05-08-2014 “I saw the crosses!”

June 16th, 2014 by

Thursday Epistle

 

Dear Member of New Covenant,

“I saw the crosses!”

The speaker finished his talk and invited us to come to the altar rail for prayer.  I was first out of the blocks.  Sincerely convicted of my being judgmental of my parishioners, I desperately needed relief. ” If the speaker will just pray for me,” I thought, but someone else came.

Alas, I told him my issue and strangely he said, “I know.”  Not at all sure how efficacious this would be, the last thing I recall was his hands on my eyes.

When I opened them again I was stretched out on the cathedral chapel’s stone floor, somehow separated from sandals.  Not something I am prone to do.  The only person in the room was the one who prayed for me and the parishioner I had dragged along to this renewal conference.

Later that week a parishioner stopped in my office and shared about how judgmental she had been lately.  I said, stealing from my prayer minister, “I know. listen to this teaching,” handing her the cassette tape from the conference,”and get back to me.”  The next morning she was waiting for me, and she said there was nothing about being judgmental in the talk.

“Hmmm, you’ve got to be kidding, I was convicted from head to toe by that talk,” I responded.  Later, I listened and sure enough she was right, no mention of being judgmental. I learned then that when God has something to say, he doesn’t need a speaker’s words.

Sunday morning came on schedule, and what happened was a bit unnerving.  When I began to share the thoughts of my sermon and looked out on the congregation, I could see a slight, light, iridescent glow on the parishioners foreheads.  After rubbing my eyes, trying not to be too distracted, and keeping hold on my sanity, I noticed they were in the shape of crosses.  What I believe I saw was their chrismed baptismal crosses!  “You are now sealed with the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever,” and the priest anoints with oil the sign of the cross.

I saw the crosses!

Do you think that helped me with being judgmental?  God showed me that they were his. He knew them by name and they were His — listen to Sunday’s gospel from John 10.  We are resurrection people believe it or not!

Sadly for me, the crosses faded all too fast, lasting only a few weeks, and just on Sundays.  But I learned a lot, not just about my being judgmental but about the Holy Spirit and how he speaks and works through prayer ministry.  The presence of God in worship is indeed transforming. Listen to the sermon Sunday about his presence in our worship.

Blessings to you all,

Carl+

04-25-2014 Holy Week and Easter

June 16th, 2014 by

Dear Friends,

It takes a community of faith to make a community of celebration!

What a wonderful Holy Week and Easter!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Three times is the superlative in Hebrew from what I recall — (As I write this, our GT missionary and Latin American coordinator, Orlando Otorola, is studying Hebrew at our kitchen table so I am trying to, at least, lean that way).

This week at staff meeting we went through a long list of those to whom we wanted to say thank you, and as I try to repeat it I am bound to forget some.  So please know that if that’s you, you will get the most special thanks from our Lord.  (If that’s not scriptural, we can blame my mother).

Especially for Holy Week and Easter – Thanks to:

  • the Easter sunrise team — those who got up before dawn cracked to set and direct traffic
  • those who were baptized – 6 infants were baptized and one adult accepted the Lord in her heart and will soon be baptized
  • those who received their first communion on Palm Sunday and those who taught them
  • the people who continually put new flowers around the front of the church
  • the special choir — those who gather for special events
  • the Easter egg hunt teams — those who put together the story and those who shared it
  • the thespians — those who played parts on Good Friday, those who have read the gospel lessons
  • those who put the service together and coordinated it with the town and other churches

A lot happens behind the scenes on any given Sunday: Thanks to:

  • the Altar guild — set the Lord’s table, do the dishes and wash the linens etc.
  • the media techs and sound people — Easter seemed to be glitch free
  • the kitchen cleaners — someone was caught cleaning the kitchen without being asked
  • the work day crew — beautified the buildings and grounds for Holy Week and Easter
  • the coffee hour hostesses — provide refreshments every week
  • the Sunday School Teachers and C.E. committee — share God’s word with young hearts and minds
  • the office staff — countless bulletins and notices produced
  • the environmental worship people — those who create a worshipful ambiance

A lot happens that we might see or might be seen but may not notice: Thanks to:

  • the acolytes — are an invaluable help in the liturgy
  • the ushers and greeters — there’s the set up and clean up as well as greeting and assisting people
  • the (LEMs) lay eucharistic ministers — people who take communion to those in the hospitals
  • the worship team — those who lead us in worshipping from week to week
  • the readers — those who are bold enough to read God’s word
  • the prayer ministers — those ready to pray with us during the communion time
  • the deacons — those ordained who serve the altar and lock up the church every week
  • the priests — those who celebrate the Lord’s supper for us and with us
  • the congregation — this is most of us, if not all, including any left out

 

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Carl+

 

 

 

03-14-2014 Scare Tactic?

June 16th, 2014 by

Dear Member of New Covenant,

 

SCARE TACTIC?

If your child clicks on KIK.com and enters a teen girl’s profile she will be solicited for sex within 30 minutes. Predators also meet at one place and suggest a move for further conversation to another.

  • A lot of children now have “Shadow Accounts” on Facebook, and MySpace– do you know where to find them?
  • The average age for first sexual experience is now between 3rd and 4th grades.
  • The number presented by Detective Padgett of young children who are exposed to hard-core pornography was astronomical, and the number that tried out what they saw was even more frightening.
  •  And what about “Porn Dads” – soccer dads by day and porn addicts by night. What’s wrong with this anyway?

I didn’t know this. Did you?

After learning this Fr. Christopher was heard to say that he was cutting off the electricity to his house to protect his family.

When I returned from Africa Sunday night I heard this from my children, who heard it Sunday night at our church. We are inviting Detective Padgett to return and speak with our youth.

As well, we will have another time to meet and talk about ways to protect our families, without cutting off electricity, on the 30th from 6 to 8 p.m. Not to be missed.

Scare tactic? Or is it just plain scary? Is there an option?

Blessings to you all,

Carl+

Go

August 1st, 2013 by

Friday Epistle

July 5, 2013

 

Dear Member of New Covenant,

The Missional Church

Being missional is not about what churches do, but what churches empower people to do in their every day lives. The Great Commission is so much more than spreading the Gospel in words; it is about embodying the Gospel message-it’s hope for transformational renewal-in everything we do. This is what it means to be missional. Witness is no longer an activity we do now and again, but witness is who we are. The world will encounter God’s love in Christ because they encounter you, and you are equipped by God’s Holy Spirit and with His Word to demonstrate the transformational truth, the relevance, the healing power of the Gospel.

What type of transformation do you think is necessary in our church to live missionally in a post-christian context, in our world?

What type of transformation do you think is necessary in your life to live missionally in your work place, neighborhoods, beaches, schools and communities?

The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.         John 1:4

Let’s go and do the same.

Sheryl

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