Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Prayer

By Carolyn Frasier, a member of Holy Cross and Part-time Secretary for the Church

In the midst of worldly chatter
Traditions and the laws of men
A Light pierced deepest darkness
Opened up the way from sin

The Light is God's own Word
Long expected and prophesied
Like a sword He came to divide
Soul from spirit, bone from marrow

In His Glory He is returning
As the mighty Son of God
To claim His own beloved
In the air and from the sod

We join Heaven's watch remembering
And pray for angels bending near!
For sweet unbroken praise
To rise at midnight clear

In every wish, every prayer
There rings in every Christmas tune
A Chord to remind us "He's alive"
He is coming soon!

Yes! Let angels bend near us
Let wise men still find Him
God's shepherds keep watch
Everyone's heart usher Him in!

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is the Season

This is December's newspaper column....

            It is season to prepare for Christmas, and it is time again to recall the story of God’s Son and His attempt to reach the human race with His reconciling love -- God entering the human race to serve, teach, lead, heal, and die for human beings. 

            This historic calendar of the Church has December 25th as the day we remember the birth of Jesus, and we celebrate it for 12 days.  On the 13th day we remember the Epiphany when the Wise Men from the East find Jesus by following a star in the sky, and they pay homage to him by offering him their gifts.  The first Sunday after the Epiphany recalls the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River in Israel by John the Baptist, and the beginning of Jesus’ 3½ year ministry.
            The first Sunday of Lent recalls the temptation of Jesus when he fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and encountered the wiles of the devil.  Palm Sunday revisits Jesus’ prophetic entrance into the City of Jerusalem on a donkey.  Maundy Thursday is the day when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Communion/Eucharist) while celebrating the Jewish Passover.  He was arrested later that evening and was crucified on the next day (Good Friday) taking upon himself the sin offering for all human beings fulfilling many of the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. 
The following Sunday (Easter) he rose from the dead and appeared physically alive to hundreds of people for the next forty days. On the fortieth day he ascended back into heaven leaving the disciples with a commission to go and make disciples.  Ten days later on the fiftieth day (Pentecost Sunday), the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised his followers, descended on those first century believers giving them God’s Presence and Power in their lives.  This empowering of the Spirit continues to this day as human beings believe in Jesus and repent of their sins.

All of this begins on Christmas when we remember the birth of Jesus.  As miraculous as the birth was, the miracles still continue to those who receive Jesus today.  As nice as the story of the birth of Jesus is, what is more important is to discover the Truth which this story teaches.
It is Christmas-time again.  Christmas music.  Christmas trees.  Lights and decorations.  Shopping.  Family-time.  Good food.  Gifts.  All great things.  But all are worthless from an eternal perspective if one misses what this is all about -- a Savior born to be a sacrifice for sin; a savior born so that humans can know the God of the Universe; a savior born to bring the love and forgiveness of God to the human race.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Need Wisdom?

Praise the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are His.
He changes times and seasons;
He sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with Him. --- Daniel 2:20-22 (NIV)

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell
you great and unsearchable things 
you do not know" --- Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask
God, who gives generously to all without
finding fault, and it will be given him."
--- James 1:5 (NIV)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent Prayers

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

Come, thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our sins and fears release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Our King and Savior now draws near:  Come let us adore Him.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quite a Day

We had a wonderful day of worship at Holy Cross. We had Bishop Henry Okeke of Nigeria preach at both services. Good preaching. Good music.  Good fellowship.  Church Elections.  Good spiritual growth classes.

Bishop Henry Okeke and Me

Bishop Henry Okeke of Nigeria preaching at Holy Cross

Bishop Okeke and I then traveled to Lilburn to the Church of the Resurrection where we participated in the ordination of Ony Mogbo to the deaconate.  A tremendous service.  Good music.  Bishop David Anderson led the Ordination Service.  I was asked to preach and preached on the Call to be a Servant.  It was a delightful time and an anointed time in the Presence of the Lord.   May the Lord use this man to accomplish much for the Kingdom of God and lead many into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Ugo Okoroaker, Bishop David Anderson, Ony and Grace Mogbo, Bishop Henry Okeke,  Me