by Michael Cheng
Forgive me, for I have sinned.
For as “the Child is father of the Man,” so have I failed to honor you, my father.
For you were hungry and I gave you no food;
You were thirsty and I gave you no drink;
You were naked and I did not clothe you.
When the Lord called out to you, I filled your ears with the voices of Legion.
When the Lord planted you in good soil, I dug you up and tossed you onto stony ground. 
When your heart yearned for the Lord, I bound you to the rock with lust and desire, greed and envy, sloth and despair, fear and loathing.
So you pled for death above all else. The Lord heard your blood cry out and in His pity, He transformed you into a wraith.
Pastor Johnny shares his perspective on the new “Noah” movie. From where he’s coming from, it’s not something to be mad about, but instead an opportunity to reflect on the bigness of God.
Catterfly Still Processing
Confusion. Wickedness. Violence. Death. New Life. All the things you would expect from any film realistically based on anything that happens in this world. But there are few stories that describe the human condition and its consequences quite like those in the Bible. Lies. Rape. Murder. The very vilest acts conceivable. And redemption more beautiful than you would think possible.
It is to that world, primitive though not totally unlike our world today, that we are introduced in “Noah,” the big-budget film starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. And without going into too much analysis, or dropping spoilers (in case you don’t already know the ending), I just want to express what I took away from the movie. For someone who has read and heard stories from the Bible since my earliest memories, it gave me a fresh look at a story I have encountered…
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Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”
The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
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In this social experiment, unsuspecting people walked by relatives pretending to be homeless. Would they notice their family members? Or have the homeless become invisible? Watch how each person reacts after the big reveal in the video below.
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I’m a sucker for a movie with an intriguing science fiction premiss. Even if, almost without fail, the premiss is better than the movie itself. Because a good sci-fi premiss is more than a plot device, it’s a moral question.
One premiss I sometimes come back to is the set-up for the Box. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the ending , but the movie asks a simple question: Would you cause a stranger’s death if it meant you would be richly rewarded?
Reflections on Albert Hung’s Sermon “The Sinner’s Friend”
By Juan Zung
Sometimes being right isn’t really the point. Sometimes being right isn’t even right.
In the case of gay rights, the fight is already over. Americans, ever devoted to the principles of freedom and opportunity, have reached a tipping point. Larger systems will take time to work out the details. But we see, in pure numbers, even among evangelical and conservative young people, the change has already happened. People accept that LGBT Americans deserve the same rights as straight ones.  This, I believe, is the right position.
The problem, and it’s a big problem, is that a lot of people that we still love still aren’t there yet, and might never get there. They still hold what many of us consider to be wrong and bigoted ideas.
I’m actually lucky. My parents have a “live-and-let-live” approach to other peoples’ love lives. They’d never interfere with who’s marrying who. It’s not a moral position, but, as they’ve told me, they just don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s future.
But other folks, like my spouse, have overtly anti-gay activist parents. Parents that lament her pro-gay positions and have engaged her in emotional debates on the politics, theology and morality of homosexuality. It’s easy for me to just write them off.
The following thoughts are controversial, but I feel this needs to be said.
After the mess created by World Vision’s changed employee policy, I am more supportive than ever of Evangelical Christianity and its leaders. Franklin Graham, Denny Burk, Albert Mohler Jr., and John Piper: Thank you so much for presenting a reasonable and compassionate perspective, and helping Christians everywhere to live as Jesus did, to love as he calls us to. Now more than ever, I have no desire to distance myself from the institution that has become of Evangelical Christianity, for it has remained true to the real person and presence of Jesus Christ himself.
I mean, a social justice organization with a Christian foundation has no business changing policies about how gay Christians involved in a legal marriage are employed. And when they do, supporters are completely justified in cutting their contributions to the organization. Because that’s all they are supporting anyway right? The organization? That’s why I support World Vision. It provides me the opportunity to send my money to a building, where someone will use my money to help “those poor people” in other parts of the world. You know, those faceless people. I don’t have to get my emotions involved by supporting an individual child, a child with a name, a family (sometimes), goals and aspirations. If I am not satisfied with this organization’s policies, I can always just cut off my contributions and send my money elsewhere, because it’s not impacting anyone in particular. And if they offend me, and then they recant and I am satisfied, I can always just call and pick up another sponsor kid. Could be the same kid, maybe not. Whatever. Continue reading
It never fails: pizza draws attention like few things I’ve ever seen.
Every week, when I go onto our local public high schools to meet with the on-campus Christian clubs, I bring pizza with me. It comes out of our church’s Local Impact budget, used as a way to bless the students and teachers, and to help students get to club quickly without having to stand in line for lunch. It’s a way to show our local schools that Trinity Church cares about them, and even those not part of the club–like administration, security guards, and other teachers, for example–have taken notice. And the sponsor teachers love it because they can use the leftovers as rewards for their good students.
Because let’s face it. There aren’t many teens who don’t like pizza. I can’t even count how many wide-eyed, open-mouthed stares I’ve received while carrying those Little Caesar’s boxes through the campuses. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to “hook it up.” And the reaction always starts the same: “Awww, pizza!” Hardened, tough, too-cool-for-school guys: “Awww, pizza!” Popular girls busy reapplying their makeup: “Awww, pizza!” The couple making out in the hall before class: “Awww, pizza.” Even parents, as they’re taking their sick kid home: “Awww, pizza!”
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There’s a question, a powerful question, that I’ve had to ask myself: If I could undo the bad things that have happened to me, would I?
The answer should be easy. It should be, yeah, for sure. Getting rid of as much bad stuff as you can is so logical, so pure in its obviousness. Who wouldn’t erase their pain if they could?
Reminds me of a movie:
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” by Skah-Fee Studios
By Johnny Cabrera
This past Sunday, television and social media were all abuzz with news of award winners, best and worst dressed, and John Travolta’s inability to pronounce people’s names. And I was in a small coffee shop with my friends, putting on a show. In the middle of our busy lives, we came together, rehearsed, got all sweaty setting up, to bring music to a street corner in Montebello. And what did we have to show for it? Besides the packed out venue, full of people listening to the very end? We raised over $350 for clean water projects in Africa. That’s 7 people who have clean water for life. And that’s truly awesome.
But that’s not even what I’m most excited about. No, even more than the numbers of people or of money, I was completely thrilled to see the Church–Christ’s body in action–happening in that place.
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This is our sixth installment of “Meet the Church” and this month we want to introduce you to Jim Whelpley. Jim has been coming to Trinity for over 30 years after spending time overseas in service. Jim continues to travel overseas to help hospitals with their equipment for heart operations on children. He continues and loves to serve and this is his story.
Jim is always full of funny jokes and a big smile.
Jim Whelpley has been part of the Trinity Church family for over 30 years and continues to lend out a helping hand with the church’s technical team. With his experience as a medical equipment engineer and dealing with machines, some may not know that his expertise goes beyond the church. In fact, he lends his knowledge and experience to different places around the world.
See Jim’s full bio on Trinity’s Facebook Page —>