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Pastor at Resurrection Anglican Fellowship in Greenwood Village, CO

Monday, April 5, 2021

Easter 2021: He is not here. He is risen!

 Easter Sermon
April 4, 2021
Fr. Philip Eberhart

 

HE IS NOT HERE.  HE IS RISEN!

 

Come, Holy Spirit, come among us here.  Open our eyes, Lord, to your REAL PRESENCE here today …  Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.  Help us, Lord, to see you … take the veil away from our eyes.  Touch us and let us touch you, as your disciples did so long ago on that first Easter morning.  Be among us this day and forever more.  Come, Lord Jesus.         AMEN.

 

HE IS NOT HERE!   HE IS RISEN!

 

Seven words that changed the world!  The women that morning came expecting one thing, wondering how they would be able to get into the tomb to do their religious duty for their friend and Master.  They were on a mission of mercy.

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, no matter what anyone says to you, is one of the most well attested facts of history – there is no other explanation for these events.  The four gospels tell the story from various points of view, with the witness to particular groups of people in mind:   Matthew as a witness to the Jews, Luke to the Gentiles, Mark is the “JOE FRIDAY” gospel (Just the facts, ma’am!) and John, as he refers to himself, “the one who Jesus loved”, the one and only disciple at the foot of the cross, tells a very spiritual and personal story of these events.

 

Today we are still, like the women and the disciples, trying to do our best to wrap our minds around the events and their implications for our day to day life!  2000 years on, and we will take the rest of eternity, as we say in the Holy Week services, “contemplating these mighty acts, by which God has wrought our full salvation.”

 

He Is NOT Here.  HE IS RISEN!  Seven words that enfold the central kernel of truth for the universe.  It all comes back to these words.  The resurrection of Jesus from the dead, … “turned the world upside down.”  Those are not my words, but the words of the leaders of the known world, only 4 or 5 decades after this event! 

 

Have you had your world turned upside down?  The fact is the resurrection of Jesus – the living Christ turns our world back upside right!!  We are like the pilot who crashed the jet he was flying when he “pulled up” and flew into the ground, because he had lost his bearings- his horizon- and was flying upside down at night!  We are flying upside down at night!

The resurrection reorients our lives, just as it did the women and the disciples that day and the subsequent days as Jesus appeared to them in various ways and places.  He met Mary Magdalene in the garden, to disciples on the road to Emmaus, then he showed us at the Upper Room, behind a locked door:  “Peace!  Do not be afraid!” 

After the days of Jesus appearances, his ascension to heaven, which they witnessed, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for witness at Pentecost, these men and women were different, to say the least.  They were a force for the reconciliation of the world, cooperating with the Spirit of God to share the word of His resurrection.  

They were different people!  Different than they were before;  different from the world around them; different from anything the world expected.

And Jesus final words, before He ascended are the most promising in the whole story… “And behold, I am with you even to the end of the age.”

 

 

 

HE IS RISEN!

 

This event didn’t just have an impact on the world back then, it has impact and influence in our own lives today.  He is still today, “with us.”  He is still alive!  That is the meaning of today! 

I want to just remind you of something that Peter wrote.

It’s not in our readings but it should be:

Born Again to a Living Hope                                        1 Peter 1:3-9  esv

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

As OAK McEachren could be heard to say, “There it is!”

If you want to ask the question, “SO WHAAT?” here it is.

 

Seven outcomes of those seven words:

1.    [You are] born again to a living hope…

2.   [You have an] imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance…

3.   [You are receiving] a salvation ready to be revealed…

4.   [You experience the] tested genuineness of your faith…

5.   [Your life is] to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…

6.   [You have a] joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

7.   [Because you are] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls

 

He is not here.  He is risen!

 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Fr Phil: The Law of Perfect Freedom

 Lent III
March 7, 2021
Fr. Phil Eberhart



The Law of Perfect Freedom

Ex 20:1-21 

Ps 19:7-14 

Rom 7:12-25 

John 2:13-22



This morning we are almost halfway through LENT!!  Our readings share 

(1) the STRUCTURE of the law in the TEN WORDS or 
"10 commandments" as we refer to them... 
(2) the EFFECT of the law from Psalm 19 that we sing regularly... (3) The STRUGGLE of the Law inside us ...  And  
(4) Jesus's APPLICATION the Law of Freedom inside the Temple Courts in Jerusalem.

This is actually a 4 week sermon series that I'll do in one sitting!

I'm going to jumble them up a bit and preach it this way:   STRUCTURE ;  STRUGGLE ; APPLICATION ;  EFFECT



FIRST:    STRUCTURE

 Most of us have heard the 10 Words (commandments) from our childhood and we are familiar with them (mostly) though most of us will only be able to get 6-8 of 10 from memory.  As a group we might get 10 of 10!  But I want you to look at the "form" that is embedded in the words.

Peter Leithart in his book we've just recently finished on The Ten Commandments:  The Perfect Law of Liberty tells us to hold up both hands ...  one hand is the first 5 words ... the other hand is the second 5 words.  One hand is the LAW of GOD and our relationship to HIM; the other hand is the LAW OF LOVE and our relationships to one another.

Each finger represents a piece of instruction and life-giving freedom, even though they begin with Thou Shalt Not... GOD is entering into covenant with us, a lasting and binding relationship that is capped by its imago, in the relationship of husband and wife and family here on earth.  The fifth commandment is the thumb of the hand that meets every other commandment, touching it to provide the "grasp" of a relationship with God!  Each WORD is directive of our behavior, providing protection like a guard rail on a mountain road.  These are not things you "jump over" because the other side is 1000 feet straight down!

And so the other hand sets the guard rails for human relationships - for societies and nations and cultures.  THE LAW OF LOVE requires us to behave in certain ways toward our fellows:  No killing, No stealing, No adultery, No Lying, No coveting.

The two "hands" are dramatically different in style:  Here is what Leithart says:

"YAHWEH" appears eight times in the first 5 Words (Ex 20: 2-12) but isn't named at all in 6-10.  The style of the second half is dramatically different.  In Hebrew, the first five commandments contain 145 words; the second five use only 26!  Three of the commandments use a total of only 6 words!" 

There might be something that God is trying to get through to us here!  The FOUNDATION of our lives is our RELATIONSHIP with HIM.

The VERTICAL aspect of this set of WORDS is the larger of the beams.  HE (GOD) (THE I AM) YAHWEH is the focus of the first 5 words, and the injunction to HONOR FATHER AND MOTHER is an injunction to HONOR GOD in COVENANT RELATIONSHIP.  

HOME AND FAMILY are the place of "covenant incarnation" and the setting; the joining place for the horizontal portion of the 10 words.
Covenant Relationships form the cross axis point, illustrating our relationship with YAHWEH IN COVENANT and providing the bond of that covenant with our actions to the left and the right in community.  The shape is CRUCIFORM - the Shape is that of the Cross.



PART TWO:  THE STRUGGLE

Paul admits the struggle inside of himself in the 7th chapter of Romans.  Some say that this is not Paul's personal struggle but the struggle of Israel with the LAW.  The "I" here is Israel.  Though it is not hard for each of us to put the "I" into the story that is told in these pitiful verses:  Let me re-read the passage from the Passion Translation:

13 So, did something meant to be good become death to me? Certainly not! It was not the law but sin unmasked that produced my spiritual death. The sacred commandment merely uncovered the evil of sin so it could be seen for what it is. 14 For we know that the law is divinely inspired and comes from the spiritual realm,[j] but I am a human being made of flesh and trafficked as a slave under sin’s authority.[k]

15 I’m a mystery to myself,[l] for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16 And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17 And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 18 For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it.[m] 19 My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 20 So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.

21 Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. 22 Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. 23 But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience[n] and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. 24 What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death?[o] 25 I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.[p]


This is the struggle of every believer... of Israel and of the Church ... of Paul and of you and me!  The struggle is real but so is the freedom!  The 10 WORDS are the Perfect Law of Freedom, revealing this UNWELCOME INTRUDER OF SIN that hinders us, wars against us inside ourselves.   But IN CHRIST we are freed from this LAW OF SIN AND DEATH (as we read in Chapter 8 of Romans) by the Law of the Spirit of LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS!  I can wax eloquent about this in another sermon about how an airplane trip illustrates our life in Christ. Suffice it to say here that verses 2-4 of Chapter 8 set us on that PLANE:

the “law” of the Spirit of life flowing through the anointing of Jesus has liberated us[b] from the “law” of sin and death. For God achieved what the law was unable to accomplish, because the law was limited by the weakness of human nature.[c]

Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin. So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit![d]


Quickly to PART 3:  APPLICATION

Jesus in the Temple was taken up in ZEAL FOR HIS FATHER'S HOUSE.  Jesus here illustrates the warfare that we have just read about between the Kingdoms of Darkness and the Kingdom of the Light.  Between the Law and the Spirit.  Between God's APPLICATION and our APPLICATION!!  We tend to get coopted - corrupted - by trying to do the life of PERFECT FREEDOM in the power of the flesh!  

We continually get trapped in this maze!  Trying to attain the will of God by the power of our own will and fleshly efforts.  Selling the sacrifices of God in the courtyards of the Temple!  This scene that Jesus makes in the Jerusalem temple, hearkens back to another conversation he had with a woman at a well in Samaria.  That conversation ended with the words...  From now on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with a right heart. For God is a Spirit,[m] and he longs to have sincere worshipers who adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”  God desires that we be the temple and we worship HIM rightly, in the power of the SPIRIT and in the TRUTH.


And finally PART 4:  THE EFFECT

Psalm 19 has several adjectives that describe the EFFECT of the LAW of Perfect Freedom:  Nothing like the good ol' KJV... 
may I sing it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-ykfw3-i7s


The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.


Yesterday morning I challenged our men to spend the week pondering these six adjectives and their EFFECTS on our interior life.  They are the effects of the Perfect Law of Freedom.  In keeping them there is great reward!


Let me add on a new stanza to our song:


Let the words of my mouth and
the meditations of my heart...
be accepted in thy sight, O Lord,
my Strength and my Redeemer!     (JOIN ME)


MORE TO BE DESIRED ARE THEY THAN GOLD,
YEA THAN MUCH FINE GOLD.
SWEETER ALSO THAN THE HONEY
IN THE HONEYCOMB.

(AGAIN)


LET US PRAY:  

Gracious God and most merciful Father,

you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word:
Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts
to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image,
to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ,
sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues;
grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Amen.  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Transfiguration: Encountering His Face!

 Transfiguration Sunday

Feb 14, 2021
Fr. Phil Eberhart


Encountering His Face


Welcome to the last Sunday of Epiphany, the Sunday and Feast of the Transfiguration.

Have you ever had a vision of or an encounter with Jesus?  Now I don't mean some kind of imaginary Sunday School fantasy, but something that feels substantive?   A dream in living color?   An encounter that leaves you with your mouth open!  Our readings this morning are about such encounters.  Some of us call them "mountaintop" experiences.  Times when Jesus seems to be tangible or where He reveals His true nature to us; where He encounters us in ways that we cannot wiggle out of?

I've talked over the past many months about God wanting to have FACE TIME with us all.  I got to have some 'face time' with my Granddaughter Kinsley last week.  She was laying in my arms and looking up at me and reached up and was touching my face and pulling at my beard.  That is exactly what I'm talking about.

I've been struck over and over about the closeness of God and His desire for us, , for you, for me!  
The Aaronic Blessing from Numbers 6 repeats a phrase about the FACE OF GOD:

The Priestly Benediction

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

27 So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

It is notable when a thing is repeated and this blessing is a command of the Lord, through Moses for AARON and his sons to use as a blessing over the people of Israel, with the words "So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

Friends, I want to tell you that God is anxious to reveal Himself to us -- to you!

The encounter of Elijah with God on the mountain and the experience the disciples had on the mountaintop at Jesus' Transfiguration are not just "types" or "stories" - they are examples for us, and at least for me, I want to "see Jesus!"  I want to come to a place where I can "encounter" His presence -- to see His face.  I WANT to have FACE TIME with God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The words of the blessing are descriptive:
The Lord make His face to shine upon you...
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you!

A Face that shines -- that is the blessing - that God's face will shine upon us; there is a sense of God's delight in you.   My dad's face would shine when his granddaughters were in the room!  It is a sign of joy, of great delight and overwhelming love.  It was present every time when the girls went to grandpa's house. He and grandma took seriously the job description that grandparents are for spoiling their grandchildren!!

A face that shines is also a sign of His glory!  Moses' face was shining when he came down from the mountain with the tablets after speaking with God Face to Face (Ex 33:11).  He had to put a vail on his face to be with the people.  Paul talks about that, and we'll come back to that in a moment.  But it denoted to the people that Moses had been in the presence of God.  It was full of Glory!

Finally, in this regard, the phrase "lift up His countenance" - have you thought about that phrase?  How does someone lift up His countenance upon you?  Certainly by lifting up his face and looking at you.  But I wonder if there isn't more to it than that?  I believe that lifting up your face means looking up and the way that papa's look up, grandpa's look up is by lifting a baby above their heads and "lifting up their countenance upon them!"    Most babies love to be lifted up by their papa's and by their grandpa's.  It is a sign and and action of sheer delight!

Close your eyes for a moment and see yourself as a little one in God's hands and he suddenly lifts you up above his head and looks up at you, and laughs with you, as you delight in him and he delights in you.  That's the picture I have when I say or sing these words!!

The words over Jesus, from the cloud on the mountaintop were what?   "This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!"

Encounter with God's Face and Hearing His voice kind of go hand in hand, don't they?  

Today is a transitional Sunday  --  the end of Epiphany and this Wednesday evening we begin the Season of Lent.  What would it be like for us to seek ways to encounter the FACE of GOD in Jesus Christ during these 40 days coming?

"Encountering His Face!"  I think maybe that needs to be our theme for LENT.   I have many portraits of Jesus, and more that I would like to get.  He has been portrayed in film and TV in many different ways... in many different colors ...  I think I'll see if we can hang some of those portraits on the walls of the hallway downstairs during Lent.  So you can come to the church and spend time looking at the different depictions of the Face of Jesus.

I want you to enter into this season fully.  To see His face as it shines on you.  To know that He delights in you.  That there is nothing you can do, good or bad, to change the way he feels about you - to make him love you more, or to make him love you less.  He loves you with an everlasting love.  He loves to be in your presence.  Would you like to come to LOVE TO BE IN HIS?

Let's pray...

Lord Jesus Christ, in whose face we can see the face of God the Father.  You are the express image of the fullness of God and in you, Jesus, does all the fullness of the Godhead dwell bodily.  Open our eyes to see you, to see your face -- to encounter you as you turn your face towards us, as you lift us up and lift up your countenance upon us!  Let us know the joy of being your child, Lord.  Let us know Your delight in us, and bring us to joy in you, because we have come to know WHO we are and WHOSE we are.  For the sake of the Kingdom and the Fame of the Name of Jesus, that you have placed upon us.

Amen

Friday, February 5, 2021

The State of the Flock - Feb 7, 2021

The State of the Flock
Feb 7, 2021
Fr. Philip D. Eberhart, Rector 


As I look back over this past year, I don’t know whether to cry or to shout. We’ve seen wave after wave of trials, challenges, injury, surgery, life-threatening illness, accidents, and that is before you factor in the worldwide pandemic! And that is just my personal life and this single church’s circumstances in the past 14 months! 

So how do we characterize 2020 and look away from it to the future? The words UNPRECEDENTED and EXTRAORDINARY seem to have gotten a lot of air play in the past 10 months. We want nothing more than to look away from 2020 and glimpse a brighter, more ‘normal’ future, but we’re just not sure if or when that might appear. One thing is certain, a rehearsal of all the things that went wrong in 2020 is not the remedy for the malaise – so I want to take a few moments to expose some of the things that are praiseworthy in our life together and in the world we now “live and move and have our being” in. 

Another word that expresses the lived experience of our church, as well as our planet, is SHAKING. Since 2000 we have been listening to the scripture from Hebrews 12 that warns of things that will be shaken, so that what cannot be shaken may remain. I sincerely believe that we are in the midst of that promised “shaking.” Our part in the midst of the shaking is to hold fast to that which cannot be shaken, The Word of God, and what the writer calls the Unshakeable Kingdom, which we are receiving from “our God who is a consuming fire.” 

We must open our eyes – wake up – to see the world from the perspective of the One who created it all. We believe, or say we do, that God brought all that we see into being with the Word of his mouth. If we believe THAT, then much follows from that core belief. Nothing actually happens by “accident.” If God is sovereign – above all – then all flows from His Hand. We say as much every Sunday: “All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” 

We are God’s possession, His People who are called by His Name. He takes that very seriously. Has since forever!! The fact is that God deals with the whole world on the basis of His dealings with His own people! 2 Chronicles 7 is the proof. A very familiar passage to us for about the past three or four decades! You know… “IF MY PEOPLE… “ and all that? I talked about it last weekend. We’ve been talking about it for 30 or 40 years here in America, but now is different. It actually matters that we, God’s People, obey this injunction – the life of the world depends on it. 

I’ve talked this past year about what God is doing – a RESET and a REALIGNMENT of our hearts with His! Those realities are realized, as I said last week through Repentant Obedience. It’s not enough to just say we’re sorry – we’ve been doing that since mid-year. Repentance means to turn around and head a new direction. To actually make changes in the way we “live and move and have our being.” It means a change in our “ways and means.” It means a new way of being and a new way of doing. And these all must line up with the Word of Scripture in the Bible. Period. 

So how is your “WORD QUOTA”? How deeply are we “abiding” in the words of Jesus and how are they “finding their home” in us? Troubled times have a way of driving us to that which is steady and tried. Nothing stands with the Word of God in that department. It is an anchor for the storms in our life; the anvil on which God fashions us, through fire and forge, into a “truer beauty and usefulness” for His Kingdom. It is truly the thing that is UNSHAKEABLE and what gives us and all inthe Kingdom of God stability. I hope that you have found the utility of a regular time in which you apply the disciplines of the “HAND” that we use to illustrate a full engagement with Holy Scripture – Hearing, Reading, Marking, Learning and Inwardly Digesting it. If you haven’t noticed, that BOOK is the centerpiece of our life and our worship. It points us to the Savior and to the Father in no uncertain terms, and it is the very useful Sword of the Spirit, used by Him to encounter us as we read, to equip us as we study and learn and to engage us in a dynamic partnership with Him in the World. The Word of God graces our lives in four ways: It instructs us; it reproves us; it corrects us and it trains us in righteousness. It plumbs the depths of our souls, revealing our motives, our thoughts and intentions; driving deeper than bone marrow, to the very center of our being. 

This is the reason for the SHAKING. We must “come to ourselves” – wake up! – come to our senses, as God’s People. We have been wandering in a far country, too long feeding in the pig pen of the world’s ways and means. God is meaning to create some “face time” with Himself for us. He means to get our attention. And I’m convinced that He means to do it, for a reason. So what could possibly be the “reason for THIS season?” This has been a season of brokenness. Everything that could go wrong, seemingly, has! Things we never even though of have gone wrong! BUT GOD… 

You’re going to hear in a few minutes the numbers for this year. You’re going to hear that, we’ve had some close calls, but we are all still here. Fr. Stanley in Uganda is the first Covid death in our worldwide Church family. WE thank the Lord for His protection. We thank the Lord that through all the separation of this past year, through all the social distancing … we are still together. We have worked overtime to remain so. Connected to one another by any means possible, personally, on Zoom, Facebook. These are realities that will remain with us for some time, if not permanently. We’ve discovered a whole wide world – one that we kind of knew about through our mission outreaches and international relationships, but now we can join a world-wide prayer meeting that is actually going on 24/7/365 through all of 2021! Satan loses… We WIN! 

The day the world shut down, March 16th, was the launch of a new reality in the church. It is called THE 400 GATHERING. With a goal of 400 pastors and churches coming together in answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, this movement is beginning to now have effect. We pray for one another and lay down our lives for one another – supply one another’s needs and partner with one another for the advancement of the Kingdom of God! It’s not about one church, but about the Body of Christ and His Kingdom in this world. 

And that is the beginning of the answer to the “why” for this season. God’s purpose is to free us from our diversions, from our per-versions – to bring us through a con-version to His ways and will, to accomplish the vision of Jesus for the World, using us as His instruments. We continually look to Jesus, the Author and the Finisher, the Perfector of our faith. And He will set us in a place directly in the path of the greatest harvest of souls we can imagine – in fact beyond all that we can ask or imagine. That, I believe, is the big “why” here. 

 Rez is called into being “for such a time as this.” We have been placed on this Holy Hill for just this purpose; to shine as a ‘city on a hill’ with the light of Christ, our Messiah. We shine to those who are far away and to those who are near. We have been given a High Altar that holds a special place in God’s heart and His plan for us and for this city and region. We are an instrument of His Holy Spirit amongst those who are being called into His Kingdom. 

Even now, as this season comes to a close and we anticipate being able to come back together in more significant ways, we look forward to times of refreshing from the Lord and to a release of the Harvest into the Church. For years we’ve talked about being an ACTS 2 Church and about the promise of a “netbreaking, boat-sinking” load of fish. God has promised us “OIL” that will come from unexpected places to keep our lamps burning and bright. He has more and more anointing for us, as we move more and more with HIM, into His purposes and destiny for Resurrection Anglican Fellowship. 

I want to conclude with one of our prayers from the Ordination service: 

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sincerely, 

 Fr. Phil+ 

The Venerable Rev. Philip D. Eberhart
Archdeacon and Rector
Resurrection Anglican Fellowship,
International Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Wisdom for our Times

 Epiphany 4

Jan 31, 2021

Fr. Phil Eberhart




This morning we mourn the loss of a good friend and servant of God, Rev. Dr. Stanley Katungwensi.  Fr. Stan as we all knew him, served this congregation with me at St. George's Episcopal Church and again, he and his family came later to REZ and resumed staff work, especially with the Ugandan community through REZ with Albert Senkeeto and others.  Fr. Edward was a part of that community and many here remember those times with great fondness and joy.

We grieve today for this loss and for his wife, Anne and their children, Tim, Sam, Charity and Gloria, who are still dear to us.  I do not have a lot of information, other than this was Covid related.  We are going to be collecting a gift to send to the family to help with expenses, so if you are so moved please make it to the Discretionary fund with Fr. Stan Memorial in the memo.

This morning's scriptures paint a picture for us of God's continual involvement, care and direction in the affairs of our world, even in the face of what seems to be unmitigated chaos.  My prayer this morning is that God gives us eyes to see His Hand at work in the midst of the circumstances and systems of this world, and ears to hear His Voice speaking to us, by Word and Spirit, as He directs those of us who are in His Kingdom; The Unshakeable Kingdom that we are even now receiving.

Friends, look with me at some key verses in our readings today:

   "How can we recognize a word that the Lord has not spoken?"

How familiar are you with the Words that you already know GOD HAS SPOKEN?  With the WORD(s) of the Scripture(s)?  The way that we come to know the fake is by handling the real!  Tellers at banks can tell the counterfeit dollars because they feel wrong to the touch.  Their touch is trained by use!!  Likewise our hearing of God's Word must be trained by all the things we talk about when we hold up our Scripture hand:
    A.  Hear
    B.  Read
    C.  Mark
    D.  Learn
    E.   Inwardly Digest

To have a firm grasp on the written Word of God is to be prepared properly with the discernment necessary for when the voices of many are speaking with a "Thus Saith the Lord".

Our scripture is severe this morning for those who would deign to speak for God, especially with specific dates and times.  Fulfillment is the test of accuracy!  And thus, legitimacy.

I must say that I personally begin with a dose of scepticism, and come from there to faith, based on how the "word" lines up with the grid of the WORD in Holy Scripture.

I want to reiterate what I already know about our times:

God is the One who has initiated a RESET.  The world and the flesh and the devil are attempting a coup with a "counterfeit reset" - a wholesale transformation of our culture to the ways and the means of the enemy of our souls!  BUT GOD...

What is the way through?  What are we to do in the face of this chaos?

We must stay in - ABIDE in - HIS WORD.  Jn 15 is clear. It is here that we are to ABIDE - IN HIM AND IN HIS WORD.

That will keep us in a place of REPENTANT OBEDIENCE.  It is only through the portal of REPENTANT OBEDIENCE that we can move into the REALIGNMENT, THE REFRESHING AND THE RENEWAL that God intends to bring to us and through us to the world.

It seems that we always think that God is going to move faster than He does.  The timeline of God's Hand is HIS, not ours!!  It is for us to watch with open eyes and to listen with open ears;  to discern His ways and means in the times we live in, and to be actively moving in REPENTANT OBEDIENCE as He directs us, each and every day.

In that way we will see and we can be a part of God's KINGDOM WAYS AND MEANS to bring stability in the times of shaking.  

God is fulfilling His Word in Our Day.
I preached this on Mother's Day of 2020.  (http://rezpadre.blogspot.com/2020/05/)
5 movements we are going to see:
RESET - REALIGNMENT - REFRESHING - RELEASE - REJOICING

We are still in the place between the first two!  That is the place of Repentant Obedience.  It is fortuitous that we are coming again to Lent.

I urge you to look at one of our PUSH programs from last April:

Jon Peterson and I reflect there on what God is doing in this shaking.  Take the time to watch it.  We must learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us in His Kingdom -

If MY PEOPLE, the ones who are CALLED BY MY NAME, will HUMBLE THEMSELVES, PRAY, SEEK MY FACE, TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS

THEN...  THEN...  THEN...

I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, 
        FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND 
               I WILL HEAL THEIR LAND.

GOD has not forgotten us, nor is His Hand too short to save.  Look at the Psalm again with me.  In fact let's do it again slowly by half verse...

1 Praise the Lord. I will give thanks unto the Lord with my whole heart, * in the company of the upright, and among the congregation.

2 The works of the Lord are great, * sought out by all who have pleasure in them.

3 His work is worthy to be praised and held in honor, * and his righteousness endures for ever.

4 He has made his marvelous works to be had in remembrance; * The Lord is gracious and merciful.

5 He has given food to those who fear him; * he shall ever be mindful of his covenant.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works, * that he may give them the heritage of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; * all his commandments are true.

8 They stand fast for ever and ever, * and are done in truth and equity.

9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant for ever; * holy and awesome is his Name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; * a good understanding have all those who live accordingly; his praise endures for ever.

This is what God has done, and it is what God IS DOING.  Listen to some of the words you just said:

His righteousness endures forever...
The Lord is gracious and merciful...
He shall ever be mindful of his covenant...  
all his commandments are true...
and are done in truth and equity...
holy and awesome is his Name...  
a good understanding have all those who live accordingly; his praise endures for ever!!

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.

AMEN.