A reflection on Bernard Mizeki, catechist of the faith and martyr "Well I won’t back down; No I won’t back down; You can stand me up at the gates of Hell; But I won’t back down." I've always loved those lyrics from Tom Petty's 1989 song "I Won't Back Down." They speak of courage, steadfastness — … Continue reading ‘Won’t back down’
Have you ever needed encouragement? Ever needed a second chance, even when you didn’t really deserve it? God gives us these gifts through grace, and sometimes that grace flows through his servants. St. Barnabas was such a servant. Barnabas first appears in Acts 4:36: “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which … Continue reading Be like Barnabas, the glue of encouragement
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12 In Roman mythology, Janus was the two-faced god of duality: beginnings and endings, peace and war. Where Romans guessed at this dual nature, … Continue reading The life of Janus: Which spirit will you choose?
This lay sermon originally was delivered at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Enid, Oklahoma, for the Service of Noonday Prayers, Wednesday, 09 January, 2019. “You have one business on earth – to save souls.” That quote from the well-known Anglican priest, John Wesley, captures the essence of today's message. We're here to talk about missions, our … Continue reading Finding your mission field — hint, it’s right now, right where you are
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Romans 16:17-18 … Continue reading Clearing our obstacles
This sermon was delivered at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Enid, Okla., Sunday, July 29, 2018. In reading this week’s lessons my mind was drawn back to a parable – not a biblical parable, but one I think is relevant nonetheless. It’s often, possibly incorrectly, attributed as a Native American story, commonly known as the … Continue reading Which wolf will you feed?
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs … Continue reading The bonds that set us free
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a man of excessive pride, who believed he could outsmart the gods. As punishment, Sisyphus … Continue reading Set down your boulder
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19 St. Paul tells us to look with eyes of the heart, and to see nothing … Continue reading Seeing with the eyes of the heart
If you've spent much time in church - of almost any Christian denomination, but not all - you've probably at some point marveled at the beauty of stained glass windows. These incredible works of art depict scenes from the Bible, from church history, from the lives of saints and martyrs. Among the immediately recognizable figures … Continue reading The road to Damascus