Friday Epistle for June 23, 2017

June 24th, 2017 by

“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” [...] Read More

Draw Near to God Via Lust & Mammon

June 21st, 2017 by
Dear Friends at New Covenant,
We began our year drawing near to God through His Word, in Worship, and in Prayer.
During our  leadership retreat I asked our vestry, intercessors, and worship leaders to press into God in these three areas.  Fr. Christopher and I have invited our congregation to do the same, and have provided a way to do that which has been nicknamed, “The Prayer Book on Training Wheels.”  Barbara and I have found it a wonderful way to start the day and draw near.
As we cross the half way point of the year, and move into summer, I wanted to share two more ways for us to draw near to God, oddly enough, via lust and mammon.
“Lust can be focused but not eliminated,” so says Andy Stanley, in his last chapter ofEnemies of the Heart.  He suggests it is different from the other enemies; guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy, in that it is God given.
Lusts’ definitions indicate that it is something very powerful that comes from somewhere deep inside us.  I was intrigued by the author’s suggestion that it could be refocused.  What if we were to focus, train, our deepest, almost subconscious, desires on to the things of the Kingdom of God?  Could we harness, or loose it, this force within us, for good, for God?  Perhaps with God’s help, since it is from him, with His might, we might.
I believe it’s possible.  Aren’t all things with God?
With this on my mind: A couple weeks ago I was blessed to listen to Bishop Fitzsimmons Allison, with several of our African partners, as he talked of creating the word ‘metakardia,’ instead of the word metanoia, for repentance.  Metanoia is the Greek word for repentance, which means a change of mind.  Bishop Fitz said, “I can change my mind five time in a minute.  What needs to be changed is my heart.  We need metakardia more than metanoia.”
Since then I have been testing it out, seeing if I can lust for the things of the Kingdom of God, i.e. loose the strength of something like lust to work for the good, for God.  Here’s one incident where I believe the fruit of my efforts was manifest, where the metakardia had done its work.
It was a routine hospital visit, but as I listened to the patient, I realized I was hearing more than the words of the person speaking.  It was as if our Lord began to paint a landscape of the inscape of this person’s life and it was absolutely captivating! It was gorgeous, and as I left I told her how wonderfully blessed I was listening to her story, more than she could guess.  This hasn’t proven to be an isolated incident.
Refocus your lust.  Turn it to the things of God, His kingdom.  Want to be part, share in, and partake of His realm and His riches?  Then really want it!  Be intentional, and seek metakardia.
Lust, as we know, is powerful.  Beware then, that if the things of his His heart become your deepest, almost unconscious, desire, you will get closer to Him and the metakardia He may perform on your heart may be overwhelming.  Lust is powerful.
Mammon, it, too, is powerful.  Money even talks, as they say.  According to Jesus it contends with Him for our worship, and he adds,  ‘we can’t serve two Gods.‘  It’s Mammon or Him.  Choose this day whom to serve.
It’s unnerving, but Jesus cares enough to watch what we do with it, e.g. ‘the widow in the temple.’  He was so concerned about the power and influence it has that, according to the scriptures at least, he spoke more about money than he did about prayer.
Like lust however, we can use it to bring us closer to our Lord and in turn affect a transformation of our heart, metakardia.  At one point Jesus says, ‘where your treasure is there your heart will be as well.’
If you want your heart to be closer to God, it will, as they say, follow the money.  And this is true too; if you do begin to lust for the Kingdom, you will invest in the Kingdom of God!  It becomes a priority, the priority.
(I want to let you know that we are about 39K short of our budget to offerings so far this year.  So, if you have been on vacation or traveling, or if you are behind in your tithing, it would be a true blessing if you can catch up.  Thank you.)
The most caring thing I know to do for anyone is to encourage them to draw near to their Lord; the one who knit them together in their mother’s womb, who knows their days before they are lived, and gave the life of his only Son that they may have life, abundant and eternal.
Dare to Draw Near,
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A Most Unusual Father’s Day

June 17th, 2017 by

Dear Friends at New Covenant, [...] Read More

Friday Epistle – Trinity Sunday

June 9th, 2017 by
Dear Friends at New Covenant,
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday in our liturgical year and I have borrowed some bits and pieces on the Trinity from Matt Slick who is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry —
Come Sunday, you won’t believe what St. Augustine said about the Trinity.
But first:
From the Sunday lessons:
What Jesus said:
Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
What Paul Said:
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.”
What the Old Testament Says:
Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
“Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advanced than that of the trinity. It could have originated only in one mind, and that the mind of Satan the Devil.”Reconciliation, 1928, p. 101.
“The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).
What Christianity teaches about the Trinity
The word “trinity” is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence.  In other words, each is fully divine innature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity.  Each has a will, loves, and says “I” and “You” when speaking.  The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father.  Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. There are three individual subsistences or persons.  The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence.  The word “person” denotes individuality and self-awareness.  The Trinity is three of these though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Included in the doctrine of the Trinity is a strict monotheism which is the teaching that there exists in all the universe a single being known as God who is self-existent and unchangeable (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8).  Therefore, it is important to note that the doctrine of the trinity is not polytheistic as some of its critics proclaim.  Trinitarianism is monotheistic by definition, and those who claim it is polytheistic demonstrate a lack of understanding of what it really is.
Is the Trinity confusing?
Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp, but this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth.  The Bible is the self-revelation of an infinite God.  Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts, which are difficult to understand–especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times. So, when we view descriptions and attributes of God manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we discover that a completely comprehensible and understandable explanation of God’s essence and nature is not possible.  What we have done, however, is derive from the Scripture the truths that we can grasp and combine them into the doctrine we call The Trinity.  The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.
Blessings to you all!
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Pentecost – Friday Epistle June 2, 2017

June 3rd, 2017 by

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Memorial Day and Current Warefare Let Us Pray! & Let Him Pray! Friday Epistle 05.28.17

May 28th, 2017 by

Years ago, in the early 70’s, Dean Builter, a good friend and neighbor from Junior high through college, held up his right hand right in front of my face.  One finger wouldn’t stand up like the others.  He said, “I stuck up my hand up to signal my platoon to advance, and a bullet went straight through it, right there,” as he pointed to the wound. [...] Read More

Weekly Lectionary – 5th Sunday of Easter

May 15th, 2017 by
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

  [...] Read More

Friday Epistle for May 12, 2017

May 13th, 2017 by

Greetings to you all, [...] Read More

Weekly Lectionary – May 7, 2017

May 6th, 2017 by

4th Sunday of Easter [...] Read More

New Covenant Church – Summer 2017 – Inside Out

May 6th, 2017 by

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