Trinity Faces - Megan Arneson

This week we will be getting know Megan Arneson in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Megan shares life from her point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Merriam Park

What’s your vocation?

Social Worker/Higher Education - I have both my bachelor's and master's degrees in social work.  While I'm not on the front lines and interacting with clients on a daily basis in the field of social work right now, I am still working in this same area, but in a higher ed setting. 

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I have mad-cribbage skills.  I once won a cribbage tournament; ask me about it sometime. 

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?

The diversity of ethnic foods and farmer's markets

How long have you attended TCC?

8ish years

How do you serve at TCC? 

I am a member of the Governance Team (overseeing the business aspects of the church) and a participant on the Care Team ministry, 

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

The emphasis on caring for one another well and how we're growing and learning together what this means for our church family and the greater communities that we come in contact with on a daily basis. 

Megan.jpg

Trinity Faces - Brianna Rogers

This week we will be getting know Brianna Rodgers in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Brianna shares life from her point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

We have hit the one year mark in our first home this February living in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul.

What’s your vocation?

My official title is Interpretive Naturalist but most people get that confused with a naturist so I just say outdoor education. Picture me chasing butterflies in an open field with a bunch of kids at a nature center... Yea that's pretty much what I do ;)

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I get super excited to go to the dentist. If I could get my teeth professionally cleaned everyday I totally would!

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?

I love the small town feel of historic Saint Paul with all the benefits of living in the city. The many opportunities to be a tourist in your own neighborhood and the closeness to parks, rivers, and lakes!

How long have you attended TCC?

Since the summer of 2012

How do you serve at TCC?

Some of the ways I serve at TCC is as a co-leader with my husband David for the Fairmount Community Group and we serve together on the usher team. I also serve as a Deaconess on Trinity's Directional Team. 

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I look forward to waking up and going to church each Sunday morning to worship Christ our Lord with fellow believers. To be renewed and refocused on the work He has done in my own life and is continually doing in our city.

TCC-2016-6.jpg

2018 Lent and Holy Week

165 (2).JPG

Holy Week is here. At Trinity City Church, we started the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service, and last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. This week we'll be gathering for Maunday Thursday meals, a Good Friday service, a community egg hunt, and finally celebrating Easter with baptisms.

What is the meaning and significance of this time in the church calendar? Let's consider some of the explanations from The Worship Sourcebook (the rest of the post quotes The Worship Sourcebook under each heading).

The Season of Lent

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the heart of the Christian gospel, and Good Friday and Easter are two of the most significant celebrations of the Christian year. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty carries biblical significance based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through holy week, not counting Sundays (which are reserved for celebratory worship). In practice, many congregations choose to focus Sunday worship on the themes of repentance and renewal. As a period of preparation, Lent has historically included the instruction of persons for baptism and profession of faith on Easter Sunday; the calling back of those who have become estranged from the church; and efforts by all Christians to deepen their piety, devotion, and readiness to mark the death and resurrection of their Savior. As such, the primary focus of the season is to explore and deepen a “baptismal spirituality” that centers on our union with Christ rather than to function only as an extended meditation on Christ’s suffering and death.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. By the fourth century the Western church had determined that the Lenten period of fasting and renewal should correspond to Christ’s forty-day fast (Matt. 4:2), and, by counting forty days back from Easter (excluding Sundays, which remain “feast” days), arrived at the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. At one time Lent was primarily viewed as a period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday, but later the season became a general time of penitence and renewal for all Christians. Thus Ash Wednesday became the day that marked the beginning of the Lenten renewal.

The aim of Ash Wednesday worship is threefold: to meditate on our mortality, sinfulness, and need of a savior; to renew our commitment to daily repentance in the Lenten season and in all of life; and to remember with confidence and gratitude that Christ has conquered death and sin. Ash Wednesday worship, then, is filled with gospel truth. It is a witness to the power and beauty of our union with Christ and to the daily dying and rising with Christ that this entails.

The imposition of ashes is often central part of the worship service. Ashes have a long history in biblical and church traditions. In Scripture ashes or dust symbolize frailty or death (Gen. 18:27), sadness or mourning (Esther 4:3), judgment (Lam. 3:16), and repentance (Jon. 3:6). Some traditions also have considered ash a purifying or cleansing agent. All these images are caught up in the church’s use of ashes as a symbol appropriate for Lent. In Christ’s passion we see God’s judgment on evil; in our penitence we express sorrow and repentance for our sins; in our rededication we show that we are purified and renewed. The ashes, which often are the burnt residue of the previous year’s palms from Palm Sunday, are often mixed with a little water and carried in a small dish. As the leader goes from worshiper to worshiper, or as worshipers come forward, the leader dips a finger in the moist ash and makes a cross on each person’s forehead (the “imposition”), saying words such as “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or, “Consider yourself dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ.”

In some contexts, the imposition of ashes may be a barrier to thoughtful Lenten worship because of its newness or because it may be misunderstood. Most important is that worshipers rend their hearts (Joel 2:13). Decisions about whether or how to practice the imposition of ashes should always take into account that the service should build up the body of Christ.

Palm Sunday

The events framed by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his resurrection are some of the most dramatic and theologically important of the entire scriptural narrative. These days feature not only the drama of the triumphal entry, trial, last supper, and crucifixion but also poignant prayers and prophetic teachings of our Lord. John’s gospel devotes eight of its twenty-one chapters to this week alone! The week begins with Passion/Palm Sunday and ends with the “three days” (also called the Triduum, from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Day), the period during which we mark Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection.

The first Sunday of Holy Week is commonly called either “Palm Sunday” or “Passion Sunday.” Those who call it “Palm Sunday” tend to focus on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). Those who refer to the day as “Passion Sunday” tend to focus on Jesus’ suffering. This is especially appropriate in contexts in which participation in midweek services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday is difficult or minimal, and, as a result, worshipers would sing “Hosanna” on one Sunday and “Christ arose” on the next, with little attention to Jesus’ suffering and death in between.

But even for congregations that celebrate the day as Palm Sunday, it’s important to capture the irony of the day. This is the day on which Jesus entered the city in triumph, but as a part of his journey to the cross; this is the week in which crowd’s cries of “Hosanna” would soon turn to “Crucify him!” One helpful approach to Palm Sunday worship is to begin by focusing on the procession into Jerusalem and then to concentrate on the suffering and passion of Jesus.

Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his arrest and crucifixion. Maundy Thursday marks three key events in Jesus’ last week: his washing of his disciples’ feet, his institution of the Lord’s Supper, and his new commandment to love one another.

The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the “new commandment” Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34). In other words, this is “new commandment Thursday.” Maundy Thursday worship naturally features the Lord’s Supper and, in some traditions, an act of foot washing or another sign of mutual love and dedication.

Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper can call attention to the many theologically rich dimensions of the Last Supper itself, including its attention to communal love and its clear eschatological orientation (its focus on hopeful anticipation of the coming kingdom).

Good Friday and Easter

Good Friday marks the death of Jesus Christ. It’s called “good” because of what Jesus’ death means for the redemption of the world. Worship on this day may focus on three aims: (1) to narrate and remember the events of Jesus’ death, (2) to open up the meaning of these events for our understanding of God and the redemption accomplished by the cross, and (3) to invite worshipers to renewed prayer and dedication.

All the hopes and expectations of Christians are realized in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, making Easter the most celebrative day of the church year.

IMG_8126-1.jpg

Trinity Faces - Sara Wright

This week we get to peek into Sara Wright's world in our next installment of #trinityfaces. Be sure to check TCC's Instagram and Facebook this week as we get a glimpse into Sara's life.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Merriam Park, Saint Paul

What’s your vocation?

I'm a stay-at-home mom at the moment.

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

This is hard to come up with something.  I guess a lot of people might not know i used to live in Alaska. I also once tried to grow a pet dred in my hair for about a week. It didn't work.

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?

The people

How long have you attended TCC?

About 8 years

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I love that TCC is relatively small and has a close community feel to it.

IMG_2138..jpg

The FCA House Story

Three years ago, David Melms couldn’t get the idea of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) house near Macalester College in St. Paul out of his head.

Melms, who graduated from Macalester College in 2013, would take prayer walks around his neighborhood and see houses for sale. Melms had been one of the students to start the FCA ministry on campus in spring 2010.

“I would walk by this one house time and time again and it would be for sale and it just sparked something in my mind about, ‘well, how cool would that be if there was a house for the FCA ministry that had somewhat of a legacy to it where I knew that Christians were there year after year and it was a place where people could go chill and have fun too,” Melms said.

The FCA ministry is on college campuses across the country, led by student athletes and coaches working to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And so the idea for a campus ministry for Macalester College stayed in Melms’ mind. During his college years, Melms had formed a friendship with Paul Olson, who is a member of the Macalester College Board of Trustees.

Olson had also recognized a need for a Christian ministry on Macalester College.

“They don't formally recognize campus ministries at Macalester, even FCA, though we love and want the best for the campus — so, our good relationships and trust as alumni leads to being welcomed into the athletics department,” Melms said.

Olson approached Melms about two years ago and proposed buying a house to create an intentional student ministry near most of the college campuses in St. Paul.

“(Olson) wanted to take those steps and buy a property near Macalester, but his wife was only wanting it if it would be something intentional like a student ministry, and that’s what they proposed,” Melms said. “I’ve always wanted something like that and I’d been praying for something like that, so it ended up being a yearlong journey to search for the right house.”

The group eventually found a house about a block from Macalester College, with an unfinished basement. Olson made an offer, which was accepted and the first people moved in 2017.

FCA Construction.jpg
IMG_5084.JPG

In the spring, renovations began on the basement to create a common space for those living in the house. The renovations included a prayer room, a kitchenette, tables for studying, a laundry room and an entertainment area.

The leadership spent six months working on the basement.

“This is all new to us, too, so it’s not that it’s not a good time for a story but the story is just starting to unfold,” Melms said.

The benefits of the house for Christian students are twofold — on one hand, students get face-to-face interaction with other students of faith living in the house, including Melms and his wife, who live upstairs. The other part is that the students have been gifted with a house and so should become disciples on their campus.

“They have this incredible home, because it’s not a college home — it’s a half-million dollar property that has been gifted to them, so it’s not your typical college apartment unit,” Melms said. “So the expectations for living in the house are that you’re excited about growing your faith and you’re excited about growing in a Christian community and you’re wanting to bless your campus with the house that you’ve been given.”

IMG_5239.JPG
IMG_5716.JPG

Everything about the house was made possible through the grace of God, Melms said.

“It isn’t really a story about an FCA staff guy or an FCA ministry, but there is just a ton of people that have been really generous in the process and God has just given us a great deal of confidence,” Melms said. “We had a confidence through it all that God is going to do something with this and he’s shown us he’s going to do this.”

 

This post written by Maggie Stanwood. Stanwood is a multimedia reporter at the Prior Lake American. She also freelances for the White Bear Press Pub and the Elk River Star News. Read more of her writing at this website

Trinity Faces - Micah Taylor

This week we will be getting know Micah Taylor in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Micah shares life from his point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

I guess since Whitney said West 7th is "the best one", I'll say the bestest one: Highland Park.

What’s your occupation?

I'm a husband and dad who gets paid to design websites. I also occupy myself with music, photography, bicycling, and co-owning a bakery.

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

Most folks at TCC don't know that, for most of my life, I had really long hair. Mother nature is a cruel barber.

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?

The bicycle/fitness culture is inspiring. And yes, I try to bike in the winter; I have the broken collarbone to prove it.

How long have you attended TCC?

A year and a half-ish... I'm not good with dates... ask my wife.

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

Well, the welcoming people first and foremost. That being said I appreciate the meshing of the old and the new at TCC. Raised in a liturgical church and coming previously from a more passionately evangelical church, I appreciate that there is a home for both at TCC.

Micah Taylor
http://www.micahtaylor.com/

mt-square.jpg

Trinity Faces - Tyson Phipps

We are restarting a campaign to learn more about some of the people who make up our church family. This week, our featured TCC student is Tyson. Read more about Tyson below and make sure to check out the TCC Instagram account to see what life looks like from Tyson's eyes. 

What neighborhood do you live in?

I live in Roseville while I’m studying at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul.

What’s your vocation?

I’m a full-time student, a Resident Assistant in the dorms, and a Gallery Assistant at the Denler art gallery on campus. 

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I grew up as a missionary kid in Turkey; my parents are still church planters there.

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?

The art community, lots of awesome activities for any mood, and Punch Pizza.

How long have you attended TCC?

About 2 years.

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I love the focus of growing in the gospel with the neighborhood and community. I feel like with TCC I can value the joys of life more. 

IMG_6956 2.jpg

"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!"

 Candlelight Service at Trinity City Church, Christmas Eve 2017

Candlelight Service at Trinity City Church, Christmas Eve 2017

This is the poem that was read this evening at the Candlelight Service. "Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
     And wild and sweet
     The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
     Had rolled along
     The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
     A voice, a chime,
     A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
     And with the sound
     The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
     And made forlorn
     The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said:
     "For hate is strong,
     And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!" 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
     The Wrong shall fail,
     The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Christmas Eve at Trinity City Church

On Christmas Eve, there are two things to schedule.

One, we will not be gathering at 1849 Marshall Ave for a morning service. Instead, we'll be gathering at Antioch Community Church in NE MPLS at 10am (see antiochcommunity.org). 

Two, come back to 1849 Marshall Ave for a Candlelight Service starting at 5pm. No childcare because we want families to gather together as we sing carols, read Scripture, and celebrate the light of Christ in the darkness. All are welcome! 

Sketch.png

Pastoral Resident: Trent Senske

We recently introduced Trent Senske as our new Pastoral Resident at Trinity City Church. The residency is designed to give Trent more pastoral experience as he continues to work towards planting Immanuel Fellowship in south Minneapolis. 

If you missed the introduction, then listen to the audio below.

Also check out this video Trent did with Pastor Bryan for his latest update. 

Finally, here is a short bio of Trent from his website

Trent.jpg

Early on, I sensed a calling to spiritual leadership, and so for seven years I learned the ropes of discipleship, preaching, and leadership by ministering to college students. For the past several years, I worked for Coram Deo Church in Omaha, NE, as a pastoral assistant, in the privileged role of serving and shadowing Pastor Bob Thune. [...]

Last year, God called me to start a church in Minneapolis — or perhaps more accurately — the Spirit unfolded how Jesus had been hinting at it for years. 

In college, I voiced interest in church planting to my pastor, mostly because I thought it was cool. But after college, I became convinced it was crazy. I loved the thought of [church] planting, but I was reluctant about the work. Nevertheless, one morning while walking and praying in Memphis I sensed the Lord saying, “Give your life to preaching the gospel, planting urban churches, and training leaders for my Kingdom.” In August, we moved to Minneapolis to get assessed as potential planters and begin that work.

Guest Speaker: Darren Carlson

Darren Carlson will be our guest speaker on Sunday, August 27th. He is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International (TLI). Here is more from TLI's website

 Picture: Darren Carlson   Credit: bcsmn.edu

Picture: Darren Carlson

Credit: bcsmn.edu

Born to a military family, Darren grew up in San Diego, Calif., and Washington, D.C. He became a committed Christian through the ministry of InterVarsity on his college campus. After college, he felt the call to vocational ministry while attending the LIFT discipleship program at Camp-of-the-Woods in upstate New York.

He received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Mary Washington. He is also a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he earned a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology in New Testament and is ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of America. Darren has coached high school and college basketball as well. He enjoys playing piano, fishing and hunting in Minnesota.

As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. He has written articles on multiple platforms on issues relating to short-term missions, missionary care, trends in global theology, missiological discussions, and the effective use of financial resources to relieve poverty. While at TLI he also founded The Journal of Global Christianity and SOLA, which is a web-based app to help missionaries raise and track support.

A Resolution Against Racism

Overview

Our ethos is carried out in many ways including acts of justice and mercy in all areas of life. One of the greatest areas of injustice in our nation’s history is racism, which has been called America’s “original sin.” The Overseer Team affirms the following resolution adopted by our denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), at its 1992 General Conference. The EFCA passed this resolution in the wake of the beating of Rodney King in 1991, but it also speaks broadly to occurrences of racism before and since then. This resolution, with minor adaptations for the context of our local church, reflects the theology and mission of Trinity City Church.

The Sin of Racism

As Christians, we deplore racism as sin against fellow human beings who are created in the image of God. Racism has undergone a recent resur­gence with an increase in violence evidenced by racial confrontations on college campuses, numerous racially biased crimes, the increased visibility and boldness of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and various other separatist movements. Racism is also present in more subtle and passive forms in institutional settings where systems of discrimination prevent the upward mobility of gifted and qualified individuals. It is also present in racially discriminatory housing patterns, in the neglect and avoidance of people who are racially different, in the use of racially offensive lan­guage and humor, and at the level of individual prejudices and biases which heighten tension and perpetuate misunderstanding between racially different people. Even though our society benefits from progress made in the area of racial harmony during and following the Civil Rights movement, we believe that racism continues to exist and, at the present time, appears to have found renewed energy.

Racism is an irrational belief in the superiority of one's ethnic or racial group causing the hatred of those of another group. Inequalities of eco­nomic and political resources and competition for economic and political advantage often causes this irrational belief to surface. In America, this unhealthy attitude of racial and ethnic superiority has resulted in discri­mination predominantly by whites against people of color such as Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics. It also has provoked a racist response against the dominant culture and often heightened tensions between minority groups. God's ideal is that humans exist in harmonious relationships regardless of racial and ethnic differences (Acts 13:1, 1 Cor. 12:12-13, Gal. 3:28, Rev. 5:9-10), but racism militates against the formation of these harmonious relationships.

Resolutions for the Church

Realizing that even as Christians we are not immune to the sin of racism, we resolve first of all to search our own hearts and repent of any racist attitudes we may have no matter how subtle. We further resolve to work toward eliminating racism in our local churches, ministry affiliations, and partner organizations. Some ways in which we can work are:

  • Speaking out against racism in whatever setting we find ourselves.
  • Preparing spiritually for the inevitable tensions and conflicts which will threaten the unity of the church as it continues to become more multi-ethnic and multi-racial in composition.
  • Teaching in our homes and in our churches against racism and noting God's desire for reconciliation between races (Eph. 2:14).
  • Developing relationships of mutual education and submission (Eph. 5:21) with people of different races on both an individual and congregational level.
  • Celebrating the presence and participation of our brothers and sisters in Christ from all ethnic and racial backgrounds in our local churches, ministry affiliations, and partner organizations.

Concluding Prayer

Dear God, we repent and turn back, that our sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from your presence (Acts 3:19-20). “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Dan. 9:18-19, NIV). In Jesus name we pray, Amen.


See The Gospel, Racism and the EFCA: Resolution (1992) and Resolve for the original resolution.

For more commentary on this issue from EFCA leaders, see also "An Open Letter to Those Who are Struggling," by Alejandro Mandes; and "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the EFCA, and Racism," by Greg Strand. The concluding prayer above is from Strand's post. 

TrinityLogoPosts.jpeg

Understanding the Cross-cultural Experience of International Students

This post is written by JaNae Stynsberg. She works at local campuses through International Students, Inc. In this piece, she shares about an event she recently organized at Trinity City Church's building. 

I have had the privilege of engaging with international students at the University of St. Thomas for several years and recently became a full time staff member with International Students, Inc. TCC’s partnership has been a huge blessing in this work with numerous members helping with English Club, special events and developing individual relationships beyond that.

TCC recently gave us the opportunity to host a unique event designed to help youth experience cross-cultural understanding in a positive way. A couple youth pastors from small towns in southern MN and eastern Wisconsin wanted to expose their youth to diversity to help plant in them a heart for the nations. It took awhile to figure out how to introduce 40 American teenagers to international students in a non-awkward way, but we came up with the International Student Panel idea. International students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India and Nigeria answered questions that the teens, pastors and myself had come up with ahead of time.  

The students shared that what they expected the US to be like, what surprised them, what they sacrificed to come here, how Americans can better welcome foreign peoples, and things that seemed strange/confusing/funny/hard to get used to about Americans.  They also shared if they ever felt targeted in a negative way because of their race or religion.  

The night’s discussion was great but several answers stood out. When it came to how to better welcome in foreign peoples, the discussion became focused on how believers have personally interacted with them. Something commonly reiterated was that they have really enjoyed being welcomed into churches and studying the Bible with people, but they also said they have experienced people not being open to listening to what they believe or making assumptions or criticisms about what they believe before even knowing anything about their religion. Another thing stated was a feeling that some Christians will only want to be friends with them if they are open to becoming Christians themselves. One of the guys said if someone wants to share about their faith with him, he prefers if they tell about how they have personally experienced God rather than just listing off verses or reading through different materials.

It’s safe to say that it was more than just the teens who gleaned wisdom from this panel discussion. I knew that would be the case because I often feel like I’ve only scratched the surface in my understanding of cultures and how to share the love of Christ with each individual. I’m happy to say each international student left the night feeling heard and validated in the answers they gave. The youth group students left with a new understanding of these cultures, what it’s like to be a foreigner here and also with new questions about how to engage in evangelism and missions.

Thanks again for the opportunity to do this event at TCC! It’s a beautiful thing for the local church to be one of the first agents to welcome in our friends from all over the world!

Prayer of Lament - June 18, 2017

In light of the events surrounding the shooting of Philando Castile, Pastor Bryan wrote this prayer of lament from Psalm 22 and prayed with Trinity City Church on Sunday, June 18th. 

God, have you forsaken the Castile family? 

Have you abandoned the African-American community? 

Why are you so far from saving them, 

so far from their groaning?

They cry out to you by day, but you do not answer, 

and by night, but they find no rest. 

You’re holy, enthroned above the praises of their churches. 

They trust in you.

But they are dehumanized and not treated as image-bearers. 

They’re scorned by mankind and despised by people. 

They’re mocked, and the privileged wag their heads. 

“He should have not said anything about the gun.

He should not have reached in his pocket.”

Lord, don’t be far from your people. 

They’re surrounded by adversaries.

Care and protect them like a mother for her child. 

Because their strength is gone, 

their courage has melted away, 

and they’re weakened by fear because death continues to approach them. 

Injustice surrounds them. 

Their feet and hands are bound. 

What they have left is taken from them. 

Lord, don’t be far off! 

Come quickly to the aid of the oppressed and afflicted. 

Deliver them from injustice and death. 

Save their precious life. 

We will tell of your name to our brothers and sisters. 

We will praise you together. 

Because you have not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. 

You have not hidden your face from them when they cried to you. 

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; 

they will praise you, Lord!  

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, 

all those in power and authority will be brought to their knees

because you rule over all things. 

May the privileged be brought low and worship,

and the afflicted raised up to praise. 

So that the coming generation, 

and those yet to be born, 

may know that you are good, 

you are just, 

and you deserve all the glory. 

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Guest Speaker - Jeremy Deck

Jeremy Deck will be our guest speaker on Sunday, May 21st. He is in the process of planting Gospel Life Church in the Marcy-Holmes of Minneapolis. Here is more from Jeremy (quoted from New Hope's website):

 Jeremy Deck (Credit: New Hope Church) 

Jeremy Deck (Credit: New Hope Church) 

After 10 years on staff in Student Ministries at New Hope, I am currently preparing to pastor a church plant in Minneapolis from New Hope Church. I am in a residency here designed to equip me further toward this end.

I believe that the local church is the means through which God has designed for the gospel to be proclaimed both for the salvation of people who don't yet believe and the growth/sanctification of those who trust him. I love seeing the good news of Jesus Christ change lives for eternity.

A favorite passage of mine is Titus 2:11-14 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age."

I continue to be so thankful that God's grace not only saves us but trains and shapes us to look more like him every day. I’m married to Amy and we have four kids: Molly, Nora, Jack and Nolan. I enjoy being with my family, backpacking, camping, books, coffee and movies.

For more information about the church plant, like their Facebook Page

Lent and Holy Week 2017

 A baptism from the 2016 Easter Gathering.

A baptism from the 2016 Easter Gathering.

Holy Week is here. At Trinity City Church, we started the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service, and on April 9th we celebrate Palm Sunday. The following week we'll be gathering for Maunday Thursday meals, a Good Friday service (FB event), a community Egg Hunt on Saturday (FB event), and finally celebrating Easter with baptisms (FB event).

What is the meaning and significance of this time in the church calendar? Let's consider some of the explanations from The Worship Sourcebook (the rest of the post quotes The Worship Sourcebook under each heading).

The Season of Lent

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the heart of the Christian gospel, and Good Friday and Easter are two of the most significant celebrations of the Christian year. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty carries biblical significance based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through holy week, not counting Sundays (which are reserved for celebratory worship). In practice, many congregations choose to focus Sunday worship on the themes of repentance and renewal. As a period of preparation, Lent has historically included the instruction of persons for baptism and profession of faith on Easter Sunday; the calling back of those who have become estranged from the church; and efforts by all Christians to deepen their piety, devotion, and readiness to mark the death and resurrection of their Savior. As such, the primary focus of the season is to explore and deepen a “baptismal spirituality” that centers on our union with Christ rather than to function only as an extended meditation on Christ’s suffering and death.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. By the fourth century the Western church had determined that the Lenten period of fasting and renewal should correspond to Christ’s forty-day fast (Matt. 4:2), and, by counting forty days back from Easter (excluding Sundays, which remain “feast” days), arrived at the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. At one time Lent was primarily viewed as a period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday, but later the season became a general time of penitence and renewal for all Christians. Thus Ash Wednesday became the day that marked the beginning of the Lenten renewal.

The aim of Ash Wednesday worship is threefold: to meditate on our mortality, sinfulness, and need of a savior; to renew our commitment to daily repentance in the Lenten season and in all of life; and to remember with confidence and gratitude that Christ has conquered death and sin. Ash Wednesday worship, then, is filled with gospel truth. It is a witness to the power and beauty of our union with Christ and to the daily dying and rising with Christ that this entails.

The imposition of ashes is often central part of the worship service. Ashes have a long history in biblical and church traditions. In Scripture ashes or dust symbolize frailty or death (Gen. 18:27), sadness or mourning (Esther 4:3), judgment (Lam. 3:16), and repentance (Jon. 3:6). Some traditions also have considered ash a purifying or cleansing agent. All these images are caught up in the church’s use of ashes as a symbol appropriate for Lent. In Christ’s passion we see God’s judgment on evil; in our penitence we express sorrow and repentance for our sins; in our rededication we show that we are purified and renewed. The ashes, which often are the burnt residue of the previous year’s palms from Palm Sunday, are often mixed with a little water and carried in a small dish. As the leader goes from worshiper to worshiper, or as worshipers come forward, the leader dips a finger in the moist ash and makes a cross on each person’s forehead (the “imposition”), saying words such as “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or, “Consider yourself dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ.”

In some contexts, the imposition of ashes may be a barrier to thoughtful Lenten worship because of its newness or because it may be misunderstood. Most important is that worshipers rend their hearts (Joel 2:13). Decisions about whether or how to practice the imposition of ashes should always take into account that the service should build up the body of Christ.

Palm Sunday

The events framed by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his resurrection are some of the most dramatic and theologically important of the entire scriptural narrative. These days feature not only the drama of the triumphal entry, trial, last supper, and crucifixion but also poignant prayers and prophetic teachings of our Lord. John’s gospel devotes eight of its twenty-one chapters to this week alone! The week begins with Passion/Palm Sunday and ends with the “three days” (also called the Triduum, from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Day), the period during which we mark Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection.

The first Sunday of Holy Week is commonly called either “Palm Sunday” or “Passion Sunday.” Those who call it “Palm Sunday” tend to focus on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). Those who refer to the day as “Passion Sunday” tend to focus on Jesus’ suffering. This is especially appropriate in contexts in which participation in midweek services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday is difficult or minimal, and, as a result, worshipers would sing “Hosanna” on one Sunday and “Christ arose” on the next, with little attention to Jesus’ suffering and death in between.

But even for congregations that celebrate the day as Palm Sunday, it’s important to capture the irony of the day. This is the day on which Jesus entered the city in triumph, but as a part of his journey to the cross; this is the week in which crowd’s cries of “Hosanna” would soon turn to “Crucify him!” One helpful approach to Palm Sunday worship is to begin by focusing on the procession into Jerusalem and then to concentrate on the suffering and passion of Jesus.

Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his arrest and crucifixion. Maundy Thursday marks three key events in Jesus’ last week: his washing of his disciples’ feet, his institution of the Lord’s Supper, and his new commandment to love one another.

The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the “new commandment” Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34). In other words, this is “new commandment Thursday.” Maundy Thursday worship naturally features the Lord’s Supper and, in some traditions, an act of foot washing or another sign of mutual love and dedication.

Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper can call attention to the many theologically rich dimensions of the Last Supper itself, including its attention to communal love and its clear eschatological orientation (its focus on hopeful anticipation of the coming kingdom).

Good Friday and Easter

Good Friday marks the death of Jesus Christ. It’s called “good” because of what Jesus’ death means for the redemption of the world. Worship on this day may focus on three aims: (1) to narrate and remember the events of Jesus’ death, (2) to open up the meaning of these events for our understanding of God and the redemption accomplished by the cross, and (3) to invite worshipers to renewed prayer and dedication.

All the hopes and expectations of Christians are realized in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, making Easter the most celebrative day of the church year.

Guest Speaker - Trent Senske

Trent Senske will be our guest speaker on Sunday, April 7th. He is in the process of planting Immanuel Fellowship in south Minneapolis. Here is more from Trent:

Early on, I sensed a calling to spiritual leadership, and so for seven years I learned the ropes of discipleship, preaching, and leadership by ministering to college students. For the past several years, I worked for Coram Deo Church in Omaha, NE, as a pastoral assistant, in the privileged role of serving and shadowing Pastor Bob Thune. [...]

Last year, God called me to start a church in Minneapolis — or perhaps more accurately — the Spirit unfolded how Jesus had been hinting at it for years. 

In college, I voiced interest in church planting to my pastor, mostly because I thought it was cool. But after college, I became convinced it was crazy. I loved the thought of [church] planting, but I was reluctant about the work. Nevertheless, one morning while walking and praying in Memphis I sensed the Lord saying, “Give your life to preaching the gospel, planting urban churches, and training leaders for my Kingdom.” In August, we moved to Minneapolis to get assessed as potential planters and begin that work.

For more information about the Senskes and the church plant, go to www.minneapolischurchplant.com

Prayers of the People - From March 19, 2017

Here are the prayers for the Prayers of the People portion of our Sunday Gathering last Sunday:

 

Father, we thank you for this opportunity to come together to worship you.

We thank you for the brothers and sisters who work faithfully to make this opportunit a reality at Trinity City Church. 

Father we thank you that you use broken people to do beautiful things. 

God we are so thankful that when we were lost and stuck in our filth, that you adopted us, and now you now call us your sons and daughters. 

We pray that with this mindset that we would see the broken, the hateful, the unlovely, and that we would love them. 

We ask that your Holy Spirit would indwell us and give us a love that overcomes hate and fear. 

We pray that your Holy Spirit would shine through us in this dark world, that we wouldn't be another group with an agenda, but that we would be a people transformed by your power. 

We pray that Trinity would begin to resemble the first church in Acts, that we would be united in serving each other and those around us. 

We thank you for Jesus, for his example of what a true servant looks like. We ask for the strength to emulate that kind of service for this church.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers. 

We pray for those within the church who are or feel disconnected. They are not forgotten by you or us. We pray for singles, people who are struggling with or coming out of addictions, couples who are struggling with infertility, and for many other stories we could name. 

We pray for a boldness to go towards other people. We pray they would fight against the feeling of being pushed to the edges of the church. We pray for a single mindedness toward you, and what you are doing in their lives. This is a sacred thing and we forget that. Father, it's so easy to see what you're not doing in our lives, to see you as not working, it takes effort and fortitude to not retreat away. Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, we are asking you to send away the despair and insecurities that make us prone to do our unhealthy lives. We've become comfortable in our sin or complacency.

Would you be a shield about them, protecting them from the arrows of judgement; judgement from others, satan, and especially from themselves – that they would fight for the light in the dark nights of their soul. Especially for those who are wandering through the dessert, questioning you and doubting you. You have given them these circuitous routes, and yet, we pray they could also see the manna you provide, the water you give from a rock, how you lead them with a cloud by day, a fire by night. how you provide provision that is careful, intentional, and intensely personal. You have the power to bring about your promises – whenever it pleases you. May they seek to be led by you and look forward to the day when their sun shall no more go down, nor the moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be their everlasting light. As they ache and feel your timing that is not their timing, as they feel the brokenness in this world, may they ultimately long for heaven, and long for Jesus to come. In many things and in many ways, please bring healing. Finally, we pray for mercy in not leading them into temptation but delivering them from evil. The battle of physicality and strength is real. Help them to choose that God knows what's best for them, trusting his laws and commands are for their blessing and joy in following him.

For all of us God, may your love be more compelling than that of this world, that you would strengthen those to follow after your will and still have hope, in and for the long haul. May we find our worth and healing in the safest of places.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers.

We pray for our political leaders. Men and women who have been entrusted with leadership over our country, states, cities, and towns. We pray that they would be given wisdom, humility, and ability to lead where they have been called to lead. Give them servants hearts that work for the common good vs their own name and career. Give them understanding to solve difficult and complex problems. Give them the ability to inspire those that they lead to join in unity the effort to preserve the good things that you have blessed this country with, but also to renew what which is broken and in need of renewal. Give them fortitude to persevere in doing what is right when things are difficult, but also humility to repent when they err.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers. 

For all the peoples of the world, that they might see the glory and power of your creation: “the earth is the Lord’s” and “those who dwell therein.” Our Father, you “laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of [your] hands.” “For by [you] all things were created…all things were created through [you] and for [you]…[you] are before all things, and in [you] all things hold together.”

For the body of Christ, that we may be stewards of the gifts you have given us. That we may prophesy, serve, teach, exhort, contribute, lead, and do acts of mercy. “…Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” and pursue your will wholeheartedly.

For ourselves – your people with whom you have entrusted with the gospel and who are bound to give an account – we pray for wise and discerning minds. “As each [of us] has received a special gift,” help us to “employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

May we be joyous caretakers of your creation. For it is written: “…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully… God is able to make all grace abound to [us], so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, [we] may abound in every good work.” “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Amen. 

TCC Featured Member - Jack

This week, we're following along with our new featured member, Jack. Make sure to check out our Instagram account to see life behind the lens with Jack. Here's a bit more about him and his life at TCC. 

What neighborhood do you live in?
Mac-Groveland

What’s your occupation?
Financial Planner

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?
I love to FaceTime people instead of calling them.
 
What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?
I really love being able to walk with the family to a lot of places in the neighborhood, and having everything be nice and close.

How long have you attended TCC?
5 years


What’s something you appreciate about TCC?
I really appreciate the way that the relationships I have with church members are not just limited to Sunday morning. Our church family has become the people we live life with throughout the week.

TCC Featured Member - Whitney

We are kicking off a new campaign to learn more about some of the people who make up our church family. This week, our featured TCC Member is Whitney. Read more about Whitney below and make sure to check out the TCC Instagram account to see what life looks like from Whitney's eyes. 

What neighborhood do you live in?
The best one: West 7th

What’s your occupation?
Photographer/Stay-at-home Mom

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?
I used to rogue milo fields every summer when I was a kid

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?
Farmers Markets

How long have you attended TCC?
6 years

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?
Our care for one another and how TCC has become our family