CLICK HERE! - Online Church Bulletin

“Father, Forgive”

As you prepare your hearts and minds for our Thanksgiving worship this coming Sunday, November 24th, please read and reflect upon Luke 23:33-43.

It may seem a bit odd to preach on the meaning and the power of Jesus’ crucifixion the Sunday before all of the Thanksgiving festivities. Upon further reflection, though, what could we be more thankful for than God’s gracious act of self-giving love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I’ve been hearing the term “crisis” with greater frequency these days.

–Our world is in crisis.

–Nations are in crisis.

–Churches and schools are in crisis,

–Individuals, marriages, and families are in crisis.

How is a crisis defined? What constitutes a crisis?

Consider this definition:

The noun crisis comes from the Latinized form of the Greek word krisis, meaning “turning point in a disease.” At such a moment, the person with the disease could get better or worse: it’s a critical moment. The etymology of the term “crisis” shares a relationship with the term “Christ.”

Life is about choices. If we find ourselves in a crisis, we can choose to embrace the power of the crisis or the power of Christ. I choose to embrace Christ and hold on to his everlasting promises.

The only crisis which has ever existed is the corruption of the human heart. On the cross, Jesus took our disease of sin upon himself, thus offering us the opportunity to be forgiven, loved, and free.

If you ever visit England, be sure to spend time in the city of Coventry, northwest of London.

During WWII, The Coventry Blitz (blitz: from the German word Blitzkrieg meaning “lightning war” struck the beautiful city with relentless force. The city was bombed many times by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). The most devastating of these attacks occurred on the evening of 14 November 1940 and continued into the morning of 15 November.

Christians of Coventry took two  charred embers and made the form of a cross with the inscription “Father Forgive.”

While serving a previous church, I would join in a duet with one of our choristers who has a lovely soprano voice. We sang “Give Thanks” every Thanksgiving Sunday. The hymn, written by Henry Smith in 1978 is based on Luke 1:49–53.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give thanks
We give thanks to You

This Thanksgiving as you feast with family and friends at your table, give thanks to the Holy One for giving us Jesus Christ.

Rev. Jim

Wellness Tips We Can Learn From a Dog

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone you love is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you (advisedly/carefully).

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout — run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

One of my deepest beliefs is that God gives us dogs (and other domestic pets) to teach us things that God wants for us to know and practice.

The Holidays are quickly approaching. While they can be joyful occasions, they can also be stressful. Love one another as Christ (and your pet) loves you.

Daily prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be just half the person my dog thinks I am.”

In Christian Love,

Rev. Jim

Feeding The One Who Fed Me

During the month of January, 2018, I had the privilge of being in Virginia with my mother — the one who gave birth and life to me on January 17th, 1961. During my visit, she was not able to feed herself. I found myself feeding the one who fed me for so many years. She provided me with food, shelter, clothing, and education. She fed me even more by giving to me the Bread of Heaven. She offered to me the knowledge of God’s love fully revealed in Jesus Christ. She planted seeds of faith within my heart which would later be interpreted as a call to ministry. My mother was present to hear my borning cry. She witnessed my baptism, college and seminary graduations, and my ordination.

I will be with her again this  coming Labor Day weekend. She has asked me to be present with her, and to pray with her. By God’s grace, I plan to fly to Virginia on August 28th and return on Sunday afternoon, September 1st.

Rev. Richard Laster has graciously agreed to officiate at all three services of Word and Table. Richard and Susan are yet another gift of God’s unfailing grace and spiritual enrichment to Trinity UMC.

Discover the Many Life-Calming Devices at Trinity!

I saw this sign while making a hospital visit and thought it was funny. I’ve always called these speed bumps!
Join us at Trinity UMC. We have many life-calming devices ahead!
— inspiring traditional and contemporary worship
— Sunday School for all ages
–musical opportunities for all ages
–ministry and mission opportunities for everyone
–THE WELL weekly on Wednesday nights at 5:30 p.m. (Community meal and classes)
–Fun annual events (Pumkin Patch, VBS, Breakfast with Santa/Easter Bunny, and more)!

Martha’s Vineyard

What a gift our Missions Committee (Jean Peterson, Chair) is to Trinity United Methodist Church. One of their fundraisers is to sell flowers in the spring and the fall. My wife, Martha, is always excited to place her order. She enjoys planting them, too. You can’t see it in this picture, but I purchased an outdoor sign which reads, “Martha’s Vineyard!” This spring, the committee raised approximately $1,100 in flower sales.

Another major fundraiser is our Church Garage Sale — huge props to Tim & Jacquelyn Harper and all of their team. We made right at $3,650 this year.

Our Missions Committee is a powerful, Spirit-driven force in our church. Here’s what’s happening now:

Ladies: Please bring any of your gently used purses that you no longer use to the church no later than Sunday, May 6th. They will be filled with women’s products and distributed to women in need at “Friends of the Family” on Mother’s Day. If you bring them on a Sunday, please put them inside the benches in the narthex. You’ll notice the seating benches. Simply lift the top and place the purses inside. If you bring them during the week, please bring them to the church office.

“In Silence We Await”

Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some Christians recognize Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus “rested” from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” There was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.

After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60Mark 15:46Luke 23:53-54John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of somber reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.

Indeed, without the resurrection of Christ, we would be in dire straits. If Christ had never been raised, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The disciples had scattered when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50), and they spent the first Holy Saturday hiding for fear of also being arrested (John 20:19). The day between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection would have been a time of grief and shock as the stunned disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes.

The only biblical reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday—the day of Preparation—the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. This visit was on the Sabbath, since the Jews reckoned a day as starting at sundown. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days (John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty. The Lord had risen. (Source:

“Killing Jesus”

–written by Trinity’s Rebecca Jo Earls for Good Friday, 2018


Lights go off, heads bow during a prayer. Man dressed in a robe and sandals enters, takes his place. After prayer, soft light focuses on him.


“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is…”


(Interrupted by 3 dramatic clangs of a hammer)


“Wait!  Did you hear that – that awful sound?”


Places hands over ears for a moment)


“You can’t hear that hammer, pounding again and again against those bloody nails?


It had never bothered me during my many years as a Roman soldier – not once. And I was good at my work. I knew precisely how to position the body and where to place those nails for maximum effect. The length of torture and pain a man endured before he tasted the sweet release of death was all in my hands.


But before you judge me too harshly, please know that I had a wife and two sons to clothe and feed – what choice did I have?  I was a soldier, and a soldier does what he is commanded to do.  So I did my duty.  Each week I raised my hammer high and swung hard – there was no room for moral contemplation.


My heart became so calloused that I barely heard their screams for mercy as I drove metal into flesh and sent blood splattering about my tunic.


Then came that day – the day a man named Jesus was to be crucified. The one they called King of the Jews. Ha!  How dare this imposter – this lunatic – put himself above Caesar and call himself King? Soon he would be just another bloody corpse for the worms…


Turns out he was no different than the rest. He screamed, bled and cried just like the man before him. He looked like no king now.  I took pride in my work, for this man surely deserved his sentence.


In my zeal to end his life, I barely felt the weight as we hoisted his cross high up in the air – the sooner he hung for all to see, the better.  Now everyone would see the Jew for what he really was – just an ordinary, pathetic man. The other men and I enjoyed mocking this “King.” We hurled insult after insult as some gathered nearby and cast lots for his garments.


Then this man, this bloodied mess of torn flesh, raised his head towards the Heavens and through split lips pleaded, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”


Ten simple words. But they turned my world upside down.  I had just slammed three nails into the wrists and feet of this man, and he asked God to forgive me? To forgive ME?  I still had his blood on my hands, and he wants to forgive ME???


The day this man called Jesus lost his life, I found mine.  I no longer wear the uniform of Rome. I left behind my bloody armor and hate-riddled heart and took my family into hiding. How could I go back to my old way of life after that?  I had found my Lord and I would never be the same.

But my hands….how can I get past what these hands have done?

I won’t deny it was my nails that bound Him to the cross.  Only later did I realize – it wasn’t the nails that kept Him on that cross – no – it was His all-consuming love for me, and you, and all humanity that held Him there.

Yes, it was Love that took Him to the cross and kept Him there…Love.”

(Bows head – lights off).


“Killing Jesus” –Rebecca Jo Earls