Bryan Lair

The Homecoming Celebration

For more pictures, see this album

On February 7th, we gathered for our Homecoming Celebration – our first Sunday Gathering back at 1849 Marshall Avenue. The sermon celebrated the reality of Christ being the cornerstone of this local church. He is the foundation of this church, the source of our identity, and the ultimate purpose for our mission.

The day included a Macalester alum playing bagpipes right before the service, which you could hear from blocks away. We gathered with those who consider Trinity City Church their church family, those who were checking us out for the first time, those who are exploring the Christian faith, and many supporters and ministry partners who came to celebrate with us. We sang songs, prayed prayers, read and preached the Scriptures, and communed with Christ and one another at the Lord's Table. Before many of us went back into our neighborhoods, homes, and places of work, we enjoyed Izzy's Ice Cream together – salted caramel, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip.

Above all, we gave glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We gave God glory for his good gifts we enjoyed that day, but more than that, for giving us himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It's good to be home. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”).

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Posted by Pastor Bryan

Walking Home

Group Pic Return to 1849 Marshall

Group Pic Return to 1849 Marshall

On January 31, we gathered for our last time of corporate worship at 1935 Princeton Avenue. When the Sunday Gathering ended, we packed up our things and walked to our new home – three years to the Sunday from when we walked away from 1849 Marshall Avenue.

Last Time At Princeton

Last Time At Princeton

We walked east on Princeton Avenue to Fairview Avenue, and then turned north to walk to Marshall Avenue. The walk is a little over one mile and took about 20 minutes. Once we arrived at 1849 Marshall, everyone gathered in front of the meetinghouse doors for a group picture – another historic moment captured in front of these building doors (see picture at top of the post).

Walk Back To Marshall

Walk Back To Marshall

We dispersed from the picture and then celebrated in the fellowship hall by eating some chili, which is also what we enjoyed together three years ago before leaving 1849 Marshall. We ended our time together with our Annual Meeting, which concluded with us walking around the building to pray for those who would be blessed by the Lord in this place.

While walking up Fairview, a neighbor coming down the sidewalk looked at all the people walking behind me and said, "You have a big family." This tongue-in-cheek comment is more accurate than this neighbor realized. Like any local church, Trinity City Church is a family of brothers and sisters because our Father adopted us as sons and daughters in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Now this family owns a home. What a gift from our Lord – this building, this walk, this entire experience! The celebration continues on Sunday, February 7th. We're inviting everyone to our Homecoming Celebration at 10am. Come join us! We'll have bagpipes, Izzy's ice cream, and best of all the Lord Jesus to share.

Chili in the Fellowship Hall at 1849 Marshall

Chili in the Fellowship Hall at 1849 Marshall

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Posted by Pastor Bryan Lair

Advent & Christmas 2015

Take Heart EFCA
Take Heart EFCA

In the church calendar, the season of Advent begins on Sunday, November 29th and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24th). The season of Christmas begins on December 25th and lasts until January 5.

In order to help us prepare for this season, here are descriptions of each season and a free devotional resource.

Advent

Here is how The Worship Sourcebook describes the season of Advent:

The great proclamation “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14) assures us that God has entered into human history through the incarnation of the Son. The season of Advent, a season of waiting, is designed to cultivate our awareness of God’s actions—past, present, and future. In Advent we hear the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming as addressed to us—people who wait for the second coming. In Advent we heighten our anticipation for the ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament promises, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away. In this way Advent highlights for us the larger story of God’s redemptive plan.

A deliberate tension must be built into our practice of the Advent season. Christ has come, and yet not all things have reached completion. While we remember Israel’s waiting and hoping and we give thanks for Christ’s birth, we also anticipate his second coming at the end of time. For this reason Advent began as a penitential season, a time for discipline and intentional repentance in the confident expectation and hope of Christ’s coming again.

Christmas

In addition, The Worship Handbook on the meaning Christmas:

At Christmas, we remember and celebrate the nativity of Christ and the mystery of the incarnation. Whereas during Advent we anticipate the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, at Christmas we identify with the angels who proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest”; with the shepherds, who were afraid but nevertheless offered worship; and with Mary, who pondered the meaning of these events in her heart (Luke 2:13-20) [...]

The Christmas season extends from December 25 through January 5 and includes at least one and usually two Sundays. Celebrating Christmas as a season helps us both to enter into the meaning of the incarnation more fully than celebrating a single day and to focus on additional Scripture texts that explore the meaning of Christmas beyond the familiar words of Luke 2.

Though North American culture considers Christmas the most important day of the Christian year, we must be careful to see the significance of Christmas in the light of all that follows, particularly Easter. In fact, Christmas is the first in a series of celebrations (Christmas, Epiphany, the baptism of our Lord, and the transfiguration of Jesus) that affirm the identity of Jesus as not only fully human but also fully divine. If the intervening weeks between these celebrations focus on the remarkable content of Jesus’ teaching and the relationships he established with his disciples, these four events anchor the church’s reflection on the meaning of Jesus’ life for our understanding of God and of the coming kingdom. Together, these celebrations prepare us for the journey toward the cross and the empty tomb.

Advent Devotional

The theme for this free devotional from the EFCA, which the image above captures, comes from Jesus’ words at the conclusion of his farewell discourse. Jesus says to the disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). This is the truth of Christmas. In the four studies, we go back to the beginning and follow the storyline of the Bible: creation, fall, redemption and consummation. What we celebrate at Christmas in the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the culmination of this story. For example, even here in John we hear Jesus refer to tribulation. We read of Jesus overcoming the world. We learn that Jesus brings peace. All of these truths have a background, which must be known in order for Jesus’ person and work to make sense. This story is vital to know if we are to understand the Christ of Christmas.

May this season of Advent and Christmas bring you closer to the Lord through a time of anticipation and celebration.

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Posted by Pastor Bryan

How to Pray for North MPLS

I recently asked Scott Ginn, the Executive Director of Antioch Ministries in North Minneapolis, how we can be praying for this community (the video below gives an overview of this ministry). Here is Scott's response:

Please continue to pray for justice and peace. Pray for our Antioch youth as they process what's happening. For some it's very traumatic, for others, they don't know much about what's going on. Our leaders are just needing discernment for how we engage with the kids and being able to know where each of them are at in their processing, and to meet them there. We are trusting God's Spirit to give us this wisdom moment by moment.

On the broader community level, pray that the police will put down their weapons and not escalate things. Pray for more transparency in the process. Pray that the protestors can continue to have the strength to be peaceful and to self-regulate those who are not being peaceful as it hurts the cause and the voice. Pray that people will seek to listen, seek to understand, learn the history of oppression in this country, because it helps put understanding to our present circumstances.

Pray that the community – all involved – will come together. I, as well as some other Antioch folks, have spent some time down at the precinct. I was there [recently] and it honestly felt like church. People bringing firewood, food, warm clothes to each other. Talking together, people praying over the space, listening to each other. Thankful hearts. Just happy to be together.

Pray for the presence of God to be there, and pray for His people to show up.

Trinity City Church, let's be in prayer.

Here is a video overview of Antioch Ministries:

Antioch_logo_and-tails
Antioch_logo_and-tails

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Posted by Pastor Bryan