For the Journey – June 2022

We all have a heavy heart. Prayers, presence and words are often the response to tragedy. We have all grieved with Uvalde, Texas this past week. Anyone who is a parent or grandparent begins to groan with the families and the loss of life of these precious children and teachers. After the initial shock of what took place, we begin to ask, “What can we do?” We cannot believe any individual could do such a horrendous act, but we are reminded that evil is evil.

There are no words that can be offered that help to explain or console. However, we can offer prayers. Prayers to God who hurts alongside all the grieving families and the community that will forever be changed. I do not have the words to share or encourage us except that God will work through all that has happened. God redeems all He allows and He is very near to the broken hearted. We also can be near to those in Uvalde through our prayers for them.

There are many who need our prayers. First and most definitely, those whose family members were killed. We also need to remember to pray for all of the first responders who both ended the conflict and began to offer help. Remember the hospital workers who received the injured and deceased. Pray for all of the school children who will remember these events and those who walked alongside them in the halls of their school. Lift up the faculty and administration as they mourn the loss of students, but also their peers. God help us all as we consider how to pray for those in need.

In the midst of all the chaos of the world, God is still moving forward. We should never let evil stop us or silence us. The answer to all of our struggles is still an authentic relationship with Jesus that transforms us and our world. In the presence of all the ugly, there is hope. Our world does not have the answer. Therefore, we must continue to do our part in declaring in our brokenness that God pursues us and desires to have a relationship with us. He has made it all possible through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior.

There are many opportunities to share hope this summer. Find your place and plug in. Vacation Bible School and summer camps are scheduled and many children and youth have already signed up. They have signed up for an opportunity to take a first step in Jesus for salvation or a next step in Christ in discipleship. Let us be in the position for God to use us in great ways this summer and every day.

This month we will say goodbye to Larry Danks. I am forever thankful for the time Larry has served as our Minister of Worship. He and Mary Pat have faithfully served the LORD in life as well as Trinity Baptist Church. We will be hosting a Retirement Celebration for Larry on Sunday, June 26th from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will have a brief presentation at 3:30 for Larry and Mary Pat. Church members are encouraged to bring a card expressing their love and appreciation to the Danks for their faithful and outstanding ministry among us.

The summer will be full of opportunities to be involved both in prayer support and active engagement. Let’s join together as we see God working among us to declare His goodness and purpose.

 

In Christ,

 
 

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For the Journey – May 2022

What a wonderful blessing and honor it was to celebrate our Risen LORD on Resurrection Sunday. We are still meeting those who came to experience the Victor and are returning to worship with us. God is blessing as we continue to visit with others and make plans for baptisms. On Easter Sunday morning we had 710 worship with us on campus and another 210 worship with us online. Praise the LORD!

There are holes in our building, but that is a good thing. The builders have penetrated the exterior walls and have now joined our established building to our new building. It looks amazing. We are beginning to get a glimpse of what our new facility will bring our way. We have begun our third year of our pledges and Trinity Baptist Church has gone above and beyond. We are so fortunate to serve the God who meets our needs and provides for our direction together. I am anticipating a day, in just a few more months, when we will be gathering to dedicate new opportunities for ministry through TBC because of God’s provision of gathering space and discipleship. These are exciting days.

The month of May will bring great ministry opportunities our way. The Encore Senior Adult Days, highlighting our Prime Time Ministry, begins the month. We will recognize our graduating seniors on May 15th and welcome our two summer interns later in the month. Our Women’s Bible study and our Men’s Bible study have concluded for a brief break before the summer studies start. I am simply amazed at all the meaningful ministry taking place at Trinity.

Please be praying for both Larry and Mary Pat Danks as they draw closer and closer to Larry’s date of retirement. We will surely take advantage of appreciating the Danks for their tenured ministry of over 15 years at TBC. You will get more information next month, but be sure to put the date of Larry’s retirement reception on your calendar – Sunday, June 26th.

Also, be in prayer for our Worship Minister Search Committee as they begin the process of discovering who our next Worship minister will be. I appreciate this committee’s dedication to pray and I know they would cherish your prayers for them as well.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

In Christ,
 
 

 


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For the Journey – April 2022

“So go to the street corners and invite anyone you find.” Matthew 22:9
 
God is so faithful to put people in our path to invite to The Victor. I have heard from so many of our church members of how they have taken the opportunity to invite our community to experience the gospel story presented at Trinity Baptist Church this Easter. For those who have been attending our Midweek services, this is a “Come and See” opportunity. That is exactly how Jesus discipled Andrew and John. Of course, Jesus did not stop with come and see, but called them to follow Him and be taught by Him. The final result of Jesus’ discipling produced men and women who were making disciples of Jesus also. I hope you will take advantage of the first steps of discipling others by inviting them to come and see.
 
There are many opportunities of prayer this month, one of which is praying during Ramadan that Muslims will have dreams and God will place His witnesses before them as they open themselves up for spiritual insight. There will be prayer guides that can be picked up and also prayer reminders sent out to our Prayer Warriors who have agreed to be on our Prayer Blasts. The Holy Spirit is always convicting of sin and calling us all to truth, even those who do not believe. As Muslims focus on Allah, may the true God make Himself known.
 
Another prayer emphasis for our church is praying for our Minister of Worship Search Team. From a ballot of 21 well respected church members 7 were elected to serve. They are: Mike Cook, Lanie Ebelt, Donna Hinton, Lew King, Melissa Morris, Dan Petty, and Wiley Wilkerson. The team will be meeting soon to determine a chair and begin our process of discovering who the LORD has in store for us. You will also be hearing more about our reception for Larry Danks to take place upon his retirement. Larry has faithfully served both the LORD and Trinity Baptist Church.
 
Easter Sunday will be April 17 and we anticipate a great crowd to celebrate the resurrection of our LORD Jesus Christ on that day. There will be a special Midweek on April 13 surrounding the LORD’s supper. I hope you are making plans to be with us and inviting others to come.
 
We are truly Blessed to Bless. God has proven Himself faithful through the faithfulness of our Trinity Baptist Family. Two years of our pledges are complete and we are beginning our final year. It is exciting to see the progress from week to week of our new opportunity of ministry through our new building and space. Thank you, Trinity Baptist Church, for your faithfulness and your obedience to God’s assignment through us.
 
In Christ,
 
 
 

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For the Journey – March 2022

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7
 
God is always at work around the world. The world is paying attention to what is taking place in Ukraine as Russia aggressively has invaded. For a week we have heard from leaders and politicians and seen pictures coming over the internet. My heart goes out to the people defending their home country. So far away, I feel helpless and want to know more and do more. I have been reminded by the LORD that we are never helpless. One of the greatest things we can do at a distance and up close is to pray. I was so encouraged by those in our worship services this past Sunday who answered the call to pray together for the Ukrainian people. Thank you, Trinity Baptist Church, for responding as a church to the needs in our world.
 
On March 6th, we will be taking up a special offering to go toward the relief efforts through Texas Baptists Men. There are many ways individuals can send support through other organizations like Samaritans Purse and Ceri International, but we have an ongoing channel to support many relief efforts through TBM. The offering given on March 6th will go directly to the international relief. I want to invite you to also join me at noon every day to pray wherever you are for this conflict and watch and see how God will use this for His glory.
 
We will also begin the selection process for our Minister of Worship Search Team on Sunday, March 6th. Nomination ballots will be available and each church member can make up to three nominations only. Nominations may also be submitted on March 13th. Ballots will be received in our offering boxes. From the names nominated, a final ballot of 21 church members will be voted on in a special called Member Meeting on March 27th in all three worship services. We have been blessed beyond measure with the ministry and leadership of Larry Danks. We will continue to be blessed until his retirement at the end of June. Let us be in prayer for this new search team that will be formed this month as they seek our next Minister of Worship.
 
I am being asked around town about our building progress. Many have told me they have been watching the work being completed. Several have commented that they noticed when the three crosses were secured to the outside wall. These are folks from our community and not church members. We are in a great position to respond to God’s faithfulness in our Faith Family as God has continued to make His assignment known to us. We are truly blessed to be a blessing.
 
In Christ,
 

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For the Journey – February 2022

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” Psalm 103:2-5
 
No matter what time in any year, we should exclaim with David our praise for all the benefits of God. We were blessed in 2021 with the faithfulness of God because we were in the position to receive His blessing. God is always faithful. We anticipate God’s continued faithfulness in 2022, hopefully remaining in the position to receive it. Today is the day to take the first step in faith or the next step in faith.
 
We are moving in a direction of getting ready for what the LORD is sending our way. At Midweek we are looking at the ways Jesus did discipleship. If we take to heart Jesus’ message, method, model and mission, then we too may see discipleship take on a new dimension for us. We hope to see many taking a first step in faith while many more take their next step of discipleship.
 
Every year brings change. Some we long for and others we simply receive. One change that is taking place as you read these words is the transition in the Pastor’s office. Mary Pat Danks has been my ministry assistant for over nine years. She has been such a blessing and will be missed. God blessed me with her assistance and has blessed the church as well, through all she has done to help put Trinity Baptist Church in the best place. By now you should have heard that Larry Danks will be retiring at the end of June. We have been blessed for over 15 years with Larry’s ministry and leadership and there is still much more to say in the months to come. For now, Sue Owens will be taking over as the Pastor’s Ministry Assistant. She and her husband, Tommy, have been members of Trinity Baptist Church for more than four years. She and Tommy have both been very involved and engaged in the ministries and mission of our church. We continue to be blessed by the LORD giving us a good team.
 
Good things are coming. God is faithful. Yes, God has blessed us with an incredible team and will continue to place His team here as we listen to His direction and follow. To God be the glory, great things He has done, is doing, and will do. We are always Blessed to Bless.
 
In Christ,
 
 
 

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For the Journey – January 2022

Happy New year Trinity! I am reminded today, as I write this article, that God is moving forward. His promise in the past is His promise for the  future. God has plans for us. His plans include prospering us and not harm us. His plans include giving us hope and a future. I view the timing of hope in a present perfect tense; a past event that carries present benefits. God is faithful in bringing about His design and plan of reconciling the world to Himself.

I so enjoyed our Christmas series, “At Just the Right Time”. To submit our timing to God’s timing is not always easy. However, when we do submit to God’s timing, and look in both directions, we see God’s faithfulness in the past, coupled with God’s empowered assignment for the future. We have a story to tell because People Must Know.

God has blessed Trinity with next step relationships and decisions for future growth and health. We are moving closer to putting our Blessed to Bless commitments in action as we will use a new facility and gathering space for God’s glory. God is honored and we are continually blessed by the faithfulness of Trinity members who have joined the LORD in the ministry ahead of us. It is so rewarding to stop and consider the faithful offerings of Trinity members who have faithfully given to our cooperating effort of reaching others for Christ.

The year, 2021, brought many opportunities for ministry and next steps as it comes to following the LORD. I anticipate that 2022 will be no different as we combine our spiritual giftings and blessings to serve God in our community. To God be the glory, great things HE is bringing our way.

I am excited about our assignment together as a family of faith. God has plans for us that will not only prosper us but will provide the hope and future we desire and that God has planned.

In Christ,
 
 

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For the Journey – December 2021

I love the Christmas story presented in the gospel of John. “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
 
Christmas is full of symbolism and storytelling. The season of Christmas affords us great opportunities to consider God’s great love for us. We pass along family traditions while considering new ones each year. Traditions may change from daughters to grandsons. But every Christmas brings back fond and cherished memories.
 
We count down the days until Christmas and the giving of gifts as well as counting down the days until we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The celebration of the first advent gives great hope to our anticipation of the second advent to come.
 
Trinity celebrates the Christmas season in many ways. Inside our newsletter, you will find the many opportunities to join with us as we remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth. It is such a blessing to see our faith family together so often. I trust it will be no different this month.
 
In preparing for our Christmas sermon series I have been reminded of God’s timing. At Just the Right Time, we will cover not only the prophecy concerning Christ’s birth, but also God preparing the way; God revealing His favored one; God revealing His faithful one; and God sending Jesus, His Son. We are truly blessed and loved by our heavenly Father.
 
The stage is set, the actors are ready, the choirs rehearsed, and the worship scheduled. Don’t miss any opportunity to be with those who love you in the presence of the One who loves us most.
 
“But from everlasting to everlasting, God’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children, with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” Psalm 103:17-18
 
Merry Christmas!
 

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For the Journey – November 2021

“I will give thanks to You, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2
 
Thank you, Trinity Baptist Church, for appreciating our Ministerial staff so well during Pastor Appreciation month. We were blessed by all your cards and kind words and gracious gifts. It was very rewarding to be on Sabbatical this month and have the opportunity to just sit and think and pray.
 
The LORD opened up a place for me to go and spend quality time resting and reflecting. It was somewhat off the grid with a little electricity from solar panel but no refrigerator. I got to go back to my days of camping with my family and having to keep our food on ice. My routine each day included a bike ride around the property covering portions of loops more than once, allowing me to accomplish over 7 miles each morning. I would sit in the swing on the cabin porch and journal after riding. Never underestimate what can be accomplished by sitting and swinging on a porch.
 
One thing the LORD brought to mind as I was journaling and watching the nature around me was the awareness of squirrels and deer that blended in so well with the landscape. They were very camouflaged but visible. The thought immediately came to mind that we are sometimes so busy, going from place to place and doing this activity and that activity, that we certainly miss some of the landscape around us. Whether that landscape be animals or people, it is worth slowing down and focusing on the moments God places before us.
 
There is no better time to stop and consider all God is doing around us than at this season of giving thanks. I love that November and Thanksgiving precede December and Christmas. We ought to always be grateful and remember God’s love through Christ’s coming. Our calendar puts us in the position to let the world know what we are truly thankful for and to Whom our gratitude is given.
 
It was good to be away. It is even better to be back in Kerrville and anticipating the good God has placed before us as a Faith Family. Find a swing, find a place, where you can sit and see what God is doing. Let’s be thankful together.
 
“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” Psalm 103:17-18
 
We are truly blessed to bless.
In Christ,
 

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For the Journey – October 2021

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a
 
Eugene Peterson’s book, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society,” shares timeless truths based upon biblical foundations. The Christian life has been described in many ways. One that seems to resonate with me is that of a race. Track meets hold different events allowing many athletes to compete in their specific fields. I think the endurance events better describe the life of a Christian. It is not a quick race, but rather a strategic and long one.
 
Ranatunge Karunananda was a long-distance runner who represented his country of Sri Lanka. In the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, he was described as the most spirited loser in Olympic history. In the 10,000 meter race, Karunananda was overtaken by the leaders and by the end of the race had been lapped four times by winner Billie Mills from the United States. Karunananda continued to run. At first, he was met by jeers from the crowd as he chose not to quit. Then as he continued to run, the jeers became cheers. As he crossed the finish line there was applause from the entire
stadium for his effort of perseverance and completion.
 
When asked about his running, he responded, “The Olympic spirit is not to win, but to take part. So I came here. I took part in the 10,000 meters and completed my rounds.” Yes, Paul tells us to run in such a way as to win in 1 Corinthians 9:24, but what is the real reward? Is it a ribbon or medal? Or could it be the race itself and the lessons learned in the journey? Paul speaks of training so that when the time comes he is not disqualified for his race. We should also take aim at our effort, but do so with our focus on Jesus who authors and perfects faith.
 
God is blessing our journey together. There are many who are running in the same direction with a long obedience. Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s assignment among us. May we continue to see the blessings of our race together as we give honor and glory to God.
 

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