banner January-March 2014
In this Issue                               click title to jump to the story
That Bible on the Front Table...
Why Is It There, and Why Is It So Important?

 By Dr. Charles Allen

Before any talk is given on a Tres Dias weekend, we light a candle. There is always a Bible on that front table, for a very important reason. That book is at the center of everything that happens on a weekend. The words in the Bible have transformed millions and millions of lives, and they will transform lives during the weekend. How can we begin to describe this extraordinary book?

      If someone totally unfamiliar with the Bible were handed a copy and asked to jot down some impressions, he might note that it's a big book, made up of 66 smaller books divided into two major sections, and that there are different kinds of literature: biography, poetry, hymns, history, short stories, proverbs, philosophy, law codes and informal letters. If he were to dig deeper, he might come up with a few other facts: Forty men wrote The Bible over approximately 1,600 years; the first part was written in Hebrew with a little in Aramaic, and the second part in Greek.

      Such information does not begin to answer the question, "What is the Bible and how does it transform lives?" If our hypothetical reader were to go further, he might say that the Old Testament focuses on Jewish history and is the record of man's search for God. Nothing could be further from the truth. The greatest truth is this, that the Bible is the record of God's search for man. Throughout the Bible, people are bent on trying to escape from God. In spite of this, God continues to seek after those same people, refusing to give up, continuing the pursuit in spite of countless rebuffs and evasions. God relentlessly chases man through chapter after chapter. This relentless pursuit dominates the story of the Jewish people throughout the Old Testament.

     The search culminates in the New Testament, where the claim is made that God so desired fellowship with man, that He sent not just emissaries, ambassadors, prophets or representatives, but in Jesus Christ, He came Himself. It is the most astounding truth that has ever been written. It is the most stupendous claim that has ever been made.

     God not only sought after people in the past, but the Bible is also a means by which He seeks us out today. We cannot read it without a sense of being involved, because the experiences of the people we read about in the Bible are basically our experiences. The questions they ask are timeless:


          "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14)  

          "What do you think of the Christ?" (Matt. 22:42)

          "Who are you, Lord?" (Acts 9:5)

          "What shall I do Lord?" (Acts 22:10)

          "Why does the way of the wicked prosper?" (Jer. 12: 1)

          "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" (Ps. 42:5)


We ask the same questions, even though we use different words:


   What happens when I die?

   Is this Jesus really more than a great man?

   Who is God? What difference does believing in God make?

   What's the point of "being good"?

   Why does life sometimes seem futile?


        To find honest answers to those questions, we must go to the Bible. The answers emerge from the rough and tumble of life, and it is there we discover how right the Bible's answers are. Not only do we find answers to our questions, we find proof that God is pursuing us. Not only do we know God's demands and promises, but also God Himself "comes alive" and speaks to us.   It is for this reason that Christians speak of the Bible as "the Word of God." God speaks to people through the Bible, right where people are. The supreme revelation of His "Word," His creative power, is the "event" of Jesus Christ, in His life, death and resurrection; "The Word made flesh."

      The Bible is a special delivery letter with your name and address on it. It is more than a record; it is a call, an invitation, and urgent message to all of us. The message tells how to live with peace and joy in your life on earth, and in life to come.                     

Dr. Charles Allen is a Member of Trinity Valley (TX) Tres Dias and serves as spiritual director to the policy committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.                           Back to Top
encouragementA Best Practices Article
We All Need Encouragement...
                                 Here's a way for the team to encourage each other

Several years ago, in response to our request for inspirational stories related to Tres Dias, Tom Miller of Abundant Life Tres Dias handed us a 62 page photocopied document that he referred to as an Encouragement Journal. Tom explained that as he was forming his team as rector of Abundant Life #24, he was struck by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's statement:


Do we really think that there is a single person in this world who does not need either encouragement or admonition?


"The Lord laid on my heart that I should be an encouragement to everyone around me, team as well as pescadores," he wrote in the preface to the journal. "But I didn't want just my acts of encouragement written down. I wanted to know how the team was being encouraged and how they were encouraging each other.

    During the six months before the weekend, team members freely shared personal evidence of how they found encouragement. Many sent stories of answered prayer: a brother healed of a serious illness, a business that struggled and achieved success, a father who was united with his daughter after 22 years. Others contributed devotional messages. Others sent inspirational stories clipped from their readings. Intertwined with all the stories was that sense of God's serendipity, of life events happening in ways that defied probability.Most of the stories in the journal are too lengthy for publication here.

     The following story is condensed from one of Tom's contributions to the journal.


The concept of an Encouragement Journal deserves wider application. The editors encourage you to  try it for your next team. If you do, send us a note telling us about your experiences. 


An Angel in the Pew
 Based on a passage from Tom Miller's Encouragement Journal

     It was one of those weekend church conventions where camper enthusiasts pull their vehicles into a large campground and enjoy cookouts and conversation before the event. Tom struck up a conversation with the husband and wife in the camper next to his and learned that they were from a small town not far from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tom said he didn't know the area, but had once stopped to attend a church service in that area, about 12 years ago, on his drive back to Fort Riley, Kansas.

     The husband and wife exchanged curious looks, first to each other, and then to Tom and began to ask questions. What was the church like? Do you remember the sermon? Did you talk with anyone? Tom couldn't recall.

     Then, as he and the couple were walking back from the evening service, memories gradually returned. He recalled how he had been sent to Fort Riley on Army business, which was fortunate, because it gave him opportunity to visit his cousin in Tulsa, who was facing a terminal illness. The cousin had a one-day remission and he and Tom reminisced about their childhood.

    "On my way back," he told the couple, "I saw a sign, First Church of God--which is my denomination-- and I also saw that there would be a service at 7:00. p.m. Well, I looked at my watch, and that's what time it was! So I hit the brakes and turned into the parking lot, tires almost squealing. During the service, I wrote a message on the bulletin that said, I was driving by and saw you sign, First Church of God, and would not be worshiping here if it had not been for that sign, and dropped the bulletin in the collection plate."

    "Yes, it's him!" the wife shouted. She explained that the congregation had been deeply divided over the name of the church, and just as the quarrel was about to boil over, with half of the congregation ready to leave, a stranger wrote a message on a bulletin and dropped it in the collection plate.

     "Well, we still have that bulletin," she said. "Over the years, the story has been told--and people have come to believe--that an angel dropped by one evening and left the note, telling us to keep the name. That note kept the church from splitting." Then, after a moment, she added. "That should encourage you, Tom."

     The next morning, Tom woke up early to tell the couple how much the story meant to him. But their camper was gone. "Now, who is the angel?" he wondered.  Back to top         

A Best Practices Article
palancaPalanca for the Fourth Day
With a Little Help from the U.S. Postal Service

"I have always felt that a candidate's palanca needs to flow past the closing and into the fourth day," explains Chic Mohr, a pescador in the Tres Dias Fairfield County Community. To make this happen, he writes letters to new pescadores and sends them directly to their homes while they are on the weekend, so that the letters are waiting when they return home. Many have thanked him and said it was particularly meaningful to be remembered when the "glow" was fading. Here is an example of one of Chic's letters. Use it to get your creativity going for a personal "coming home" letter to new candidates.      

Dear Valerie, 
OK, so now the weekend is over and you're saying to yourself, "I don't want the afterglow to end." 
      As you go through this week, you will be wondering how come everyone else around you doesn't think with the same caring and sharing attitudes that surrounded you for three days.
     Why are people impersonal and rude and hurrying though the day without stopping to smell God's roses? Why can't they see the same Holy priorities that you suddenly see?  Actually, you have a very unique opportunity as you move into the "4th day" and beyond. You can reflect the weekend's love to others in a way they will notice and wonder. I am certain your family and others will see the difference. 
      The secret is keeping the reason for this newly found attitude in focus as you move down your faith journey. Pray daily and often, to keep you remembering that He is the reason and His love goes with you everywhere. Bring the same gentle kindness and patience to the imperfect people and imperfect world that surrounds you, just as your team members did this for you on the weekend. There is something very satisfying and Holy in giving without being asked. God gave us his Son to forgive our sin without our asking, and Christ gave all he had for us.  
      Most of all, do not become frustrated or discouraged as you continue on this week. Know that the Lord will guide you on this first day of our fourth day, and every day hereafter.

A Brother in Christ,

 back to top


The President's Letter


Several weeks ago, North Atlanta suffered through several winter storms and left our city paralyzed, immobilized by a highway system that was not designed to deal with even a little snow and ice. It put me behind at work and the pressure to "catch up" has been enormous.  Customers that have suffered damage from the storms get highest priority, and customers with lesser problems are pushed back on the schedule. When the phone rings, I say to myself "I hope they understand why I can't get there this week."

     You may be asking what this has to do with Tres Dias, so let me explain. As I asked God to reveal to me what He would have me say to everyone, the message of 'Burdens versus Rest" came to mind.  In His word he says, "Come unto me all that are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

     The Tres Dias weekend experience can be a place of burdens and rest. Burdens to fill the weekend roster. Burdens to get everything ready. Burdens to get the rollos prepared. Burdens to get the spiritual directors confirmed and their talks reviewed. Burdens to stay on schedule. Burdens to get the facility cleaned up and ready for the next week. Burdens to make sure spouses are being watched after. Many, many burdens.

     But it is also a place of great rest. Rest to lie down after a great day of learning and worship, and then sleep a deep and sweet sleep. Rest to sit in the dining hall with a close friend and discuss the events of the day or share a hurt and find a sympathetic ear, someone who is willing to share that burden and lift you up in prayer. Rest in going to chapel and hearing the voices of the men or ladies lifting up a song of praise. Rest when a fellow Cha/Aux comes up and offers you a hot coffee or cold drink and then says thank you for your service and how you have blessed everyone around you. Now that is rest!

     I have heard many times that "rest is a weapon." If you find yourself overburdened with the cares of this world, or the weight of getting a weekend ready, or the heaviness of life itself, God has promised you rest. Not just so you can rest, which is welcome it itself,  but so you will be re-energized and made ready to take on the day in a spirit of God's Grace!

     It is His rest that brings comfort in the mist of the storm. 


Bruce Cato 
President, Tres Dias International Secretariat

Back to top 

Plans for 100 Percent Representation at 2015 Annual Assembly

The International Secretariat is currently laying the groundwork to make the 2015 Annual Assembly a landmark event, the first time in Tres Dias history that delegates from all chartered communities will gather together in one place. Because this involves planning on a global scale, your community will soon receive a letter asking you mark the dates well in advance and explaining how financial support can be provided to those communities, including those overseas, that may not have the resources to send a delegate.

The dates are July 10-12, 2015. Abundant Life Tres Dias and Northern Illinois Tres Dias will co-host the event.




Future Meetings

March 7-9, 2014: SecretariatSabine Creek TD (45 min NE of Dallas)
July 25-27, 2014: Assembly & SecretariatTD of North Georgia (Atlanta area)
October 10-12: SecretariatNorthern Virginia TD
March 13-15, 2015: SecretariatNorth Florida TD (Tallahassee area)

July 10-12, 2015: Assembly & SecretariatAbundant Life TD & Northern IL TD
October 2015 (dates TBD): SecretariatTBD
March 4-6, 2016: SecretariatTampa Bay TD (location TBD)



The Colors of Tres Dias International is published by the Services Committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.  Don Bohl and Jan Coleman are co-editors. Ned Heffington chairs the committee and serves as associate editor and proofreader. Send comments to
Our objective is to publish six issues a year. To read prior issues, use this link: Newsletter Archive

Facebook   Twitter
We encourage you to distribute this newsletter to members of your community.
 Would you like the members of your secretariat to receive the newsletter directly? If yes, send us first names and email addresses in an spreadsheet and we will add to our distribution files.