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Kris Taff

Where’s the Power?

July 27th, 2018 by
Living in Florida in the summer and in Orlando in particular (the lightning capital of the world), we know a little something about losing power. Then add in the hurricanes, I am sure you all remember that little gal named Irma. Many of you spent days without power. Sometimes when we look at the church as a whole or at our individual Christian lives, we and the world looking at us might ask, “Where’s the power?” In the lessons this week God wants to remind us that there is no shortage of power with him.

Through Elisha God invites the man from Baal-Shalishah to feed a hundred men with his small tithe of bread and grain when he really brought only enough for Elisha. This came with the promise that there would be some left over. According to the word of the Lord it happened just as Elisha spoke. Our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

In the Gospel Philip basically says, “Really Lord?” “All we have is five loves and two fish from this little boys lunch.” Jesus thanks his father for them and feeds the multitude. Our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks from prison to this church which he loves and who are afraid because of the persecution that has come on Paul, and they see that same persecution coming towards them. Paul in his prayer points them to God’s Spirit who lives within them and reminds them that our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

Are you in a personal spiritual power outage? Are you skeptical about what God can do with who you are or with what you have to offer him? Are you afraid of what is coming down the pike? Paul in his prayer for the Ephesians identifies three aspects of God’s power that answer the question of, “Where’s the power?” for the follower of Jesus in their personal life and for their witness to the world. Come praise God this Sunday! He has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine!

God bless,

Glenn Starr

Friday Epistle – June 29, 2018

June 29th, 2018 by
How many of you reading this Friday Epistle love interruptions when you are working on a project?
How many of you treasure the times when your best laid plans are torn apart by some situation or problem that just comes out of left field?
You can ask Jana when I get on a project, I am like a dog with a bone. I will skip meals (which says a lot), forget appointments, and work till I drop or the project is complete. I generally don’t like interruptions.
However, the Lord has taught, and continues to teach Jana and me a key principle for ministry: “Ministry is what happens in the interruptions.” In the text from Mark 5:21-43, Jesus, in His ministry to Jairus and his family ,and to the woman with the issue of blood, gives us three clear contexts to consider where ministry happens in the interruptions.

I believe the text defines ministry for us, as it reveals the healing and saving power of Christ in the world. In this passage, Mark records for us a session right out of Jesus’ school for effective ministry. This fits really well with our new Sunday school series which is titled: Good news for the neighborhood part 2. I am excited for this Sunday morning and for the opportunity it affords to learn some practical ways to minister to our neighbors and those we come in contact with in our daily lives.
For such a time as this,
Glenn

Friday Epistle – June 15, 2018

June 15th, 2018 by
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
Patsy and I are looking forward to our visit with you all Sunday and sharing what God is doing in Madagascar. There are many exciting things happening with God’s people in Madagascar and many lessons we can learn from them. One of the biggest lessons we have learned is being people reaching people – witnessing and sharing God’s love. The Malagasy people are great at doing this. Over the past 11 years we have seen tremendous spiritual growth as we have gone from 11 churches to
92 churches.
We look forward to meeting you and sharing God’s word together Sunday. May God bless you abundantly.
Serving Christ Together,
Todd McGregor
Diocesan Bishop
Diocese of Toliara
MADAGASCAR

Men’s Retreat

May 21st, 2018 by

 

The 2018 Men’s Retreat at New Covenant Anglican Church was an exciting and uplifting gathering of about 45 men who were seeking the Holy Spirit as a greater friend in their lives. Men came from different walks of life including Bishop Godfrey from Tanzania. We saw short film clips of Bishops William, Michael and Godfrey speaking about times that they have seen the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In addition to a great breakfast provided by Rob Beckman, Dave Ruddell, Eardley Willock, and others, we also had a fantastic lunch provided by Susan Stephens. Canon James Kennaugh was the presenter and led many of us to a new way to encounter the Holy Spirit. John Stephens led worship and the worship team included Peter Buffington and Ethan Hunt. Below are some of the Highlights of the day:

 

We are in a war zone between Jesus and Satan. Good and Evil. Satan took dominion of the earth at the fall. Man obeyed Satan not God. Do you know what the will of the Father is for your life? If not, go on a spiritual journey with the Holy Spirit. We are soldiers in the war and must know our role in the war. New Covenant is a military base. Prayer is our weapon and we follow the Spirit as our lead for prayer. Expect God to bring healing, be spiritual in your expectations. The enlightenment made us secular beings and suppressed our spirits. Healing happens when we are spiritual. Sometimes the prayer is just Come Holy Spirit.

 

The coming of the spirit fills on the inside as well. Jesus came to die on the cross, reveal the heart of the Father, and to train a team to carry the spirit forward. All the miracles that Jesus performed can be described in the gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 : “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

 

Ezekiel 47 vision “The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”

 

This is a vision of the kingdom. How deep is your spiritual water?

 

Canon Andrew White, Anglican in Baghdad. God is raising Muslims from the dead. Jesus is giving them every chance.

 

The spirit has been working in our lives since birth. Grow into it. The Spirit is still growing. Holy Spirit is always present and working in our lives bringing everyone to Jesus. Be careful how you treat non Christians. The Holy Spirit is working in them now. As the Father has sent me I am sending you. The Final Command instead of The Great Commission. Disciples make disciples. Jesus came to provide life in its fullness. We all need to be healed and forgiven. Tears in the Holy Spirit is a release of pain.

 

1 Corinthians 2:11 ” For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”

 

The Spirit is to understand God.  The world does not understand because it is not spiritual.

 

You can resist the Spirit. Physically, Emotionally, Spirituality.

 

Tale of Two wolves:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice,

 

“Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.   But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.  Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

 

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”  Do not feed the evil wolf.

 

There are Atmospheres where the kingdom is and is not. You can get slimed in a non kingdom atmosphere. You have to recognize attacks. You invite attack when you go to the temptation. Eph 4:23 “.You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

 

Repentance is about doing a 180 on your thinking not just your sin. Do not live an offense, like the unforgiving servant. We have to let go of un-forgiveness. You have to hear the spirit in a still small voice so make sure nothing else inside you is screaming louder.

 

Put the kingdom first. Discover where Jesus is and what he is doing and go do it with him. Make sure you are prompted by the spirit before you pray or give comfort. The Spirit can be alive and well but the brain can be shot. Get comfortable with the spirit, not the physical because the Spirit is eternal.  We need intimacy in our worship and relationship with Jesus.

 

 

Phi 4:8 ” Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Think about these things. We are more likely to hear from the Spirit. Eyes focused on the kingdom in your life. You are called to be a priest in every situation. The marketplace is where the healing is. Don’t have to wait for church service. If a worldly person sees God manifested that is all that is needed.

 

 

Blessings to all,

Bill Stone

 

 

Friday Epistle – January 12, 2018

January 12th, 2018 by
Building His Kingdom 
 
        Last week we meditated on the baptism of Jesus at the river Jordan. This was his introduction to the people. At his baptism a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” After his baptism Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days where he fasted and was tempted by the enemy. Having overcome the enemy, Jesus was ready for his public ministry. His first priority was to make disciples. The followers of Jesus, or disciples, were the ones who brought the good news to the whole world.
       The Bible describes Christ’s kingdom as a building that is under  construction. St. Paul writes in the book of Ephesians, “God is building a home. He’s using us all-irrespective of how we got here-in what He is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now He’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day-a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home” (Ephesians 2:19-22, The Message).
       The process of building His kingdom will go on until He returns. You and I have the privilege of adding living stones to the building. Every person who puts their faith in Christ is being added to his kingdom. May the Lord help us to be involved in building His kingdom by introducing people to Him.
See you Sunday,
Ivan+

Friday Epistle – December 15, 2017

December 15th, 2017 by
Accepting the Blessing
          Isaiah the prophet, who lived almost 700 years before Christ, prophesied more about Jesus than others. He prophesied about his birth (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7), His suffering (Isaiah 53) and even about John the baptizer who prepared the way for Him (Isaiah 40:3-5).
          Isaiah later prophesied that Messiah will give a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
       Jesus once entered the synagogue in his hometown where he was given a scroll to read (Luke 4). He opened the part where Isaiah had prophesied about him and read it. After reading he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people who heard this rejected him and tried to throw him off a cliff. He walked through them and went on his way.
          Today, we can decide to accept the blessings of Messiah or reject him. May the Lord help us to receive his blessings during this time of Advent and be a blessing to others as well.
Ivan+

Pentecost – Friday Epistle June 2, 2017

June 3rd, 2017 by

“We have the right, the duty, and the joy to say that Pentecost goes on.” Pope John Paul II

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, and annual remembrance and invitation to experience the promised arrival of God’s Holy Spirit upon the Church.

 

Pentecost was the answer given to Jesus’ friends who asked about the final arrival of God’s kingdom after the Resurrection. They would be witnesses in expanding regions, realms, and races when they received the Holy Spirit and were empowered by Him.

 

There is wonderful mystery here as we witness the ministry of Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit cooperating, deferring, and sharing in ministry to the disciples of Jesus.  Between the upper room in Acts 2 and the earlier out-breathing of the Holy Spirit in John 20 to Jesus’ overlapping instruction with the Holy Spirit during the days until the Ascension. (Acts 1.2bff) “…Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.”

 

Pentecost is history that reverberates not only with memory but with life. We see that in two ways this weekend.

 

First, our Costa Rica Mission team left this morning to serve and share the good news in the jungle of Costa Rica.  As we pray for them each day and on Sunday, we remember that this is an instance of what Jesus had in mind when he described the coming of the Holy Spirit.

 

Second, we will celebrate the ministry of Deacon Barbara Kuhn this Sunday. The ascended Jesus gave many gifts to His church, and by the Holy Spirit raises up servants and ministers and teachers. Come hear Dcn. Barbara preach at 8 and join us at 9am in the Parish hall for a reception and opportunity to share your gratitude and thanks for her ministry here at New Covenant .

 

At 10 o’clock, we will look at three ways the Holy Spirit’s ministry reshapes our experience and understanding of life with Jesus day by day. Jesus’ ministry would have ended without Pentecost. Our ministry in His name would suffer the same fate.

 

But, that’s why there is Feast on Sunday. Because Jesus’ ministry did not end, and our is empowered to continue forward.

 

St Augustine preached that the work of Pentecost was one of growth, not displacement. Quoting from the Great Commission, he begins

“And that penance and remission of sins should be preached. in his name unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” It began at Jerusalem, and it has reached unto us. It is there, and it is here. For it did not cease there to come to us. It has grown forth not changed places.

 

I learned when I arrived at New Covenant that Pentecost Sunday was a day for wearing red. What a great custom that is. As you prepare for worship on Sunday, lets pray this prayer we first prayed last week.

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

 

See you Sunday,

Christopher+

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Weekly Lectionary – 5th Sunday of Easter

May 15th, 2017 by
COLLECT
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.

 

First Lesson
Acts 7:55-60

 

55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit,  looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open  and the Son of Man  standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

 

New Testament
1 Peter 2:2-10
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

4 As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him- 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”[b]
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”[c]
8 and,
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]
They stumble because they disobey the message-which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 

Gospel
John 14:1-14

 

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Weekly Lectionary – May 7, 2017

May 6th, 2017 by

4th Sunday of Easter

Year A

To see the May Sunday Server Schedule, click here.

COLLECT

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

First Lesson

Acts 2:42-47

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

New Testament

1 Peter 2:19-25

19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[a]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[b] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

 

Gospel

John 10:1-10

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Holy Communion and Holy Week 2017

April 20th, 2017 by

 

Holy Week is a special time of year as we reflect and remember the sacrifice Jesus paid for sins.

 

This year, Holy week was observed from April 9  starting with Jesus’s last arrival into Jerusalem in what is remembered as Palm Sunday. Holy Week concluded with the remembrance of his crucifixion on Good Friday on April 14.

You can watch the family of New Covenant Church remember this special time of remembrance in our video recap here.