The True Church

I think many Christians would agree that life can be difficult and that we will all struggle with something at one time or another, but often people do not realize that those “in the ministry” suffer from the same struggles.

To some degree, those in ministry suffer from depression, anxiety, fears, etc. Most times, people in ministry will not admit that they struggle because they are afraid of what people will think about them—that maybe they will think less of them.

The truth, though, is that there are people in the Bible who struggled—for example, Elijah the Prophet, and Paul the Apostle. Experiencing some of the struggles that people in the congregation encounters is a great way for those in ministry to connect. I think it also helps the congregation to realize that they are not the only ones struggling, and that just because they are struggling it doesn’t mean that they are less of a Christian.

We are told to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and to “encourage one another” (2 Thess 5:11). These Scriptural passages would not be in the Bible if personal struggles were not a part of our lives. So in our struggles, we should turn to one another for encouragement and support. We should also draw closer to God: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). We have to do both—draw closer to one another and to draw closer to God.

Perhaps if people were more open about their struggles and we supported one another through these struggles then we can have the True Church—“All the believers were one in heart and mind… And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:32-33).

Be the “True Church”!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

I struggle

I thought about an incident that happened when I was a student at Southern Seminary. I was in a “Formations” class—a course where you learn how to pray more, read the Bible more, etc. This particular class was for female students only. I wanted that because I thought it would give us an opportunity to really discuss some of our struggles.

Around the second day we were asked about our personal devotional life. No one said anything, so I thought I would share that I really struggled to find time to read the Bible and to pray consistently. Instead of people saying how they also struggled, people just looked at me. After a few seconds of silence, I said, “I guess I’m the only one that struggles with that.”

Then a woman, who had two small children, said, “I have a two hour personal worship time every night after I put the kids to sleep.” Wow! Really? Personal worship every night for two hours with small children? Are you kidding me?

So out of the class of 20-25 students, I was the only one that struggled. I found that hard to believe.

I’m not sure why people pretend that their lives are so perfect. We know that humans are not perfect so their lives wouldn’t be perfect either. If we never admit to one another that we struggle then how could we carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)?

The way I see it, if a person is not experiencing spiritual struggles then there’s no growth happening.

To me, it’s a lot like exercising the body. When a person is working out then there will be sore muscles, but the person who doesn’t work out will not have soreness.

In the same way, those who are trying to grow in their spiritual walk will experience struggles because the very act of spiritually growing results in struggles. In other words, there would be no need for Satan to attack or discourage someone if that person was not trying to grow closer to God.

Just as a foot needs the leg and the finger needs a hand, Christians need one another. Stop pretending to be perfect, and admit that you need help. We all need some form of accountability so that someone can encourage us to keep going.

In 1 Corinthians 12:24-27, it says,

“…God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (NLT).

Christianity isn’t a “one-man show.” It’s teamwork—we can’t do life alone, we need each other.

I struggle to read the Bible and pray consistently. How about you?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Nomad

My family and I have lived in Ohio for about six years now. That’s a long time, although the longest time I have ever spent in one place was when we lived in Ormond-by-the-Sea—we were there for 12 years.

I’ve moved so many times during my life. It all started when I was 6-months-old, when my parents moved to Japan. I lived there for the first four years of my life, speaking the language fluently by the time I was three-years-old. From there we moved to the Philippines for about a year, then we moved to California.

I’ve lived in several cities in California: Long Beach, Inglewood, Los Angeles, and Fontana. When I was 15-years-old, I moved to Subic Bay Philippines and stayed there for three years then moved back to California for a brief period before going to Army basic training in Columbia, South Carolina. After Basic, I moved to San Antonio, Texas (where I met my husband). I moved back to California after training, but a few months later I moved to Florida to get married.

Even in Florida, we moved around. We lived in Ormond Beach for a few months after the wedding then moved to South Daytona. After a year or so, we moved to Orlando. We were there for a year then moved to Kissimmee. Three years later, we were back in Ormond Beach and settled in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

Twelve years after, we moved to Simpsonville, Kentucky. Five years later we moved to East New Market, Maryland (we attended church in Hurlock, Maryland and for a brief period, I taught at a school in Seaford, Delaware). Two and a half years passed and then we moved to Ohio.

Unlike a lot of people, I have no hometown.  I don’t know what it’s like to be in a place all my life, where family had been there for several generations.

Maybe it’s good that I don’t have a hometown because my love for my home would get in the way with my love for God; or I might harbor pride for my place of residence instead of placing my all in Christ.

Abraham was a nomad (Genesis 12 & 13)—he didn’t have a hometown either, but he had God. I might not have a hometown, but God is with me wherever I am so I don’t mind being a “nomad.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

My teaching philosophy

My church ministry calling is to counsel and teach people within the congregation and surrounding community.  I have gained valuable teaching experience through the public and private school system, through Sunday school and adult discipleship classes, facilitating on-campus classes and through online teaching.  The short-term goal is teaching a curriculum or subject, but the long-term goal is to help form and shape the vessel that God can use for His glory.

I feel that God is calling me to teach, mentor, and influence the next generation.  I find great satisfaction in teaching others from a Christ-centered perspective.  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The advantage of a Christian education is that basic scholastic learning allows the learner to realize God’s general revelation, while the study of Christian doctrine exposes God’s special revelation to students.  I believe teaching in a Christ-centered environment is a more holistic educational approach.

Several Bible verses guide my teaching.  Colossians 3:23 reminds me that I must do my work for the Lord, while Ephesians 2:10 and John 15:16 tells me that through Christ, God has prepared me for the work that He has given me.  In order for me to be a good teacher, I must be faithful in both my growth in Christ (2 Peter 3:18; Micah 6:8) and my love for others (1 John 4:21; John 15:12).  As a Christian, I believe everything is “theological.”  Not only is my worldview a Christian one, but everything I see around me points to the Creator God.  For example, the “Great Man” theory of leadership claims that leaders are born, but this is only part of the explanation.  The Bible says that God gifts people with certain abilities (Romans 12:6), and “all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:12).  So, leaders are not simply born to be leaders, they are created by God with abilities to lead. 

I believe in all that we do, we should do it as if for the Lord (Col. 3:23).  My desire is to help people grow in their relationship with Christ.  I see a need to help believers build a stronger understanding of what it means to be a Christian.  The Bible should always be the starting point in teaching any subject matter, and the basis for which all facets of life is evaluated.  Christians should be encouraged to infuse their faith with their everyday life, and the role of Christian schools is to reinforce the Bible into one’s personal life philosophy and decision making.  Christianity is not only what the person does, but also what a person is.

I think everyone should have a personal philosophy– what drives you to do what you do, and how do you go about in doing it? So what is your personal philosophy?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti