October 7, 2021

Jesus Gives Us Hope and Healing (Funeral of Sue Lennie, OSL Member and friend, tribute is below)

 


The Reading from Luke 4.18-21 was chosen because it is for an International Order of St. Luke the Healer service. Sue was a long-time OSL Member. Her life was filled with self-sacrificial love for others. She proclaimed the Good News of God’s grace, love, forgiveness and healing “with words only if necessary” as Francis of Assisi would say.

11.  Jesus came into a world like our own

People were traumatized by the Roman occupation and without hope from a religion that was ‘going political’ and losing its authenticity and relevance. Instead of divinely inspired prophets the Jewish religious leaders had become religious politicians. Just like in our own time.

August 21, 2021

How To Pray On the Full Armour of God (Proper 21b)

 Welcome to graduate school of spiritual warfare. This teaching on how and why we must - not may; pray on the Full Armour of God, may shock you. Jesus teaching in John 6 on feeding our spiritual life is so important we have been repeating much of it for the last 3 weeks. It includes something I had not noticed in 30 years of preaching - “no one may come to Me unless the Father has enabled him”:

  • Calvinists interpret tis as predestination
  • I interpret it as God sending the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth to  guide and protect us 
  • Paul urges us to put on the full spiritual armour of God so we can “take our stand against the the devil’s schemes”
  • Struggle is against the spiritual “Rulers” “authorities”,“powers and forces of evil” in the spiritual dimension
  • Example: Principality over Calgary blocking healing ministry


PRAYER OF SPIRITUAL PROTECTION

August 13, 2021

Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom (Proper 20b)

 This quote from Psalm 111.10 could be a summary of the whole Old Testament. Whenever the rulers and people submitted to the will of God things went well and whenever they failed to submit to the will of God things went very badly. Fear has more than one interpretation. Some churches have sadly used fear of eternal punishment to frighten and control people. A better interpretation is fear in the sense of fearing the loss of:

  • Our love relationship with God 
  • Covenant of forgiveness, Holy Spirit and eternal life. 
  • Holy Spirit giving us a life of wisdom 
  1. Holy Spirit Gives Us a Life of Wisdom

August 7, 2021

Whoever Feeds On This Bread Will Live Forever (Proper 19)


Many people in our time have lost their “belief in Jesus”. This puts clergy doing funerals in an awkward position. We try to be kind and pastoral and leave mourners with the comforting hope the deceased are in heaven. It would be unkind to share the Biblical teachings that only believers who feed on the body of Jesus and walk in love have eternal spiritual life. The Readings help us understand:

  • What is eternal life?
  • How the body of Jesus feeds our spiritual life?
  • How do we walk in a spiritual life of love?


  1. What is eternal spiritual life?

July 31, 2021

Holy Communion Unites Us In the Body of Christ (Proper 18)

 In the Readings, God can not completely forgive King David even when he repents and begs for mercy. Like many others King David had broken the Commandments about adultery and murder and “despised God”.  God came in person as Jesus, the divine-human, to create a new covenant of forgiveness. The Covenant of Jesus was that:

  • Jesus would give up His sinless divine-human life on the cross for the sins of the whole world
  • God would forgive the sins of those who believed in Jesus, repented and asked Jesus for forgiveness.
  • Jesus would also be the Judge of who could have the Holy Spirit and eternal spiritual life
  • Readings explain how we
    • “Come to believe in the one He has sent”
    • “Work for food that endures to eternal life”
    • Celebrate the Covenant of Jesus in Holy Communion


  1. How do we come to believe in Jesus?

July 24, 2021

Jesus Still Feeds Our Spiritual Life (Proper 17)

 The Readings remind us that we all depend on Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to feed us spiritually as well as physically. Sadly many people stumble over the feeding miracle and miss the key spiritual message:

  • Miracle teaches us who Jesus is - the divine Messiah
  • Feeding of 5,000 is a foretaste of the bread and wine of Holy Communion
  • Holy Communion is the covenant meal that connects us and strengthens our love relationship with Jesus
  • Bread is the essential for physical life just as Jesus spiritual body and blood is essential for spiritual life
  • Reminds us and feeds our spiritual life by proclaiming the Good News of forgiveness and reconciliation

2. Forgiveness and Reconciliation opens our Spiritual Eyes

July 16, 2021

We Are In the Healing and Reconciliation Business (Proper 16)

 When I was the Business Librarian at the Richard Ivey School Of Business Administration I heard a wonderful story about defining “what business you are in” as a key to business focus and success. The Adams Adding Machine Co. was a small US company making pre-computer adding machines. The son took over and decided they needed a more ambitious name for the coming computer age. He chose International Business Machines - which is still one of the most sucessful computer companies in the world. The Readings this Sunday teach us we are in the business of healing and Reconciling people to God.

  1. The Church is to be Holy Spirit Led

July 10, 2021

Unforgiveness Can Kill You (Proper 15)

 Unforgiveness is an unforgivable sin. In the Lord’s Prayer we ask to be forgiven as we have forgiven others. We in effect put a curse on ourselves so God can not forgive us if we do not foegive others. After sexual sins unforgiveness is the most destructive sin, polluting our soul and wounding our spirit. It separates us from God and other people. 

  • Lucille and I have seen and experienced the horrific damage unforgiveness wreaks on families in our ministry
  • I was under a dark cloud for 30 years never speaking to my ex wife - it went away when we asked each other for forgiveness
  • In the Readings (2 Samuel 6.1-5, 12B-19) Davids wife Michal “despised him in her heart) - and had no children.
  • In Mark 6.19 “Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.”
  • The Good News is that God has chosen us to be holy and created a way for us to be forgiven in Jesus and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.


  1. We Are Chosen To Be Holy

July 2, 2021

Teaching Leads To Healing and Deliverance (Proper 14)

Jesus is commissioning us as His followers to a ministry of teaching, healing and spiritual deliverance. He is teaching us to be humble servants and expect obstacles including pride and ridicule as we speak the truth to the misguided. Paul is teaching us to rejoice in opposition and depend entirely on Holy Spirit.

  1. Teaching leads to experience and faith

June 25, 2021

Holy Spirit Heals Us and Gives Us New Life (Proper 13)

 The Readings remind us that the desire of God’s heart is to have an intimate love relationship with us and to heal us physically and spiritually. We are moving deeper into Pentecost as we are reminded that Jesus ministry consisted of both dramatic supernatural healing and teachings about the supernatural. Fasten your seatbelts as we go deeper than some may have been before:

  • Bible begins with the creation story of God breathing life into the man made of clay - a profound teaching on new life
  • Valley of dead bones - the man prophecies breath into the dead bones to give them new life
  • Jesus raises the dead girl to new life
  • I have seen many miraculous healing - not superstition

  1. Personal Spirit Gives Life to the Body

June 19, 2021

Faith Can Overcome Fear - Proper 12

 The readings about faith overcoming fear should be a great comfort to us in this time of constant reports of sickness, death and lockdowns. As Christians we have a long history of hope and faith in the face of fear:

  • David overcame his fear of death by protecting his sheep from lions and bears
  • Jesus overcame His fear of death by surrendering His will to the Fathers will
  • Paul overcame his fear by taking the long view of the joy of  faith and eternal spiritual life
  • Readings challenge us to go deeper in our faith relationship  with Jesus and take this longer view


1. Fear often rules our lives

June 12, 2021

New Life In Christ - Proper 11

 “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.”  This is the “unseen” that we were urged to focus on last week. The point is that we can only know about a new life in Christ if we have experienced this ourselves. The bad news is we have to let go and die emotionally to our idols in this life in order to experience the new life. 

·     Like the scene from Raiders of the Lost arc where the hero has to step onto a glass bridge he can’t see

·     This life is a training ground – a test of faith

·     We are not just bodies – we are spirits that have a body and soul

·     We need to understand how this works in practice and affects our new life in Christ

1. Our Body: Our Physical / sensing intelligence

June 10, 2021

Take My Yoke Upon You - And Find Rest For Your Soul

 This is the Good News of the Bible! Jesus is offering us the gift of an eternal spiritual life of joy. This can begin when we put our trust in Him. Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to live in our personal spirit to guide us, heal us and comfort us. The challenge is that the Holy Spirit cannot live on a sin polluted spiritual garbage heap. We need to understand the Spirit – Soul - Body relationship and how the Yoke of Christ guides through life:

1. Our Spirit: Conscience /Intuitive Connection to Jesus

June 5, 2021

We Fix Our Eyes On Things Unseen (Proper 10)

 

Pentecost is the longest, most practical and probably most important season of the Church year. Pentecost is about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the daily lives of believers. We are prepared for the Holy Spirit by the teachings of:

       Advent - OT history of God reaching out, making covenants

       Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter - who Jesus isand His mission and our mission

       Ascension - Jesus promises Holy Spiritto guide us

       Trinity - defines the love relationship, work of Holy Spirit as the continuing presence of Jesus in the World

       This week we learn that we have to focus on what is unseen and expect opposition from those who do not understand Holy Spirit

       We are warned Christians will not be understood – and need a support community where they can safely share their own experiences of the Holly Spirit 

1.   The Pharisees think Jesus is possessed

April 3, 2021

Easter - The Good News of Eternal Spiritual Life

 We are all temporaries. The Pandemic has made us more aware of this. We have all been in at least some bondage to fear of death. Those of us who have been vaccinated have sensed a great relief. The Resurrection of Jesus is the Good News that Christian believers will die physically like Jesus, but then be raised to a new form of eternal spiritual life with Jesus in Heaven. There are people among us who have seen heaven. Many have experienced the healing power of forgiveness in Jesus and the joy of this new spiritual life. All Christians are baptized into Jesus Covenant of forgiveness, healing and eternal spiritual life. The Resurrection of Jesus challenges us:

1.    To believe and put our trust in Jesus

2.    To seek forgiveness and healing and grow our spiritual life 

3.    To be witnesses to our own experiences of spiritual life

1. To believe and put our trust in Jesus

March 27, 2021

Palm Sunday - New Covenant of Servant King

 Palm Sunday is a celebration of Jesus “coming out” and revealing His identity as the Servant King. Up to this point He has been keeping under the radar of the Roman and religious authorities,  teaching and healing people in more remote areas. With the raising of Lazarus just outside Jerusalem His identity and authority has become public – and very dangerous. I love  the line  from CS Lewis where Lucy asks if the lion Aslan, who represents Jesus, is dangerous. “Of course He is!!” is the reply. I chose this Feast for my ordination as a priest because it is where Jesus reveals the New Covenant of self-sacrificial love, forgiveness and eternal spiritual life of joy by coming humbly on a donkey as opposed to a king on a horse with an army. 

1. The Servant-King guides believers with the Holy Spirit