Fr. Phil Eberhart
Some have been saying that The Rapture was to occur yesterday... I was torn between a desire for Jesus to return for His Bride and the need to write the sermon! Guess which one won?
The Church, or individuals in the Church seem to have a penchant for wanting to set dates for Jesus to come back. Jesus himself said that the times and dates are in the heart and mind of the Father - our part is to be vigilant and ready! Our part is to be doing the work that God has set before us, to be vigilant in the relationship we have with God and that we have with one another, and to be ready for His return, at any moment.
All that said, we need to look forward this morning, not backward to yesterday.
I want to remind us of the motto for our Anglican Church in North America: Do you know what it is?
"Forward! Always Forward! Everywhere Forward!"
This week, literally two minutes after having returned home from our time in Hawaii, I received a call from our hosts here at Horan-McConaty that as of Nov 1, we are out of the Funeral Home's business! We have 6 more services, counting this one, in this space.
One of those services will be a visitation and confirmation from Bishop Bill Atwood, on Oct 8th. That service will be at 8:30 AM because of the Bishop's schedule of two services that morning, one here and one in Castle Rock. Our other remaining services will begin at 9:30 in the morning - one service each week, starting Oct 1. We have several who have expressed interest in confirmation and will be gathering those names this week. If you are one, please make sure and contact me (Fr. Phil -720.219.0055).
FORWARD! ALWAYS FORWARD! EVERYWHERE FORWARD!!
I'm sure that everyone is asking "where to now?" Well that is not known just at this moment, though I have already been offered space and time to meet, should we not find adequate space for a Sunday Morning time, which is our goal this next month. We started this church meeting on Sunday afternoons in the summer of 2001. We have had many, many moves since that time, one on only two weeks notice!! So I believe that with 6 weeks, we will be well able to find a space for us to meet. So stay tuned!
What's happening here?
Friends, we are in the Hands of the Living God! Have you noticed that there is a great deal of natural turmoil happening? That is one of the things that we've been looking at with care, as we considered the soon return of Jesus. Since we are still here this morning, I have to say that while the natural disasters and earthquakes and hurricanes are interesting, the scriptures say that they are the "beginning of birth pangs."
I believe that we are entering a time of extraordinary grace! God is about to do something in the earth that is going to shake it, as is promised in Hebrews 12. But we are not to focus on the "shaking" because we are receiving an "unshakeable" Kingdom!
There are going to be a lot of changes ahead of us. Places, possibly times at the very least. I believe that the reason the Lord had me preach the last sermon I preached here; the one with the exercise movement in it... remember the exercise? Fists facing up and closed tightly - and OPEN! Close... and OPEN! Again...
The more tightly we hold on to the past - to our ways of doing things, to our times for doing things, to our preferences and wants... the more tightly we hold on to those things the more impossible it is for God to place in our hands, what He has for us! That is true individually and it is true corporately.
I've spoken in the past few weeks and months about the mother eagle, when it is time for the eaglet to fly, she comes and takes the fluff out of the nest! It becomes uncomfortable to stay there. It may become necessary for the mother to come and toss the eaglet out!
I'm afraid we've become comfortable here in this space. It was easy to do! For seven years, we have enjoyed an uninterrupted stay and peace with it, virtually no conflict with our hosts. Then suddenly, on July 16, as we considered together, who we were and what God intends for us, the conflict began. Since then, time after time, we have run aground of expectations or of parameters, even of relationships with our hosts. Now they have opted not to renew our contract. And so we go! Like the eaglet, out of our comfortable nest. But don't forget the point of it all: That the eaglet may fly! Otherwise it dies where it sits. Those are our options: Fly ... or ... die!
I'm not trying to be over dramatic. Within hours of finding out about this turn of events, literally two minutes after I sat down at home after returning from our family time in Hawaii, God has assured me and others that He has GOT THIS!
The direction we have from the Lord at this point is the direction that He gave to our Father, Abraham! Turn to Gen 12...
[Gen 12:1-4 NLT] 1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you." 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
You may notice that there is no address in v. 1! It says "to the land I will show you."
We are in an Abraham moment.
Over and over, as we began this church, the Lord told us we were a "Pilgrim" or "Bedouin" people - that's a people who carry their tents with them! Who have no permanent dwelling place here on earth. We have made that an identity, but have gotten settled here in this place. 8 years since 2009. Let me remind you, because some of you have not been on this journey with us... We started on Sunday afternoons in the chapel of Colorado Community Church and then we outgrew the chapel and moved to their basement for worship. We moved from there to the Chamber Center, near the Egg and I Restaurant, from fall of 2001 to fall of 2003. We moved to a Middle School and then a Grade School from 2003 to 2006. We moved to the Tuesday Morning location and tried a 24/7 space, that almost broke us. Finally in 2009 we moved to Horan-McConaty, and have been hosted here for 9 years. After the crash of 2008, God protected us from financial disaster by giving us a place at 1/12th of what we were paying for space! He rescued us and pulled us out of the swift water and into a side eddy, where we have remained and gotten comfortable.
That season is over.
I believe that we are entering a time not unlike the children of Israel, in their tents around the Tabernacle. We need to be attentive to the Presence of the Lord, the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day! God leads His People, to move with Him or to stay with Him, the operative words there are not MOVE or STAY, they are WITH HIM!
It will be important for us to give attention to the Presence and to the Word of God during this time! We need all hands on deck! We need to be at Battle Stations.
In those times and under those kinds of conditions, crew members and soldiers know there are specific tasks that need doing; they know that they and their tasks are "mission critical." The same is true here today.
Your presence and contributions are Mission Critical!
In these times, as we engage change together, it is also important to remember one other lesson from the ancient peoples of Israel. As they moved from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, and again as they went in conquest into Palestine, the greatest danger that they faces was not from the outside - from the challenges of the changes as they were on the way!
The greatest danger was from the inside - from their attitudes and from the murmured words they spoke against Moses and indeed, against God Himself. So much so that the generation that came out of Egypt on a 28 day journey through the Arabian Peninsula, died there, in what became a 40 year odyssey!
Because the people of God moved away from the wisdom of Proverbs 3 and knew better than God what was needed. They ceased trusting, and started telling! Their mouths got them in trouble! The bible calls it murmuring, grumbling about Moses' leadership and about God's intent for them. The results were pretty dramatic! Movie worthy! Charlton Hesston movie worthy! The golden calf, because they abandoned the worship of Yahweh. The challenges to Moses about water and food and meat. All of these things are legitimate concerns, to be sure, but the lack of faith in God throughout is striking!
I just mention these things to set a parameter.
It's time for open, honest conversation. If you hear a rumor, STOP IT. Direct questions to me or the clergy team, to the board members. The board will meet after we dismiss today. This morning's coffee hour will be Q & A with me. We will keep you informed of possibilities and plans, soliciting your input as we move forward, but move forward we will.
FORWARD! ALWAYS FORWARD! EVERYWHERE FORWARD!!
Let's commit our way to the Lord this morning. God has us well in hand and we need to apply our favorite verses from Prov 3: 5-6.
Lord our God, we trust in You. We declare our trust in You as a congregation.
Let's say it together: WE TRUST IN YOU!
Let's continue: WE LEAN NOT ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING ...
WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOU IN ALL OUR WAYS...
YOU WILL DIRECT OUR PATHS! ...
Lord, we take You at Your Word! Plain and simple. We know that we are loved by you
and that you have not brought us this far to abandon us. In fact quite the opposite. In these times You are nearer to us than our breath. Give us your presence each day now, pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, to guide us and to give us your peace. Lead us, O Lord, into the place that you have prepared for us.
I pray for each person here, that you will calm our fears and help us to trust in You as we have declared. Teach us to open our hands and hold loosely our thoughts and words, guarding them and seeking to think Your thoughts and to speak Your Words.
Bring us finally to the place you have prepared for us. We Trust in You.
And everyone said...
Amen and Amen.