December 26, 2015

Jesus Grew in Wisdom, stature & favour with God & Man (Christmas 1)

The Readings for today (1 Samuel 2.18-26; Colossians 3.12-17; Luke 2.41-52) teach us how to prepare to have a rich spiritual life of love and service as God’s chosen people. This new life begins with a rediscovery of our identity as children of God which has been stolen from us by a secular culture. Jesus was fully human so the Readings show us how he grew spiritually by reading the Scriptures, seeking out wise teachers and spending time with them. It was only after He had spent 30 years growing in wisdom and stature that He was able to step out in ministry as a teacher and healer. These readings explain why many churches are not thriving in our time – they have lost their spiritual identity and are not in favour with God and man.

1. Our identity as “God’s chosen people” has been stolen

December 23, 2015

Jesus Gives Us the Spiritual Gifts of Love, Joy and Peace (Christmas)

The Good News of Christmas is that God intervened in history to come and live among His creation as a man and make a New Covenant. Covenant of Moses and the Law had been broken several times by the Hebrew People and they were crying out for a Saviour who would free them from Roman occupation and religious corruption. God did much more. He showed His love and trust by coming as a helpless baby who would grow up and give His life as a ransom to establish a New Covenant of forgiveness. This New Covenant broke the power of Satan and freed believers from the spiritual yoke of human sin-guilt that separated them from God and led to spiritual death. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to come and live inside believers  – giving them the spiritual gifts of love, joy and peace as a sign of relationship.

1. Jesus birth shows us God’s love as relationship, community & belonging

December 11, 2015

Preparing For the Spiritual Gifts of Love, Joy and Peace

During the four weeks of Advent we are getting ready for the coming of Jesus both at Christmas as a specific date and at the End Time which is an unknown date. We live in a culture of unhappy people focussed on shopping for material gifts to make them feel good. This distracts us from preparing to receive the spiritual gifts that Jesus gives us through the Holy Spirit. These gifts – Love, Joy and Peace cannot be bought in a store; they are free gifts given to anyone who goes through the work of preparing their heart to receive them:
·         Love – being in emotional relationship, community, belonging
·         Joy – having meaning in our life, happiness, thankfulness
·         Peace – overcoming our fear of death, failure, guilt, shame

These are the real gifts that everyone wants but only people in serious Christian community have.

1. John is teaching why we need to prepare to receive these gifts

November 20, 2015

“Those Who Are On the Side of Truth Listen To Me” (Reign of Christ)

The “Reign of Christ” is celebrated on the last Sunday of the Church Year. The Reign of Christ, which began with the Resurrection continues on until the end of time. This Reign is breaking into the physical world in our time as more and more people” listen to Jesus” and decide to come under His divine spiritual authority (John 18.37c). These are the ones who are “on the side of truth”. The point is that there is another side, made up of those who oppose (i.e. Islam) or chose not to listen to Jesus; and who have no part in His eternal Kingdom. Those who do chose to listen to Jesus are moving “from error into truth, from sin into right-relationship and from death to spiritual life” (Eucharistic Prayer 3, Book of Alternative Services).

1. Listening to Jesus moves us from error into spiritual truth
Jesus has revealed spiritual truth to us through the example of His life on Earth, His teachings as recorded in the Bible and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that those who listen receive:

November 13, 2015

Witnessing To the Light of Christ in a Dark World (Proper 33b)

As we approach the end of the Church’s teaching Year B we are being sent out to witness to our own experience of being healed, made holy by God and sharing in the love, joy and peace of His Kingdom in our Christian fellowship. People all around us are starving for meaning and fellowship in their lives. Young Muslims of both sexes are so bored and desperate they travel to the horrific violence and danger of the ideal of establishing a new Islamic State. The end of Christendom has left many people without hope or meaning. They have never seen or experienced the spiritual light of hope for healing, forgiveness and an eternal life of love, joy and peace that Jesus taught and modelled on Earth. They have been deceived by false teachers (Mark 13.5, 22) because nobody forcefully proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ to them.

1. Christians are being “made holy” (Hebrews 10.14)
Holiness is a lost value in our time. Many people are focussed on the hollow values of inclusiveness, materialism and individualism – that do not really satisfy our basic human need for meaning, fellowship and community.

October 24, 2015

Mission Is To Boldly Proclaim Forgiveness, Healing and Freedom In Jesus Name (St. Luke's Day, Oct. 18)

We are a confused and deceived people living on a demon infested planet surrounded by lies and half truths. As Paul warns Timothy in commissioning him for ministry, false teachers have arisen in the Church to fill itching ears with what they want to hear - as opposed to the truth of our need for forgiveness, healing and freedom from spiritual oppresion. For example the clergy who selected the Timothy Reading for St. Luke’s Day deliberately omitted the first four verses of Chapter 4 – the key warning about false teachers. Many in our churches have failed to “fight the good fight” , “endure hardship” and “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4.5, 7). In contrast, in our Readings Jesus reads the Isaiah (61.1-2) Prophecy and begins by stating that this Prophecy is fulfilled in their hearing. Jesus is claiming His destiny as Saviour and teaching us His Mission or Plan of ministry. All of Jesus ministry was related to healing the separation of individuals from God and others by speaking the truth to the half-truths destroying spiritual life and imprisoning people in false teachings. We all need to get back to Jesus authentic plan of ministry!

1. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor.”
Jesus ministry is anointed and guided by the Holy Spirit. We have in our time many false teachers and self-appointed ministers. These people have no authority or power from God. False teachers are hard to identify as they generally speak in platitudes about love that sound good but are just a little off. They rarely talk about healing as this would involve the supernatural Biblical worldview and spiritual warfare which they generally regard as mythical. Teachers anointed by the Holy Spirit have the truth and proclaim it fearlessly:

October 10, 2015

The Spiritual Law of Thankfulness and Blessing

The Readings (Deuteronomy 26-1-11; Philippians 4.4-9; John 6.25-35) teach us that when people honor God and keep His Commandments – including the Commandments to give thanks; they will be blessed with a life of love,  joy and peace. This is the Good News we have for the many people we see around us who are obviously unhappy and frustrated in their daily lives. The reason they are unhappy and frustrated is they are focusing on the bad news around them and trying to make it on their own, without any help from the God who created them for a relationship of blessing. Frank Sinatra – as in “I did it my way” probably had no relationship with God, did not really know about forgiveness and had no spiritual life. Thanksgiving Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on how well the Spiritual Law of Thankfulness and Blessing is working in our own lives. The Readings teach us to give thanks.

1. Deuteronomy - thanks-giving is our part of the Baptismal Covenant

September 24, 2015

Where’s A Good Church?- Canadians Respond from the Pulpit, Podium and Pew (Book review and ministry effectiveness map)

This book was published in Canada in 1993 and the co-author Don Posterski gave a one day Workshop at the Toronto School of Theology in the same year. The other author, Irwin Barker was Senior Research Director at Angus Reid, one of Canada’s most respected public polling companies. They used a combination of 26 focus groups and 761 survey returns asking the most basic questions facing a church that is serious about examining itself and trying to figure out what it has to do to grow and thrive. The first question of course is “are we desperate enough to honestly examine our ministry and consider changing what we do if this will help us grow and thrive?” For some churches the honest answer is sadly no. St. Mark and St. Phillips in Calgary made this choice and are now selling their church. My hope is that the following Canadian research on what people in Canada are looking for in a “good church” - and the ministry mapping exercise will help the leadership in other declining churches find a better approach to ministry and thrive.

 1. What are the characteristics of a good church in Canada?

September 18, 2015

Spiritual Wisdom Is Loyal, Pure and Self-less (Proper 25)

The Readings teach us the differences between human wisdom and spiritual wisdom. Human wisdom tends to be disloyal, adulterous and selfish. In contrast spiritual wisdom is loyal, pure and self-less. Jesus uses the example of a child. Children were not considered wise or important in that time. But children are closer to this ideal of loyalty, purity and selflessness than many adults. This is the kind of spiritual wisdom we are all to seek.

1. Spiritual wisdom comes from loyalty to God

We live in an adulterous and idol-worshiping culture that has largely abandoned it’s spiritual roots. About 10% of Canadians attend church and many are not even Baptized. I feel enormous failure because in spite of being wonderful men, none of my surviving children or grandchildren still attend a church. I blame irrelevant churches for this more than myself – as it is hard, even for an Anglican priest, to find a good church in our time. The consequence is that many – like me, have to discover spiritual wisdom on their own. My experience has been that we need to be in trouble before we turn to God and cry out for help

September 12, 2015

“Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Holy Cross Day, Sept 14, 2015)

We are living in a post-Christendom time of “Cross-less Christianity”. Over the years since the Third Century Christian leaders in many places have compromised with political and military leaders to avoid persecution and conflict with popular culture. We have developed a mushy, inoffensive and vague liberal theology of love that denies the power and need for the Cross and personal salvation. False prophets have convinced us that as long as we don’t offend anyone and are a ‘good person’ we are a Christian and assured of eternal spiritual life. The Readings for Holy Cross Sunday remind us that in spite of our good intentions and good behaviour we are still all guilty of rebellion against God in some way – and need a personal Saviour.

1. Hebrew story reminds us of the consequences of rebellion

September 5, 2015

We All Need To Have Our Eyes and Ears Opened (Proper 23)

The Readings for today focus on the difficulty of coming to faith in Jesus as the miracle worker of the
Bible. Jesus opened the eyes of people who were physically blind and the ears of people who were
physically deaf. These miraculous healings demonstrated His spiritual authority and authenticity as a
teacher, spiritual healer and exorcist. People in our time tend to dismiss these signs and wonders as
superstitions. The truth is that they are essential evidence to opening the eyes and ears of our faith. If we can not believe in the miraculous; then we have a faith that is weak and incomplete. We need to have our spiritual eyes and ears opened as the final step in our conversion to serious Christianity.

1. We have been blinded by our faith in Science as the way to discern truth

August 29, 2015

Religious People Are Not Always Spiritual People

Jesus is teaching us the difference between Religious people and Spiritual people. Religious people are like the Pharisees who were so prideful of keeping the Law, they had no time or energy left to love God, the Law giver. The Readings warn us to seek a personal love relationship with God (righteousness); over perfect religious practice.

1. Song of Songs (2.8-13) is an erotic love poem

This at first may seem out of place in the Bible – particularly if you had a female professor of Old Testament explain that the references to animals, mountains, fruits and lily pads are interpreted as parts of the male and female anatomy. We recoil in horror because we are so ‘head focussed’ instead of ‘heart focussed’. This is of course the point. God is all knowing - and not interested in an intellectual relationship with us. What God wants is a passionate, emotional love relationship.

August 21, 2015

We All Hunger For The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit (Proper 21)

For the past three weeks churches using the Common Lectionary have been studying the same passage in John’s Gospel (6.25-69) which is about Jesus as the “bread of life” that feeds our eternal spiritual life. Jesus is using the historical experience of the Hebrews in depending on God to keep them physically alive with mana; to explain how Christians must depend on Jesus gto keep them spiritually alive both in this life and after physical death. The key is our dependence on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This is the opposite from the (false) hope many people in our time have in “self-salvation” through good works or good moral behaviour. Self-salvation is the greatest lie of our time.

 For over twenty years I have been working with generally declining Anglican churches to help them find the key to stopping the decline, thrive, grow and be more spiritually nourishing. Last week I had an epiphany moment after a particularly nourishing and uplifting experience WITH the tiny (14 people) congregation in Sundre, Alberta. I asked myself why was this experience so spiritually nourishing? What is so different about this congregation?

 1. These people regularly depend on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

August 14, 2015

The One Who Feeds On Me Will Live (have spiritual life) - Proper 20

The Gospel of John Readings assigned for Propers 18-20 – four weeks of teaching, all cover the same central idea of Jesus as ‘the bread of life’. This is probably the most important – and hardest teaching of Jesus to understand. It is a summing up of the New Covenant of Jesus all the way from the Hebrews experience under Moses to the Pentecost experience of the first Christians. The subject is how to have a personal spiritual life that will last forever, including after our physical bodies die.

 1. Jesus explains He is like the mana that came from heaven
This is another example of using a visible and physical thing to explain an invisible and spiritual thing. The Bible teaches us that when the Hebrew people wandered in the desert for 40 years God provided a strange, powdery / flakey substance that formed on the ground in the morning and had to be gathered and eaten each day.

August 8, 2015

Why Is Working With Other Churches Important to St. Edmund’s? (Bow-Mont Ministerial Service, Aug. 9, 2015)


In writing to the Christian community in Corinth, the Apostle Paul said
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

We are all baptized into the same spiritual body. This body is more effective when all the parts – all the churches, work together. People in our time are isolated and confused about religion. They are seeking community, fellowship and meaning in their lives. We call this ‘spiritual life’. But what do the un-churched see? They often see churches breaking into smaller and smaller fragments – and fighting over minor theological issues. The message we send out is that nobody really knows the truth about Jesus – so why bother attending church?

August 1, 2015

Jesus New Covenant Unites Us In His Spiritual Body (Proper 18)

The Readings help us understand how the new Covenant of Jesus helps us grow and mature together into the spiritual body of Jesus. They began with the Prophet Nathan rebuking David for “despising God” and breaking the Covenant of Moses in his acts of adultery and murder. In the Gospel (John 6.24-35) Jesus declares a new covenant, that adds to the teaching of the Moses Covenant, describing Himself as the bread of heaven that gives life to the world. Finally in Ephesians (4.1-16) the Apostle Paul urges us to grow up into the joy of maturity in our spiritual life as part of the spiritual body of Jesus.

 1. Covenants with God are serious and have consequences
Covenants have two parts – what we do; and what God does. In the Covenant of Moses the people were to love God and their neighbour as defined in the Ten Commandments. In return God promised land, children, prosperity and protection from enemies.

July 25, 2015

Those Who Believes In Me Will Live Even Though They Die (Celebration of Life)

This is the Good News of Christianity. We all wonder what happens when someone dies. We all fear our own death. We also all hear a lot of platitudes about people being in Heaven who may or may not have been serious believers. The most common lie in our time is that good old uncle George is in heaven in spite of never having shown evidence of belief – but because they were a “good person”. The sad truth is that George is probably just dead. He had probably not developed a spiritual life, not asked for and received forgiveness for his sins, had no relationship with Jesus and his sin polluted soul and spirit could not survive in the presence of a holy God. The Readings (John 11 an 14) help us understand why we are celebrating the Earthly and continuing spiritual joy of our beloved Sister in Christ – who was also a very good person, but who had developed a strong spiritual life that could survive in the presence of a holy God.

1. We are not just physical beings – we have a soul and a spirit
In order to understand the joy of our spiritual life we need to understand how things work in the spiritual dimension described in the Bible. God, for example, is omnipresent – can be present everywhere, including in Jesus and including in us.

July 17, 2015

We Are To Be Temples Of The Holy Spirit (Eph. 3.22) for Proper 16

This is what all Christians are supposed to be. We are to be people in such a right-relationship with God that God the Holy Spirit can live in us. The Readings explain what this is in terms of the relationship between a shepherd and sheep. In modern times this is the relationship between each of us and Jesus. If this is a good and holy relationship based on faith and love, the Holy Spirit will come and live inside each of us to guide us, strengthen us and heal us as we go through life in this dangerous time and place.

1. Jesus is our righteousness (Jer. 23.6)
Names in the Bible are very important. They tell us what a person is expected to be. They are a one word personal mission statement. The expected Messiah - Jesus, is to be called “The Lord our righteousness”. It is important to note that we do not have “righteousness” or a right relationship on our own. Jesus is our righteousness. It is only when we are connected to Him that we are spiritually covered by the righteousness of Jesus.
  • The Greek in the Bible really means “in Him”.  
  • God by his love and grace accepts our Faith and trust in Jesus sacrificial death for us as equal to us dying for our own sins.
  • We repent and die emotionally to our sins in our weekly Confession.
  • This is why the Priest can give us absolution.  
  • God accepts this repentance in Faith and forgives us through the shed blood of Jesus.
  • We are spiritually covered by our faith in the righteousness of Jesus
  • Those who are not living “in Him” through their Faith in Jesus,  Baptism and Christian lifestyle are not covered by the righteousness of Jesus. They are alone and vulnerable to all the temptations, deceptions and spiritual attacks of the Evil One. We can see what this looks like on the front page of any newspaper. It is not very happy.

2. Jesus is our teacher

June 17, 2015

Faith Overcomes Fear (Proper 12)

Fear can be a good thing if it warns us of danger or motivates us to take action to protect ourselves from the storms of life. Fear can also be destructive if we worry about our finances, our health, not being liked or even death. Fear of death and separation from God is the power Satan has over those who do not know the Good News of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ. Fear can block our spiritual life by preventing us from taking the risk of Faith and depending on Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Readings give us examples of other people of faith who overcame their fear and grew in Faith.

 1. The storm of life is a test of faith

June 6, 2015

Baptism Gives Life Meaning Direction and Purpose

Baptism is much more than a hope that those who live out their Baptismal Promises will have eternal spiritual life. We are born with a physical body and a soul and then born a second time in Baptism with a personal spirit that is connected to God the Holy Spirit. We all need this connection to give our lives meaning, direction and purpose. We see evidence of people who do not have this connection all around us whose lives lack meaning, direction and purpose:

  • Those who live only for themselves and have no love
  • Those caught up in failure, sickness - no hope
  • Those caught up in conflict and violence – no peace
  • The lazy and ignorant who have given up on life – no joy
1. Baptism gives life meaning – an identity
The Baptized have a contract with God which explains how the world operates and what their place in creation is.  Many people are confused about identity, the meaning of life and what they are supposed to be doing. This is often the work of Satan who has stolen their identity and replaced it with the lie that God is angry at them, they are no good, they will never be successful at anything etc.

 The truth is the opposite – they are a precious child of God.
Not only that but that God is their spiritual Father. This is often a new and healing experience.

2. Baptism gives direction to our life

May 29, 2015

“I Believe In the Holy Spirit”: The Trinity in 15 Minutes (Trinity Sunday Readings)

This is a Creedal statement we make every Sunday. It is part of our affirmation of Faith in the Apostles Creed. God the Father is defined as the creator who gives us life. Jesus is defined as the Son who is God with us in human form on Earth and gives up his physical life to pay the price for all human sin. Nothing is said about what it is we are supposed to believe about the Holy Spirit. The point is we are to believe in the Holy Spirit as the continuing presence of God in the world so we can be led into a deeper and eternal relationship with God. This process of being led by the Spirit in developing a new spiritual life is called being born again – we get new identity.

 1.    The Holy Spirit is the part of a God who is with us in our lives

May 22, 2015

Who Is The Holy Spirit? (Pentecost Sunday)

Anglicans sometimes have trouble understanding who the Holy Spirit is and what the Holy Spirit does. Older English translations of the Bible seriously miss-translated the Greek word “rouah” which means spirit, wind or breath (of God) as “The Holy Ghost”. This image turned the Holy Spirit into a vague and unfortunate caricature – something to be avoided in sermons. This is the exact opposite of what the Readings for Pentecost teach us. Jesus promised to send The Holy Spirit to all believers as the link to God or continuing presence of God working in the world. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who, exactly like Jesus, teaches us the truth in all things:

  • Convicting us of the reality of our own sin
  • Convincing us of the righteousness (authenticity) of Jesus
  • Convincing us of the certainty of final judgement by God

May 9, 2015

You Are Witnesses of These Things (Ascension Readings)

The Ascension of Jesus marks the end of Jesus visible ministry on Earth, until His coming again in the End Times. In between these times, Jesus tells us our ministry is to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name to all nations. (Luke 24.47). The Good News is that Jesus did not abandon His followers in this mission. Jesus promised that they would receive “power from on high”, the gift of the Holy Spirit, that he would “open their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24.45) If we are to be effective witnesses to the life, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus we need to understand:

  • Why we are witnesses
  • What we can witness too
  • How the Holy Spirit helps us
  • Our responsibilities as witnesses
1. A witness is a person who has seen or experienced something
Jesus was speaking to His followers who had personally heard His teaching, seen his healing miracles and personally seen His Resurrection body.

April 25, 2015

The Good Shepherd Models Sacrificial Love (Easter 4)

Jesus is teaching his followers the cost of being a serious Christian. Just as His life, witness and ministry modeled self-sacrificial love; so we as His followers are to model the self-sacrificial love of the ancient shepherds. This is not easy in our time:
·         Self-sacrifice is foreign to our a self-centred narcissistic culture
·         We live in a culture which has a very confused and opposing understanding of what love is – being nice, avoiding conflict and not offending others
·         Do we go along to get along – even if the result is people not gaining – or loosing eternal spiritual life – OR do we risk unpopularity by offending - to help people
·         Sometimes Jesus ministry was offensive and challenging
·         We need to understand that if we really love people we may need to sacrifice our comfort zone and challenge them
1. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep

April 18, 2015

“You Are Witnesses Of These Things” (Luke 24.48) (Easter 3)

The Disciples are witnesses to an extra ordinary event. They physically touch the Risen Jesus and see Him eat food. They are witnesses to the “resurrection of the body” - as we say in the Apostles Creed. You do not choose to be a witness. You are a witness because you were there and saw or experienced something. Witnesses have a moral responsibility to witness - to share the truth in a world confused by lies. Witnesses who report accurately what they have seen or experienced are essential to law and order and the survival of civil society

1. You are my witnesses of these things (Luke 24.48)
In these Readings all Christians are called to be witnesses. This is what we all promise to do in our Baptism and Confirmation. It is not the job of the clergy.

April 10, 2015

Christians are Naturally Supernatural (Response to Cursillo talk April 9)

We have all heard of things happening in peoples lives which can not be explained by nature - what happens naturally, or at least most of the time. Miracles and statistically unlikely events lead to questions about God.
  • Some people dismiss miracles as luck
  • Others assume God may have acted but are confused about their faith
  • Serious Christians are drawn deeper into their faith

1. Personal experience deepens our faith

April 4, 2015

The Resurrection Means I Will Not Die But Live! (`Easter)

Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from physical death. This gives us the hope that when we die, our soul and spirit will live on in a different dimension and in a new Resurrection or spiritual body. The Readings assigned for Easter remind us of the Isaiah (25.7) Prophecy and Psalm 118.17 that God promised to intervene in His Story and create a way to save us from the fear and shame of physical death. The Gospel Reading describes the first human encounter with the Risen Jesus and the Acts Reading reminds us that those who believe in Jesus Christ will also experience this new form of life.

1. “He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all people (Is. 25.7)
This is a profound Prophecy about the human condition. We all die. This raises the question of what happens when we die? We all fear death, particularly as we get older and experience the loss of people we love.

March 27, 2015

Palm Sunday Is the Roll-out Of the New Covenant

·         Chose Palm Sunday Readings for my Ordination as a priest in 1992
·         set His face like flint’ gave me the courage – hard to be different, face ridicule
·         Roll-out: new word for introducing a new program / computer system
·         Readings reveal who Jesus is, how to respond & how to celebrate
Pause at Eucharist Prayer words “New Covenant” to let them sink in

Healing Miracle in Mexico – Thank You For Praying For Marguerite!

I just got off the phone from my favourite Sister-in-Law. It was an overwhelming experience as a month ago I had been about to pay $ 500.00 to get an emergency passport so I could fly to Mexico and help in a very stressful and confusing situation. Marguerite had been admitted to hospital there and diagnosed with severe dehydration, pneumonia and a blood clot on her lung. She was moved by ambulance a hundred miles first to one hospital for emergency life-saving surgery then to another for assessment and critical care nursing. Her heart stopped three times and she was revived three times and put on life support. She was in a coma for three weeks while we arranged for three churches and the Diocese of Calgary Cursillo community to pray urgently. I said masses at St. Cuthbert’s, Sundre; St. Edmunds, Calgary and with the Intercessors Group meeting in our home.

March 21, 2015

Life Through Death - the Paradox of Christianity (Lent 5 Readings)

A paradox is when a statement that seems to contradict itself is in fact a profound truth. To understand the profound truth of Jesus teaching we need to examine it in the context of both Biblical Prophecy and the dramatic events preceding the teaching. Daniel and the Book of Enoch had prophesied a “Son of Man” would be sent by God to intervene in history and restore the world domination of Israel. The Gospel Reading follows the stories of the Raising of Lazarus, the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple. This is the last week of Jesus ministry and things are moving to a dramatic conclusion.

March 14, 2015

God’s Love Frees Us From the Spiritual Prison of Our Desires (Lent 4 Readings)

Lent is a time of self-examination and spiritual cleansing as we prepare for the great celebration of Easter. Self-examination is not designed to make us feel guilty or bad. Self-examination is meant to free us from feelings of guilt and shame that prevent us from living a life of joy. The Good News is that “…God so loved the world that he gave His only son so that all that believed in Him might have eternal life.” It is hard for us to grasp how great the love of God is. It includes all people of all races and religions. It is like a father who loves his children enough to do whatever it takes to rescue his children from their mistakes and restore them to a right relationship.
·         The Readings teach us how this works – how God has provided a way through Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins and restore us to right relationship.
·         Sin – any rebellion against God’s law of love is very serious and can lead to the death of our personal spirit and soul
·         God is holy and pure and nothing unholy can survive in His presence
·         Spiritual dimension specific & legalistic – sin must be paid for by death
·         Good news is God allows Jesus to pay the price for our specific sins

1. The Hebrew People wanted more than manna

February 21, 2015

Repentance Is the Doorway To Heaven (Lent 1 Readings)

The Gospel message (Mark 1.9-15) is that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a remote, faraway place, but a place that is near. In Jesus the Heavenly Kingdom has historically broken into our physical world. These divine interventions go back to Creation. In the Noah story God seems almost sorry for the mass destruction of life in the great Flood. God seems to be searching for a better way to bring humanity back into a relationship of love. In Jesus we see that this has happened. In the new Covenant of Jesus God has created a way - the way of repentance in Faith, to bring people back into a relationship of forgiveness and love.

1. The Good News is that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ
Lent is a time of deep personal self-examination and repentance as we prepare to celebrate the Good News of Jesus Resurrection at Easter. Many people have confused ideas about what this Good News is:

February 12, 2015

Transfiguration Was the Ultimate Epiphany Experience (Transfiguration)

An Epiphany moment is when we see something in a dramatic new way. In this case Peter, James and John see Jesus with his body and cloths changed in a dramatic, visible way; talking to Elijah and Moses (Mark 9.2-13). This is not a dream. There are three very awake and frightened witnesses. The witnesses are having the epiphany moment of their lives. They are seeing Jesus as part of another eternal spiritual dimension. This is nothing less than the heavenly kingdom in visible form intruding on our physical world.

 1. We have trouble with the Biblical supernatural worldview
We have been raised in a culture based on science and reason. The Age of Reason and Enlightenment rejected as Biblical myths. Modern Theological Liberals reject the supernatural as superstition

February 7, 2015

Baptism, Experience and Faith

Sundre Baptism 2015.jpgSeveral people have asked me if I noticed the dramatic difference between my January (Anglican ) Sower article on the “Battle Belongs to the Lord” Conference at St. Peter’s, Okatokes; and the opposite facing article “Understanding Aspects of Christian Faith” (which questioned both sin and spiritual evil). I did, and believe this has given us an opportunity to reflect on how differences in our teaching and experiences of God can lead to very different interpretations of our Baptismal Faith. This points to a need to listen to those who have different experiences of spiritual life - as opposed to dismissing them as misguided. Allan Miller has done us a great service by raising basic questions about the Nature of God,  sin and evil and the meaning of Baptism which are on the minds of many modern people. It is not just theological ignorance, but differences in our personal experience of the spiritual dimension that affect our interpretation of Faith and understanding of Baptism.

  1. The Nature of God

Jesus Has Given Us Authority To Heal (Epiphany 5)

The Gospel story of Jesus healing a sick woman AND casting out a demon (Mark 1.29-39) opens our eyes to the supernatural world of the healing ministry in the Bible. This is an Epiphany moment. Many people in our time have been told the healing miracles of Jesus are exaggerations, from a pre-scientific and superstitious culture; or that healing only happened in the time of Jesus. This is wrong information. Those of us in the healing ministry have personal experience that people in our time can be healed from both physical illness and spiritual oppression – just like it says in the Bible. The Healing Ministry is scientific and reasonable because it is based on observable evidence in our time.

Our words have power in the spiritual realm
A very long time ago Lucille and I were reading John and Paula Sanford’s books on the Healing Ministry. This couple have been writing books, leading conferences and doing prayer ministry for over 50 years.

January 30, 2015

Exorcism is an Epiphany Moment (Epiphany 4)

I speak to you about exorcism today knowing that there will be serious consequences in my life and in the life of my family. So I ask for your prayers for protection in advance. I was about three quarters of the way through another sermon for today when I realized I was missing the great Epiphany moment of the Gospel Reading. Jesus very clearly and very publicly does an exorcism. This in turn revealed who He was, His spiritual authority and His view of this world as being involved in an ongoing spiritual battle. This is a potential Epiphany moment for each of us. The question is - can we get our heads out of our rational, scientific and psychological worldview a moment - and open our eyes to see the very different unseen 'spiritual battle' worldview
of Jesus?

1. Jesus revealed His spiritual authority by doing an exorcism

January 26, 2015

Called to Proclaim the Good News (Epiphany 3)

An Epiphany Moment is when you suddenly see what business you are in in a new way. For example as computers were developing in the 1950’s the new CEO of a tiny family business - the Adams Adding Machine Co. had an Epiphany moment. He suddenly realized that they were not just in the business of making adding machines. They renamed the company and became the 1970's computer giant, International Business Machines. So what ‘business’ is our church in?

Jonah responded to God’s call by proclaiming what seemed like bad news - destruction of the city; but this this led to repentance and turning back to God which was Good News. Paul reminds us that this is an urgent task (1 Cor. 7.29). “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” The Reading reminds us that we, as believers and followers of Jesus, are also called to proclaim the good news of God. It is a lot deeper and more powerful than the shallow platitudes of ‘God loves you’ we hear so often.

  1. Jesus was called, anointed to proclaim the Good News

January 16, 2015

The Pure in Heart Have Epiphany Moments (Epiphany 2 Readings)

Nathanial had an epiphany moment. He suddenly saw who Jesus was. He specifically realized Jesus was more than a teacher. Nathanial had his spiritual eyes opened and saw that Jesus was also divine. He believed that he would see “....see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John1.51) This is an Epiphany moment because it changed how Nathanael thought about Jesus and about the spiritual world. Nathanael saw Jesus as the link between the earth and heaven, between the physical and spiritual dimensions. The Readings all urge us to live holy lives without deceit, guile or sexual impurity.

1. Nathanael is chosen because he is without guile (John 1.47)
Guile is an older English word that is not used often. It means deception, falseness or lying. Some translations of the Bible refer to Eve being “beguiled” by Satan in the Garden. In modern language we would say that Nathanael is fully “transparent”
  • Does not hide his thoughts, feelings and intentions.
  • Down side is the “can anything good come out of Nazareth” comment.
  • Point is that he is not trying to pretend he is something he is not.
  • Not like many people who put so much energy into appearing good that they get confused and divided about who they really are.