About this author:

Carl Buffington

Carl Buffington

Carl Buffington, Rector My ministry at New Covenant began in 1993. Barbara, my wife, and our 3 children moved here from Evergreen, CO, high and dry to low and wet, quite a change. I was brought up in the northeast, a suburb of New York, and Barbara grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. We met while I was attending The Philadelphia Divinity School in West Philadelphia where I received an M.Div. degree in 1972, and I was ordained a deacon and priest in the same year. I went to seminary directly from college. I earned an A.B. degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. For 5 years of my ministry I was a traveling evangelist, sharing the story of our Lord and his presence and power in a different church every weekend. What I have always loved about New Covenant is the blending of the charismatic, the evangelical, and the sacramental aspects of the Faith. And what still gets me up in the morning is seeing people change, seeing people encounter the living Lord. I just love to see hearts changed by the Holy Spirit. Education: BA from the College of William & Mary 1969 MA in Divinity from the Philadelphia Divinity School 1972 Ordination: Ordained in the Diocese of CT – Deacon and Priest 1972 Ordained and Consecrated a Bishop, Emissary to Boga Diocese, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 2015

Along the Way pt.2

October 19th, 2018 by

 
“All the way to heaven is heaven, because He said I am the Way” St. Catharine
 

Barbara and I plan to hike the last part of the Camino de Santiago next September. It’s a pilgrimage beginning in the Pyrenees and concluding in Spain following the way of St. James the apostle.

There’s a fun movie about it, The Way, with Martin Sheen. As the story goes, his son is killed at the outset of the Camino. Martin decides to make the hike himself, dispersing his son’s ashes along the way.

Along the way he meets up with the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion. Not really. But he does make the journey with 3 fun characters – a wounded woman wanting to quit smoking, an over weight man wanting to fit into his suit for a wedding, and an author trying to break free from writer’s block.

It’s a wonderful, and perhaps too real, journey.

As I am reflecting on the gospel for last Sunday and this (i.e. James and John wanting the right and left of Jesus in His glory and the others being indignant…), I think of those we get to travel with on our pilgrimage.

For example — Our small group this fall was, well it could have been a great movie, and I am certain our Lord was blessed watching and listening. It makes all the difference when others are going with you and are reaching out and touching lives around them. We encourage one another!

(Heb. 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.)

I can’t recall being more enriched by simple testimonies!

 

Archbishop Kolini ++ & Bishop William+
New Covenant is a doubly blessed community of faith. Not only do we have one another, but our arms reach out far beyond our walls.

Today, Thursday October 18th, Ivan Sikha of MissionIndia is picking up Freda and Archbishop Kolini++ from Rwanda, and Bishop William+ from DRC at the airport. And tomorrow they will fly to Haiti to minister and spend 4 days with Fr. Burnet Cherisol, the Anglican Vicar of Haiti. Then they will return to spend a few days with us.

 

Fr. Burnet
These people have suffered greatly and paid a high price to follow Jesus, and to be in relationship with us. These people are true hero servants of the Faith! And to walk with them along the way to the promised inheritance is indeed an honor. A precious gift from Abba’s hand!

As the end of my ministry as rector of this parish draws near, I am awed, and in utter thanksgiving that God has allowed me to know these saints and in some way support their work for the Kingdom. I am also incredibly thankful for God’s graciousness in letting me be a part of this body of Christ that has chosen to reach out in love along the way!

“Loving each other is what we were meant to do and how we were made to roll. It’s not where we start when we begin following Jesus; it’s the beautiful path we travel the rest of our lives.”

From EVERYBODY ALWAYS by Bob Goff.

Blessings,

Along the Way

October 12th, 2018 by

 

(Referencing Mark 10:17-31**)

 

“As he was setting out…” someone, who perhaps grasps and then gasps — ‘He’s leaving, this is my last chance to ask him’ — approaches him, respectfully, honestly, humbly, sincerely.

 

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

 

Please.

 

Tell me.

 

The disciples, as do we, lean in. The dialogue is deceptively compelling.
The answer to this question has us all holding our breath. I hope.

 

Because when breath becomes air –

 

As it does for all living souls,

 

What’s next?

 

What shall we do, you do, anyone do?
To inherit eternal life?

 

If it’s not your question now, well, it should be…

 

A friend of mine said he had a commandment above his bed –

 

“Thou shalt not should on thyself.”

 

But, it seems right here, to should on yourself.
And besides, did you see it?

 

Jesus added a commandment too – “do not defraud” – maybe just for this person?
Or not. Go figure.

 

Anyway, they continue on their way.

 

“All the way to heaven is heaven, because He said I am the Way.”
St. Catharine

 

He’s not with them.
I’m told this is the only scripture where someone leaves Jesus presence – sad.

 

What did he miss? Why couldn’t, didn’t, he get it?

 

Look again, see if you see,

 

**Mark 10:17-31

 

The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good-except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-along with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life.31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

COME AND DIE – COME AND SEE

September 14th, 2018 by
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from The Cost of Discipleship.

What if that is not bad news, but in fact really good news? What if our soul’s destiny depends on it?

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Joel Marcus in his commentary on the gospel passage for Sunday provocatively asks,

“But why should one accept the dreadful burden of the cross? Why should one want to follow Jesus, (cf.8:34b) if discipleship means entry into a living death?”

 

This week I began reading a book my sister has been asking me to read, Imagine Heaven, by John Burke, Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, TX. I have found it, well, enticing. Here are some of my highlighted clips.

John Burke’s main motive in writing this book is – “to help you imagine heaven so you will see how wise it is to live for it, plan for it, and make sure you’re prepared for a safe arrival some day.

One NDE (Near Death Experience) person related an encounter with Jesus where Jesus asked him what he had done with his life? When he asked how was I to know what to do with my life, Jesus said, “I told you by the life I lived. I told you by the death I died. And, if you keep your eyes on me you will see more.”

Later the same person says, “How we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build, is vastly, infinitely more important than we can know.”

“I’ve become convinced that God loves each of us like no other, and that most people are just like I was – they just don’t realize how great life with God can be: starting in this life, but even more so in the life to come.”

How you think about heaven affects everything in life – how you prioritize love, how willing you are to sacrifice for the long-term, how you view suffering, what you fear or don’t fear. I’m convinced we can’t even begin – but we should try – to picture how magnificent, how spectacular, how much fun heaven will be – how much of what we love about this life and more awaits us in eternity.”

What if we became people who have a vision for the ultimate life to come? What if it’s true that this life is merely a tiny taste on the tip of our tongues of the feast of life yet to come? What if heaven is going to be better than your wildest dreams? And what if how you live really does matter for the life to come question?”

Joel Marcus responds to his question:

 

“… against the disturbing and counterintuitive exhortation in 8:34 to embrace death, he now sets the assertion, emphasized by repetition, that those who suffer death “for me and the good news” will paradoxically find life (8:35).”

 

So, what if?

What if Jesus’ invitation to come to him, really is filled with far more than we imagine?

Drawing near in worship, in serving, through the spiritual disciplines, through dying.

What if this is where we gather the talents for the day of our arrival?

What if we could see this? Just a glimpse of His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven? And then live into it.

Sunday I plan to say a word about spiritual blindness.

Come and see.

                                                                             

Come My Beloved

August 31st, 2018 by
Scripture opens with an invitation (Mk 1.17), “Come, follow me,” Jesus said…

Scripture closes with the same invitation (Rev 22.17) “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

But the invitation doesn’t stop there.

How do we respond to this his invitation?

I want to share a story.  It’s one I have told before, but one worthy of a second telling and hearing.

It’s told by a friend who has now checked into the heavenly Jerusalem as he would say (Brennan Manning, author, preacher and teacher.)

As he shares – He was giving last rites to a woman named Yolanda in LA.  She had been abandoned by her family and was dying alone, severely disfigured from the ravages of leprosy.  As Brennan turned from her bedside to put away the communion kit, a bright light came into the room.  He said it was like light just falling in through the window.

As he turned, she said, “Oh Father, my Abba just spoke to me.”  And he said, “Oh?  What did he say to you Yolanda?”

He said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.  See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”

As he was leaving, the nurse asked how she was doing.  And he said, “Well, she was quoting scripture, Songs 2.10-13, so I’m not sure.”  The nurse said, “She’s illiterate! She’s never read a word of the Bible!”

When they returned to Yolanda’s room, her Abba had indeed come in and scooped her up.  Come my beloved!

Can you imagine just how beautiful Yolanda became in that instant?  I’m sure you could have compared her to the most breathtaking sunset you ever saw your Abba paint.

Responding to his invitation is virtually transformative, life and soul changing!  We need to respond, any and every way possible.

And we respond in many ways, e.g. our obedience to his word (listen to the epistle from James), our reaching out to others in serving (listen and look to those being honored today), and as the gospel makes clear, with our hearts!

“These people honor me with their lips,

But their hearts are far from me.”

Where is your heart in terms of this invitation?  How will you draw near?  Come my beloved!

Sunday, I plan to share how I responded a couple weeks ago.

 

See you then, come,                                                                         

It’s good to be Home

August 10th, 2018 by
Today, Friday the 10th of August, a parishioner had surgery early in the morning, and a deacon is getting married in the afternoon, or has already been wed depending on when you read this. We can sing, “Ruan and Dennis are Going to the chapel and…” well, you know the lyric, and we all say, “Alleluia.”
And all sorts of other events in our parish family are happening.  It’s so good to be home with you all, to pray together, to celebrate together, and to grow together.  I am sincerely grateful to our Lord!

 

Bishop Masimango, Bishop William & Me
My recent trip to Africa was a whirlwind.  I left on Thursday morning, following a day behind Canon Christopher, from MCO to Doha, and then on to Kigali – about 22 hours in the air. I went to meet with Archbishops Kolini and Masimango, and bishop William to talk about the work of reconciliation, and that we did – talk, pray, and plan.  There were also a number of Archdeanery missions that Archbishop Kolini had set up, where we taught, and so there was little time deal with jet lag.

Saturday evening we were assigned parishes to preach in.  I concluded my sermon last Sunday, in Remera, Rwanda, to about 700 English-speaking Rwandans on this note, “It’s good to be home.”

(That is Fr. Antoine, the rector, sending off the children and introducing me).

I shared with them that many years earlier, after preaching at the cathedral in Kigali, I sat on hill and called our senior warden, Craig Reilly, (Kigali is 6 hours ahead of Florida) before the early service, and asked him to thank our home parish family for supporting me on this trip. It was very special indeed.

You see, after our son AJ was killed in an auto accident, Archbishop Kolini called and shared how he had recently lost a son recently and invited Barbara and me to come and spend time with him in Rwanda.  We became fast friends, and so over the years, when I return, Rwanda has become a home where it is also good to be. It’s good to be home.

So once again, not from a hill in Rwanda, but a computer in Winter Springs, FL I thank you all for supporting my visit, for your love and prayers, and for being here!  It is good to be home.

Blessings & Thanks Again to You All!

PS  I intend to share in greater detail about the this journey – in the sermon – and especially about a truly transformative event that happened while there, and how I leaned into the spiritual disciplines I shared in the parish letter to guide me through it.

Friday Epistle for July 6, 2018

July 6th, 2018 by
The Tenacity of Our Father
One early fall day, while rounding a corner by the football stadium at William & Mary, I heard Marv Levi, the coach, yelling, “Be tenacious men, be tenacious!” When I returned to my dorm, I looked it up. And I have thought since then, that our God is like that, determined, determined to reach his children and he wants us to be as well. And so, in Sunday’s gospel he sends us out to proclaim the Kingdom and to set the captives free.
While thinking and praying of these Thailand soccer players trapped in a cave, I remembered a story told by Scott Hahn in his book, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. It reminded me of God’s tenacity — and ours. Will we keep looking for his children?
******
Following an 8.2 earthquake in Armenia, a distressed father remembered what he had said to his son so many times, “No matter what happens, Armand, I’ll always be there.”
He reached the site where the school had been, but saw only a pile of rubble. He just stood there at first, fighting back tears, and then took off, stumbling over debris, toward the east corner where he knew his son’s classroom has been.
With nothing but his bare hands, he started to dig. He was desperately pulling up bricks and pieces of wall plaster, while others stood by watching in forlorn disbelief. He heard someone growl,” Forget it, mister. They’re all dead.”
He looked up, flustered, and replied, “You can grumble, or you can help me lift these bricks.” Only a few pitched in, and most of them gave up once their muscles began to ache. But the man couldn’t stop thinking about his son.
He kept digging and digging – for hours… 12 hours… 18 hours… 24 hours… 36 hours….   Finally, into the 38th hour, he heard a muffled groan from under a piece of wallboard.
He seized the board, pulled it back, and cried,” ARMAND!” From the darkness came a slight shaking voice,” Papa…!”
Armand & his Papa

Other weak voices began calling out, as the young survivors stirred beneath the still uncleared rubble. Gasps and shouts of bewildered relief came from the few onlookers and parents who remained. They found 14 of the 33 students still alive.

When Armand finally emerged, he tried to help dig, until all his surviving classmates were out. Everybody standing there heard him as he turned to his friends and said, “See, I told you my father wouldn’t forget us.”
That’s the kind of faith we need because that’s the kind of Father we have.
Let’s go get them,

Friday Epistle – Vacation Bible School

June 8th, 2018 by
Seventy kids, and a large number of our parish, have been showing up this week. It’s been fun, a little wild, and every day has been a blessing. Here are a few snapshots from the week.
From Bishop Carl: 
VBS impacts the spirit and soul.  
First of all it’s the interaction of the people, kids and adults smiling, laughing, serving, focusing on our Lord together.  I love being with the staff as well as the children. It is refreshment at its best and more.
 The soul gets nourished.  A friend of mine used to teach that when we taught, the first thing forgotten was the content. The second thing forgotten was the style, how you taught what you taught.  And the thing remembered longest was the attitude with which we taught.  Our attitude nourishes the soul.

We also can bless the spirit of those present.  We can awaken a thirst.  A parishioner sent me the following, borrowing from Max Lucado.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
The phrase “train up” descends from a root word that means to develop a thirst. Hebrew midwives awakened the thirst of a newborn by dipping a finger in a bowl of crushed dates and placing it in the baby’s mouth. To “train up,” then, means to awaken thirst.
Parents and teachers can awaken thirst “in the way [the child] should go.”
What an awesome gift it is!  This is a work of the Spirit to the spirit.

Roberta:

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed working VBS, especially with Caroline & Soleil.  It is such a joy (& I don’t use that term lightly-few things give me joy) to be around young, lively people.   It is wonderful to be around these wonderful creations of our Lord.

Whitney:

This is my second year as a teacher at VBS. Watching the children truly grasp these stories, and hearing their excitement, just reinforces the joy of our Lord everyday for me! I felt like the stories truly came alive for the kids in our class (and we had 14 kids!) and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does for these children in the coming year.
Sara:

This is my fourth year at VBS and my third year working in the crafts area. When the kids enter my class they have already heard the Bible story from their teachers, and perhaps seen it reinforced in the other special areas like skits and snack.  This year the kids are internalizing the stories in a way I’ve never seen in years past (the pre-K group told me all about leprosy!).  They are so excited to tell me everything they are learning from the Bible.  I am hearing from parents again and again what a wonderful time their kids are having.  I know they are going home and sharing the Bible stories with their families.  What a beautiful thing for the knowledge and love of Jesus to spread from our volunteers to the children and then to their families and beyond.  More than ever God is giving me a glimpse of the eternal significance of VBS!

 

  
To close, our fearless leader, Jane says:
“You can fear (or in my case, stress-out), or trust God.  But, you can not do both at the same time.”  I heard this statement on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and I needed that word!  At that time, Chris Reilly and I were still trying to secure volunteers to lead VBS classes and children were being placed on a wait list since classes had filled up quickly.  Once I trusted instead of stressed, God (as He does year after year) provided wonderful volunteers.  All have been AMAZING.  Our community is so blessed by their dedication to our children.
One of the aspects that I enjoy most about VBS is the opportunity for diverse people to serve/attend and remain engaged.  Volunteers are already signing up for next year.  Many of them are the young people who have attended VBS.  How awesome is that?  They have been learning about God’s love and now they plan to share it, although I doubt they will wait until next year to do so!

I can honestly say that the week of VBS is one my favorite weeks of the year.  Every year it is a week of joy, love and encouragement.  The joy is seen on every face of a child.  The love shines through our volunteers.  All who come (children and parents) are encouraged to seek, meet and accept the Lord.  “For all the promises of God find their Yes in God.”  2 Corinthians 1:20.
Please come Sunday to celebrate with us. We will have more stories and songs from our week of adventure!
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Friday Epistle for May 25, 2018

May 25th, 2018 by
SACRED ANTACIDS
By Justin McRoberts
A young man came to his priest. “I feel like something is terribly wrong in my spirit. Please help me.”

The priest replied, “Can you describe the feeling?”

“It happens every night,” the young man said.  “I lie down and begin thinking over my day when a terrible feeling comes over me; a burning in my heart, like the burning the disciples felt when meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus. But when I feel it, it feels like something is wrong. It’s more like a pain. It’s as if God is trying to tell me something. Please, help me. What does it mean?”

The priest bent forward from his chair, reaching into his satchel. The young man, thinking the priest was climbing out of his chair to kneel on the ground and pray, slid out of his chair onto the floor, bowing his head and extending his hands, palms up, to receive the priest’s blessing.
But instead of a prayer, the priest laid a single antacid in the young man’s open hands. “You’ve got heartburn, son.”
Don’t get me wrong. I do regularly pray. And sometimes I’m praying about a physical discomfort.
But sometimes I just need an antacid…
and sometimes I just need to eat better…
and sometimes I need to sleep more…
and sometimes I need to see a trained, professional therapist…
and  sometimes I need to change the shoes I’m running in.

And I think all of these things are spiritual matters.

In the past I might have suggested that therapy, exercise and medicine were un-spiritual things, as opposed to prayer, fasting and meditation. Nowadays, I wonder if it is un-spiritual to consider one aspect of my life “Spiritual” leaving all other aspects of myself partitioned off.  I wonder if thinking spiritually means seeing my whole life (emotional, psychological, physiological, religious, economic, social, familial…) as singular – as if my Creator is concerned with every inch and aspect of my whole self.

I don’t believe it is at all unspiritual, much less un-Christian, to see a therapist or take an antacid.  I do think, on the other hand, that it is distinctly unchristian to separate physical or financial parts of my life from my “spiritual life.”  God, whose greatest revelation of Himself was to become fully human, has great concern with all of me.

I find that one of the most powerful aspects of the Incarnation story is the 30 years of silence before the recorded part of Jesus’ life. That silence says to me that, until he was baptized by John, Jesus lived a life that was, in large part, unremarkable, since nobody found much of it worth marking down. Many days, I find my life to be somewhat unremarkable; I work, I eat, I rest, I have time with family and friends. Nothing out of the ordinary – not even a flash of celestial glory.  I am encouraged that Jesus lived such a life as well, at least for a time.

Unlike many other ancient Incarnation stories wherein a god takes on human form for a while and only to serve a special purpose, in Jesus, God not only becomes a human being…
He’s carried in a woman’s body…
born to that woman…
raised in a family with parents who taught him to feed himself…
had a dad…

And it seems, somewhere along the way, lost his dad…
had siblings…
had friends…
lost friends…
lived in the neighborhood…
had neighbors…
held a job…
worked for money…
paid for food…
paid taxes…

All of which says to me that these things are not insignificant in their normality, but that God finds worth in spending most of a human lifetime attending to simple things like work and neighbors and friendships and family.

It seems that God not only abides in mundane things, but dwells in them and does so gladly. And if that’s true, which I believe it is, it means he dwells in me and my work and my community. A community of beautifully normal people with jobs and kids and mortgages and leaky faucets and disagreements and heartburn and issues to work through externally and interpersonally.  A community who gathers on Sundays to celebrate and remember the One who is glorious and majestic and who was carried in the womb of a teenage girl to be born into the world just like any of us normal folks were.

It means every thing matters.

Not just a world I cannot see, but the world right in front of me.

My job matters.
My bank account matters.
My education matters.

My health matters.

From his book, PRAYER, pages 28-30
Go to his website:  www.justinmcroberts.com
Who is Justin McRoberts?
         Since 1999 Justin McRoberts has been a constant and noteworthy presence on the independent music scene. A songwriter, storyteller, teacher and an advocate, he is one of those rare artists who blends artistry, honesty and humor seamlessly.
         “In and through art,” Justin writes “we learn to see ourselves and our world as part of a cohesive, Divinely-orchestrated story.” Sharing stories and songs with an audience is where Justin’s gifts are most fully realized. His live shows strike a delicate balance between intellect and emotion; between inspiration and a call to action.
          Central to Justin’s work is advocacy on behalf of the poor and oppressed through Compassion International. “Not only do the poor need us,” he writes “we need the poor to remind us what being human is about. In the same way that the poor learn to identify themselves with their lack, the wealthy learn to identify themselves with their wealth. It is in the meeting of the two that we can recognize ourselves and one another as human.”
Blessings to You All,

Friday Epistle for May 11, 2018

May 11th, 2018 by
HE ALSO MADE THE STARS
Why do we spend a good bit of time on Sunday mornings praising God?  It’s not just a sing along, or as in some churches, a concert, but it’s a time of praise.  We can express that in different ways, but ultimately it is our offering to our God, and it’s what we are created to do.
Jesus said it is what God has ordained us to do on earth and in heaven:
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
” ‘From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise’?”
And he added, if we don’t the stones will:
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
SO DON’T MISS IT!
Don’t’ miss it! — This video by Louis Giglio is 8 minutes plus.  But includes the recording of the sounds of stars, and whales. He wraps it together with, “How Great is Our God.”
How Great is our God
How Great is our God
Don’t miss it! — How can we not join in the praise of all creation?  Yes, he also made the stars and they sing constant praises. Don’t miss an opportunity to join in the hymn of the universe on any given Sunday at New Covenant.  It is a bit beyond our imaginings, but then it’s about God.
Psa. 148:1
 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
2Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
4Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Blessings to You All,

Friday Epistle – April 27, 2018

April 27th, 2018 by
Fruit or Fire?
Cut Off or Cut Back?
John 15.1-8
Some branches are cut off and others are cut back.
The ones that are cut off are thrown into a fire.
The ones that are cut back bear fruit.
It’s sort of like the passage in DT where God says, This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
 
Life or Death? Blessing or Curse?
 
It seems obvious doesn’t it? But scripture doesn’t want us guessing,
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
 
As for the branches, the way, the only way, to bear fruit is to remain in Jesus – Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jn 15.4
HOW do we  remain in Him?
John gives us 4 ways in chapters 1, 4, 6, 8, and 15.
  1. response … 1.38-42; 4.29, 40
  2. communion… 6.56
  3. continuing in the Word… 8.31-32
  4. keeping his command… 15.9-17
It says in 15.3 that the disciples are clean already – the foot washing from chapter 13. But what about us?  HOW are we cleansed?
  1. by the Word…
  2. by baptism…
  3. by fellowship…
  4. by communion…
  5. by pruning…
PRAYER OF HUMBLE ACCESS – 1928 Prayer Book
We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies maybe made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious bloodandthat we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
Blessings to you All,