Sunday, November 27, 2011

All Saints' Last Sunday

I visited All Saints' Atlanta this past Sunday for their annual Harvest Thanksgiving Festival and for a Confirmation Service.  The Rev. Dr. Chima Ekeke is the rector.  It was a glorious time in the Lord and great fellowship.  Pictures below are some of the highlights.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What If?

Several years ago I went on a mission trip to Ghana, West Africa where I had the privilege of sharing the message of Jesus Christ.  What I found in Ghana reinforced what I have often believed --- that God has blessed you and me in such incredible ways and most of the time we are clueless.

Ghana is a country which is celebrating its 53th year of independence from Great Britain and has been attempting to grow its democracy, economy, educational system, and opportunities for people to succeed.   They have made incredible progress, but have tremendous needs, especially among its poorest citizens in small villages throughout the country. 

Spiritually, the people have a desire for the Truth of the Gospel and for understanding the Word of God.  Again and again I was fortunate to be able to share with clarity many of the Truths of the Bible.  It was quite refreshing to see their spiritual hunger!!

As I was returning from my mission, I began reflecting on how much we take for granted in living in the United States, how often we hoard our blessings for ourselves, and how we neglect to give thanks to God for all we have. Water; Electricity; Access to medical care;  Roads; Cars;  Communications; Church facilities;  Soccer leagues; Jobs.

The Apostle Paul wrote:  “Rejoice always.  In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess.5:16f).  When was the last time you gave thanks to the Lord?  When was the last time you rejoiced?   It seems easy to sit in our abundance griping and complaining about what we don’t have, isn’t it?  What would happen if you began to take your eyes off what you don’t have and began to thank God for what you do have?

As a child I lived at times without.  I can remember cold nights with no electricity.  I remember Christmas without presents.  I remember not having a change of clothes.  Maybe those experiences from childhood gave me eyes to see the blessings around me.  I am not sure.  But I do know that if I ignore the blessings God has given me, life becomes empty, routine, and sometimes even miserable. 

What if the next time you find yourself complaining about your job, you pause and give thanks to God that you have a job?   What if the next time you find yourself complaining about the traffic, you pause and give thanks to God that you have a car, that you have roads to drive on, and that you have gas for your car?  What if this Thanksgiving Day you actually paused and gave thanks to God for specific blessings in your life?  What if?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deacon Ordinations

On November 5 I was privileged to ordain four new deacons to serve in the Anglican Church.  We had a delightful service with a strong Presence of the Holy Spirit.   Most of the clergy in the Anglican Diocese of the South were present and Bishop Mark Camp preached a strong word of exhortation to the new deacons.
New Deacons Jeff Vermilya, Rick Barbare, me, Adam Loose, Jonathan Huggins

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Love From the Song of Songs

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day

Thanksgiving is a day when pause to give thanks for what we have. Veteran's Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for what we have.  

O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy.  Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines.  This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. -- BCP.

Praying at Loganville Veteran's Ceremony

From Henry Martyn

Let me burn for God.  After all, whatever God may appoint, prayer is the great thing.  Oh, that I may be a man of prayer!