Holy Trinity Anglican Church

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A Different Kind of Story – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 12 November 2017

five bridesmaidsToday’s Sermon – A Different Kind of Story

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Amos 5:18-24

Psalm                        Psalm 70

Second Lesson        1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Gospel                      Matthew 25:1-13

COLLECT: O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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How does the story end? – Reflection for 12 November 2017

oil_lampI often try to avoid talking about the day when Jesus returns. It is not that I don’t look forward to that great and glorious day, nor is it because I am uncertain or doubtful that Jesus will return. I avoid talking about that day because of all the weird things that other people have said. Like a movie trailer, the Bible gives us just enough information for us to want to see the full picture, and as with a movie trailer, we respond with speculation and theories to fill in the blanks.

Unfortunately, my frustration with the speculation sometimes keeps me from talking about the things we are certain about. I miss out on the opportunity to talk about the hope of the resurrection. Paul instructs us to encourage one another with these words. I also miss out on the opportunity to talk about the judgement that will occur on that last day.

This week’s gospel begins the first of three parables that Jesus uses to prepare us for that day. As we spend these last three weeks before Advent in the 25th chapter of Matthew, I invite you to read these three parables together. As you read about the maidens awaiting the bridegroom, the servants charged with the masters treasure, and those who care for the helpless, consider what it means to know Christ and to be known by Him. Consider as well how joyous an occasion it will be to see the bridegroom come, to hear the words “well done good and faithful servant,” and to accept the invitation of Christ to come into His Kingdom.

When I am truly honest, I admit that I avoid talking about the return of Christ because I don’t like to consider that some people are shut out of the glory. As long as I avoid thinking about this, I can avoid praying for those who are careless and forget to bring extra oil and for those who hide their gifts out of fear and misunderstanding. Perhaps I can even avoid thinking about how easy it is to keep God safely inside the church so that He doesn’t interfere with my week. As long as I can avoid thinking about the judgement on that last day, I can avoid introducing people to Jesus so that they might come to know Him.

On second thought, Matthew 25 isn’t really a very good movie trailer since it gives away the ending. As you read this chapter and we hear it read over the next three weeks, rejoice in the ways you know Jesus, consider the ways in which you would like to know Him more, and think about the people in your life who might not know Him. How might you pray for them? How might God use you to answer that prayer?

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Updated Site for Sermons

We just updated the platform on which we publish our recorded sermons (The old hosting site went out of business). I have archived almost all of the sermons from the past 2 years, but I have not uploaded them to Podbean. If you see one on the website that you want to hear, message me and I will post it.

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Practicing What We Preach – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 5 November 2017

170px-Spas_vsederzhitel_sinayToday’s Sermon – Practicing What We Preach

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Micah 3:5-12

Psalm                       Psalm 43

Second Lesson       1 Thessalonians 2:9-20

Gospel                     Matthew 23:1-12

COLLECT: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Consolation – Reflection for 5 November 2017

IMG_3706 2We have fallen back, the leaves have started to turn, the shorter days and cooler (hopefully!) weather are just around the corner. The difference in season here in San Antonio is much less dramatic then what we experienced in Germany where the gray days of January through March threatened to overwhelm our memories of the beautiful summer days, the fall fests, and the Christmas markets. In many ways our spiritual life is similar. The times when we feel distant from God threaten to blot out our experiences of the love and joy of God. This is why small habits of thankfulness that recognize and remember our experiences of grace in the small everyday things are so important. This storing up of consolation strengthens and sustains us through periods of desolation.

Fall sunsets remind both to savor God’s grace in the moment and to store these memories safely away for times when His grace feels more distant.

 

Shadows lengthen
as day gives way to night
A gentle breeze carries
the hint of winter’s chill

The sharp edge of cold
threatens to erase
summer’s warm embrace
and autumn’s refreshing kiss

Wisps of cloud grasp
the sun’s last golden rays
hoarding color for the dark foretold
as pink deepens into purple

Green clings to grass
before the coming frost
renders fields bleak
with soulless brown

Yellow, red and orange
mix to paint the trees
while weathered hands wise with years

Gently pause

To capture this fleeting moment
for youth that longs for endless spring
and fools too busy to notice

An image, a moment, a memory,
a grace to nourish the soul
through trial of night
and chill of winter
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This poem was inspired by a watercolor by Virgil Carter painted on site at the Comfort Art Festival.

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Who is the Messiah? – Reflection for 29 OCT 2017

IMG_3301What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he? Are you confused yet? Messiah, a minimum of 296 definitions talking about Christ. Some examples – 10 fold prophecy, 12 facts, 5 names,7 anointings, 2 judgements,10 blessings, 10 symbols, 3 predictions of his birth, animals tamed, man of sorrows, 10 proofs Christ bore sin and sickness, and the list goes on and on. So, …. The question Jesus asked the big shots when they tried to trick him again has bit them where it hurts, their intellect and rules, it is now addressed to us, you and I. What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?

Is he literally the son of David? Are you a son of perdition or hell? Who do you call Lord? The Gospel is meddling in my life and I suspect it meddles in your life also, if you let it.

How can Jesus be the son of David, that was hundreds of years ago. While you are asking that question why not answer the one about David being a man after God’s own heart? How does that work?

I will let you off the hook on the 2nd paragraph, but the first one you need to answer for yourself and your life. If you can’t answer the question as it applies to your life, would it be possible you might need to do some research in the Bible? Or, would you rather that I and/or Rob answer the question for you? Oh, I forgot, we can’t answer that question for you since the answer we have applies to our lives, so that would not work.

Clue: when you get the answer you will also have answered the question of whose you are, not in the academic sense, but in the creation sense.

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What Do You Think About the Christ – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 29 OCT 2017

iconJesusToday’s Sermon – What do you think about the Christ?

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Exodus 22:21-27

Psalm                         Psalm 1

Second Lesson         1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Gospel                       Matthew 22:34-46

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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What is God’s? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 22 OCT 2017

IMG_3380 (1)Today’s Sermon – What is God’s?

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Isaiah 45:1-7

Psalm                        Psalm 96

Second Lesson        1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Gospel                      Matthew 22:15-22

COLLECT: Set us free, loving Father, from the bondage of our sins, and in your goodness and mercy give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Ascribing Value – Reflection for 22 October 2017

RS4D_augustus_masked“Whose likeness is on the coin?” This is the question Jesus asks as the Pharisees and Herodians team up to try and trap him. “How do you measure value?” is the deeper question. As we look in our own wallets, we find pieces of paper with particular images and special ink. We have come to a shared understanding of the value of these symbols. We use these symbols to translate our labor into the things we need and the things we want. If we are honest with ourselves, we even use it to value other people and ourselves. The value of this paper lies only in the value we ascribe to it.

The psalmist exhorts us to ascribe unto God the honor due his Name. How do we ascribe honor to God? Is it with the same currency we use to value things in our daily transactions? Instead, how might we honor God with the things that He values? He has already told us the He doesn’t need anything we could give because whether we understand it or not, He owns all things. Instead, He calls us to honor Him with justice, kindness, and humility.

Jesus concludes his lesson to the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the gathered crowd with the instruction to “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” As we go through our daily lives, we have the choice to ascribe value according to Caesar or according to God. Will we value our time based on what we earn or on how we love? Will we value others based on what they can earn or give or based on how they are loved by God? What will we value with our attention, our time, and our labor? Will we ascribe honor and power to Caesar or to God?

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The Uncomfortable Now – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 15 OCT 2017

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Morgan’s watercolor images of Isaiah 25:1-9. On the left are the bricks falling down and on the right God building the city back.

Today’s Sermon – The Uncomfortable Now

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Isaiah 25:1-9

Psalm                         Psalm 23

Second Lesson         Philippians 4:4-13

Gospel                       Matthew 22:1-14

COLLECT: God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your Church, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand to intercede for us, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in everlasting glory. Amen.

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