Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day - Hope in the Midst

Today... Father's Day 2020... has been called by some prophetic voices a day like unto the Battle of Gettysburg.

Many of you - I hope all - are aware that we have been and are engaged in a spiritual battle for the soul of our nation and our world. Forces are lined up on either side, arrayed in the garments of battle, and standing ready to engage. I hope you understand the call that we have as believers in Jesus in this hour! Paul warns us to dress for the battle and to be ready and willing to stand -- to stand together, to fight side by side and back to back. No provision is made for retreat in our calling to this day! Our ACNA motto seems eerily prophetic and ultimately hopeful: FORWARD! ALWAYS FORWARD! EVERYWHERE FORWARD!!

I want to be clear that our weapons are not physical but spiritual! Politics and politicians are a vain hope, as we discovered this week from our Supreme Court! We cannot trust in flesh or fleshly answers to problems that are spiritual in nature. Posting the latest meme or political statement on Facebook is not the answer. We are in a spiritual war, and the quicker we settle in our hearts and minds that we're IN, the quicker the victory will come!

Victory is coming! Jesus wins! But we are the ground game in the day to day battles of this war!

Our scriptures this morning are depressing, almost as depressing as the news these days!

Jeremiah laments his call as a prophet;

David laments his call as a king, still without a throne, and living in caves! Up to his eyeballs in the flood.

Oh, and the Gospel's promise of persecution! Oh boy... I can hardly wait! This isn't what I signed up for! Is it?

Have you felt like that this week?
I have! If it's not one thing it's another!
COVID:
Race Riots and division in our nation:
Betrayal by appointed judges!
An actual real flood of our own to deal with!
Heath challenges; mounting bills;
no end in sight!

Are you still with me?

So is there hope in the fray? It's Father's Day... I need some Good News!

Listen to these rays of light we've already also heard today...

From Jeremiah 20:11
But the LORD is with me like a dread warrior; Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.

From David
Psalm 69:13
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, Answer me with Your saving truth.

V.15
May the flood of water not overflow me nor the deep swallow me up,
Nor the pit shut its mouth on me.

V. 16. Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,

V.17And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in distress; answer me quickly.

And Paul's hope-filled declaration in Romans 5:17

"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

V. 20 b... where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And from our Master and Commander, Jesus Christ:

Matthew 10:20
“For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

26
“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
27 “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

Do Not Fear... Jesus says it three times in this passage!
Do not Fear....
DO ... NOT... FEAR!!
Any questions?

Friends... Fellow warriors in the Lord's Army, here are the marching orders for these days!

1. This is the Lord's battle! HE IS THE DREAD WARRIOR, THE MASTER AND COMMANDER OF ALL HEAVEN'S ARMIES.

2. Though waters rise and rise and rise, we're not going to be overwhelmed! Why? Because of the GREATNESS OF HIS OVERFLOWING, ABUNDANT... NO... SUPER-ABUNDANT COMPASSION AND UNFAILING LOVE TOWARDS US, HIS CHILDREN!

3. His Kingdom and We in His Kingdom will REIGN -- we're destined to be the ones who bring the Kingdom in its fullness! We're the ones who get to be the answer to the Lord's Prayer: THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!

This is a battle of the Kingdoms! Now, hear me...

IT IS YOUR FATHER WHO SPEAKS IN AND THROUGH YOU TO EXECUTE THE LEGISLATIVE DECREES OF GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS, OF PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.

OF OVERFLOWING GRACE, A FLOOD OF A DIFFERENT KIND!

OF SUPER-ABUNDANT GRACE- MORE THAN WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE, IT WILL FLOW INTO AND OUT FROM US INTO THE WORLD AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING US.

As we open our mouths, let the Lord God of Heaven fill them with His Truth by His Spirit. Let Him give you words, verses, language to speak out. To SHOUT IT FROM THE HOUSETOPS! Do not be silent! But wait on Him for His Word, not yours! Now more than ever we need to heed the admonition of St. Peter in his 1st letter... chapter 4...

V.10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so  as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving  by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

It is the glory of God's People to execute His Word in our world, in our work, in our neighborhood, in our homes and families. Speak it out! Speak His Word -- Out Loud! Make the air move, by the Power of His Spirit, His Ruach ha Kodesh! It will change things!

Let's pray ... please repeat aloud after me this prayer from Acts 4:

Lord our God, Sovereign King of the Universe;

It is You who MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH...

AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM,

By the Holy Spirit,  through David Your servant, You said,

‘WHY DO THE NATIONS RAGE,

AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?

‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TAKE THEIR STAND,

AND THE RULERS ARE GATHERED TOGETHER

AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’

Now, Lord, take note of their threats,

and grant that Your bond-servants

may speak Your Word with all boldness,

while You extend Your hand to heal,

and signs and wonders take place

through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”

Amen.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Trinity Sunday - America at The Brink

America @ The Brink !
Fr Phil Eberhart 
June 7, 2020

For about the last 10 days we've been watching the unraveling of American society and the takeover by an uncovered spirit of lawlessness. This morning I want to talk about how we can pray and act in this time, to allow light to be shed on our community, our state and nation and around the world.

This is Trinity Sunday, a week after Pentecost. The period between Easter and Pentecost was a time of great shaking for the disciples. Trying to come to terms with the crucifixion and then the resurrection of their master, Jesus. His death and three days in the tomb. His resurrection and his appearances with them, in the Upper Room, on the road to Emmaus, again and again in various places and times all the way back to Galilee. Then the second miraculous catch of fish. The Ascension of Jesus and 10 days of waiting. Then the rushing, mighty wind and fire of Pentecost.

God was shaking them up. Shaking them out of their roots and traditions, out of their stubborn misunderstanding of God's mission in Christ. Shaking them out of their self-preoccupation and raising their eyes to a bigger view of their calling and what God wanted to accomplish through them.

Today we're being shaken, we've said this over and over for months and now it's actually taking shape. Is God the author of this confusion? No, but God certainly will use it in our personal and national lives, to move us individually and corporately, to a place where we are attentive to Him and responsive to Him!

Over and over throughout history God has allowed hardship, national trial, and personal pain to cause us to come back to a fuller reliance on Him, a fuller knowledge of His ways, and a fuller engagement with His mission in the World. Today it's no different!

The shaking has a designated purpose... to discipline God's People, (judgement begins with the House of God) to produce in us the fruit of repentance and to turn us, and thus our nation and world, back to Him and Him alone. All the disciples experienced all of these things personally and wrote to give us a clue about God's purpose in this time...

In Hebrews...
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11‭ ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/heb.12.11.ESV

In James:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
James 3:17‭-‬18 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jas.3.17-18.ESV

Friends, God is working here. Among us and across our nation. It's time for us, the Church, to pay attention. It's time for us to get on our knees - in prayer, where it all starts but cannot properly stay there; in acts, the fruit of Repentance: changing our own ways in response to God's word and His Spirit working in and through and among us. Staying on our knees, in servant ministry, washing feet, healing hurts, supplying His love and grace to our world.

This morning we've moved from creation to commission in our readings. And that is the pathway we are constantly called to: turning and returning to God as our source and supply, then taking all we've recieved and giving it to others. Just as the Father has sent me, so now I am sending you! GO. 1500 times in the bible... GO. The message is clear.

The world is crying out for the church to be the church! God himself has taken us in hand and through this time will lead us if we will but pray, listen and do what He tells us. It still comes down to our own willingness, our availability and ultimately to our OBEDIENCE.

LET'S PRAY.

Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: We come to your throne today seeking your face - lift up Your face towards us and grant us Your SHALOM. Help us, Lord, to return to You and Your ways. Our world depends on it. Send us out today to serve others, to live and love in your Name. Open our eyes... awaken us to see your hand working around us, and direct our steps to bring your peace into our world.

In Jesus Name and for His Kingdom's sake, we pray.

Amen

Pentecost Sermon

We need to ask the right question!

I've talked a lot about our need for willingness over the years, but it seems that, I need to be convinced of God's willingness. The scripture that BP Bill shared from Lu 11 is about prayer. Ask... Seek... Knock... and keep on doing those things, and the answer will come from God's hand.

The illustration of a loving father is just the one that we need to have in mind all the time. If you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more our Father in Heaven?

I know I have always struggled with the Imago Dei, the image of God that I have from my upbringing. I think many of us have faulty images of God and His nature.

It's interesting to me that the last thought, the last verses of the Old Convent in Malachi are on this very issue. The relationship between children and fathers, and the promise of having hearts that are turned towards each other. Seems like maybe it's a prerequisite for what is going to happen in the New Covenant!

And the model for prayer that Jesus taught starts with the words. OUR FATHER! Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father and to restore the relationship we can have with OUR FATHER. God himself was "in Christ reconciling the world to himself". For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His One and Only Son! That's love, beyond our wildest imaginings!

Paul goes on later in Romans 8 and asks us to think it through with him:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31‭-‬32 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/rom.8.31-32.ESV

Friends, the point this morning is God loves us... God loves you and wants you to have Every Good Gift that He has. So often the problem isn't on His side of the equation, but on ours - on the receiving end!

So we're back at Lu 11. Prayer... persistent prayer... Jesus tells us, is a key to receiving all that God has for us. And let me tell you ALL is a lot!
And It's all ours if we just ask Him.
Isn't it funny that when you break down the letters they spell A - S - K Ask...Seek...Knock.

Just Ask! And the tense of those verbs Jesus used indicate an ... here's a great word... IMPORTUNITY!
Webster says that that is TROUBLESOMELY URGENT!

Ask and keep on asking...
Seek and keep on seeking...
Knock and keep on knocking!

TROUBLESOMELY URGENT

Have you asked like that?

There is a hint of... well, more than a hint... of desperation. Perhaps desperate prayer is in order in these days. Our days are suddenly seeming TROUBLESOMELY URGENT!

I'd like to spend a minute or two just asking.

Will you join me?

Lord Jesus, you are the baptiser in the Holy Spirit. Now we're looking to you, Lord, as our baptiser! I pray, Jesus, for the outpouring that we have been asking, seeking and knocking for in each of our own lives and in the life of our church, our city, our state and especially now, our nation. Send your Spirit like a mighty wind, the Ruach ha Kodesh, and blow on us Jesus.

You have told us to return to You, our God. In humility and brokenness we come and we turn from wickedness on behalf of our nation. We bind the twisting of truth, the lies of the enemy of our souls. We pray for eyes to open suddenly, to see You Jesus, High and lifted up. Let your train fill the Temple this morning, come fill and cleanse us Fire of God and send us as your agents of reconciliation into the world.

We're asking Lord
We're seeking
We're knocking.

In the name of Jesus the Messiah.
For the sake of His Kingdom.

Amen. Amen
!