2 Day Seminar at TCC – Equipping Others to Respond to Conflict Biblically

Has a friend or family member ever asked you for your advice about how to respond to a conflict in his or her life and you didn’t know how to help them? Have you ever been deeply hurt because of a conflict that you did not know how to overcome?  In fact, haven’t we all?

The good news is the Bible offers a great road-map for how to respond to conflict in a way that glorifies God while building truly restored and reconciled relationships.  A lot of that wisdom is contained in a compact brochure from Peacemaker Ministries called Responding to Conflict Biblically.

On Saturday January 13 and 20, from 9 a.m to 3 pm, David & Judi Glidden from New Peace Network,will lead us through a workshop where we will learn how to use this brochure to help others better respond to conflict.  What you learn can also help you in your own life even as you help coach others.

Responding to conflict in a Biblical manner is a great way to display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and be a great witness to the Gospel in our families and communities

NOTE: Sign up on-line here or call the church office 508-358-7717

Date:  Saturday January 13 and Saturday January 20, 2018

Time:   9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (lunch included)

Place:   Trinitarian Congregational Church

53 Cochituate Road  Wayland, Ma 01778

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On memory, a father’s love, and practices of the heart (Reflections on Evensong)

A few weeks ago I was speaking with a woman in our congregation about the joys and sorrows of caring for an aging parent. Her father has Alzheimers, which means of course severe memory loss. Though it is very difficult to see your father’s mind slowly fade away, she did mention to me that she often has special moments with him nevertheless. Though he is not very responsive in conversation, she’ll often say when leaving after a visit, “Goodbye. I love you, Dad” to which he always replies “I love you too, dear.” This is muscle memory from our most important muscle – our heart. His brain is no longer functioning at the level to sustain the conversation, but she knows that he loves her, and he can even communicate that when he can no longer communicate much else. He’s practiced saying “I love you” to his daughter so many times now, that is ingrained in his subconscious. (Side note: there are many heartwarming videos on the internet about this…see this one)

At our Evensong services, we’ve been practicing saying “I love you” to God. We use three simple prayers that help shape our lives around the Gospel: A prayer of preparation for worship (known as the “Collect for Purity”) a prayer of confession, and a prayer of thanksgiving. It is our hope that by saying these week after week, the truths behind the words will sink into our hearts.

Prayer of Preparation for Worship (Collect for Purity)

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Our great God and Father, we give you humble thanks for your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all people. We praise you for making us, sustaining us, and blessing us in every way. Most of all we thank you for your great love you showed to us and the world in Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Help us to be aware of your mercy, that with truly thankful hearts we may fully praise you not only with our lips but with our lives, by giving our selves to your service, and walking with you in holiness every day through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

As we pray these, we are slowly writing the Gospel on our hearts. The ancient Christian phrase Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi (the law of prayer, the law of belief) means that not only does what we believe influence the way we pray, but the opposite is true as well: the way we pray influences what we believe.

Do you find it sometimes hard to pray? Not sure what to say to God? These prayers (while never substituting for our own heartfelt conversation with God), can deepen and enrich our prayer life with good and true and beautiful words. In this season of Advent, we want to prepare our hearts for God’s coming – these prayers that have been said by Christians around the world for centuries, are a time-tested way of doing just that.

There’s one more Evensong service left on December 20th! Don’t miss it!

~ Adam

p.s. have you attended Evensong services this year? Let us know your thoughts and reflections in the comments!

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Wonderful Counselor

Pastor Tom’s Note

Wonderful Counselor

Isaiah 9:2-7

Listen to the Sermon Here

Have you ever been caught up in a situation where poor decisions were made by those in leadership? I think most of us would have to answer in the affirmative.  The truth is, we can’t govern ourselves by ourselves.  In Isaiah 9:2-7, Isaiah describes the coming of a “son” (of royal descent, v. 7) who is a “wonderful counselor.” As lead counsel to kings himself (see Isaiah 7 and 37-38), Isaiah knows full well that perfect governance is not found on planet earth, but rests with the God-King Himself, the “Son,” “wonderful counselor,” who is also “might God,”  “Everlasting Father” and “Prince of Peace.”

Advent is also about putting our trust and expectations in the right places.  As the birth narratives in Luke and Matthew remind us, this great king was not born in the halls of power of Jerusalem, the “city of David” (2 Samuel 5:6-8). Instead, he was born in the other “city of David,” Bethlehem, a small settlement away from the hub (see Luke 2:11; Matthew 2:1-6).

This Christmas, let’s make sure we look for the Savior in the right ‘city of David’ where everlasting power, authority and might is manifested, in the form of a babe, in a manger.

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Sundays and Winter Weather…

It’s almost our favorite time of year…Winter! When snowstorms happen leading into Sunday morning, we will update the church by 7p on Saturday Night via the following channels:
Website: tccwayland.org
Church Voicemail: 508-358-7717
News: WBZ Radio and CBSboston.com
On Sunday mornings, we may potentially cancel the 9:30 service (along with all LTA and Student Ministry Programming) and just have the 11a service. In this case, there would not be any Student Ministry or Children’s Programming at the 11a service.
As always, please use your own discretion before traveling in any questionable weather. If you are scheduled to serve on a Sunday morning but are unable to safely travel to church, please contact your ministry leader.

 

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Ancient Promise Fulfilled: The King has Returned

Pastor Tom’s Note

Ancient Promise Fulfilled: The King has Returned

Listen to the sermon here

In the movie The Lion King, Simba is banished from Pride land for something he didn’t do (much like Joseph in the Bible). In The Chronicles of Narnia, exile is represented by winter. When Aslan is “on the move,” winter gives way to warm weather. When Simba returns and defeats Scar, Pride Lands goes from desolation to lush and green.

In the book of Isaiah, the return from exile is also expressed through a transformation of a dry wilderness into irrigated and fertile soil (Isa.35:1). The one thing that characterizes the “return of the King” in Isaiah is resounding joy and singing (Isa. 35:2, 10).  The Advent of the Lord calms the “anxious heart” (Isa. 35:4).   Paul brings these ideas together in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” This joy in the Lord (apart from our circumstances) becomes the basis for ‘anxiety management’ in our lives.   “Don’t be anxious about anything” Paul tells us.  The outcome of this posture is “the peace of God” (Phil 4:7).  So joy and celebration in the Lord becomes the basis for our peace (see also Galatians 5:22).

Reflection:

During this Season of Advent where hurriedness and anxiety seem to take us so far away from the ideals of the season of Peace and Joy, we choose to rejoice in the Lord with singing: Joy to the world, the Lord has come!  He alone will bring peace to our anxious hearts.   The Prince of Peace Himself with fill us with a peace that He alone can give us.

 

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Children’s Artwork Needed for Christmas Eve!

Artwork needed for Christmas Eve!

Help us tell the Christmas story with your child’s artwork! We use the Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB) during the Christmas drama and need the following scenes illustrated:
of the following scenes:

Luke 1:26 – Luke 2:7 – The Birth of Jesus
• Angel Visiting Mary (JSB p. 178)
• Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem (JSB p 180)
• Jesus is Born (JSB p. 182)

Luke 2:8-20 – The Shepherds and the Angels
• A Bright Star Appears in the Night Sky (JSB p. 184)
• Shepherds with their sheep (JSB p. 186)
• A bright angel appears (JSB p.188)
• Shepherds visit Jesus in the manger (JSB p. 190)

Matthew 2 – The Story of the Wise Men
• Picture of three wise men (JSB p. 192)
• Wise men going on a long journey (JSB p. 194)
• Wise men arriving in the town of Bethlehem (JSB p. 196)
• Wise men bowing before Jesus (JSB p. 198)

This can be a great project for your kids to have a hands-on experience of the Christmas Story. It is also a great opportunity to read the Bible together as your child thinks about how to illustrate it. We need LOTS of artwork of many different images, so pick one and make it your own!

Directions:

Submit full color drawings on letter sized paper.

Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.
Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.
Write your child’s name and grade NEATLY ON THE BACK.

(this one is important so I say it 3 times!)

Turn artwork into the CM desk by Sunday December 17th.

 

Thanks so much!

Gail and Adam

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A Different Kind of King

What is the label that you have given to Jesus?

In John 18, Pilate questioned Jesus about the label “King of the Jews.” But Jesus’ answer makes it clear that he isn’t a Jewish revolutionary. He’s not an emerging dictator. He certainly isn’t raising up an army to compete against rival nations. His “kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

What is the label that you have given to Jesus?

Based on the evidence of our lives, we have assigned a label to Jesus’ role in our lives. Whatever you currently feel or think about Jesus, I want us to set that aside, and instead consider the past year of actions, words, decisions and priorities. How have we related to him? If we had to give a title to his function in our lives, what would it be?
I wrote down a few possibilities:

-Wisdom Consultant            -My Sustaining Grace
-A Future Priority                 -Role Model for My Kids
-Profound Encourager         -Good Friend
-Personal Therapist              -Magnificent Savior
-Marriage Glue                      -Sunday Morning Theme
-Judge of My Mistakes        -Pathway to Emotional Health
-A Growing Interest             -Our Peace and Comfort

In Pilate’s world, every kingdom has a King, perhaps the most venerated position in a culture. But the worldly category of a “King” is simply too small for Jesus –like trying to fit the Pacific Ocean into a fish bowl. And our labels are too small for Jesus as well. As Theologian Miroslav Volf puts it, Jesus is not concerned with the “earthly truth of power, but the power of truth.”

Jesus is the one, true King, but any attempt to explain his Kingship must center on his mission—“to bear witness to the truth”. He is the King of truth, and his testimony to the truth is his sovereign authority. There was no need for his disciples to fight to prevent his arrest because he is not fighting an earthly battle. His cosmic enemy is falsehood…it’s “darkness”, as John puts it in John 1:5. As he says in John 12:31, He is casting out the ruler of the world—the deceiver, the father of lies.
We need to consider our labels for Jesus, but not in the same way that Pilate was convinced he stood in judgment over Jesus; not in the way he thought he had the authority to pronounce his verdict. These labels are a marker of how we have related to Jesus, not the actual definition of his identity and verification of his sovereignty (or lack thereof). We are in desperate need of intentional reflection on the identity of Jesus Christ, the purpose of his mission, the reality of his resurrection and his imminent return. We need God to help us relate to our Savior King in a new way.

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Treasures in heaven

Pastor Tom’s Note

Treasures in Heaven

Listen to the sermon here

You know the phrase, ‘miss by an inch, miss by a mile.’ This is in essence what happens to the rich man in Mark 10:17-22. He did everything right from a young age and Jesus “loved him” for that. He respected his parents, never stole or lied and he never “defrauded” anyone. He earned his money the old-fashioned way, the honest way. But he did “lack” one thing: he couldn’t part with it. So when Jesus famously said, “sell all and give it to the poor,” the man couldn’t do it. He was “disheartened” and “sorrowful” and walked away. Jesus loved the man enough to gaze upon him and squeeze his one pressure point.   Had the man stayed and listened in to the lively conversation that ensued (Mark 10: 23-31), he would have heard that to give it all up would have meant to receive far more than he could have ever imagined: “treasures in Heaven.” Of course, it would be no ‘bed of roses’ (“persecutions”). However, the rich man, as a savvy handler of finances, would have appreciated the “hundredfold” return Jesus talks about: in the end to give it all up would have been ‘no sacrifice at all.’

Zaccheus in Luke 19:1-10 is also very rich. He is also seeking Jesus but instead of being sorrowful, he is joyfully giving up 50% of his wealth to the poor and give back fourfold to those he defrauded.  The point of these two stories is that it’s not really about any specific amount one has to give up (see the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44), but more about the pressure point, the ‘squeeze’ of the one thing we know we need to let go.

Reflections during Stewardship Season:

During this stewardship season at TCC, members and attendants make pledge commitments for 2018.*  We encourage all of you to consider how much the Lord is asking you to contribute for next year.  As we seek to meet the needs of the congregation, support the staff,  engage in local and world outreach, and care for our  wonderful facilities, what is the Lord asking you to give up?  But, this “giving up” is more like the smartest investment we will ever make: treasures in Heaven.  Zacchaeus ‘got it,’ hence the tremendous joy he found in giving money away.

*The Finance Committee encourages all to return Faith Promise cards by December 1st in order to create the budget that will be approved at our annual meeting in January. These wonderful men and women serve our church faithfully and we are so grateful for their work!

 

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Lessons and Carols

Lessons and Carols,

Sunday December 3rd, 2017

 at 9:30 & 11a.

Our annual Lessons and Carols service is a special Sunday in the life of our church. The service tells the story of Jesus, from Old Testament Prophesy to New Testament Fulfillment, and through readings (lessons) and songs (carols), we re-enact God’s amazing love for us in the Christmas story.

This is truly a family service in that our children’s choir will be singing, our student orchestra will accompany some carols, and scripture readers of all ages will help us tell the story from the Bible. The service is full of great music to usher in the Advent and Christmas season. Join us!

Care for infant-preK is available at 9:30am.

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December at TCC: an invitation to connect, grow, and serve.

December at TCC: An Invitation to Connect, Grow, and Serve

Everyone knows December is a busy time of year. From holiday office parties to children’s concerts and plays it seems like sometimes church is yet another thing on our everexpanding to-do list. We don’t want that at TCC. We want the Advent to be a time when we slow down and reflect, not speed up and rush. For that reason, we want you to feel like Advent is a time to deepen your relationship with Christ – not just run from one event to the next. Continue reading

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