Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lent I Podcast - SNOW DAY Broadcast Script

Welcome to our Snow Day Broadcast

While you may look outside and think I could have driven through that (that's what I think this morning) - as we were making the call for a cancellation last night it was snowing at about 2" hour here in Centennial.  Of course, as soon as we got finished making all the calls, sending all the emails and texts that all of you have received, the snow stopped here.

But there is a very slippery ice sheet under this snow cover and its very treacherous to be out in it.

So today we're trying something new to REZ - A Live podcast.  I hope that several have been able to join us on our site on  And I hope you are cozy in front of the fire and have an open bible near you this morning.  The script for this podcast is already posted on my blog site,  You can follow along there easily and quickly.  Once again it is

I want to open with the Lent I liturgy from our bulletin.  On this first Lenten Sunday we typically hear and respond to a reading of the Decalogue - the Ten Commandments - responding with the words, "Lord, have mercy upon us and incline our hearts to keep this Law" So let's begin with The Decalogue and a prayer of confession.  


The Decalogue

Celebrant Bless the Lord who forgiveth all our sins.
People His mercy endureth for ever.

God spake these words, and said: I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Honor thy father and thy mother.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt do no murder.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not steal.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

            Lord, have mercy upon us,
             and incline our hearts to keep this law.

Thou shalt not covet.

             Lord, have mercy upon us, and write
             all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee.

The Deacon or Celebrant then says
Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God.

Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from thy ways like a lost sheep, I have followed too much the devices and desires of our my heart, I have offended against thy holy laws, I have left undone those things which I ought to have done, and I have done those things which I ought not to have done.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon me.

Spare thou those who confess their faults, restore thou those who are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that I may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you absolution and remission of all your sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen.


The Collect of the Day

Celebrant       The Lord be with you.
    People              And with thy spirit.
Celebrant       Let us pray together:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted of Satan: Make speed to help thy servants who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Our first reading this morning 
is found in Genesis 9: 8-17

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."

            Reader        The Word of the Lord
                  People         Thanks be to God

Psalm 25:1-9

1   To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you;   *let me not be humiliated, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2   Let none who look to you be put to shame;
            *let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

3   Show me your ways, O LORD, * and teach me your paths.

4   Lead me in your truth and teach me, * for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.

5   Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love, * for they are from everlasting.

6   Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;
* remember me according to your love and for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.

7   Gracious and upright is the LORD; * therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

8   He guides the humble in doing right *and teaches his way to the lowly.

9   All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness *to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

N.T. Reading:                  1 Peter 3:18-22
Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you-- not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
            Reader        The Word of the Lord
                      People        Thanks be to God

Gospel Reading: Mark 1:9-15

Reader   The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark
     People       Glory to you, Lord Christ.

n those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."           

            Reader        The Gospel of the Lord
                      People          Praise to You, Lord Christ



I've enjoyed spending some extra time in these first few days of Lent beginning our reading program, LENT FOR EVERYONE.  It is one of the reading plans on BIBLE.COM that you can sign up for.  The commentator for the plan is Anglican Bishop and Theologian/Author N.T. Wright.

A couple of days ago the reading was in the early part of Matt 4 - which is the parallel passage to our Mark reading that we just heard read - the Temptation of Jesus Christ.

Mark's gospel really sets the temptation narrative in its proper perspective, after Jesus is baptized by John and filled with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan, he is IMMEDIATELY DRIVEN INTO THE WILDERNESS.  It is interesting to see that juxtaposition of the baptism and the voice of God with the coming of the Spirit to rest on Jesus - then he is IMMEDIATELY compelled by that same Spirit to go into the wilderness to begin His earthly ministry by facing the greatest temptations that Satan could throw at him.

Matthew takes a bit more time than Mark and fills out the picture more with the nature of the temptations and the response of Jesus - all of which gives us a model and pattern for dealing with our own temptations.

Listen to what Dr. NT Wright had to say a day or so ago in this regard:

It starts with a flicker of thought, a tiny little idea that darts across the mind while you're doing something else. It seems harmless, just one of the millions of things that the human brain comes up with. But then it returns, a minute or an hour later. You feel it now as something familiar, and perhaps enticing. If I claim travel expenses for that trip, even though I had a ride from a friend...if I had a chance to say that really cutting remark to the man who's always been mean to me . . . if I played my cards right, I might persuade my friend's spouse to spend an evening with me, and then maybe . . .

Always, to begin with, it seems quite reasonable, only just a bit off limits. But if we play with the idea, or allow it to play with us, then a new course is set, heading for disaster at one level or another.

Christians have always found comfort in the fact that Jesus was tempted as we are. But his temptations, in this famous story, are not just an example, showing us how to resist, though of course they are that too. (Notice how his mind, well stocked with scripture, comes back again and again with the right response.) They are part of the larger story of how 'heaven's rule' came to earth.

Part of the point of the 'kingdom of heaven', you see, and of Jesus' own mission to make it happen, is that there was another power ruling the earth. If Jesus was to bring God's rescuing rule to the world, the present power had to be defeated. Jesus' 'temptations' are therefore the personal side of the larger battle he had to fight if God's rule was to take hold. Like David fighting Goliath, he had to take on the enemy one to one if the people as a whole were to be set free.

The three temptations here, like most if not all temptations, are good things that are being distorted. Bread is good. Jesus will later create a huge amount of it from a few loaves, to feed hungry people. But should he do that just for himself — and just to satisfy himself that he really is the 'Son of God', as the heavenly voice at his baptism had said? No: Jesus will satisfy himself with what God has said, rather than with any attempt to prove it.

So, too, Jesus may already have had a sense that his own vocation would end in a horrible death, trusting that God would raise him from the dead. But the satanic distortion of this is that he should perform a crazy stunt to attract attention. Again, Jesus refuses: that would be using God's power as magic.

Finally, it's clear throughout Matthew's gospel, and particularly at the very end, that Jesus as 'king of the Jews' is to become the true lord of the whole world. But the path by which he moves to that lordship is not the satanic one which would make him grab it for his own ends. The whole of the book is about the alternative path, the true way by which Jesus comes to embody heaven's rule on earth.

Once more, we are not simply spectators in this extraordinary drama. We, too, are tempted to do the right things in the wrong way, or for the wrong reason. Part of the discipline of Lent is about learning to recognize the flickering impulses, the whispering voices, for what they are, and to have the scripture-fuelled courage to resist. We, too, are part of the ongoing battle for heaven's rule to be established on earth. Every successful fight against temptation is one more step on the road to the ultimate victory.

I think I'll let that conclude my remarks on the temptation of Christ and our temptation, except to say that Paul was clear in his letter to the Corinthians in his first letter, chapter 10, verse 13:

[1Co 10:13 NLT] 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Jesus shows us the way out, through the doorway of Scripture!
And Jesus little brother, James was also clear in his letter, Chapter 1. v 12, that ...

[Jas 1:12-16 NLT] 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 

And like N.T. Wright, James reminds us of the origins of temptation by saying...

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.

And so let us join in prayer this morning as we close our time together 

Prayers of the People

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church and the world.

     Almighty and ever living God, who in thy holy Word hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men: Receive these our prayers which we offer unto thy divine Majesty, beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord; and grant that all those who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.

    Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all bishops and other ministers especially Foley, our Archbishop, and Bill, our bishop, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.  

      And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace, and especially to this congregation listening today; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear and receive thy holy Word, truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.

     We beseech thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear the authority of government in this and every land especially our President, Barack Obama, and the members of Congress, that they may be led to wise decisions and right actions for the welfare and peace of the world.

       Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works, that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, they may honor thee with their substance, and be faithful stewards of thy bounty.

      And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succor  all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.


      And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear, beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service; and to grant us grace so to follow the good examples of  all thy saints, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant these our prayers, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

   For the Anglican Church in North America, The International Diocese, our friends in PEAR-USA, and The Society of the AMiA, we pray for an effective witness across North America through the unity and love we show for one another.  Let us grow in grace and in witness to our world, day by day.

  For our Sister Parish in the Diocese of  Byumba, Rwanda

  Ngarama Parish
    The Rev. Charles, Pastor

  The Right Rev. Emmanuel, Bishop and his wife, Vicky

The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect:

O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people; in the multitude of your mercies, look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help; for you are gracious, O  lover of souls, and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +

And now if you would join with me, I'll lead us in the Lord's Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
      hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come,
            Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
          as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
           but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,  and the power, and the glory
        for ever and ever.  Amen.

Closing Declarations
All our problems...             We send to the Cross of Christ!
All our sins...                     We send to the Cross of Christ!
All the devil's works...        We send to the Cross of Christ!
All our hopes...                  We set on the Risen Christ !!


The Blessing:

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.


Thank you for joining us this morning.  I know it is a poor substitute for being together in God's Presence, 
but for all of us, it provides a way for us to continue in our common life and study, even though we are separated by weather.

I hope that you are warm and comfy and safe in your home today.  
I look forward to your comments on Facebook and Email as to this broadcast.  

Keep those cards and letters coming, and when you send them, remember we weren't there to take
an offering today! At REZ we do accept all denominations - especially 50's and 100's! Just joking!  

Have a great day.  We love you and even more so, Jesus loves you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

State of the Flock 2015


I want to welcome you to REZ this morning.  For this address I traditionally take the podium and speak more formally, so all can hear and understand.  I call this address the State of the Flock Address, and I hope that I can adequately reflect all that is happening here at REZ and adequately reflect the Hope that is among us.

As I approach this time, I spend days thinking about what and how to say what needs to be said.  I come this year with a profound sense of gratitude and gratefulness, both to God and to each of you who form the Body of Christ here at Resurrection Anglican Fellowship.  I am mindful of the distance God has brought us together, first of all.  From a humble beginning in 1996 through the "changes and chances" of a journey now almost 20 years in the making!  Some here this morning were there on the first Sunday, a fresh recruit, a year and a half out from ordination was appointed to a small congregation struggling to survive.  I think there was an element of recognition and a bond that quickly developed, between priest and people at that little Episcopal congregation called St. George's Church.  From that time to 2001 we struggled together and grew out of survival mode to be a growing parish of nearly 200.

In 2001, around Easter we made a move, as a congregation - as part of a congregation into the Anglican Mission under the oversight and covering of Rwanda's Archbishop Kolini.  Challenged by pioneering bishops and archbishops, willing to break convention for the sake of the Gospel, we left building and land behind and became a mobile church - a "church in a box!"  Since that time we have met in 6 different venues over a period of nearly 14 years now.  Today I'm grateful for this place, it's beauty and its availability to us.  We moved here in the Winter of 2009, just months after the great financial crash of 2008.  It is as if God swept us into an eddy in the raging river of our times and protected us in the palm of His hand.  Only once in that time from then to now, have we had a rent increase!  We are now in the beginning of our sixth year in this facility, and our relationship with Horan-McConaty is better than ever.  For them, I praise God.

In August of 2012 our affiliation returned to the United States and the newly formed Anglican Church in North America.  We maintain normal relationships with our friends in Rwanda but are now overseen by Bishop Bill Atwood, of the International Diocese of ACNA.  There is a growing affinity among the churches of our region and I now serve as the Dean of the Colorado churches under Bishop Bill.  I am his "boots on the ground" in the local area and am also a member of the Diocesan Standing Committee, a kind of 'board' for the Diocese.  Bishop Bill and I have a growing love and respect for one another, sharing many of the same values and relationships around the globe and around the country.  I look forward to a long relationship with this bishop and this diocese.


At REZ I am constantly humbled and amazed by you people.  We have a culture at this church that is one of the warmest, most genuinely caring places I have ever been.  Am I boasting?  Sorry!  but not really.  God has done this among us, through the things that we have suffered.  In the book we are studying this month, Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes the claim that Christ is present today in the form of the Christian Community - the Body of Christ, what he calls the "Sanctorum Communio" (Holy Fellowship).  I have been part of working to embody that reality since only a few years after my conversion in 1973!  As a teen, in university as a freshman, I experienced such a "holy fellowship" among the men on our floor at Oral Roberts University - it was influenced greatly by a movement of renewal from the Episcopal Church, the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, TX at the time.  It marked my heart and mind so deeply, that I now believe and have striven toward the ideal that the common life of the Church is the primary expression of God's plan for this planet - Jesus and His disciples, and subsequently all the way down to us in the pews today, are God's Plan A - and there is no Plan B!

Our life together, the way we love one another, in fact, is the primary sign to the world that Jesus is just who He claimed to be!  What Jesus said and did while here on earth sets the pace, the example for us in the Church. But we are further empowered by the Holy Spirit, alive and active in our midst, to bring about the kind of Holy Fellowship that is only possible under his empowerment and by his grace-filled leadership.  For years now, we have looked to the second chapter of ACTS as our model and guide for our life and mission at REZ, but before verse 42 comes verse 38:

[Act 2:38-39 ESV] 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

The life of our parish community here at REZ is not primarily about our programs or our facility, but it is about our relationships.  Under the guidance and empowerment of the Spirit of God, we are called to simply "love one another, as I have loved you."  By this love, Jesus tells us, you will prove you are my disciples AND the world will know, both who Jesus is and what He has come to do!   We are given a Great Commandment and a Great Commission in that light:

The Great Commandment:
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. 
(Like unto the above, that includes:  Love your neighbor as yourself)

and then ...   The Great Commission:    
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations ... etc. 

We are a great commandment community 
with a great commission vision!!
Our vision statement is pretty simple and straight forward:                    
           Connecting people to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom...
How we do that is also clear for all to see:                        
         ...  through a loving, biblically-rooted Anglican community gathered in South Denver.

We are like a tree, planted, as John saw, by a river of living water, bearing fruit in its season.

We live our lives along the four meridians of Acts 2:42: 

       >  Devotion to the Word of God;
       >  Practice of Holy Communion;  

       >  Authentic (Eucharistic) Community (marked by hospitality); 

       >  and a vital, active life of Prayer, both individual and corporate.

These are the formative guidelines for our life together here at REZ and as a result we look for the things that happened in the first churches as a result of those foci:

  These resulted in the Awe of God present in the Community.
  These resulted in the Miracles of God worked through the Community.
  These resulted in an Intentional "Communitas" lived into by the Community.
  These resulted in a Radical Generosity among the members of the Community.
  These resulted in Shared Resources, both in the Community and outwardly directed.
 and finally,
  These resulted in Daily Conversions, in the context of worship and meals and life - together, as God himself added to their numbers.

Friends, this is the vision we have for REZ.  It is high and it is hard.  We come to this task as broken people, yet we are called together.  We're a family, and we act like a family!  Sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad!  We get on one another's nerves, but don't let anyone pick a fight with our little brother or sister!  We pick on one another, but come to each other's rescue quickly when times get hard.  

The job description for the Body of Christ is best laid out in Ephesians 4:

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

This is the target, friends.  If you ever ask, where is this church headed?  It's right there!  
It's not a place, it’s a people.  
It's not program, it's position ... IN CHRIST.  It is BEING.

And how does this "being" come to expression here at REZ?


It comes to be expressed through the three steps of discipleship that we hear of so often, of Willingness, of Availability and of Obedience.

Through these three steps in our life as Disciples of Jesus, we come to actually be who we say we want to be.

a)  Willingness is where our heart’s journey begins.  David prayed "uphold me with a willing spirit."  We turn our will over to God in daily surrender, just as Jesus did in the garden, "Not my will, but thine be done."  As we pray daily or weekly in the Lord's Prayer, "thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." 

b)  Avail-ability is the only ability we can bring to God's work.  We offer our time, our hands, our feet, our lips, our finances, our "selves, our souls and bodies."  Clearing time for Him to speak, to act, to work through us in the lives of others - this is costly.  Schedules are packed these days - finances are tight - we tire of doing good easily.  But our availability clears the way for God to use us in the plain comings and goings of every day life. 

c)  And finally, as God leads us we are simply obedient to follow and do.  We are engaged in a 'long obedience in the same direction.'  God shows up and people are helped, some are healed - seeds are sown of faith and love - care is expressed, prayers are prayed in homes and cars and restaurants and bars.  And God hears and answers, the humble request of faith on behalf of another.  Churches are built - people are saved -  bibles are translated - orphanages are supplied - wells are dug - pumps are made - ministers are raised up and deployed in the Kingdom of God around the world.  In short, we are engaged in "turning the world upside down!"  Actually, we're turning the world UPSIDE RIGHT!

Look through the booklet you will get after the service, and marvel at what God is doing, among us and through us in the world, both near and far.  And so our work and our prayers continue; every day we are called anew by His mercies to be co-workers with Him in His work, in His Kingdom, as further and further it advances toward its final goal, and ours:  
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross, that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace;  So clothe us with your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you, for the honor of your Name.

Amen. and Amen. 


Respectfully submitted, 

Fr. Phil Eberhart
Epiphany, 2015