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Are you a Modern-Day Pharisee or Once Saved Always Saved?

10th Sunday after Pentecost

Processional Hymn:

Are you a Modern-Day Pharisee or Once Saved Always Saved?
Archbishop Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

This Sunday my Brothers and Sisters I am not using the lectionary for today, instead I was given an inspiration from the Holy Spirit and we are going to do some expounding on it.

Have you heard or even been guilty of saying: “Once saved always saved?” Lets take an adventure through the Holy Word!

We begin in Jeremiah 6: 27-30 (ESV) “27“I have made you a tester of metals among my people,
that you may know and test their ways.
28They are all stubbornly rebellious,
going about with slanders;
they are bronze and iron;
all of them act corruptly.
29The bellows blow fiercely;
the lead is consumed by the fire;
in vain the refining goes on,
for the wicked are not removed.
30Rejected silver they are called,
for the LORD has rejected them.”

Are you or have you become rejected silver?

Let us continue in Jeremiah 7:8-10 (ESV) 8“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” Moving further into Jeremiah…11:15-16 (ESV) 15What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed” Be careful and vigilant for you may just made yourself tinder!

Lets jump to Proverbs 2:14-15 and Psalm 83:2 (ESV). Proverbs: “who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil, 15men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.” Psalm: 2For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads.” Do you seek things that are against the Kingdom of God? We are suppose to bear good fruit! What happens to the bad?

Lets go to John 15:2 and Isaiah 27:11 (ESV). John: “2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Isaiah: “11When its boughs are dry, they are broken; women come and make a fire of them.” Again I say be watchful or you may become tinder in His sight!

Let us turn to John 13:18 and Jeremiah 32:33-34 (ESV). John: “18I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’” Jeremiah: “33They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it.” Remember your actions, thoughts, words, etc. will either bless His House or defile it!!!

In John 15: 16 (ESV) it says: “16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” In Matthew 15:3 (ESV) He says: “13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. “ Now let us go to Daniel 11:35 (ESV) “35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.” Some of us will be refined, however I am not speaking to those right now. I’m addressing those who have become modern day Pharisees.

It says in Matthew 13:41-42 (ESV) 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” O repent ye who only give lip service to the Lord! I know you are probably thinking but Pastor doesn’t Romans 3:23-25 say “ 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” I would agree with you, however, if one continues to wall in sin it says in Romans 1:28-31 (KJV) 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…” God will turn you over to a reprobate or worthless mind.

I call upon you to repent, repent, REPENT! Repent and return to the TRUTH! Return to Him, His Word and His Traditions! Claim Christ as Savior and live that way and not as someone who defiles God’s Holy House!

Recessional Hymn:

On God’s Side

Eight Sunday after Pentecost

Processional Hymn:

A Reading from the Book of 1st Kings 3:5-12
5That night the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
6Solomon replied, “You showed faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued your faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.
7“Now, O LORD my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. 8And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! 9Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. 11So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— 12I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm 119:129-136
129Your laws are wonderful.
No wonder I obey them!
130The teaching of your word gives light,
so even the simple can understand.
131I pant with expectation,
longing for your commands.
132Come and show me your mercy,
as you do for all who love your name.
133Guide my steps by your word,
so I will not be overcome by evil.
134Ransom me from the oppression of evil people;
then I can obey your commandments.
135Look upon me with love;
teach me your decrees.
136Rivers of tears gush from my eyes
because people disobey your instructions.

Epistle Hymn:

A Reading from the Letter to the Romans 8:26-39
26And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?32Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36(As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God!

Sequence Hymn:

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to Matthew 13:31-33,44-52
31Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

33Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

44“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

45“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

47“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, 50throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51Do you understand all these things?”
“Yes,” they said, “we do.”

52Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”

The Gospel of the Lord!
Praise to you Lord Christ!

Commentary:
Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and forever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

Story Time

How would you get young people interested in classical music? A few years ago Richard Dreyfuss starred in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus. You’ve probably seen it. Mr. Holland is a high school music teacher who is passionate about music. He loves Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. For Mr. Holland “music is…about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page.” But how do you communicate that passion to a bunch of teenagers who have as much energy for Bach as they do for household chores? When Mr. Holland starts talking about the classical composers he meets a sea of blank faces and bored looks.

And then one-day Mr. Holland discovers something amazing. He starts playing one of the hit pop songs of the time. All of a sudden the students perk up, their feet start tapping to the beat, their heads start nodding with the rhythm. “You like that huh?” asks Mr. Holland. “Do you know what it is? It’s Beethoven.” This pop song has taken one of Beethoven’s melodies and set it to a rock beat, played it with electric guitars rather than violins, and given it lyrics that speak about boys and girls falling in love. All of a sudden Beethoven is not some ancient relic of a bygone era. All of a sudden Beethoven is relevant, Beethoven has become meaningful to Mr. Holland’s students. Beethoven connects.

When people hear about Christianity they can sometimes become a bit like Mr. Holland’s students. Their eyes glaze over, their face goes blank, and they’re bored by it. They’re telling me, “I’m not interested in a faith which is nothing more than an ancient relic of a bygone era. I’m interested in a faith which is a dynamic force in my era. I’m not interested in a faith that speaks to the questions of yesterday, I’m interested in a faith that speaks to the questions I face today. I’m not interested in a faith that dredges through the issues of the past. I’m interested in a faith that engages with the issues of today.” Do you ever find yourself feeling like that?

You know the wonderful thing about the Christian faith is that it can be like Beethoven was for Mr. Holland’s students. It’s a song that can be played anew in every era; a melody line that repeats through history, but played using the instruments of our time, with a beat we can dance to. And the task of the Christian church is to take this ancient song and play it in such a way that it connects with the people of our time, the mood of our time and the issues of our time.

Source: Scott Higgins

One more story to tie this all together.

During the US civil war Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast. Lincoln was not a church-goer but was a man of deep, if at times unorthodox, faith. At one point one of the ministers said, “Mr President, let us pray that God is on our side”. Lincoln’s response showed far greater insight, “No, gentlemen, let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

Lincoln reminded those ministers that religion is not a tool by which we get God to do what we want but an invitation to open ourselves to being and doing what God wants.
We must remember through both our prayers, words and actions that we are on God’s side. We may stumble but it is through Christ that we are washed anew. I call upon you all to return to God, and His most Holy Church and Her Traditions. It is with God that we have life, we have sanctuary, we have peace and substance. He succors us spiritually and physically. In this unstable political time in America we must remember the wise words of President Lincoln, let us pray that we are on God’s side, and pray that He gives us the Wisdom He bestowed upon Solomon to do His will amongst His Children!

Remember what St. Paul so adequately and powerfully wrote in his Letter to the Romans, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”, but we must always live for God and obey His Commands. Come and feast on His Truth, His Holy Mana, His Table is spread for all sinners and His Sacrifice is for us all that take it upon us to claim the title of Child of God and confess to the world that we are His!

Come ye Sinners to the Savior’s great feast and take upon His Holy Yoke and ever pray that we are on His side!

All God’s Church says: AMEN!

Let us walk unto the Lord and offering and a sacrifice.

Offertory Hymn:

Doxology

Communion Hymn:

Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

Recessional Hymn:

Praying for your Spouse

We as Christians and children of Almighty God are instructed in many of the verses of Sacred Scripture to pray.  In Ephesians 6:8 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Husbands,  the first person that should and must be on your prayer list is your wife.  My darling Snowie came across a nice break down on praying for your wife and vise versa.  I’m going to break it down here.   All scripture comes from the New Living Translation.

Continue reading Praying for your Spouse

God is our last hope because we are God’s first love.

7th Sunday after Pentecost Year A

Processional Hymn:

A Reading from the Book of Genesis 28:10-19
10Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. 12As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.
13At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”
16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” 17But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”
18The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
Responsive at the half verse (italics)
1O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
5You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Epistle Hymn:

A Reading from the Letter to the Romans 8:12-25
12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father. 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Sequence Hymn:

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
28“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
29“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
36Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”
37Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. 38The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.39The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.
40“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Christ!

Commentary:
The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mr 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Ro 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?

Story Time.
I’m going to tell you the story of God and a Nazi Solider.
It was 1945, World War II had drawn to a close, and a young man sat broken inside a POW camp. He had been a reluctant soldier in Hitler’s army and here, inside a prison in Scotland, he had months to contemplate what had been and what was to come. The cities of his homeland had been reduced to rubble and the people impoverished. His sleep was filled with repeating nightmares in which the terrors of warfare were lived over and over.
And then came what was for me the worst of all. In September 1945, in camp 22 in Scotland, we were confronted with pictures of Belsen and Auschwitz. They were pinned up in one of the huts, without comment… Slowly and inexorably the truth filtered into our awareness, and we saw ourselves mirrored in the eyes of the Nazi victims. Was this what we had fought for? Had my generation, as the last, been driven to our deaths so that the concentration camp murderers could go on killing, and Hitler could live a few months longer?… The depression over the wartime destruction and a captivity without any apparent end was exacerbated by feelings of profound shame and having to share in this disgrace. That was undoubtedly the hardest thing, a stranglehold that choked us.
An unshakeable shame saturated his being and the only future he could see stretching out before him was one that filled him with despair. Yet it was in the midst of this shame and despair that God found him. A visiting chaplain gave the soldier a Bible and, with little else to do, he began reading it. In the lament Psalms he heard resonant voices, the agony of people who felt God had abandoned them. In the story of Christ crucified he encountered a God who knew what it was to experience suffering, abandonment, and shame. Feeling utterly forsaken himself, the German soldier found a friend in the One who cried “my God my God why have you forsaken me”.
In 1947 he was given permission to attend a Christian conference that brought together young people from across the world. The Dutch participants asked to meet with the German POWs who had fought in the Netherlands. The young soldier was one of them. He went to the meeting full of fear, guilt and shame, feelings that intensified as the Dutch Christians spoke of the pain Hitler and his allies had inflicted, of the dread the Gestapo bred in their hearts, of the family and friends they had lost, of the disruption and damage to their communities. Yet the Dutch Christians didn’t speak out of a spirit of vindictiveness, but came to offer forgiveness. It was completely unexpected. These Dutch Christians embodied the love the German soldier had read about in the story of Christ and it turned his life upside down. He discovered despite all that had passed “God looked on us with ‘the shining eyes’ of his eternal joy”, that there was hope for the future.
That German soldier was Juergen Moltmann, who would go on to become one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century. Years later, with the message of the loving, crucified God still indelibly printed on his heart, he penned these beautiful words.
But the ultimate reason for our hope is not to be found at all in what we want, wish for and wait for; the ultimate reason is that we are wanted and wished for and waited for. What is it that awaits us? Does anything await us at all, or are we alone? Whenever we base our hope on trust in the divine mystery, we feel deep down in our hearts: there is someone who is waiting for you, who is hoping for you, who believes in you. We are waited for as the prodigal son in the parable is waited for by his father. We are accepted and received, as a mother takes her children into her arms and comforts them. God is our last hope because we are God’s first love.

Source: Moltmann’s writings. Quotes from The Source of Life.The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life. Fortress Press 1977

This goes to show brothers and sisters that God’s Grace is plentiful for all those that seek Him, love Him and Honor His Commandments. He sent His only Son to be nailed to a tree for us. Now is the time to wake up and live our lives as He asks us to.

Offertory Hymn:

Recessional Hymn:

Stop Selling Sugar Water

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Processional Hymn:

A Reading from the Book of Isaiah 55:10-13
10“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
12You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm (Parish to respond with the words in italics)
1What mighty praise, O God,
belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you,
2for you answer our prayers.
All of us must come to you.
3Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
you forgive them all.
4What joy for those you choose to bring near,
those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us
inside your holy Temple.
5You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas.
6You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength.
7You quieted the raging oceans
with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
8Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy.
9You take care of the earth and water it,
making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
for you have ordered it so.
10You drench the plowed ground with rain,
melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
and bless its abundant crops.
11You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
12The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
and the hillsides blossom with joy.
13The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
They all shout and sing for joy!

Let us profess our faith through song.

A Reading from The Letter to the Romans 8:1-11
1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

5Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
 

Sequence Hymn:

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
1Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

18“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you Lord Christ.
 

Homily Hymn

Stop Selling Sugar Water!

Commentary

Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer’s privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system.

Parable Time

Who among us could live without computers? It seems they’re everywhere – in our studies at home, on our desks at work, in the library, the bank and even the cafe. We get pleasure from them, we swear at them, we need them.

But it’s only a recent thing. Just 3 generations ago the Chairman of IBM declared there is a world market for only five computers. As recently as 1977 the President of Digital Equipment claimed there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home!

The revolution was brought to us in large part by Steven Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers. Steve Jobs was just 21 when he and Steve Wozniak invented the Apple Computer. Until then computers were a monstrous mass of vacuum tubes which took whole rooms. Then the two Steve’s managed to take that mass of tubes and incorporate them inside a box small enough to sit on a desk.

Jobs and Wozniak offered their invention to Atari. They weren’t interested in big bucks – all they wanted was a salary and the opportunity to continue their work. Atari knocked them back. They offered it to Hewlett-Packard, but Hewlett Packard knocked them back. It seemed Jobs and Wozniak alone could see the possibilities. So Jobs sold his Volkswagon and Wozniak sold his calculator, and with the $1300 that gave them they formed Apple Computers. The company was named Apple in memory of a happy summer Jobs had spent working in an orchard.

The rest is history. By all accounts Steve Jobs is a visionary, and spurred on by that vision he built a successful computer company. But Jobs soon discovered that if his vision was to reach fruition they needed greater management expertise. So Jobs approached John Sculley, then President of PepsiCo. There was absolutely no reason why Sculley should leave a highly paid position in a world leading company to go work with a bunch of computer nerds in a fledgling industry. Not unsurprisingly he turned Jobs down. But Jobs wouldn’t take no for an answer. He approached Sculley again. Again Sculley turned him down. In a last ditch effort Jobs passionately presented his visionary ideas to Sculley and he asked Sculley a question that forced him to accept.

The question was this: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Indeed Jobs and Sculley did change the world.

Jesus comes to us with the same question: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Most of us spend our lives making sugared water, going to work to accumulate more possessions and perhaps finding space for God and the world in our spare time. But Jesus had a vision to change the world. His was the vision of the kingdom of God and he calls us to place it at the center of our lives, to make it our reason for existence.

When we make His vision the center of our lives our mundane troubles melt away.  We need to stop selling the sugar water of human life and start Giving the TRUTH of the Gospel to all. Don’t be like the hypocrites and run to something easy for easy faith is of the Devil.

The Doxology:

Recessional Hymn:

Be Filled

Solomon Ginsburg was a man who knew the power of giving himself to the meditation of Scripture. He was a Messianic Jew who lived a hundred years ago and traveled the world preaching the gospel. In 1911, he decided to head to America. His route took him to Lisbon, where he planned to cross the Bay of Biscay to London, and from there to travel on to the States.
Ginsburg was apprehensive about his travels. Arriving in Lisbon, he found the bulletin boards plastered with weather telegrams warning of terrific storms raging on the Bay of Biscay. It was dangerous sailing, and he was advised to delay his trip a week. His ticket allowed him to do that, and he prayed about it, mulling over a verse he had read that day—Deuteronomy 2:7: “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey.”
The Lord seemed to assure Ginsburg his worldwide travels were under divine protection. Ginsburg boarded ship at once, crossed without incident, and caught the Majestic in London. His transatlantic voyage was smooth and restful. Only after arriving in the United States did Solomon learn that had he delayed his trip in Lisbon, he would have arrived in London just in time to have boarded the Titanic.

Abba the Greatest Father

A Service for Fathers’ Day
Note Bene: Today’s Readings are not based on the Lectionary for this day.

Processional Hymn:

Greeting:
Let Us Begin all things as we should. In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
All: and with thy spirit.

See what love the Father has given us,
that we should be called the children of God.
You are my sons and daughters,
this day I have begotten you.
See what love the Father has given us.
As many as received him,
to them he gave power to become the children of God.
See what love the Father has given us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit.
See what love the Father has given us,
that we should be called the children of God.
Continue reading Abba the Greatest Father