in the joy of this project.

[From Keith Mason – Youth Pastor]
Last week I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things of the year: deliver our Giving Tree gifts. Thanks to the generosity of the TFC community we were able to give bags and bags full of Christmas gifts to some new friends in need. It’s hard to imagine people in such need just a few blocks from the church. They didn’t even have pillows. However, each mom I met was striving to care for her family. One mother of a special needs child told us the story of being given this child when he was only three months old. She has sacrificed to raise him as her own for thirteen years. It helped put our giving in perspective.

Another mom we met told us the story of losing her job this past month. She told us how she had worked odd jobs, one after the other for years to provide for her family. As we brought in the gifts her eyes filled with tears. She was overwhelmed by grace. This was going to be a difficult Christmas for them, but now our unexpected generosity changed things. Her tears of joy had a big impact on me. There’s only been a few times in my life when I’ve been overcome with tears of joy. I want to be overwhelmed by His grace. What I’m asking for this Christmas is for Christ’s unexpected generosity to change things. Change my heart – that I might have tears of joy.

[From Kari Jane Smith- Director of Children’s Ministry]
She rang the church doorbell shyly and waited.  I knew she was coming and wanted to ease her discomfort, so I ran down the hall and around the corner to welcome her. She was not alone…a hesitant child clung to her hand and looked up at me with eyes as big as saucers!  What to say?

“I am so glad you are here…come…let me show you what our friends (that is you all) want to give you today!”
“So many friends and so many presents…look!”

Quiet and unsure…they both follow me to the shinning tree and must be wondering how it is that they are here in a church and about to receive more than they see. What to say?

“This…this is for you, D’Juan…and for your sister Natalia. And what does this name tag say? And this one? And this one?  And look, this one says, “for D’Juan’s mom!”

Smiles and tears cannot be held back anymore….Cherry Hanes is walking towards Mom and a warm hug is offered with prayers.  

“God loves you so much!  He is with you. You are not alone. You need to know that…” 

Christmas is here…right here. Hope is here. Mom tells us she was just laid off and her children knew that there would be no tree or presents or stockings for Christmas this year. God surprised her with hope. 

If you are reading this, you are part of that hope!

As we load her up with food, gifts, and hope, I ask if she has a church family. I encourage her to come for Christmas Eve services.  Everyone gathers and smiles for a photo and one more hug. A hesitant child and shy Mom say thank you over and over, and drive away full with so much more than they can see. Hope-full!

Keith Hileman


TFC NEW YEAR’S DAY PRAYER “SERVICE”

December 16, 2011

By now I trust you have already heard that we are going to emphasize the SERVICE part of our annual new year’s prayer service this year. We will meet on Sunday Jan. 1 at 10 am for a brief service before going out in groups to pray for every home in a few nearby neighborhoods. This is one practical way live out our church’s vision with emphasis on our desire to be a witnessing church with “enhanced engagement” into our community. We are hoping everyone can be involved together (“multi-generational reach”). We understand that this is new, different, and maybe even risky for some (“transformation & risk”). But we hope that in interceding together to pray in support of God’s clear will that “none should perish,” we might be strengthened even more as a community and changed personally (“connecting heads to hearts”). 

You may be wondering about some of the details. Since this is our first time trying such a project, there are a few things we just have to be open for God to surprise us. We are planning to equip the body as well as we can, learning from other churches who have ministered in similar ways.

So how exactly is this going to work? What are we going to pray? And how are we going to pray? All good questions.
We will assign a street or group of homes to groups of 3-5 people or a family.  The group will then walk their area stopping at each home to pray from the sidewalk, hang a door hanger (provided there is no solicitations prohibited message), and then quietly move onto the next home to repeat the process. We are estimating between 2 to 3 minutes at each home. That’s ~50 homes in an hour per group. Very do-able both on New Year’s day in neighborhoods near the church, and throughout the year in your own neighborhood. 

We are going to provide everyone a card with a few sample prayers from Scripture and a few other resources for you to use if you wish. The back side of the card will list a few helpful hints to keep in mind; some basic to-do’s and not to-do’s with Scriptural guidance. Specifically, when praying for others publicly:

BE HUMBLE (Mt. 6:1-2)
The point of this prayer SERVICE is to love and serve our neighbors with intercession of God’s blessing. This is not an exercise in self-righteousness.
“Be careful of practicing your righteousness before other people…”

BE DISCRETE (Mt. 6:5-6)
There is no need to draw attention to yourself. In fact Jesus warns against such things. Respect privacy with quiet. Respect property by staying on sidewalks and walkways. We may be walking the street, but we don’t have to draw attention for street-corner prayers.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.”

BE THOUGHTFUL (Mt. 6:7-9)
Empty words come from empty hearts. Feel free to use the sample prayers provided. They can engage your heart. Or allow them to jump start other prayers with your words from your heart. Pray the Lord’s Prayer for the home. Let what you notice in the yard, driveway, and home decor to guide your prayer for kids, work, health, etc.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases..for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

BE ENCOURAGED (Rom. 8:26)
Have confidence, the Spirit helps us – especially when we are weak and dependent. We may not know the situation or spiritual receptivity within the home. But God does. And the Spirit knows how to use our words as well.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

BE HOPEFUL (2Pet. 3:9)
God created ALL men and women in His image, and He cares about redeeming that image. Our task is not necessarily or primarily requesting judgment and wrath upon anyone. God needs room to do what He is much better suited to do. Instead, remember God desires that all would come to, and grow in a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

BE GRACIOUS (1Pet. 3:14-16)
But what if…the residents come asking questions? Or worse yet, what if they come out after us with anger? Remember, a gentle answer turns away wrath. We aren’t in the neighborhood to create or make worse problems. When they ask why we are doing this, be gracious in your brief explanation of God’s love and your desire to share that.
“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

Earlier this fall our daughter church, Lake Cities Community, participated in an effort of a collection of churches to pray for every house in Rowlett—and they were greatly blessed. Malcolm McGregor – the chair of their “Sharing Team” – helped organize LCC’s efforts and will be at TFC this Sunday to provide a brief update of both the church’s and his personal experience.

Cataylst Rowlett – the organizing group for “Cover Rowlett” – put together a series of light-hearted youtube videos to show how NOT to, and how to pray for homes. You can check them out below.

Grace and peace,

Keith Hileman
Interim Pastor
Trinity Fellowship Church


Scrooge and the Coming of he Kingdom

December 1, 2011

I am a scrooge. It may sound hard to believe, but trust me. Just ask my spouse and she will testify that I tend to shun away from all Christmas period activities. Putting up lights, decorating the tree, shopping for gifts or even driving around to go watch the infamous Highland Park Christmas lights usually requires more convincing than a visit to the dentist. I find little joy in the hustle and bustle that tends to accompany the advent period.

And with the start of Advent, I started to find myself in my “scrooge” mode once more. Until I started to reflect on what Advent really means. Usually we tend to brush away the more mundane activities as “fodder for the masses” or dismiss them easily with statements like “people have completely hijacked the advent season” or “that’s not what Christmas is all about.”

So what is Advent all about ? What is Christmas all about ? We know Advent means “coming,” but where does this really appear in the Scriptures? So off I went. With a little research, I discovered that the word Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus.” A quick search in a Latin Vulgate Bible told me that it is actually used as the Latin translation of the Greek word “Parousia.” Leveraging the tools of modern technology (my Greek is quite rusty after all), my Bible software told me that this word is used 22 times in the New Testament, of which no less than 16 refer to the “Second coming of Christ.”

Now that’s enlightening. The roots of our word “Advent” point back to the same word used to describe “The second coming of Christ.” Or the coming of the Kingdom. Not just Christ’s first coming in His birth some 2,000 years ago, but also to His glorious return and Kingdom. Interesting.

"The Heavenly Throne"— Copyright 1980-2008, Peter Olsen

Last Sunday we covered an initial description of this Kingdom in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. A passage with many images and descriptions that are hard to understand. But it all points back to a Kingdom where God is on the throne, in control and worthy of worship. Where a Lamb alone is able to open the scroll which noone else can, because He was slain and ransomed us into the Kingdom. Where everyone worships the lamb with the words: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)

How those are images wherein we as Christians should find our ultimate hope. A Kingdom ruled by Christ, to which we have been invited, in which we will join together, to worship Him. Our hope is found in the realization that God is in control, even now. Our joy can be found in the knowledge that Christ has ransomed us into this Kingdom. And our comfort is brought about by a future in which we will join together in endless praise.

And that hope is perhaps something worth celebrating this season. That joy is perhaps worth the time to put up some lights. To decorate a tree. To spend time with family and friends. So perhaps I should be less of a scrooge this year and let this advent season be a celebration of the realization that He will come again and that our ultimate hope lies in His Kingdom. Perhaps by the end of this season, you may even catch me humming a Christmas carol. Because there is hope after all, even for me.


The Season of Advent

November 27, 2011

It’s the season of Advent at Trinity Fellowship Church!   Celebrate with us in worship at 9:30 am on the four weeks of advent: Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18.  To learn more about the meaning of advent, check out our TFC website here:
http://trinityfellowship.org/289219.ihtml