Monday, August 27, 2018

Fr. Phil Eberhart @ St Peter's Loveland

14th Sunday of Pentecost

August 26, 2018


Fr. Philip Eberhart

Choose You This Day:  Willingness - Availability - Obedience !!

I want to thank you for the invitation to share here at St. Peter's this morning.  One of the dangers of guest preachers, ... well, any preacher ... is the temptation to be profound.  It usually leads to a need to be at the preacher's 12-step group:    On And On Anon!    Right, Fr. Edward?

And I'm not naturally profound, like Fr. Ed.  So I have to work at it, which often turns out to be a bad thing, time wise.  So instead, this morning I'm going to opt for short and sweet.  And maybe, by grace, profound.

A few months ago I had the great privilege of going to Jerusalem for the GAFCON meetings, which were some of the most beautiful and deeply meaningful worship times I've ever encountered - singing some of the great hymns of the faith with 2000 Anglicans from around the world.  It was as close to heaven as I'm probably going to get on this side!  Every tribe, tongue, nation and people.  There was no division, no strife - only joy and grace in our midst as we worshiped there.  

Friends, I can tell you that what God is doing around the world is staggering, in every denomination and corner of the globe, Aslan is on the move!!  My prayer for decades has been, Lord, don't pass us by!   Don't pass us by in the west ... in the US.  Come and do here what you are doing everywhere else.  But we are a special challenge for God!

But God is used to challenges!!   Look at your OT reading.

I had the opportunity to stand on Mt. Gerazim in Israel, just before coming home, just above modern day, Nablus, the site of ancient Shekem!  The very valley where Joshua gathered the people and preached the sermon we read earlier:

15 And if it is 

evil in your eyes to serve the  Lord,

choose this day whom you will serve, 

whether the gods your fathers served in 

the region beyond the River, or the gods 

of the Amorites in whose land you 

dwell. But as for me and my house, we 

will serve the Lord.”

Every day we need to heed the warning that Joshua gave the people that day and like he and his house, we must "choose" to serve the Lord.

We live in a culture here in the west which is growing more and more anti-God.  We pray and we worry - sometimes we worry our prayers - have you ever done that?  But it says to pray your worries.  That means that we have to leave them at the Altar.  Leave them in the hands of God.

That's another sermon though.

Choose you this day whom you will serve.  

Every morning, the psalmist and the prophet say, "His mercies are new."  

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God My Father - There is no shadow of turning with Thee - 

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not - As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

sing it with me...

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

all I have needed Thy hand hath provided,

great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Every morning we need to check in with Father.

Whether its a formal prayer time or just a self check, before your coffee or OJ.  Here's my suggestion:

Good Morning, Lord!  (It's better than Good Lord it's morning!) 

     Good morning, Lord.  It's me again. Just checking in.  Lord, I believe today,  will you help my unbelief?  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the Joy of my Salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" (Ps 51)

After I check my pulse in the morning to see if I'm still alive, I check in with Father.  And then I check my willingness.

Am I willing to be HIS today?  And not just that am I willing to do HIS WILL today?  Jesus said, "Not my will, but Thine, O Lord."  Mary said, "Be it unto me, according to Thy Word."   Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Are you willing?

And so we set out each day with a willing spirit, a willing heart, to be HIS and to be HIS Ambassador!  Ambassadors of RECONCILIATION, of MERCY, of GOD'S UNFAILING LOVE!  Paul says that "God is making HIS plea through us:  Be reconciled to God."

Have you ever experienced ... Ambassadorship?

It's a 24/7 gig.  You live your life in the Embassy.

A little piece of the home country in the country you are an Ambassador to!  Wherever you go, you're The Ambassador.  You're going on state business.  The King's or President's business.

Does that set your daily life in a bit different light?

So if you're an ambassador, and it's a 24/7 deal, are you up for that?  Are you ... available... for that?  See that's the second thing.

Joshua told the people, after warning them and hearing their confession of faith and determination, he told them to "incline their hearts!"  

Incline your heart - means to lean into the presence of God - become willing and make yourself available - to Him and His purpose today.

His purpose in this moment - in this Divine Appointment?

Ever have one of those moments where you say to yourself, "Hmmm, this isn't an accident!  I can see some Divine fingerprints here!"  Some call them coincidence - I call them God Incidents - Divine Appointments.  And they come because we make ourselves AVAILABLE to GOD.

Anyone here a little shy?  Not sure I can actually be an Ambassador!  Speak on God's behalf? That's kind of scary.  Let's think for a moment about the word, availability.  Two words really - avail & ability.  It's an incarnational word!  It's a partnership word.  AVAIL means to make yourself present - to present yourself.  Who are you presenting yourself to in this instance.  GOD!

But what about my ability?  I'm fearful, unbelieving, shy, unsure of my faith, "how can God use me?"  To AVAIL means I give myself to HIM even when I'm seeing myself as having nothing.  In fact, that is the way He wants it.  Because the ABILITY is HIS, not yours!!  This is the Incarnation in practice - this is full partnership with God in His mission!  Just remember that Avail-ability has those two parts - and that is the key.  You AVAIL yourself to GOD'S ABILITY!

And finally, let's land this plane...

When your eyes are opened and you see God's hand and His fingerprints on an appointment;  when you hear Him speaking a word of scripture to encourage another person; when you feel or see a need in another; (at REZ, we say, "if you see a need, you're in the game!);  when you are able to reach out in love to another; when its your turn to play ... get in the game!

JUST DO IT!  Be Obedient!

Step out of the boat!  Get out of your comfort zone!  Live the life of an Ambassador for God.

Sometimes simple is profound.

Willingness...  Check in each day. Here Am I, Send me!

Availability ...  Lord I avail myself to Your ability.  Apart from You, I can do nothing!  But with You, all things are possible!

Obedience ...  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to DO, DO IT with all thy might!

You, each and every one of you, are an Ambassador of Christ, in this community, in your family, in your workplace, on your vacation, everywhere you go, everyday of your life, every moment of every day.

"When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, You will receive power to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth"   (Acts 1:8)

Be willing, be available, be obedient to God.

Let me pray for you all.

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.

Monday, August 20, 2018

EAT MY BODY, DRINK MY BLOOD



13th Sunday of Pentecost

August 19, 2018

Fr. Phil Eberhart

Prov 9:1-6
Ps 147
Eph 5:15-20
Jn 6:53-59

I would love to take you with me to go to the synagogue in Capernaum, on the north shore of the lake we call the Sea of Galilee.  The place where Jesus spoke the words in our Gospel this morning.  I've been there about 4 times.  I've worshiped there, in about 3 languages!  And in the universal language...  Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !!

But what Jesus said that day, got mixed reviews!

Have you ever gone away from a sermon and asked, "What did he/she just say?"  Don't answer that!!

That's what happened with Jesus.

Our reading this morning is just 6 or 7 verses near the end of John 6, but a lot has been going on through this whole chapter.  We've been hearing and singing about it for the last 3 Sundays!  And it concludes next Sunday.  If you have a bible or your bible app, turn with me to John 6.

Just a quick chapter survey:

we began the first Sunday of August after the feeding of the 5000 - the punch line that Sunday was [Jhn 6:35 NASB] 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

 Last Sunday we read of the further discourse Jesus had with the Pharisees that ended with another punchline:

[Jhn 6:51 NASB] 51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."

Now Jesus becomes even more provocative. as they ask the following question, which didn't make it into our readings...

Jn 6:52...  Then the Jews [began] to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us [His] flesh to eat?"

Now look at this morning's reading...

1.    ...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you

2.    Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life

3.    Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them

Do you sense an echo in the room?

Eat my flesh and drink my blood!  Say it couple times...

Eat my flesh and drink my blood!

Eat my flesh and drink my blood!

A little weird, huh?  That's what they thought too.  A hard saying!   Is he talking about cannibalism?  Is he talking about things that are forbidden to us as Jews?  I'm outta here!

And next week Jesus will ask the disciples, the twelve, if they're going to leave as well!!

But here's the key.  Almost a throw away line in the chapter...

It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  

Jesus corrects their perception that He is talking physically about flesh and blood.  He is not.

Jesus was later -- another 6 chapters later, at table with the disciples in the upper room and this becomes crystal clear

as He says, THIS IS MY BODY... THIS IS MY BLOOD and identifies the bread and wine of the Eucharist as the meal of both remembrance and empowerment in His Spirit.

In our prayers we give thanks for this meal, calling a MEANS OF GRACE! 

For those new to Sacramental Worship, we believe that something real happens here as we receive the bread and wine from the Table of the Lord - there is a real engagement in our hearts and by His Spirit, present to us, we are transformed on the inside because of the connection with the life-giving bread of God, Jesus himself.

This morning as you take the communion, approach with a holy awe.  Know that God is here to meet you!  Know that this is not merely bread and wine, but it is the place of meeting -  a modern day Tent of Meeting - where we are invited to partake again of the flesh and the blood of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

So we invite you - the Lord Himself invites you to come - come and see,  come and taste that the Lord is good!  Come and remember... come and partake... come and be empowered ... healed ... equipped.  Be being filled!  This is a spiritual transaction, but God is gracious in that He knows we are dust, and we need physical reminders, physical signs, places where heaven actually touches earth!  This is one.  In fact, I think this is the main one!

Let's eat!

Pray with me...

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the true bread come down from heaven.  Flesh and blood, broken and poured out for the life of the world.  Give us this day your very self in these elements of bread and wine.  Help us to be "being filled" by your Spirit as we receive today.  Help us never ever forget:  In Jesus Name and for His sake and the sake of His Kingdom,

Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2018

10 Days of Awe - Sept 9 to 18 - Rosh Hashannah to Yom Kippur

https://vimeo.com/282944774

Click this link for a video explaining the vision for the 10 Days of Prayer
coming to Denver, September 9 to 18, Rosh Hashannah to Yom Kippur,
The 10 Days of Awe!

We will have further information here as to the schedule in the next few
days, so check back often.  Also our main website is
www.10daystogether.blogspot.com.

Blessings,

Fr. Phil and the 10 Days Team

Fr. Phil - Testing and Cleansing

11th Sunday of Pentecost
Aug 5, 2018
Fr. Philip Eberhart


Testing and Purification - The Loss of the Dross


After many conversations over the past week or two, where I've wondered outloud, whether our financial crisis is like us waiting on God to open up the RED SEA or if we're on the other side of the Red Sea, after the party, and here we go into the wilderness of Sin.  I could not believe it when our OT lesson was from Exodus 16 this morning!  In effect the readings this Sunday make this MANNA SUNDAY!!

So let's dive right in and talk a little bit about MANNA and then what its about.
MANNA actually means "what is it!"  The nation of Israel had never seen it before.  Something that looked like a frost on the ground, as small as a corriander seed, with a taste a little like honey.  It came in the morning with the dew on the ground.  The rules were that you could pick up a day's worth of  MANNA, except the morning of Sabbath.  That morning you could pick up twice as much!

The Israelites tried to pick up all they could at first, to 'hoard' it and it spoiled immediately.  But when they picked up twice as much on Friday morning, it didn't spoil overnight.  So there was something supernatural going on as well.

So what is going on is an action of God, whereby the nation of Israel is being both supplied with food and tested at the same time.  Quail in the evening and Manna in the morning.

Have you ever been in the financial place where you were reduced to soup or Ramen noodles for food?  College days? In between jobs?  I have lived for many days on Bean with Bacon Soup!  It's actually one of my favorites still!

But to eat it every day for a month?  Well....    OK..... if I have to.   I mean, you can almost anything for a month, right?
Even soup and Ramen Noodles!  But 40 years?   YIKES!

Anyone here know how long the journey of the Nation of Israel was to be?  Through the desert to the Mountain of God and beyond to the Promised Land?   How long does it take to walk it today?

27 day hike.
So why 40 years?

What is that all about?
In a word?    OBEDIENCE.

Let's look quickly at the lessons for this morning... Just some excerpts...

Ex 16  
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.


Psalm 78:29  29 So they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.


The nation of Israel (and by extension all of the People of God) go through a time of testing here.  They are just weeks from the incredible display of the power of God in the Exodus event - their deliverance from the hand of the Egyptian Armies at the sea side.  They have been accompanied by the pillar of fire and cloud so far on this journey, and it still remains with them - the manifestation of the very presence of God.

So why the test?

\Deu 8:3 KJV
 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna,[H4478] which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Where do we hear this scripture repeated?

In the mouth of Jesus himself, in a similar situation - at the end of the 40 days of Temptation in the Wilderness of Judea, as He begins his public ministry.  His response to Satan's temptation to turn stones into bread was to quote the passage from Deut. 8.

Jesus himself is tested by God, even as He was led by the Spirit!  This is NOT something that is the work of the evil one - this process of following God is going to bear these same marks for each and every one of us - and for each group of people who call themselves HIS!

James 1 says it this way:
[Jas 1:2-4 ESV] 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Friends, this time that we are in - crunch time - isn't about money or provision, its about Presence and Obedience.

Why did a 27 day hike turn into a 40 year ordeal?   Because of DISOBEDIENCE.  Because of COMPLAINING.

Turn to Hebrews 4
[Heb 4:6-12 ESV] 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

We love to quote the 12th verse but forget the context in which it is spoken -  Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts!

The primary evidence of hardened hearts is what comes out of our mouths!!
Are we going to gripe and complain or are we going to praise Him and trust in His provision?  It's a simple question that we often have to answer daily, weekly at least.

We talk alot about the Fire of the Holy Spirit here.  Let's not forget that one of the functions of the fire is to create a scene we see in Malachi 3
[Mal 3:1-4 ESV] 1 "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

And isn't it interesting that this is at the beginning of the chapter we all know so well about our own giving!  God wants pleasing offerings, even today.  And He is going to prove Himself faithful.  The question is will we?  Time and our obedience will tell.

Again it comes down to what I've been saying for almost a decade to us:   

Willingness
Availability
Obedience

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding!  In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct
your paths.

So we are going to step up - to prayer;  step up - to worship Him;  step up to willingness, to availability to God and to obedience in what He is asking of us.  Every day.

We started today at 8 am with a season of prayer - that will continue week by week, as will a new time for praise and prayer together mid-week.   Padre Unplugged - 7 pm to 8:30 on Wed evenings beginning this Wednesday.

Make yourself available to God to worship him - to pray for His presence and to enter in - to begin to watch for His provision and to ask, "here am I.  Use me, Lord."


Let's pray together.

Lord Jesus Christ, we declare our trust in You as our Savior, our Healer, our Provider.  Keep us from thoughts which lead us into darkness and despair.  Help us to keep your face in the very front of our eyes.  Show us the miraculous provision You have planned.  Help us to walk in Your ways, to draw near to You, to resist the devil and to make him flee.  Give us your strength each morning, as you renew your mercy to us, morning by morning.  We cast our cares on you; let our minds and our hearts be steadfast in your praise.

In the Name of Jesus and for His glory we pray,
Amen.