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.