The Cross

rugged-cross (1)Galatians 6:14  But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

A few years ago, a woman was critical of me and how I was dressed (I had no suit and tie on). She quickly pointed out that without my suit and tie, no one would know who the pastor is. At the time, I thought that this was a good argument. However, I thought about it a bit more and realized that this is a problem. No one should care who the pastor is, but everyone should care who Jesus is. It doesn’t matter if people know me or not, but it does matter if people know Jesus or not. I should never stand in front of Jesus, but He should be first in all things.

The truth is, I don’t want our church to be known as “Fran Trascritti’s Church,” but instead it should be known as “Jesus’ Church.” I have purposely not put my name on the new digital sign, because this shouldn’t matter anyway. I would much rather that the community knows who we are as people who love Christ than who the pastor is anyway. After all, the church should not rise and fall on the pastor, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. After all, Christ is our rock who we will praise forever.

If you are in Christ, God has a seal on you that identifies you as His own. You have been given a new identity, an identity that you are a child of God. Your love for God and your passion to exalt Him in your life is what God wants. In fact, your fame, fortune, and position in life means nothing if Christ is not in it. Don’t fall into the trap of proclaiming you and not Jesus- you are loved, and God wants His love to shine through you as you trust and rely on Him daily. Boast in nothing but the cross, allowing Christ to be known through you!

Pastor Fran

Finishing Well…

FinishingIn November of this year, I am planning to run my first ever half marathon (13.1 miles). To do this, I have to train faithfully, pushing myself beyond what I have ever done before. I will be pacing myself, adjusting my stride, mentally monitoring my pace and staying focused along the way. My wife, Teresa, will be with me along the way as she also runs in this event and I hope that we will be able to encourage each other. All in all, my hope is not to start the race well, but to finish it well.

On a similar note, Teresa and I will be attending a state convention sponsored conference soon to help us in our spiritual walk. The Finishing Well Boot Camp is a conference designed to minister to a small group of pastors and their wives. It is a chance for each of us to assess and evaluate our ministry through the eyes of Christ, to encourage us as we look to finish well in him, and to find ways to expand and pass on the ministry to the next generation of leaders. Being that this year marks my twentieth year of ministry in the Lord, this is such appropriate timing!

I am excited about the opportunity that we have to grow in God’s grace as we serve Him. Romans 1:17 says, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (NLT). This reminds me that we are all a work in progress, and we are all growing in our faith. And as we go through life, God works on us to make us right in His sight, from start to finish, by faith.

Training, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, amounts to a degree of dedication and discipline. The same questions that applies to us should also apply to you: How dedicated are you to grow? Are you growing in Christ? Are you making adjustments in your life so that you are finishing well?

Let me encourage you to assess your own walk in the Lord, see where you need to make adjustments, and run with strength and confidence in Him. In Christ, we are all in the same race, the race of life, and the prize of the upward calling in Him is what we strive for as we hear the wonderful words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” May God do a continued work in each of us!

Pastor Fran

Why Am I Discouraged?

38696_1529145115233_1432873828_31339927_4328909_nPsalm 42:5-6, 8: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God…each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.”

Many of us suffer from the roller coaster syndrome of our faith. We have up seasons in the Lord, as we develop a closeness to Him and feel His presence constantly. We also have down times, times when we are dry, almost estranged from our relationship with God. This is a confusing period, and though we may know in our heads that God will never leave us nor forsake us, we still feel so alone.

Let me encourage you: God has never left you. He is still here, and He is still present. He pours His love in abundance, a love that lets you know that even when you don’t understand the reasons, the circumstances, or the future, you still have Him. It’s a love beyond understanding, a love greater than words.

If you are struggling with discouragement, maybe it’s time to let God take control of your burdens. Maybe it’s time to pour out your heart to Him and trust in His will. God will answer in just the right way and at just the right time of the day or night- He always does. I pray that you will do as the psalmist did and place your hope in God- as you do this, may you enjoy His presence and His incredible love for you!

Pastor Fran

Worship in Pajamas?!?

Well, with worship cancelled due to the ice and awful driving conditions, I thought that I would try to do something different. I went ahead and had a Google Hangout Air with as many people as wanted to come to study the Word. Here’s the link of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mkG6ydyoiU

All in all, it was fun. Yeah, we had a troll come on and try to distract the study from the topic at hand, but it was still very worthwhile. I can see application of this tool for a variety of bible studies and content delivery for the church. With a little practice, I foresee us using Hangouts for several applications. Keep in mind that won’t replace live, person to person interaction, but it is a good alternative in circumstances like what we had or if people have to travel long distances.

So let me ask- what ways can you see this tool used for the Kingdom? If so, how?