Thursday, November 7, 2013

What are the keys to effective short-term mission trips?

 This post is the addendum to my post answering the question: Why do you go on short-term mission trips?


1. Go and work with missionaries whom you already have a relationship.

Short-term trips should be a part of a much more robust missions emphasis for a church.  If missions for your church boils down to random short-term trips, you are missing out.


2. Make sure whatever you do on your trip fits into an on going framework of completing the Great Commission.

Your trip is a small stroke of paint in a much larger painting that is taking place over time in the area you are serving. Try to discern how your work in this short span fits into completing the Great Commission.  


3. Submit to authorities on the ground.

A lot of the time we feel that we know best.  Well, as an outsider in the culture, you need to go as a learner and welcome the guidance of those who will be there long after you leave not only in what you do but how you do it.  


4.  Be respectful of the culture you enter.

Find out ahead of time things that might be culturally offensive to the people you are working with and make sure you don’t do them.  Also, be ready to eat whatever they put in front of you and thank them for it!


5. Take the right number of team members.

On some trips a small team is best, on other trips a large team is best.  The key is to work with the people in the country to discern how many people are needed for the work that is at hand.


6. Take the right set of giftedness in team members.

I have been a part of all different types of mission trips.  It is important to match spiritual gifts with the work that is to be done while there.  For instance, on one trip we offered a concert to the local community where the gospel was presented.  It was necessary for us to have musicians with us for that to be possible.


7. Avoid vacation mentality.

I have been on too many trips with people on the team who constantly talked about wanting to go shopping or see the sights.  Remember you are there to serve the kingdom of God not collect trinkets. 


8. Plan ahead to maximize effectiveness.

Most of the time these trips will cover a small window of time.  Plan ahead as to how you will use your time and what resources will be needed.  Go prepared.


9.  Be flexible.

The great thing about having a plan is that you can deviate from it.  A primary key to missions is being flexible.  Things will not go as planned and you need to be ready to adapt.


10.  Have fun.

There is great joy in serving the Lord both at home and abroad, so have a good time while you are at it.

Click here for: Why do you go on short-term mission trips?

Why do you go on short-term mission trips?

Well intentioned individuals have been making a stink about how the American Church needs to dial it back on short-term trips and just stay at home.  I have come up with a list of ten reasons why I go on short-term trips as well as a list of ten keys to effective short-term mission trips.


1. Obedience to the Great Commission.

Jesus left us with the words: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)
Picture from our trip to Haiti.
A consolidated literal translation of the Greek could read “as you are going: make disciples, baptize them, and teach them.”  This has 2 implications: 1. Jesus expects his disciples to be going.  2. The going does not exclusively mean to the other side of the world.  As you are going about your day at work or school today, make disciples.  The best people to go on mission trips are those who are adept at making disciples where they live.

2. To get to experience what God is doing in the world. 

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:9-10)
Picture from soccer outreach camp in Calgary.
Every time I go on a mission trip, I am reassured and challenged by the fact of how big my God is.  Wherever I have been, (Indonesia, Calgary, Romania, Spain, Haiti, Mississippi, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Guatamala) I have found that the same God whom I know and love is at work in those places redeeming and restoring his creation.  I walk away with a proper view of myself in light of the grandeur of almighty God over the nations.

Christianity takes on cultural forms wherever it goes.  I find experiencing Christianity in different cultures helpful for me in stripping away the cultural baggage added to genuine Christianity in my life.

3. To be a blessing to those who are there.

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments…Do your best to come before winter.” (2 Tim. 4:13, 21)

Worshiping in the home of missionaries in Spain.
Since the origin of missions in the first century, it has been a task that is not accomplished alone.  The apostle Paul was reliant even to the end of his life on fellow believers throughout the world to help support him and encourage him in his ministry.  If Paul needed support and encouragement, our missionaries today who are on the frontlines definitely do. 

One of my goals in a short-term trip is for the missionaries remaining after we are gone to feel encouraged and uplifted by us being there.


4. To be a part of making and teaching disciples

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phil 2:12-13)
Student working with Haitian kids at VBS.

As I go I want the Lord to use me, my time, and my energy to be a part of ministry that is going to continue long after I am gone.  So I pick trips where the work that we do will fit into an overall Great Commission accomplishing plan.  I pray that the Lord continues the work in the people whom I work with long after I am gone.


5. To teach the disciples who go with me.

“And he (God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
My role in the church is to serve as a shepherd / teacher.  I do not know a better way to equip the saints under my charge for the work of the ministry than to take them alongside myself as we do the work.  I can teach about missions with words and studies until I am blue in the face, but I do not see people become alive and passionate about it until they experience it first hand. 

6. To be a blessing to those who go with me.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thes 5:11)
Through working alongside one another on a short-term trip, you are able to really discern and assess the spiritual gifts of those who are with you.  These trips are a great way to build genuine fellowship with one another and encourage each other in the gifts that the Lord has bestowed upon the members of the team.  The bonds formed on a short-term trip should last long after the trip is over.


7.  Submission to God’s sovereignty.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Rom 10:14-15)
Vacation Bible School in Haiti.
God in his infinite sovereignty has chosen to bring about salvation and the spread of the gospel through human agents.  By taking part in missions, I get to be a part of what he is doing in the world and get to be one of those with beautiful feet bringing the gospel. It is a very joyous task to be a part of for sure.

8. The Glocalization of the world.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
Team handing out Christian literature at International Arab Festival.
The glocalization of the world is a term that has emerged recently in international business and missions circles.  Basically what it means is that through modern technology and transportation the whole world is local.  So when Jesus tells us about our neighbor, the application can lie in loving someone on the opposite side of the world whom you interact with regularly.  An example of glocalization lies in the fact that this blog which up to this point only contained three posts has been accessed in ten different countries around the world. This also means that the nations of the world have come together and might be closer than you think.

So how does the glocalization of the world factor into my going on short-term trips?  It is so easy to go now through modern transportation.  The better question would be: Why would you not go?  I have brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe whom I love, and I get the opportunity to go and see them without much trouble, why not?

9. Increase the overall sending in missions 

Mission Team with Missionaries in Calgary.
“At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.” (Romans 15:26)
There are three ways that you can send when it comes to missions: 
  1. You can send yourself 
  2. You can use your money to send others
  3. You can send your prayers to work in the ministry there.  
My goal in short-term missions is to increase the number of people doing all three categories of sending.  In preparing this blog post I dialogued with several of my brothers in Christ who are currently serving on the mission field.  One brother who has spent a lifetime on the field and hosted numerous short-term teams said this:

“It is a common truth that we are only truly involved in what we participate in. By having members actually go, the involvement factor is much higher.  Many people use an automatic deduction to send their missions offerings in, and often forget they even are participating.  Because one of the greatest investments in missions is in the prayer activity, simply sending money often robs the people of the privilege of praying also.  Churches that don’t send out missionaries tend to lose the vision, and eventually forget why they even exist. So, from the participatory point of view, it is wise to actually send missionaries out.” – John Lohrenz
John and Jan Lohrenz in Spain.

I know that there are those who discredit the fact that short-term trips lead to long-term missionaries and increased support for missions.  I find that the people who claim this do so based on the fact that the number of short-term trips is increasing and the number of long-term missionaries is remaining steady.  Two points here: 1. They ignore the testimony of those long-term missionaries stating the fact that God used short-term trips to get them on the field.  2. They miss the point that with the glocalization of the world, individuals can go on multiple short-term trips in a year to the same place instead of having to quit their jobs, sell all of their possessions, and move to that place.  So in fact it is now possible to have long-term effectiveness while being present frequently on short-term trips.

10. The missionary task of the body of Christ is not finished yet.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Rev 7:9-10)
We have not yet reached all the nations.  There are those out there who claim that we are being bad financial  stewards because we are spending a lot more money to send American missionaries or even worse Americans on short-term trips when we could support numerous native missionaries at a fraction of the cost.   Yes I do support supporting native missionaries and find this to be wise.  But the fact remains that we have not reached all of the tribes of the world.  In modern missions we refer to tribes as "people groups."  The Joshua Project reports that 2.91 billion people currently live in an unreached people group, meaning they have no viable access to the gospel so there are no native missionaries we can support.  We must continue to send and I find that participating in short-term trips is a great way to help people experience God in missions and discern if He is calling them to go to one of these people groups.

Continue reading: ten keys to effective short-term mission trips

Friday, September 6, 2013

Faith and Works

 Question: Hey Wayne! Hope you're doing well! I have a question! I saw someone's conversation on twitter with their friend. This guy (he's catholic) started it off with saying he doesn't think you earn salvation through Jesus Christ only. And someone replied with Ephesians 2:8-10. Then the other guy responded back with James 2:14-26. I know that we are saved by grace alone, but I was wondering what a correct response to him saying James 2:14-26 would be?

Answer:  This is a great question and one that is key to life.  Basically the question is how do both faith and works factor into salvation?  These passages appear to be in contradiction to one another.  It seems Paul is saying that salvation is by faith alone and James is saying that you have to do good works as well.   

The short answer is that in fact while they seem to contradict each other, in reality they both agree and in fact clarify one another. 

I find the way that our Senior Pastor, Steve Bateman, clarifies this point with some equations outlining the contradictory teaching of different groups to be very helpful:

Basically every world religion outside of Christianity says that to be saved you need to do the right stuff and not do the wrong stuff.  The thought is, "well if I do enough good in my life then God has to let me into heaven."  In the words of Allen Jackson, “workin’ hard just trying to get to heaven.”  The problem with this is that the bible teaches, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  So basically, to be good enough and to do enough good works means that we would have to be perfect because God is perfect. Alas, we all fail. 

A distorted version of Christianity takes passages such as the one listed, James 2:14-26, out of context and say that yes we are saved by faith, but we also have to do our part.  So basically we work hard, do our best and expect God to make up the difference.  However, this is in direct contradiction with passages such as Ephesians 2:8-9

  Another distorted version of Christianity takes works out of the picture completely.  Passages such as Romans 6:23 will be cited.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Like all distortions of Biblical truth, this emphasizes part of the truth at the expense of the full truth.  The problem with this view lies in the question: How do you know that you have faith?  This is the question that James is answering in the passage in question.  Billy Graham illustrates, “I cannot see the wind, but I can see the effects of the wind.” 

Which leads us to the proper biblical understanding.  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). But how can you know that saving faith is present?  How do you know that faith is not dead?  Well you know that it is there because you see good works coming from your life (James 2:14-26).  In fact, Paul lays all of this out together in Ephesians 2.  In verses 8 and 9 he outlines that we cannot earn or work for our salvation, but in verse 10 he explains that we are in fact saved so that we can do good works and glorify God. 

This is the same thing that Jesus talks about when he tells us that we can know a tree by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33-37) If you have faith, then you are saved. Another way of talking about being saved is to be born again (John 3). If you are born again, you can tell because of the way your life is different.
So, how can you know that you are saved? You see good works in your life that come from the faith given to you. How can you know if someone else is saved? What do you see coming from their life?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who are you?

             That is a great question, the short answer is that I am a sinner saved by the gracious saving blood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The follow up question to this would be: how did you end up where you are?
            In childhood Sunday school classes, I can remember being taught that Jesus was different because he was the only man who never sinned.  Well, my thought as a “good kid” was that I would be the second. Then the death of my older brother led me to ponder life.  When I was six, my eight-year-old brother passed away from a genetic bone marrow disorder.  Coming from a family with a mother that found her identity and comfort in Christ, I was led to understand that Ike, my brother, was now in heaven because he accepted Christ as his savior.  I did not fully grasp this concept at the time, but God used it in my life to lead me to see the need that I had for Him to be my savior.  It was not until almost two years after my brother passed away that I understood that I was included in Romans 3:23 which states that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and that Romans 6:23 applied to me when it says, “the wages of sin is death” meaning that I deserved death and the kind of death that meant I would spend eternity in hell. 
            So, finally understanding that I myself had failed in my attempt to be the second man to live a sinless life (which was a sin in and of itself), I knew that I was in need of a savior.  God used my mother’s instruction alongside years of Sunday school classes and children’s programs at our church to let me know that the rest of Romans 6:23 was also true, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  I knew that this meant that I had to have what Romans 3:25 refers to as “faith in his blood.”  God brought me to the understanding that out of his grace he gave me a gift, a free pass from his wrath, which was through his son Jesus Christ paying the penalty for my sins.  I placed my faith in the truth of that offer.  During an invitation offered by my pastor during vacation bible school followed by believer’s baptism, I made my faith in Christ public. 
            I can really identify with C.S. Lewis when he says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[1]  Just as my original curiosity and questioning about the gospel arose out of the pain of losing my older brother, God developed my life and my closeness to Him through further painful times.  Through the pain of my parents divorce, God showed me what it meant to have a perfect Father in heaven in contrast to my earthly father.  Through several moves during my school years I learned what it meant to walk with God because I did not have any other friends to walk with.  I also learned how God provides as he did bless me with good friendships with other people that love him. 
            In the shadow of my parents’ separation and the subsequent move during the middle of high school, I found myself in the most miserable state of my life.  I was very discontent and unhappy.  God brought me to understand my lack of joy, being due to a major block in our relationship.  Prior to this time, I treated God as the Lord of my life, meaning that whatever he said went.  Well, under the pressure of the pain, I decided that doing things God’s way was not working out the way I wanted it to, so I was going to go my own way and gear my life toward making a lot of money.  God has gifted me with a good brain and I always excelled in school, so I concluded that I could be a doctor and make a lot of money.  God brought me to a point that I had to say, “Lord, I cannot take this feeling in life anymore.  I want my relationship back right with you.  What do you want?”  I felt the Lord leading me that the thing that our relationship lacked was my following him in my future plans, and that his plan for me was for me to follow him in ministry to others through the pastorate.  Submission to the Lord’s will and plan has led to peace and joy in my life.
            The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful education.  I have a BA degree in Christian Ethics and Computer Science from Union University and my Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I was blessed to serve First Bible Church in Decatur, AL for seven years as the Pastor to Students, and I have recently taken a new position as the Campus Pastor for our new campus that we are starting in Madison, AL.  Also, in March of 2013 I married my beautiful, lovely wife who loves the Lord and is my partner in life and ministry, Brittany Campbell.  Brittany is a nurse and loves to show the love of the Lord to patients she cares for.

[1] C.S. Lewis Problem of Pain, 91

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Please tell me about the Trinity...


            The Trinity is a concept that has baffled many, caused many to be deemed as heretics, divided branches of the Church, and still remains confusing today.  There is a certain mystery to the Trinity, which cannot be explained.  In thinking on the complexity of the difficulty in grasping the reality of the Trinity, I experienced a certain cerebral frustration that reminded me of a math class that I took in College.  As I studied Discrete Mathematics (basically math without numbers), I experienced a certain cerebral jumbling especially as I contemplated the issues in relation to infinity.  We learned that there are in fact different levels or degrees to infiniteness.  Take for instance, a number line starting with zero and going out to infinity.  How many numbers are on the number line? There is an infinite set of numbers on the number line.  But, suppose that the next question has a number line that starts with negative infinity and proceeds to positive infinity.  The answer as to how many numbers are on the line would still be an infinite set of numbers, but this infinite set of numbers would have to be argued to be a larger infinity than the first set.  This endeavor then progresses to the evaluation of numbers between two integers such as zero and one; it has been mathematically proven that there are in fact an infinite set of numbers between zero and one. The realm of mathematics progresses to an understanding of countable and uncountable infinities.[1]
            This area of mathematics is still under discussion and exploration; I am far from an expert on these things, but contemplating the trinity reminded me of contemplating the differences in countable and uncountable infinities, and thus the search for the largest infinity.  I believe this area of mathematics has a contribution to be made to the understanding of the trinity.  The problem that many face in understanding the trinity is basically a mathematical problem.  How can there be three persons who are fully God and yet there is one God?  How can three be one?  As a side note, infinity plus infinity plus infinity equals infinity.  Through this essay I seek to outline that there are in fact three persons, all three persons are fully God, and there is one God while integrating an understanding of infinity in relation to God.[2]

God is Three Persons

            While never offering a concise definition of the trinity, Scripture does outline the concept and it definitely demonstrates the three persons in several locations.  In Christ’s baptism there seems to be the presence of all three at once, in one locality.  After Jesus’ resurrection, he offers the Great Commission in which he instructs to baptize, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). While Jesus uses the singular “name,” he lists the three persons.  Thus it could be said, “One God, three persons.”  Passages such as 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Ephesians 4:4-6 make mention of all three of the persons.  These passages point to a difference in role and work between the three.  So, it cannot be said that there is no difference between the three, because Scripture clearly outlines different jobs that the three are performing in things such as creation and redemption in many cases those jobs are happening simultaneously, so the explanation that modalism offers falls short.  Modalism tries to protect the oneness of God at the expense of the three persons by claiming that there is one God that takes on the three different modes.  The fact of the matter is that in role, function, and person the Father does not equal the Son or the Holy Spirit nor does the Son equal the Holy Spirit.  On the level of personhood the three are mathematical inequalities. 

Each Person is Fully God

            Due to the authority / submission structure within the Godhead, it is easy to think of the Father as being God and the Son being kind of a mathematical subset of God and the Holy Spirit being a subset that proceeds from the other two.  The problem here lies in a fallen, sinful perspective on authority / submission.  All three persons of the trinity are fully God therefore authority does not come from possessing more power or being more perfect, authority comes from love and submission within the Godhead.  The argument here lies in the fact that all three persons fully possess every attribute of being God.[3]  Let us examine individually the claim that each person of the Godhead holds on being fully God. 
            There is little contention about the fact that the Father is fully God.  Matthew 6:9 points to this fact along with a plethora of other passages.  Debate has arisen on the full divinity of the Son.  Matthew 1:23 points from his birth (the incarnation) to the fact that he is God.  Questions have arisen over the eternality of the son.  Was he “born” or “begotten?”  John 1 points to the eternal existence of the Son alongside the Father.  He was “in the beginning” (John 1:1-14).  This would combat heresies such as Arianism claiming that there was a time when the son was not, therefore making him less than fully divine because he does not possess the trait of eternality from time past.  Jesus does not correct Thomas when he bestows upon Jesus the title, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28).[4]
            There is some problem with full acceptance of the full divinity of the Son when one considers passages such as Mark 13:32.  It appears that the son is limited in the area of omniscience.  To understand the answer to this problem, one has to understand the fact that son willingly submitted himself to being limited in certain of his attributes in the incarnation.  Much of this ties in with the study of Christology beyond just the study of Trinitarianism, but it is interesting to note the change in Christ’s answer to the same question after the resurrection, once he would no longer be limited.  In Acts 1:7, Christ states that it is not for the disciples to know the date, he no longer claims to not know the date himself.  This points to a willing submission of certain of his powers as the incarnate Christ.  A weak illustration would be as follows: Say I have a friend that has an automobile that can only turn left.  Now say I am going to go somewhere and that friend is going to follow me.  I would have to plan my trip and only take left hand turns to get to where we are going.  I am thus limiting myself and my driving to only being able to turn left, but this does not mean in my essence or the essence of my vehicle that I cannot turn right; I have simply limited my ability.  This is to say that Christ’s abilities were limited from the incarnation to the resurrection (or at least until the death on the Cross), which does not mean that the person of the Son in the Godhead does not possess and have in his essence all of the attributes of the trinity. 
            The Holy Spirit probably has the least scriptural support for a claim of total divinity.  The best passage has to be Acts 5:3-4 where lying to the Holy Spirit is equated with lying to God, thus the Holy Spirit is God.  In Hebrews the Holy Spirit is accredited with making claims that the Old Testament accredits God with making (Heb 10:15-17).  Certain attributes of God are accredited to the Holy Spirit in Psalms 139:7-8 (omnipresence) and 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 (omniscience).  Which leads back to the mathematical analysis of the concept of the largest infinity in relation to the trinity. 
            I would like to propose that God possess the largest infinity of each and every one of his attributes.  So, to answer the question how much love does God possess, God possesses the largest uncountable infinite set of love.  God’s wrath is infinite; His justice is infinite; His knowledge is infinite; his presence is infinite; his power is infinite; His freedom is infinite; His holiness is infinite; His peace is infinite; His righteousness is infinite; His jealousy is infinite; His goodness is infinite.  Thus I am claiming that to be God means to be in possession of the largest possible infinity of every one of his attributes.  Therefore, as each person of the trinity is seen as being fully God, each person of the trinity possesses the largest possible infinity of each and every attribute.  Which leads into the discussion of the oneness of God. 

There is One God

            So far no logical contradiction should be found with the claims that there are three persons and that all three persons are fully God.  There are however no shortage of passages claiming that there is one God: 1 Timothy 2:5, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Isaiah 45:5-6, and James 2:19 to state a few.  So it is well supported that the Bible outlines three divine persons and yet only one God.   This seems on a mathematical level to be a logical contradiction, unless the oneness of God is understood in his essence or nature or the summation of his attributes.  Here is where the discussion of the infiniteness of God’s attributes comes to full light.  If all three persons of the Godhead are in equal possession of the identical attributes of being God and that essence is the greatest infinite essence of being God then there is only one essence with no distinction and therefore there is in essence or nature only one God.  I would claim that instead of this being illogical that in fact that it is the only logical conclusion that there is one God if all three persons of the trinity are equal in their essence or the possession of the greatest possible infinitude of the characteristics of being God.  Just because I draw a number line twice representing the set of real numbers from negative infinity to positive infinity does not mean that there are two different sets of numbers along these lines in essence or nature, but in fact the numbers would be the same along the two lines in essence and nature.  The only difference would be that there were two number lines that might serve different purposes.  To sum it up I am proposing that if you consider together three person identical in nature, essence, and attributes that those three persons would have to be considered one in who they are as an essence, on this level there would be no way to distinguish between them.  The problem lies in the fact that we have no representations of this kind of being outside of the Godhead. 


            Through this essay I have attempted to show that there are three separate persons who are distinguished by their roles and actions, yet all three are fully God, and by definition of being fully God they are one.  I would hold that to deny one of the three, full equality in an attempt to preserve the oneness is to propose multiple Gods.  For instance to hold that the Son does not possess the largest infinite amount of the attribute of existence is to actually fall into polytheism.  For in that case there would be a being, the Son, who possesses the largest infinite amount of the majority of the characteristics that are held in definition by God, but not all of the characteristics therefore making two separate Gods.  None of the persons of the trinity can be in possession of a subset of one of the attributes and not possessing the full maximum infinity of each and every attribute.  I hold that there is no denying the existence of the three persons or the full divinity of each of the three persons, therefore the only logical conclusion is that the three are one in essence but still three in person. Comment below and let me know what you think about the Trinity.  I leave you with 2 Corinthians 13:14, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

[1] Susanna Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group, 1995).
[2] Outline of three sections comes from: Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 231.

[3] For an excellent explanation and defense of the authority and submission in the Godhead see: Bruce Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005).
[4] Other passages in support of the divinity of Christ include Romans 9:5, Philippians 2:5-6, and Hebrews 1.