Trinitarian Congregational Church

Remembering Ravi, Friend of Christ

By Adam Kurihara

Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias passed away today from cancer at the age of 74. He leaves behind his wife Margie of 48-years, three children: Sarah, Naomi, and Nathan, along with a global legacy of evangelism and apologetics through his organization Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. His ministry has touched people all around the world, and many right here in our community. Our “Faith and Public Conversation: Finding Purpose in an Age of Anxiety” event last March featured a keynote speaker from RZIM. It is their passion for cultivating evangelistic speakers that has drawn TCC’ers to the teaching and training of both RZIM and it’s sister organization OCCA. If you have not yet encountered the teachings of Zacharias and the RZIM speaking team, I encourage you to explore it today.

The hallmark of Ravi’s legacy for me, which was especially clear in our Q&A with Kasey Leander after our March event, and confirmed through the beautifully written obituary, was that Ravi has trained a generation not simply to defend the faith against questions from skeptics, but to love the person asking the question. It is good and noble to stand up for the Gospel in a secular world, but in doing so we often forget that our call is not to disprove their false beliefs, but love them in and through their tough questions.

From his obituary: “Zacharias was born in Madras, now Chennai, in 1946, in the shadow of the resting place of the apostle Thomas, known to the world as the “Doubter” but to Zacharias as the “Great Questioner.” Zacharias’s affinity with Thomas meant he was always more interested in the questioner than the question itself.”

From a lecture hosted by Billy Graham in 1983, Zacharias said this: “…in certain strands of evangelicalism, we sometimes think it is necessary to so humiliate someone of a different worldview that we think unless we destroy everything he holds valuable, we cannot preach to him the gospel of Christ…what I am saying is this, when you are trying to reach someone, please be sensitive to what he holds valuable.”

It seems to me that it would bring no greater joy to Zacharias than for Christians around the world to continue the work of the Gospel by loving those who doubt and question it. To not argue with skeptics but to love them. So today as we mourn with the family: his wife Margie, and their children Sarah, Naomi, and Nathan, and pray for them in their grief, let us also continue to honor Ravi Zacharias’ legacy by thinking hard about our faith, asking good and difficult questions, and loving those who don’t yet know Christ.

Ernie Bauder In Memoriam

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Ernie Bauder as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bauders have been strong pillars of this congregation for well over 50 years. Ernie was a true father in the faith at TCC. There will be time in the future when we can appropriately celebrate his life. For the time being, we mourn and grieve with Lorraine and the children, Larry, Kevin, Anita and Jeanette, and the grandchildren, extended family and friends (many of whom are at TCC). We lift the family up before the throne of grace and pray for His comfort and protection especially for Lorraine during the pandemic.

Please feel free to leave a comment below with a memory of Ernie or condolences for the family.

Pastor’s Note: The Comfort of the Word and Spirit

When Martin Luther reflected upon his ministry that literally changed the face of Christianity, he was able to say, “I did nothing, The Word did everything.”  And (not “but”) he also believed the Word was the work of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit-filled Word. There was no false dichotomy between what the Scripture teaches us (Romans 15:4) for our instruction and encouragement (the same word where we get the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7) and the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2).

When Peter a Galilean fisherman-turned-apostle  seeks an explanation for people speaking in languages they have never learned (Acts 2:1-13), Peter turns to the Word of God (Acts 2:14-35).  Joel 2:1-32 is a chapter of restoration and great comfort (Joel 2:26-27).  After the devastation in the land, the Lord promises He will restore the harvest in abundant ways (Joel 2:23-24).  Only now in Christ, it’s no longer in the form of bread, wine and olive oil (Joel 2:24), but it’s a spiritual outpouring of the Presence of Christ by His Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).  The Spirit fills us and we are filled with His Comfort (John 14:26; see 2 Corinthians 1:3-7). As we are filled with the affective experience of His presence, we are also drawn to the equally encouraging  experience of His presence in His Word (Romans 15:4).

“Lord,  pour out your Spirit upon us, our families, upon our community,  our towns, our neighborhoods. May this outpouring be of Your Spirit in Your presence and your Word.”

Then, we too will say, “we did nothing; the Word did everything.”

 

 

Daily Devotion: Reflection Questions for the Week

Reflecting on yesterday’s sermon, what are the ways our call is bi-vocational (Acts 2:16-18)?  As as stay-at-home mom or dad, professional, retiree, student, and so on, “in what ways do I need to fulfill this call to ‘prophesy” (teach the Gospel)?’  Not everyone is called to full time ministry, but everyone is called to proclaim the Good News and make disciples (our children, spouses, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.).  Ask the Lord this week to give you open doors for meaningful conversations with others.  This is a time of great uncertainty. Let Him guide you by His Spirit.

Secondly, in what ways do I need to make adjustments in my spiritual life?  Do I veer toward the Spiritual and less toward the Word? Or do I veer toward the Word, but less toward the experience of the Presence of Jesus in my life? On this “Road to Pentecost,” may we all learn to walk with Him filled with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16)!

 

 

Pastor’s Note: Glorious Confinement

How can we leverage this time of confinement in our own lives, the lives of others, and especially in our relationship with the Lord?  It seems a big leap to frame this time of trial as “glorious.”

We already know from past experiences that the glory of God hovered over the chaos of Genesis 1:1-2. He creates order out of chaos from the very first verses in the Bible to the very end in Revelation 22.  In between, the Presence of the Lord by His Holy Spirit filled the tabernacle in the trials of the wilderness journey of the Israelites (Exodus 40:34).  He filled the temple during the time of the kings in Israel (1 Kings 8:10-11).  He appeared to the exiles in Babylon in Ezekiel 1.  When Jesus dwelt on earth with us, His glory “pitched His tent” among us (John 1:14) in a clear reference to the filling of the tent in Exodus 40.

So, sure enough, when the Spirit fills the people in Acts 2:1-5, the imagery of the tent pops up again.  We ourselves have become the “tents” where the Glory of the Lord dwells!  Let this sink in. Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus is being filled with the Glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 5:1).  So yes it’s a mixed bag since the Glory of God dwells in weak vessels, our very fragile bodies (2 Corinthians 4:8).  But it’s still glorious.

So yes, in spite of all the hardships, the anxieties, the stress, the pain and suffering of separation and real loss, we cling to the Glory and the promise of His Presence: He will never leave us nor abandon us.