21-day fast and prayer testimonies

FastingLast week, we as a church concluded a 21-day fasting period. During the fast, each person spent time in prayer daily to focus on God and to deepen the relationship. The purpose of the fast was to cut out distractions from our lives such as social media or junk food and in its place spent time to draw strength from God. Along with prayer, it opened up an avenue for us to connect with our Lord and it enhanced that relationship.

Before Jesus began His ministry, he spent 40 days in fasting and in prayer. He wanted to connect with His Father. Despite the devil’s attempts to tempt Jesus away from his fast, Jesus resisted because His relationship with God was strong. Jesus depended on God for strength, not the temptations and distractions from the devil.

Several members of our church experienced great change in their lives during the three weeks of fasting and they volunteered to share their experience and testimony. We hope that these stories can inspire those who also participated in the fast; and encourage those who may be unsure about the benefits of fasting. May God continue to bless you in your journey with Him and may you draw strength from our Lord daily through prayer.

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Next Gen Youth Group Goes to Mexico!

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Azusa Pacific University’s Mexico Outreach 2014 Logo

Did you know Trinity Church is sending 15 people from the Next Gen Youth Ministry on a mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico? The trip is Saturday, July 26th-Friday, August 1st. You may not be going, but if you are part of Trinity Church, you’re part of a Next Gen Youth family, or you know any of these team members, you are part of our team!

Here are ways you can keep being part of the team and supporting us, even while we are away.

1) Click the link below to read our mission trip team newsletter. You’ll find an explanation of the trip, student and leader bios, and specific prayer requests.

NGY Mission Trip 2014 Support Newsletter

2) Use the prayer requests on the newsletter and any other needs God may reveal to you to pray daily for us, while we are gone and even this week before we leave.

3) Join us for our prayer and sendoff time, this Friday, July 25th at 7:30PM, in the Youth Room at Trinity Church. This time will be over by around 8:15.

4) Write a note of encouragement to the whole group or to a specific student. You can send your thoughts to johnny.cabrera@trinitychurchmp.com.

And please join us on Sunday, August 10th at 11:00AM, to hear a recap of the trip and testimonies from mission trip students.

We are excited to go, and we are excited to return and tell the rest of our church family about everything God showed us and all we experienced.

Look All Around: A Response

Pastor Johnny wonders about technology and social media: Do we take a step back and not get so caught up in it? Or do we embrace the many connections we have in it? The Bible gives us an approach that is neither, but so enriching to our lives.

Catterfly Still Processing

Ironically enough, there is a new YouTube viral video decrying technology (particularly mobile devices), by Gary Turk. It’s called “Look Up.” He speaks with conviction and depth; he really believes what he’s saying, and he makes some great points. His purpose is simple: don’t be so caught up with your technology that you miss the meaningful moments in life.

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Of course, there had to be response videos and blog posts. I was disappointed, but not surprised in the least, that most of them were crude or mean. One blog response basically boiled down to, “Just do whatever you want. It’s your life and it’s your choice.” Not very helpful and pretty self-centered.

Probably the best and most thoughtful one was the aptly but unoriginally named “Look Down.”  This video blogger’s counterpoint was that our technology actually allows us to make meaningful connections and…

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Have some imagination: Thoughts on Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

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

noe-poster 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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Why I Like Easter Eggs

Yesterday was Easter, and Trinity Church members came together early in the morning to try something that we hadn’t done before: We took over a corner of George E. Elder Park and held a Community Egg Hunt. For staff members and volunteers alike, it was a busy morning, but oh so fulfilling to watch kids and parents thoroughly enjoy themselves. I mean, almost any kid would love playing with bubbles and hunting for eggs filled with candy, but even the grownups got excited to see both the fire and police department there to join in the fun.  Then, gathering back together at Trinity Church for our worship celebration was the perfect way to direct our attention to the reason for the special day: Jesus is alive.

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Let the egg hunt BEGIN!

After the dust settled and I was able to collect my thoughts, a few different things came to mind. First, I was thankful. I was thankful for the friends at Trinity who spent their morning helping to make this event happen. None of it would have happened without them. Second, I was humbled. Though putting together the Community Egg Hunt was no small task for the staff members, I can genuinely say for myself that all the effort I gave was the least I could do, for Jesus who gave all of himself.

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A Declaration: Don’t Be Fooled

Posted on April 1, 2014 by Johnny Cabrera on Catterfly Still Processing

 

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

Smells Like Pizza

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Johnny Cabrera at Catterfly Still Processing.

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It never fails: pizza draws attention like few things I’ve ever seen.

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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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Coffee Houses and Churches

By Johnny Cabrera

1230013_824326624251306_1025499660_nThis 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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On Underwear, Justin Beiber, and Being Yourself

 by Johnny Cabrera III

“The most powerful person is the one who is being himself.” – T. M. (An old acquaintance I saw the other day for the first time in several years, completely out of the blue.)

I was recently commended for being someone who doesn’t pretend to be someone I am not.  I’d like to think that’s true, especially even if it paints me in a less than perfect light, but I can think of dozens of times I have at least tried out being someone I am not.  I must concede, it just doesn’t feel right.  Like the one time in high school I tried to walk up to a girl at the mall and simply ask for her number.  Couldn’t do it.  It just wasn’t me.

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I have been through phases in my life where I tried to dress a certain way to please friends or fit a style, but I always eventually come back to being most comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt.  I once tried to dress like an older friend of  mine, who liked to wear a baseball cap hooked onto her belt buckle.  I know, ridiculous right?  And I got a hat that looked like the one she had, but mine had a big “X” on it, but I didn’t know it stood for Malcolm X.  People looked at me weird for being a goofy kid walking around wearing that hat, but I just thought it looked cool.  But clothes are superficial; they are only a shadow of the real person someone is.

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Headshot - Johnny Cabrera

Johnny Cabrera: Pastor Johnny is a Mexican-American guy, married to a Korean woman, with Korexican kids. Loves Jesus. Committed to youth and community engagement. Writes and plays music. Follows sports. Misses acting. Appreciates feedback. He’s also the Youth and Outreach Pastor at Trinity Church. Check out his blog at:catterflystillprocessing.wordpress.com

What is Christmas? 8 Stories From Trinity Church

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you?

With Christmas only a couple days away, it brings back a lot of memories for some people. For others, it’s a time during the year where we reflect on the great gift God gave us with the birth of Jesus.

For everyone, there’s a different story about Christmas. Not everyone grew up with the same celebrations and for some, the story of Christmas is ever changing. Some have great family memories. Others have surprise presents.

We asked several people of our church to share their Christmas story. What was their favorite memory? What do they look forward to every year? What does Jesus’ birth mean to them?

Here are our stories:

Pastor Albert

What I love most about Christmas is that for one quiet morning, I feel as if God and my family have my full attention.  The distractions of work and the world seem to fade away and I am fully present in the moment.  I am truly content and blessed and at peace.

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