If you need inspiration:
Lately in the Prayers of the People you may have heard us praying for Paul and Cheryl Minor of All Saints, Belmont. They are the Reverends Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Cheryl Minor, the Co-Rectors of All Saints Episcopal Church in Belmont, Massachusetts. We are praying for this couple and their church as we begin to create a Resolution #3 relationship with them and All Saints. Resolution #3 was one of the resolutions passed at our Diocesan Special Convention back in October of last year. That resolution encouraged us to form pastoral relationships with parishes and dioceses, both domestic and foreign to aid and support them as God forms a new Global Anglicanism. Many are paying a high price to defend and proclaim the orthodox faith, the Good News of Salvation bought for us by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Just as some are dying for their faith in parts of the world, Paul and Cheryl are paying a high price to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord. Paul has just been restored to active sacramental ministry after being inhibited for two years by Bishop Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts. The power of the church has always been built on the blood, the hardships of the martyrs. I pray the hardships the Minor’s are enduring may inspire you in your own faith and growth. Acts 7:55,56
If you need information:
On January 24th at Noon we will have a Congregational Meeting to cover two main topics: our budget and Episcopal/Anglican issues.
The first topic is our Annual Ministry Budget for 2010. The Vestry will present to you a Spartan budget for our mission and ministry for the coming year. Many of you have given faithfully and sacrificially out of love for Jesus Christ. Our Vestry has worked prayerfully, diligently, and faithfully to honor your tithes and offerings that we might be good stewards of our Lord’s money. They have strived and prayed to bring a balanced budget to our ministry. They are close. With your help, we will make it.
Please remember, we don’t spend money for buildings and utilities and maintenance and staff for their sake. We spend this money for your sake. The money we spend is for only one reason. That is to carry out the mission of the Church. Our mission is: TO BE AND MAKE DISICPLES. Everything we have, every person we hire, every dollar we spend is spent first to equip you to be a follower of Jesus and that you might have abundant life. Then those resources are spent to equip you to help others become Jesus-followers. Jesus has something to offer. Don’t you believe that? Haven’t you experienced that? Then we have something to offer. Jesus! That is what we use the tool of money for.
Offering Jesus Christ brings us to our second topic: Episcopal/Anglican issues. I will not try to give you any information here as the news, the landscape is changing daily. What I will do is ask for your trust and attendance at our Congregational meeting. I ask for your trust that while it may seem that nothing is happening, please trust your leadership when I tell you that there is a great deal happening. There are many plans and strategies being made. We are at work in several areas of parish and diocesan legalities. I ask for your attendance because we need your help, your prayers and your participation as we strive for one goal, to continue to “preach (offer) nothing but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. 1 Cor. 1:23,24
If you need pastoral care:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…” James 1:2
Joy in trials? Who is James trying to kid? Trials are trying and joy is good and surely the two can never meet. Can good comes from trials?
Let’s read carefully what James is saying. He is not saying to consider trials joy. He is encouraging us to find joy in what trials produce. What do they produce? Trials produce whatever we are missing because we are incomplete. When we stand faithfully in the midst of a trial it produces perseverance. Then perseverance produces what we need to be more like Jesus. Do you need patience? Do you need compassion for others? Do you need hope? Do you need understanding? Suffering is inevitable, even for Christians. Our suffering can be useless or useful. Jesus didn’t suffer so that you won’t have to. Jesus suffered so that when you face suffering faithfully you will be made like Him, more complete. Wow! James 5:13
If you need direction:
Be aware of Avatars. Have you heard that word yet? The word “Avatar” is fast becoming part of the American lexicon. You’ve probably heard of the movie by that name. It is becoming a cultural phenomenon like American Graffiti and Star Wars. I don’t encourage you to see it, but I imagine you will. If you do I pray you will educate yourself a bit before you go. For some education on the theology of the movie Avatar go read my blog at http://www.donkeyrider.com. In addition to this you’ll get a bit better sense of what the word avatar means when you know of its first widespread introduction to the American public. Most of us first used the word in the Wii video games. Many of you play Wii and when you do you have to create or become a character. This character is called your “avatar.”
You can even design your Wii avatar to look like you. This gets us a bit closer to the original sense of the word. The word “avatar” was first used by the Greeks to describe people and things that the gods would inhabit. In time circa the first century everyone had an avatar. Everyone had a place or a person, or a thing that was their avatar, their connection with the gods.
Do you have an avatar? Yes, a more churchy word might be “idol.” Do you have someone or something that you have made your avatar? Probably so. We all tend to do it. My simple direction for you is to beware and be aware of avatars. You will recognize avatars because they always bring frustration. Frustration with your spouse: avatar. Frustration with your job: avatar. Frustration with yourself: avatar (our most prevalent avatar). When you recognize that you have one, admit it, repent, ask for forgiveness, and ask the One True God to restore you to Him and the life He wants you to have. Romans 1:21-23