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,
I have been asked many times over the last couple of weeks how the Early Egg Hunt went this year. Here is just a glimpse through the eyes of one young boy and a mom:
“Jesus is always with you and always listens to your prayers.”
One of our Easter Story Egg table leaders spoke these words of life to a young boy who shared about a hard family situation that he is currently in. She was in the midst of sharing the Easter story with him when he opened up about it. Beautiful words of hope for this boy in the midst of despair.
“This is the best Easter egg hunt my family has been to because we have had the chance to meet people from the community afterward!”
This second comment was made by a mom with two young kids. She was excited that there were activities after the egg hunt so that she could actually meet and get to know people from the community. Through the tangible environment that was created (great food, playground, Easter craft) people found more than just an egg hunt. They found a chance to get to know one another.
So much preparation from our church family goes into creating the tangible environment that spurs stories like these. Thank you for snapping eggs together, for bagging candy, for setting up tables and chairs, for grilling hot dogs and refilling drinks, for helping kids with Easter Story Egg sets, for welcoming families, for directing parking, for capturing the event in pictures, for praying, and so much more – all to share the joy of Easter!”
From Sunday’s gospel, Matthew 23.11-12.
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
*From Mother Teresa:
*From Brennan Manning:
“The deeper we grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the poorer we become – the more we realize that everything in life is a gift. The tenor of our lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. Awareness of our poverty and ineptitude causes us to rejoice in the gift of being called out of darkness into wondrous light and translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.”
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat Up, and Burnt Out
Who is someone you consider to be humble?
What is it about them that exhibits humility?
Are there times when you felt humbled?
Consider this incident:
During World War II, Winston Churchill was awarding the Victoria Cross to an Air Force sergeant who had climbed out onto the wing of his bomber with only a rope attached to his waist – while it was 13,000 feet in the air. His efforts saved both the plane and his fellow crew members.
At the ceremony, the soldier was so overwhelmed by Churchill’s presence that he could barely speak. Churchill observed this and said, “You must be very humble and awkward in my presence,” to which the sergeant replied, “Yes, sir.”
Then the Prime Minister responded, “Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours.
Blessings to You All!