Sunday, July 22, 2018

You Give Them Something to Eat

Resurrection Anglican Fellowship

July 22, 2018

Fr. Phil Eberhart

Have you ever noticed that whenever we TURN to the WORD - THE WORD TURNS TO US!

This morning's readings are a case in point.  Over the past few weeks we've heard some long and powerful messages on what God is doing here among us, on our call to Unity and the position of leadership that this parish is in, in this place.

Along side those messages we're coming face to face with our need for provision from God, both through ourselves as we give, but beyond ourselves, as we hear Jesus say, "YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT."

This morning I feel the pain of Philip and the other disciples, in the face of what could have been a crowd of nearly 15,000 (unless only men came to hear Jesus, who accounted for 5000).  They were scrambling trying to figure out what to do for dinner!

Do we send them away to find their own food?    Jesus just sat there and let them "stew" - so to speak - and then gave them an instruction:  "You give them something to eat!"   Do we go and buy food?  It would take almost a year's wages!  They were stewing!  And Jesus asked a question:  "What do you have?"  Do you have anything to offer?

You've already heard my sermon about the "school-boy's lunch."   5 barley loaves and two fish.

The fact is that even what they had wasn't really theirs.  The school boy could have kept his lunch for himself - seems he was the only one who had the foresight to bring lunch!  And he gave it up at their request.  He was the one with all the faith!!

But even "such a little against such a great need." bows to the Name of Jesus as it is given to Him!  And Jesus receives it from the boy and the disciples, He blesses it, breaks it and gives it?

Do you hear me?   Jesus blesses what we give him - He breaks it - and He gives it for the needs of the world around us!  

People were gathered in groups of 50 or 100 - that is 150-300 groups gathered around waiting for food!  "You give them something to eat."  The only thing in between their resources and the need of this crowd for food, was Jesus!

He blessed, he broke, He gave.  Sound familiar.

It's the Eucharist.  We enact this miracle every Sunday morning!  

Every Sunday we receive the bread and wine from the back, along with the offering.

We bless them both!  The Eucharistic bread is then broken and given - and during the week the offering is broken and given.

The point here is that Jesus is involved in it all.  Not just involved but instrumental and the faith of a small boy is all that is required.  Like a grain of mustard seed.  As you give this morning, say to Jesus, as the boy with the lunch did, "All I have is your's Lord."  I've done what I can, now You do what You can!

And over and over and over and over again, throughout this past year we have watched Jesus take, and break and give what we have given Him - and here we are.  This is impossible!  From the natural world's perspective - from the financial world's perspective - from almost any perspective you want to take - this cannot happen!  But it has!!  

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever!  He is still in our midst - does anyone here contest that?  NO!  We cannot contest that this has been a God-thing from day one!

When asked how this is possible - I just shrug my shoulders and say - we are like a bumble bee ... No one has said we can't fly yet?  So have we realized we can't fly, and decided to start walking everywhere?

NO!  Why? because the preponderance of our experience proves otherwise to us.  A page and a half list of miracles, proves to us that the Word is true. The word that is on the back table - someone bring that up here to me...

This has been sitting in my office since Lawrence made it for me - I thought it as cute - inspired even - but I really never gave much thought to its meaning. Until I was reminded of its words again and again and again in the past year:

[Psa 44:3 KJV] 3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

  Listen to it again:

Our forefathers didn’t win these battles 

  by their own strength
    or their own skill or strategy.
    But it was through the shining forth 

   of your radiant presence
    and the display of your mighty power.
    You loved to give them victory,
    for you took great delight in them. 

Has God changed His mind?  NO.  

Were the disciples in an impossible situation?  YES.

Put there by Jesus himself?   ummm... YES.

What was Jesus doing?

What Jesus is always doing? - getting the disciples ready for life in the Kingdom of God!  Proving and improving their faith - their willingness, their availability and their obedience? 

Are you willing?  Are you available to God ( not are you "able for God!") and finally are you going to do things My Way - God's way?  Are you going to be obedient?

These are not easy lessons - they are life long processes as Jesus grows us into the kind of Kingdom people that see through His eyes.  The kind of Kingdom people who see the people around us as He does.  

More and more we are to be a 24/7 People of God!  That is what we are moving towards here in this place.  That is where God wants us - given to Him and His agenda, every day, 24/7.  And like the disciples who walked with him, He constantly is putting us into situations where we have to choose - our way, the world's way ... or His way.

Just one life verse for this parish to end.  You can say it with me:

"Trust in the Lord with all your might, and lean not on your own understanding.  In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will direct (or make straight) your paths."

And again from the Passion Translation:  vv 5-10

Trust in the Lord completely,
    and do not rely on your own opinions.
    With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
    and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
    and he will lead you wherever you go.[b]
    Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,[c]
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
    and avoid everything that’s wrong.
Then you will find the healing refreshment
    your body and spirit long for.[d]
Glorify God with all your wealth,
    honoring him with your very best,[e]
    with every increase that comes to you.
10 Then every dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
    from an uncontainable source of inner joy! 

Shall we pray:

Lord Jesus Christ,

You have called us to the impossible as a way of life!

Teach us to wait on You, to praise You and look up each day for Your hand.  Open our eyes to see You at work in our own lives and in the world around us.  Fill us with wonder, love and praise.

As we come to Your table this morning, remind us what it is that you are doing today - taking our lives, breaking us for multiplication, and giving us out in the world around us -  Open our eyes to see Your purpose in each and every day.

As we go from Your table this morning, fill us with grace to walk in Your light and favor.  Make us a miracle-working 24/7 Kingdom people.  In the challenges, be our supply.  Let us see Your hand at work, in and to us, and out and through us!

We ask these things for the sake of your Kingdom, Jesus and for the fame of Your Name, in Greenwood Village, in Denver, in Colorado and the USA and around the world!  Let your Kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! 

Amen and Amen.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Taking Hold of Jesus - Fr. Phil Eberhart

July 1, 2018
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Call 2 Fall Sunday


This morning is an extraordinary morning in our life!  We have guests with us who are part of our worldwide GAFCON - that is Global Anglican Future - family!

We were grieved at GAFCON when we found out that the whole delegation from South Sudan, including Archbishop Paul Yugasuk, were detained at their border and prevented from coming to the GAFCON meetings in Jerusalem!

But friends, God has brought S. Sudan to us!  As you will hear in a few minutes, our family is large and diverse, colorful and passionate for Jesus!

We welcome our new family members, new to us, but known to God, and sent to be His messengers of joy and ... how did Paul put it in his letter?...

[2Co 8:1-2 NASB] 1 ... the grace of God which has been given in the churches of [S. Sudan], that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

Friends, we welcome you as family.
We will hear from our new family at the Offertory as they bring us into their hearts with a sample of their worship as their choir sings!


Now this morning I want to preach on the passage that is missing from our reading!  If you look at the passage from Mark this morning, you note that there is a gap in the reading.  Something happened on the way to Jairus' house!  Anyone?

Let me fill in the gap:

[Mar 5:25-34 NASB] 
A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years,  and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse-- after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind [Him] and touched His cloak. For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well." Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power [proceeding] from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" And His disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

This morning many things have converged to make a message for us from the Lord.

While I was on the trip to the Holy Land, I wanted to return to the chapel of Mary Magdalene on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee, in her home town of Magdala, present day Migdal.  Yakov was kind enough to take the Friday morning and drive me the half hour or so over to the lake and we spent the morning together in this chapel.  

Some of you have seen the pictures of the boat shaped altar in the main chapel that is so striking with its view through the window of the lake.  The chapel is called in Latin - Duc im Altum meaning Into the Deep!  It is the place commemorated for Jesus teaching in the boat and then telling the disciple-fishermen to push out 'into the deep' and put down their nets for a catch.

Friends, we are being called out "into the deep" to put down our nets for a catch!

In the basement of that church on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, is a chapel - they call it the Chapel of the Feet!  Why, because it was also in this area of Galilee where the passage I just read actually happened, and the chapel has been built to recall these mighty acts of Jesus.

But this act of Jesus, was not something He did!  It was something the woman did.  Jesus was focused on His mission of healing - He was "on the way!"  But she was focused on one thing, "If I can only touch the hem - actually the TsiTsit - the "tassle" or fringe of a Jewish rabbi's cloak - "if I can only touch the hem of his garment..."

The other piece of "coincidence" this morning is that we are approaching the 4th of July, the commemoration of our own independence in the US.  And today is the day of prayer that we refer to as "The Call 2 Fall!"

Friends, during our prayers in a few minutes I am going to ask some guys to bring our kneelers down her to the front, and we have some prayers for our nation and our government printed out.  I am going to ask several of you to come and kneel and lead us in these prayers here, as we all, as we're able humbly kneel.

The woman in the midst of the crowd, got down on her knees, maybe she was laying on the road, with people stepping around her, and Jesus passing her by.  But her faith was strong and her determination was to reach out and touch, to take ahold of Jesus and her healing, by faith.

Friends, that is what I want to commend to us today!

What do you need to take ahold of Jesus for?  Is it something in your own life, an illness or some trouble?  Is it in the life of another, a loved one or friend?  Is it for our church, as we find our new home here in this place?  Is it for those who are not yet members here - whom God is calling?  Or perhaps, today, we are being called to fall! 

To fall on our knees in prayer, like the woman, to take ahold of Jesus - specifically for our nation, its leadership and governance, its people and their unique situations in life.
In thanksgiving for all that God has so graciously provided for us in this nation!  To ask for his mercy in our waywardness; for His light to shine from this place, this light house on a hill!  Look out over the city - open your eyes to see His hand - reach out your hand to touch the hem of His garment.

I don't need to spend much more time on the need for prayer.  I think we need to pray!

As we stand, I would like some guys to help move the kneelers down to the front here.
Some of you have been tapped by the Holy Spirit to come and kneel and pray.  I have some prayers printed out that you can pray, but you are also free to come and lead us in a prayer from your heart.  Make them short and to the point!  Let's lay hold of Jesus this morning and touch the Hem of His garment!

Let us stand and confess the Faith of our Fathers, in the words of the Nicene Creed...