John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore

Notes on John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore

Friday Bible Study notes taught on August 30, 2013 by Pastor Don Moore.

John 14.

Jesus ministered, depending on what you believe, from one to three years. He traveled the Jordan to Nazareth, Damascus to the Sea of Galilee. He was, at this stage of his journey, preparing to go to the Cross and is with the disciples in the Upper Room, sort of like his last will and testament. The marriage covenant, He is putting His offer on the table and they are responding. He is telling them everything they are entitled to.

John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

This is the beginning point of Faith. If you have trouble in your heart, believe in God. Jesus is telling us not to let our heart be troubled – He wouldn’t tell us to do that if it was impossible to do that.

John 14:2-3 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

This is not a parable but a truth. Jesus is preparing the Kingdom of God, a home for the spirit of man, and He will come again. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus will receive us to be with Him in eternity.

John 14:4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Jesus assured the apostles that they knew where He was going and He will be taking the way also.

John 14:5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Thomas says we don’t know the way. He was thinking carnally.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus was speaking about the spiritual. This statement of His about being the way, the truth, and the life is a problem for the world. The world wants to believe that there are many ways to get to the Father and Jesus is saying no, there is ONE way – HIM.

The way the road upon which you must travel to find the truth. The Truth – that Jesus is the truth, and we must trust and rely on Jesus and only Jesus helps us to get there.  The Life – we must abide in Jesus.  We must trust and stay connected, there is no other deviant way to get to Him.

Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God is the Truth – we don’t want to be deceived by false prophets.  Jesus spoke with the Fathers of Faith – He spoke with Moses in the bush – I AM THAT I AM, He spoke with Abraham, with Mary.

In the Old Testament they knew Him as an Angel of the Lord.

Someone asked how people born before Jesus would be saved?  Those who died before knowing Jesus the Christ, the Savior, went to either Abraham’s Bosom or gehenna (hades).  Jesus went to Abraham’s bosom and preached salvation to those in Abraham’s bosom and took captivity captive – brought them to Heaven.

We don’t understand how God is going to do this, to bring unbelieving Jews to salvation, but God will make a way for them.

Prayer is the highest form of spiritual worship. We don’t pray to angels for that insults God.

Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son,
 today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?

Answer: to no one. Never.

Hebrews 1:6-7 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits 
and His ministers a flame of fire.”

Phew, this gets good.

Hebrews 1:8-12 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
 a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
 therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
 with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
 and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain;
 and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up,
 and they will be changed.
 But You are the same,
 and Your years will not fail.”

Science is proving this, even the wearing out like a garment.

Hebrews 1:13-14  But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, 
till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Ministering spirits sent to us to help us. We don’t order the angels, but we can as God to send the angels to help us. We have history and victory here on earth during the hardest time. Angels marvel that we made it, that we say no to the antichrist. We sometimes entertain angels unawares.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The truth – the indisputable reality, always proves itself. Truth is provable.

The work of the devil, just look at society and the people that believe the lies of satan.

Believers believe the Word of God. The best sermon is the one that doesn’t have to be preached, that the Lord is with us.

The life – is the Zoe life, the God kind of life.

John 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

There are people who try to reduce who you are. Pastor Don gave the example of a box of crabs. That crabs try to escape the box and what the crab beneath does is grab the top crab and pull him down, in the effort to escape.

Don’t expect people to see your anointing and know who you are. People in Nazareth didn’t recognize who Jesus was. They felt they knew his mother and father, etc. So they did not recognize that seeing Jesus was also seeing the Father.

John 14:8-10 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

Jesus is talking spiritually. The men did not want the spiritual talk; they wanted something more concrete.

John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Pastor Don said, believe in Jesus for Jesus or else believe for the sake of the works. TEST THE FRUIT.  We tend to be more concerned about what we can see that is measurable. How a person lives their life, their walk, what they do and what they don’t do. Whether Jesus served one or three years, His fruit bears witness to who He is.  And John says there are so many more miracles that aren’t recorded that the world can’t contain them. During Jesus’ life and ministry through the cross and the resurrection – everything  Jesus did on earth, He did not do as the Word or as God. He did it as MAN, born of woman (mother Mary). Jesus did what He did by listening and obeying the Holy Spirit and the Father, doing it as a man, not using Godly power. If Jesus did not do his works this way, then our faith is in vain.  By faith Jesus accessed authority and power over satan, and faith is transferable. Because Jesus did it as a man, so can we as men and women access our authority and power over satan.

John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

To believe means without doubt. Clearly believes, relies and trusts.

There is a prophetic end, where things need to be rooted up and destroyed. If verse twelve is true, then we need to look at our Christian bias and recognize that our belief in Jesus is partial if you base it on the success of our works.

There are 125 churches in the Hudson Valley and more than half of the pastors have never seen themselves doing some of the works that Jesus has done.

Sadly, 57% of the pastors in America do not believe and have a Biblical worldview.

Someone counted up the number of salvations in the church and figured that, based on the numbers of saved people, it takes 680 people to save one person.

In America 84% of the people say they are Christian, but only 4% share their testimony.

The devil has used pastors and the ministry to mislead us for 2000 years. When we stray from the Word it has powerful implications for our life, and can bring us defeat.

The meaning of grace has been taught to mean unmerited favor, but Grace is far more than that. Grace is the divine influence on the heart made manifest in our life.

The Bible tells us that Jesus grew in grace and wisdom.  Why would Jesus have to grow in unmerited favor? He never sinned.

Jesus preached eternal life, salvation, which is more than just escaping hell, it is deliverance, salvation by God to wholeness, prosperity, help, health, wellbeing. Jesus has saved us to the uttermost.

Have a blessed day,

Heather.

Posted in 2013 Pastor Don Moore Teachings, Discipleship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore

Notes from Discipleship Class taught by Pastor Don Moore

Class 8/29/13

We are born this time for a set reason.

Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Pastor Don told us that we should look up in Hebrew the definition for salvation.

3444 – phonetic – y-shuw-ah (sounds like Yeshua)!!!!! Something saved, deliverance, hence aid, victory, prosperity, salvation, help, deliverance, save, saving, welfare - 

Salvation is more than just preparing for when you die and go to Heaven. Salvation also applies to our life now on earth. Eternal life – starts now, not when you get to Heaven. It deals with wholeness, health, being blessed, happy, complete, delivered, whole, under His protection.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Jesus came to give us abundant life, eternal life, salvation, here now and in eternity.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

We won’t perish here, but we will live here in Him until it is time to go on.

Our faith causes us to be righteous in God’s eyes and to do right. We can live the abundant life here and now and also in eternal life.

Someone asked what if someone confesses the Word of God but doesn’t fully believe it, isn’t that a lie?

Faith and lies can’t coexist. If a person keeps confessing the Word of God it leads to faith. Pastor Don said that most people don’t fully realize what they are confessing when they speak these truths, nor do they fully believe the salvation offered them. But the more they repeat the truth of the Word and the more they learn about God the deeper their understanding of salvation grows.

MEMORY VERSE:  Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.
 This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
 and their righteousness is from Me,”
 says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:13-14 (is a good prayer to pray for your children) All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
 and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established;
 you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
 and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

In order to understand our memory verse, Pastor Don wanted us to look at the verse in context. That means to look at the verses before and after to see important questions like who is speaking, whom are they speaking to, what are they speaking about.

So, we looked at Isaiah 54:11-13  “O you afflicted one,
 tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
 behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
 and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
 your gates of crystal,
 and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
 and great shall be the peace of your children.

The people God was speaking to through Isaiah were being oppressed. Oppression was conditioning their fear. They were frightened people and frightened people usually don’t get delivered. The devil oppresses those who are fearful. They need to go to God for deliverance.

Isaiah 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established; 
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
 and from terror, for it shall not come near you.

Believing in God establishes righteousness, and when we are believing in God we don’t need to fear. God can deliver us from terror. He won’t leave us afraid.  The more we fill our mind and mouth with Scripture, the less the enemy can manipulate us or control us. If a person is afraid the devil has a legal right to oppress and terrorize.

Isaiah 54:15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. 
Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

Anyone who assembles against the believer will fall. God is not afraid of the enemy.

Isaiah 54:16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith
 who blows the coals in the fire,
 who brings forth an instrument for his work;
 and I have created the spoiler to destroy.

Nothing is outside of God’s control. Pairing verse 16 with our memory verse:

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
 and every tongue which rises against you in judgment
 you shall condemn. 
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
 and their righteousness is from Me,”
 says the Lord.

When realizing no weapon formed against us can prosper, we see it is because God created the blacksmith that forged the weapon.  God also creates the spoiler, an instrument in God’s hand to accomplish His work. The blacksmith makes what God tells him to make.

There are times when things in our lives fall apart, when there is a mess, when the enemy is attacking. Sometimes God permits that to happen because we are not moving to the place where He needs us to be. God might be permitting the spoiler to come into our lives because of our disobedience. The weapon will do its work, but not prosper because God created it not to prosper against us. God will use whatever He needs to use to help us grow the way He knows it’s best for us to grow.

Remember, if you go to a gym, in order to develop muscles you need resistance – lifting feathers won’t build strength, but lifting weights will. God permits the trials and challenges we have to help us build our spiritual muscles.

If God does not permit the destroyer to come up and mess up what you are trusting in (that is not of God), then you will miss out on the blessings of God.

Just like in the book of Job, God permitted satan to do certain things, but God set limits on what satan could do.

A good father will tell their child not to play in the street, and when the child disobeys and almost gets run over, the father is there to comfort and teach the child to obey in the future.

Our Heavenly Father knows what needs to be overlooked, abandoned, or set aside in our lives. If we don’t obey Him and the Holy Spirit, God, our loving Father, will permit the destroyer to come in and remove what is blocking our growth.  God will not give us more than we can handle, but He will let the weapon come against us.

If you repent in a heart-felt way, you may be able to avoid the battle. Repenting should be done as soon as possible. If you wait until after the act, you may face repercussions. If you repent before you commit the act, you may be able to avoid a crop failure.

A true disciple might think of a sin, repent about thinking about it, and doesn’t do it. As we grow in Christ, hopefully we will curb our sins before they are committed.

Jesus didn’t sin in thought or deed.

When we learn to discipline our thought life, it helps us to control our soul (the mind, will, and emotions).

Due to our disobedience, God at times will remove His hand of protection and permit the devil to attack. It is our responsibility to stop the attack.

Every time someone rises against you in judgment or attack, we feel we have to defend ourselves. Sometimes it is not necessary to defend yourself. If you are wrong, you may be offended and feel the need to rationalize or defend yourself. But if they are attacking something that you know you’re doing right, there is no need to take offence. The Lord will at some point let the person know that you were in the right.

Jesus was innocent, but he was accused and crucified. He didn’t defend Himself, even though He could have called a legion of angels.  Instead, He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

In debates with the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus would sometimes answer their arguments back, always giving them a higher spiritual truth.

Pastor Don had us say:  I will not be offended or offensive.

Usually we think bad things are from the enemy, but we need to be careful with that because not everything good that happens to us is from God.  Sometimes the enemy uses good things to distract us from God’s plan and purpose.

Our personality and ego should not shape our ministry. Jesus’ personality changed based on what the Holy Spirit told Him to do.  With some people He was gentle, with others He sharply criticized what they said and did.

Some people’s personalities overshadow their ministries and it can be detrimental. If you are a boisterous person and you’re ministering to a timid five-year-old child, you could scare the child. With a child you would need to restrain your boisterous nature and be sweet and gentle.

God cannot use you if you always minister the same way. If God wants us to run the football on the ground, we should not be playing a passing game.

At a conference that Pastor Don attended, the Pastor that organized the meeting was wise.  There were a hundred pastors and only seven spots for seven powerful pastors to teach. The organizing Pastor allowed the other pastors three-minute slots to speak. Many chose to speak, but not all had a message from God. Some spoke from their egos.

Pastor Don suggested, that while our egos might want to speak, ask ourselves are we speaking because we want to be seen or because God wants me to do it.

He also cautioned us not to criticize a ministry because a pastor acted in his ego in a situation. We all have areas where we miss it, and we wouldn’t want to be judged for a momentary mistake.  The same pastor that makes an error in one area could be strong and well developed in another.

If we are discipling someone pray about what you are to say to them when God gives you a clear picture of who and where they are in their spiritual walk. Sometimes He gives us information so we see what is happening in the future. We need to be patient as those we are discipling develop. Use solid judgment when you speak with someone about an issue. Remember that those we work with are being dealt with by God. We can miss what God is doing in their life if we are focusing on things through our blinders. They belong to God and you don’t want to mess them up. If you are dealing with your own ego-based assessments you can make a mistake.  You must step out of your personality.

There is a difference between discipleship and mentoring. Discipleship is not about being friends, but to help a person grow spiritually. People who are being mentored choose the one they want to mentor them.

Disciples are followers of Christ. People are to follow us as we follow Christ. Together we build the Kingdom of God. It is a team relationship.  A mentor is a trusted advisor, not teaching a person to be a follower of Christ.  A life coach can help a person be the best they can be in an area – but the mentee doesn’t follow their mentor around all the time.

To disciple someone means you let them close to you as you live out your life – so they can see how you respond in situations.  A simple example is being with Pastor Don at a social event like Hallelujah on the Hudson (a local gathering of worship teams to share music and socialize).  An ordinary person would go, sit with friends, listen to music. If you were with Pastor Don you would observe him singing, speaking with people, making sure to greet all people, not just those from our church, helping out in the kitchen, and doing what is necessary to make the function work.  As a disciple one could learn from this how to serve.

We need to be clear of where we are with a person – are we discipling them, social friends, mentoring? Who are they in our life?

There are people who will try to befriend you, get close to you, and it may not always be because they want to be discipled for the Kingdom. For example, some people want to get close to Pastor Don because they want a chance to speak in the pulpit, not because God has sent them to Pastor Don to be a disciple.

DISCIPLESHIP IDENTIFICATION

We are looking to identify those who can multiply disciples.

Discipleship manual pp 8 “Can you identify one who will be greater than you? Greatness is not measured by personality, intelligence, charisma, etc. Jesus was looking for servanthood and commitment. These characteristics can exist even in small people (children). You are calling people to serve – God first and man second…Teach and treat all the same, but when you see a disciple about to come forth then call him forth and get busy. You may never see the harvest, but the Lord is the Harvester and we are to tend the garden.”

Discipleship manual pp 9 “If your theology places limits on God’s power, then God’s power is limited in you, but God is still sovereign and powerful.”

Don’t put limits on God. Trust God. He is sovereign. God can do what you didn’t think He could do. Even if a situation seems hopeless, God is still more powerful than that circumstance. Trust has to be based on experience. God has experienced people more than you. So if God says a person is to be trusted, trust God, no matter what the circumstances seem to indicate. Leave it up to God. Do discipleship with a person God has placed in your path (even if it feels hopeless) until they walk away.

Discipleship manual pp 9 “God has not changed and churches that choose not to multiply are choosing to die. Churches that choose not to believe God’s power have ceased or have been limited and will see spiritual gifts and miracles fade away, and even the greatest miracle will fade also – salvation.

Discipleship manual pp 10  “If Christians refuse to grow up, holding up God’s program and draining your energy, then you must:  1) Pray for them to be removed. 2) Move them out of the way.  3) Replace them quickly.  4) Prepare to ignore their tantrums.

If people are holding up God’s program, if they are drawing energy from where you can use it effectively, then they need to be removed.  That being said, it is not just because a person isn’t growing fast enough for you or being a bother that you remove them. The decision to remove a person has to come from God. If you remove them and God is not wanting you to do that, then you are in trouble.

Creative administration is moving a person out of the way in a way that does not alienate them. You are looking for people who are actively seeking God and want to learn to serve. 

DISCIPLESHIP IDENTIFICATION IN THE CHURCH.

HUNGER – Discipleship Manual pp 11 – “One of the first signs is you see a hunger and an enthusiasm for the Word and willingness to share the Word. There is a curiosity there.  Who has put it there?  The Holy Spirit. You see something, some little spark of interest or enthusiasm for the Word of God.”

ACTION Discipleship manual pp 11 “The next thing that happens is there’s action. You can have enthusiasm and not have action. Some people come to church sporadically, they don’t participate fully but talk a good talk. You’ve got to look for the action – participation, questions, and new revelations.”

TEACHEABILITY – Discipleship manual pp 11 “When there is action, you have the key ingredient that will lead to the next thing – which is teachability. They begin to participate, they begin to ask questions. Now, are they teachable? Are they going to seek instruction, retain information and transfer knowledge?”

You determine these things by testing – give the person something to do. If they succeed at it then go to the next thing.

Pastor Don pointed out that sometimes it takes five times asking a person to come to church before they decide to come. These people have been hurt and they play out that hurt on you. If you don’t reject them and still love them even when they reject what you’re sharing with them, after a time they will think, you didn’t reject me, maybe your Jesus won’t reject me.

Pastor Don said that just having knowledge isn’t what makes a disciple. It is more than that.  He spoke about Mark 10 where Jesus tells the Scribes and Pharisees that they are bound by traditions like washing hands and dishes the right way, but ignore the important things. Jesus mentions the custom of corban – that a son could give to the Temple all the money that they should have kept aside to take care of their parents, and then feel that they don’t have to take care of their parents in their old age. This was a financial agreement with the Temple. But this practice is not pleasing to God.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life – we need to imitate Jesus, not man’s traditions. We need to discern what is of God and what is not of God. What prevents us from having clear discernment is pride. We think we are smarter, wiser, and we can do things the way we think is best. That is doomed to failure.

We come to Christ with need – when Christ heals our need then we should be willing to choose to walk like Christ and be discipled and live a life of servanthood.

God wants true repentance – a 180 degree turn around.

Discipleship Manual p 12

Brother Hagin once said, “If faith was dynamite, some Christians don’t have enough faith to even blow their noses!” Seek to identify potential disciples by these key traits: 

  1. Interest
  2. Action – doer
  3. Teachable
  4. Communicative
  5. Committed
  6. Enthusiasm
  7. Questioning
  8. Involved
  9. Growing

I hope this teaching blessed you. I included a few more passages from the Discipleship Manual than Pastor Don used during the class.

Have a wonderful day.

Heather 

 

Posted in 2013 Pastor Don Moore Teachings, Discipleship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore

Discipleship class – Multiplying disciples – taught by Pastor Don Moore

Notes from class taught 8/22/13

Memory Verses:

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20 (see above), describes what a disciple is. This is the Lord’s last commandment Jesus gave to His disciples. If we are a disciple of Christ, then we need to make this the first commandment to us. We are to teach ALL that Jesus has instructed us. Our goal is not to save the world, but to MAKE DISCIPLES so we further the Kingdom of God. Disciples must multiply. We are to teach everything Christ commanded. When we teach, it is not only with words but by example. People can’t mimic, reproduce, and replicate what they can’t see.

Pp 3 – discipleship manual – “That is multiplication of discipleship. That was the goal. Creating church leaders, that is our goal. … Our goal is multiplying disciples. Therefore, babysitting Sunday School, nice worship and other church activities exist to serve the goal. Everything else is a by-product or side benefit, icing and gravy, while the main course is meeting the goal.  Anything that is alive is growing, changing and moving to accomplish survival and reproduction.

Pastor Don said we’re not about getting our dance on in Kingston or helping someone else get their dance on.

We are to know who we are discipling now and who our potential disciples will be. Our disciples could be within our family – a mother disciples a daughter or her children. A father disciples his children.

Discipleship is not the same as having someone who is a cooking partner or someone that we meet for tea – although those activities might be part of what you do with your disciple, it is not the main thing you are doing.

We are to look at the relationships we have and identify what they are – are they friends, hang-out partners, or disciples. Ask yourself who each of the people in your life are to you.

It is not up to Pastor Don to do all the discipling.

After a person is saved, the next step is to get them discipled. Too many churches concentrate on salvation but don’t do the next step, discipleship – Go ye therefore…

There are different types of disciples.

CHURCH GOERS – pp 4 Discipleship Manual – “We need church goers. We need people to sit in the pews to fill them up. The problem is when they do not multiply.  … These people are Christians in that they try to regulate their personal lives according to the tenets of the Christian Faith. But they may live their whole life and not multiply, and that is not God’s plan… The goal is to take every church goer and make them multiply… Every disciple may, for a time, be stagnant but this must be a temporary condition.  This is the ongoing condition of many churches and the reason is: churchgoers become lukewarm.”

We are not trying to guilt the church goers. Instead, we want to encourage them, to help them, to motivate them and get them out of the pew. A stagnant disciple is not multiplying. Pastor Don gave an example – he said perhaps go up to someone and complement them on something that they did that was good, “I heard you talking to that person and you said the exact right thing to help them. You are a good encourager.”  As people see that the kinds of things they do that are useful to the Kingdom are recognized, they may choose to step out and do more of the same.

Pastor Don suggested praying Ephesians 1:15-23 for a person to get them to become disciples. He said to insert a person’s name (or many names) in the appropriate spot in the prayer.  I am going to give an example using the name “Joe” to show you what he meant.

Ephesians 1:15-23 Therefore I also, after I heard of Joe’s faith in the Lord Jesus and Joe’s love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for Joe, making mention of Joe in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to Joe the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of Joe’s understanding being enlightened; that Joe may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

This is calling those things which be not as though they were. If we would take the time to pray this prayer for someone for thirty days, this will have an impact.  Pastor Don prayed this for all his family members and Cynthia’s (Pastor Don’s wife) family members who were not saved and now he can assert that all in his family are saved.

Praying for others makes a difference in our evangelism and the calling forth of disciples. God will not do anything on earth unless someone prays for it. The devil tries to prevent us from calling on God’s name. God sends forth angels when we ask Him. Unbelievers change.

We want to pray people into the Kingdom and then disciple them. Sometimes it takes five invitations before someone finally accepts. Once you invite a person you are establishing yourself as a leader, the only way you mess up is if you are shaky in your walk of righteousness. People observe what you do and see if it matches up to what you say.

DISCIPLES IN TRAINING – pp 4 Discipleship manual – “This may be a new believer or an old pew Christian that has realized he has been on the bench long enough. Disciples in training hunger to find their place and function in the Body of Christ. The ministry of Jesus is becoming a reality to them. … There is new interest in the Word of God and a desire to be around the brethren. The word ‘servant’ takes on a friendly meaning … stacking chairs, handing out Bibles, parking cars, giving a testimony on a Saturday night, all sound like good ideas. The disciple in training is eager to be molded and available to find out how to put out nets and catch fish (converts) or at least help someone else do it.”

Pastor Don says that he will see if the person will follow through on suggestions. Memorize a Bible verse Pastor Don suggests they memorize. Some people have been attending church thirty years and have not become a disciple in training.

We can check ourselves to see if our prayer success has grown from 20% to 40% or higher.  Or does the believer give up early.  People can believe for a hopeless cause forever if it is from the emotions. Spiritual success depends on energy to get success. We have become complacent and level out, then sit on the pew and not step out in faith.

Peter failed hard – Jesus once told Peter, “Get thee behind me satan.” Peter also denied Jesus three times. But Peter had a desire to succeed and he kept pursuing Jesus. Peter ran away. John stayed near Jesus even during the crucifixion.

A disciple in training is an eternal condition. We don’t know everything. Have a great hunger for the Word.

TRUE DISCIPLE – A true disciple is a follower of Christ who will multiply. Some will multiply by hundreds, others thousands and some just a few.

If people don’t want to have what you have it means you failed to demonstrate the true love of Jesus. Love is the thing that is missing. Pastor Don said that if people come to him, some need a beat down, and he will tell them the truth, but he will temper that with encouragement.

Jesus didn’t close the door of repentance on anyone who was willing to accept Him as their savior. We have to love.

If someone speaks a word to you that is not said in love, tell them the way you said that to me, I didn’t feel any love. It will make them more angry or it will break their heart and they’ll say, I’m sorry, let me say that another way.

Pastor Don ends his sermons saying in effect, be happy, there is a way out.

Discipleship manual pp 5 “Who would you follow up Mt. Everest – a man that climbed Mt. Everest, or a guy that had a picture of it?”

Who we are and what we do are linked. Knowledge is performance based.

Our ego and flesh prevents us from being a multiplying disciple. Cultural conditioning prevents us from sharing the Word because we fear rejection or embarrassment.

We spent time in the class learning how to give our testimony. Pastor Don suggested preparing a two-minute and a five-minute testimony following a specific format.

First we are to ask a person Can I tell you what happened to me?  – That is non-threatening and if the person agrees you can share your testimony. We then give a few sentences of background. I used to be __________.  What were the conditions? Because of ______  my life was a mess. My family was falling apart or whatever, whatever. But then – share how God came into your life and how your life has changed since that point.

Most people spend far too long on the negative parts of their past and not enough on what good God has brought into their lives.  Because you are sharing what happened to you, people can’t argue.

You then ask them, has anything similar happened to you?

If they respond or ask a question, then you can spend the time ministering.  If they don’t respond or ask questions, thank them for listening.

We need to practice our testimonies so we are ready to share them at the drop of a hat.

Also, we can ask God to show us what part of our testimony to share – we may share a business aspect with a professional person and share some child-rearing challenge with a person who is a homemaker. God can prophetically show us the best part of our life to share with a person.

In this small two minute testimony people will know you better than they have with years of casual acquaintance. The Holy Spirit will cause you to speak prophetically to a person who’s asking questions. We need to yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

You may think, if a person doesn’t respond, that they weren’t listening. It may just be that you planted a seed and later on, maybe even years later, another person will speak to this non-responder, and the combination of the two testimonies will cause the person to listen. The testimonies may be five or ten years apart.

Someone asked when a child was ready to commit themselves to the Lord. Pastor Don replied the perfect age in a child is seven years old – they are sweet and able to understand, and share with others. But it really doesn’t depend on chronological age – there are some ten year olds that aren’t mature enough to be considered the age of accountability, there are some precocious four and five year olds. We have to trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  There are even some adults that still haven’t matured.

God knows better than you when a child is ready.

Discipleship manual pp6 “Close personal relationships is the arena of making a disciple.”

It isn’t that you preach to a person, but you develop a relationship. Playing golf on a regular basis is not a discipleship relationship, but you can disciple a person during a golf game.

Pp 6. “Cry together, laugh together, carry burdens together – follow me as I follow Christ. No masks, no fronts, just the real deal. James, John, and Peter did all of this with the Lord and they were his closest disciples.”  Jesus didn’t multiply the whole twelve, he taught them, but only James, John, and Peter were the ones He discipled.

Pp6. “when you look into the New Testament, whenever Jesus had something important or something private, when He went away to pray, He would often take Peter, James, and John. When He went to the Mount of Transfiguration, He took Peter, James, and John. When He had His private sessions, where He had to explain something very closely, He took Peter, James, and John. At the Last Supper John was sitting right next to Him, and Peter was on the other side…”

Jesus said, John 15:15-17  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.

When we disciple someone we are not their buddy – we are their teacher. We will be friendly to them, but there is still a respect that must happen. Disciples are servants of God. When Jesus said He was going to Heaven and then He will call you friends.  Yes, we sing songs and call God and Jesus our friend, but He is also Sovereign – and we don’t take God or Jesus for granted.

When you are discipling someone, if you don’t define the lines, they will get crossed. A friend is equal to you, a disciple is under you and being trained up. Not until the disciple is qualified, do they get to the next category.

Discipling is a close personal relationship, and if they overstep the bounds you must tell them it is not cool. A true disciple will understand.

The student chooses the teacher. Sometimes people are being discipled that don’t even realize that they are being discipled.

Jesus knew what He was doing. To be effective, we have to know what we are doing. We should be being discipled and also discipling others.

Hope this blesses you.

Heather

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Syria – letter from trapist nuns

I came across this article that moved me. I usually don’t post anything political on this site, but this needed sharing. I think we make a big mistake if we bomb Syria.

 

 

A letter from Trappist nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts”

 

“Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us? Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom? The Pope has spoken up, patriarchs and bishops have spoken up, numberless witnesses have spoken up, analysts and people of experience have spoken up, even the opponents of the regime have spoken up…. Yet here we all are, waiting for just one word from the great Obama?”

A plaintive plea ignored:

A letter from Trappist nuns in Syria: “Blood fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts’ Catholic World Report,By Alessandra Nucci

In March 2005 a small group of nuns from the Cistercian Monastery of Valserena in Tuscany moved to Aleppo, Syria, to found a new monastic community there. The nuns were inspired to take up the legacy of seven monks who were martyred in 1997 in Tibhirine, Algeria. The sisters wanted to follow the example set by these men, who had totally dedicated their lives to God and to their beloved Algerian neighbors, both Christian and Muslim.

The sisters’ guiding Scripture is John 10:16: “There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must led these too. They too will listen to my voice.”

Once they had settled in Aleppo, with the blessing of both the Latin Apostolic Vicar and the Maronite bishop of Tartous, the sisters gained a new awareness of the importance of helping Christian Arabs remain in the Middle East, as well as a respect for the diversity of their traditions. Their project was, and continues to be, establishing a permanent monastery on the land they bought near the Syrian border with Lebanon, in a Maronite village named Azeir, atop a hill, far from the big cities.  The monastery is at the service of isolated Christian communities, in a land which is predominantly Muslim but which is home to the most ancient of Christian traditions.

To the sisters, Syria represents the meeting place of East and West, the place where Christianity began and then spread to Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, and then Armenia and India—all the way to China, with saints such as such as Afraate, Ephraim, Cyrus, Simeon Protostilite, Maron, Isaac of Niniveh, and others who followed in their footsteps, such as John Chrysostom and John Damascene.

It is this tradition the sisters wish to honor and perpetuate, persevering in their mission despite the fear and the hardship: to keep the monastery going and provide those who desire it with a chance to spend a few days there, with a church to go to.

These nuns have been providing a much-needed independent perspective on the tumultuous events going on inside Syria, in eye-witness reports published on their website and in the Italian bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire.

Here is a translation of a letter written on the 29th of August, in which the sisters seem to be holding their breath as President Obama deliberated about what, if any, action would be taken in Syria by the United States.

 

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***

Today we have no words, except those of the Psalms that the liturgical prayer puts onto our lips in these days:

Rebuke the Beast of the Reeds, that herd of bulls, that people of calves…oh God, scatter the people who delight in war…Yahweh has leaned down from the heights of his sanctuary, has looked down from heaven to earth to listen to the sighing of the captive, and set free those condemned to death…Listen, God, to my voice as I plead, protect my life from fear of the enemy; hide me from the league of the wicked, from the gang of evil-doers. They sharpen their tongues like a sword, aim their arrow of poisonous abuse…They support each other in their evil designs, they discuss how to lay their snares. “Who will see us?” they say. He will do that, he who penetrates human nature to its depths, the depths of the heart…Break into song for my God, to the tambourine, sing in honor of the Lord, to the cymbal, let psalm and canticle mingle for him, extol his name, invoke it…For the Lord is a God who breaks battle-lines! … Lord, you are great, you are glorious, wonderfully strong, unconquerable. 

We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended, stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best to work and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, trying to scrape together a few coins. The streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the only area left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be….

Will they make us breathe the toxic gases of the depots they hit, tomorrow, so as to punish us for the gases we have already breathed in?

The people are straining their eyes and ears in front of the television: all they’re waiting for is a word from Obama!

A word from Obama? Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us? Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom?

The Pope has spoken up, patriarchs and bishops have spoken up, numberless witnesses have spoken up, analysts and people of experience have spoken up, even the opponents of the regime have spoken up…. Yet here we all are, waiting for just one word from the great Obama? And if it weren’t him, it would be someone else. It isn’t he who is “the great one,” it is the Evil One who these days is really acting up.

The problem is that it has become too easy to pass lies off as noble gestures, to pass ruthless self-interest off as a search for justice, to pass the need to appear [strong] and to wield power off as a “moral responsibility not to look away…”

And despite all our globalizations and sources of information, it seems nothing can be verified. It seems that there is no such thing as a minimal scrap of truth … That is, they don’t want there to be any truth; while actually a truth does exist, and anyone honest would be able to find it, if they truly sought it out together, if they weren’t prevented by those who are in the service of other interests.

There is something wrong, and it is something very serious…because the consequences will be wrought on the lives of an entire population…it is in the blood that fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts.

Yet what use are words anymore? All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generations of young people exterminated, children growing up wielding weapons, women winding up alone and targeted by various types of violence…families, traditions, homes, religious buildings, monuments that tell and preserve history and therefore the roots of a people…all destroyed. …

As Christians we can at least offer all this up to the mercy of God, unite it to the blood of Christ, which carries out the redemption of the world in all those who suffer.

They are trying to kill hope, but we must hold on to it with all our might.

To those who truly have a heart for Syria (for mankind, for truth…) we ask for prayer…abounding, heartfelt, courageous prayer.

The Trappist nuns from Azeir, Syria

August 29, 2013 

 

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John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler

John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler

My Bible Study notes from August 23, 2013

John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

Pastor Don asked – Would Jesus tell us to do something we can’t do? We are capable of not letting our hearts be troubled.

In emotional circumstances the problem is we don’t want to let our inner man be stressed to the max. If we are ruled by our emotional makeup, we can be easily disturbed by something.

We need to take intellectual and spiritual authority over our emotions, our soul (mind, will, emotions). Our hearts cannot be policed until we dominate our minds and emotions, then we can tell our spirit the truth.

Don’t let people say, “God told me this about what you should do,” and blindly accept it. Ask them how did God tell you this. Not all of their statements are from God, some people speak from the flesh and emotions.

We trust our emotions and that is the number one vehicle that the enemy uses to fool us.

Jesus is telling His Apostles not to go with their feelings. What is said down here in front of you affects your belief system.  Pastor Don said, if we allow our hearts to be troubled, it affects our belief system. Don’t focus on the second part of this verse without understanding that the first part, a troubled heart, will affect our ability to believe.

If you are in fear and seeking to believe but you have a troubled heart, your case to doubt will be bigger than your belief. Don’t try and exercise your faith when you are upset. Instead, calm down, or you can be operating in faith bound by aspirations, fears, and hopes. So many people wish and hope, calling it faith, when there is no faith in it.

Some people get a diagnosis of cancer – with some people, their faith is so strong they are healed without a doctor.  Some pick a touch point like, I’ll have a cup of tea, read the Word, and the cancer will leave. Some people need to put their faith on doctors and chemotherapy, and they know that treatment will heal them. God can heal through any of these means.

We need to honestly identify where our faith is located – and apply our faith that way. Some get fooled thinking that their enthusiasm is faith – but that is not true.

Depressed and negative people usually are not strong people of faith.

When people face troubles, many say, if Jesus loves us, how come we are facing this, how can we believe anything that Jesus said? Doubts foster unbelief.

Pastor Don said the hardest thing he has to say to someone in a prayer line is, “Stop crying.”  If we stop crying and focusing on the circumstance, we can then go up for prayer with positive hope, and that works.

We can’t plan to get out of a hole if we’re mesmerized about the hole and miss the shovel.

Faith is not emotions. Faith is knowledge and acceptance of understanding. We need to believe (trust, and rely upon – the outcome of faith.)

Rabbi Michael said that Jesus told us John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  Rabbi Michal said that verse 1 is a foundation for us to be able to do these greater works.  (Pastor Don accused him of reading ahead – LOL)

John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Mansions mentioned in this verse are also called, in some Bible translations, dwelling places.  Jesus is speaking truth. Jesus said – “…if it were not so, I would have told you.” This is TRUTH, not a parable or an analogy.  There are dwelling places in Heaven, special places made just for us.

In Heaven spiritual places exist. Jesus prepared them, built, created, and spoke them into existence. We can’t understand what they are like because we haven’t seen them. Some people have died and gone to Heaven, then came back to life, telling us about what Heaven is like.

Pastor Don had us say: I have a mansion in Heaven. Jesus has prepared it for me.

John 14:3-5 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

The disciples did know the way. But they misperceived what Jesus was saying. They weren’t seeing that Jesus was talking about something similar to what happens in the Jewish Wedding ceremony. Where the groom (Jesus) goes to his father’s house (God) and prepares a home for his bride-to-be. When the father decides that the house is ready to receive the bride, the father sends the groom to go and collect his bride – to bring the bride to the house prepared for her.

Communion is a sealing of the marriage covenant with God and us. Man’s function in communion is to accept the covenant, saying I am marrying you, putting us in primary position with Jesus via the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to marry us completely and totally. Jesus did this for his disciples during the Last Supper. Jesus fulfilled His promise to them and to us.

Thomas was not thinking Jewish wedding ceremony or the rapture. This understanding would not come to the disciples until the book of Acts.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Pastor Don said this was the answer that answers the answer. The non-believing apostate world has more trouble with this verse, it screams against the desire that there would be many paths. People question why Jesus is the only way.  Apostasy is based on trying to find away to get out of verse six, that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  People want it to be anything else.

We have eternal life through Jesus – that is not just eternal life in Heaven, but also on earth. The Kingdom is here on earth as well as in Heaven.

The way – the road
The truth – verifiable undisputable reality
The life – the source of life in earth as well as in Heaven.

There is ONE destination and conclusion. Jesus is the truth.

How do we identify what is the truth? It is not a feel good thing, not emotional truth. It isn’t just good principles. There are good principles contained in many things that are not truth. Can we establish something as an absolute truth of something? There are lifestyle truths. Some things that we think “should” be true do not have great conclusions. For example, homosexuality – what is the fruit of that. Many who embrace that lifestyle die early – males by 45 and females by 50.

John 14:7-8 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Now they get into the crux of the matter.

John 14:9-11 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

There are deep mysteries in this statement of Jesus and many do not understand it. This is a crossover from the natural to the supernatural. Christ is speaking a supernatural truth of the spiritual, giving it to us while we are carnal.

Verse 9 says something spiritual is going on that you didn’t know. The disciples looked at Jesus in the physical, living with them day-to-day. Is Jesus speaking about the physical?  No.

This is not carnal, physical representation of the Father. This is also a passage that speaks of the Trinity. 

Pastor Don had Rabbi Michael speak about the Trinity to us.

Rabbi Michal said that the Israelites pray the Sh’ma:

Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

Hear Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.

Echad means one

Eloheinu – is part of Elohim – which is a plural form of God.

Rabbis say that God is one – they do not entertain the concept of Trinity. But Elohim implies the Trinity.

Rabbi Michael gave the example of water –with water we can have it in the form of liquid, or water can be frozen and become ice, or boiled and become steam. Whether it is liquid, ice, or steam it is still water – just water in different forms.  That is the same as the Trinity where God can be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Yeshua came to earth as fully God/fully man and the Holy Spirit was guiding Him.

When you come across echad – think – water-ice-steam

Jesus was saying if you see Me, you see the Father, and you also see the Holy Spirit.

God is one God, The Holy Spirit – Ruach HaKodesh – The Holy Breath of God.

The Holy Spirit is also a person. Ruach – the Breath of God. The Holy Spirit is fully God, not just the Holy Spirit.

God sent Yeshua.  Yeshua is God.

Jesus said, I AM the Father and the Father is Me. If you see the Father, you see Me, and vice versa.  This is true because of the Trinity.

Jesus was not speaking of the flesh, He was speaking a huge spiritual truth.

Pastor Don then continued:

When we meet someone, we want to ascertain spiritually who is this person? We want to get at the framework.  We don’t want to look at the flesh and the manifestations of the flesh. We want to perceive people as the saints that they are, separating out the carnality they are manifesting.

We have to never forget God’s sovereign, supernatural nature.  Some worship songs and some people think we are a friend of God – yes we are His friends, but He is far more than our best buddy. We must never forget He is our Sovereign. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It isn’t about gimme, gimme, gimme – my name is Jimmy. God is the Creator of the Universe.

John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The Greatest Miracle is He brings Himself into our awareness while we are in our brokenness and foolishness. He changed us, cleansed us of our sins, and fixed us and now we have the opportunity to serve in His Kingdom.

I hope this study blesses you. God is so awesome.

Have a great day.

Heather

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Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last

Homily for August 25, 2013 The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone

Luke 13:22-30  And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

John Andrew Holmes said, “It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”

We need to change our perception and put others first. Jesus gave us a new way to see.  He said that the last would be first and the first last.

In the book of Mark, Jesus elaborates. Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus told His disciples that he made Himself servant of all. Mary, Peter, Andrew, James, and John served others.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—

Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul implores us to also serve God the way he serves God.

To be meek means to cast off all self-centeredness and pride. To place others’ needs before ours. To chose to live the life God wants. Our desire for independence from God has disastrous consequences.  Consider Adam and Eve – they lost the so much with their choice of sin. Don’t give up Heavenly blessings for earthly desires.

We become fulfilled when we give up being masters of our own lives and follow our saving God.

Lao Tzu – left his village to contemplate death. He had to leave behind his possessions. Ultimately he penned eighty-one sayings. He said, “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”

Three things he holds precious – gentleness, frugality and humility which keeps him from putting himself before others.

If you are gentle you can be bold.

Frugal – Liberal

Lao Tzu tells us not to put ourselves before others, and then we can be a leader of man.

We like looking down at others, living in the wrong perspective.

Jesus impacted the Jewish belief that they were God’s favorites and all the others were the enemy. Jesus’ message was not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.

Jesus gives us an enlightened perspective of how to do things God’s way.  How the first must be last and the last first.  We need to pay the price and put our selves in position to enter through the narrow gate. The light of God cancels all the darkness.

There is an old parable about a bird that circles the sky and notices that his shadow covers some of the grass on the hills. The plants were suffering under the intense heat of the sun, so this bird gathers other birds and they all circle around and block some of the sun from the earth, saving the plants. When we pull together, and all of us do what God wants us to do, we can go a long way to advancing God’s plan on the earth.

Sparrows are trifling exceptions, just a speck, but by combing together, those specks become a mighty force.

John Coltrane put out an incredible album called: A Love Supreme.

He was writing to rejoice in God’s gifts. He desired to make people happy through his music through the grace of God which gave him the ability to share with others.

C.S. Lewis said, “You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making.”

After Coltrane played his music there was thirty minutes of applause and a great prayer as people thanked God for the music.

The Latin term  (Father Raphael gave me more info on nunc dimitis)– It’s nunc dimitis – now you can dismiss (your servant o Lord, for I have seen your salvation). The prayer of the high priest Simeon when Jesus was brought to the Temple for circumcision. The canticle is often referred as simply nunc dimitis. Fr.R

We are servants of the Lord. We want to say, I’ve done what you asked me to do.

We cannot approach the truth until we let go of our self-centeredness.

The Beatitudes say blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Go forth mindful that we are a speck. That we can combine with other specks to help and give graciously of the gifts God has given us to share.

Take up your cross and follow Him. We have a common purpose in the unity of Christ, and we go forth strengthened by the Eucharist to bring forth God’s Kingdom.

Hope this blesses you - 

Heather

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Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone

Homily for August 25, 2013 The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone

Luke 13:22-30  And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

John Andrew Holmes said, “It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”

We need to change our perception and put others first. Jesus gave us a new way to see.  He said that the last would be first and the first last.

In the book of Mark, Jesus elaborates. Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus told His disciples that he made Himself servant of all. Mary, Peter, Andrew, James, and John served others.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Ephesians 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—

Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul implores us to also serve God the way he serves God.

To be meek means to cast off all self-centeredness and pride. To place others’ needs before ours. To chose to live the life God wants. Our desire for independence from God has disastrous consequences.  Consider Adam and Eve – they lost the so much with their choice of sin. Don’t give up Heavenly blessings for earthly desires.

We become fulfilled when we give up being masters of our own lives and follow our saving God.

Lao Tzu – left his village to contemplate death. He had to leave behind his possessions. Ultimately he penned eighty-one sayings. He said, “I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”

Three things he holds precious – gentleness, frugality and humility which keeps him from putting himself before others.

If you are gentle you can be bold.

Frugal – Liberal

Lao Tzu tells us not to put ourselves before others, and then we can be a leader of man.

We like looking down at others, living in the wrong perspective.

Jesus impacted the Jewish belief that they were God’s favorites and all the others were the enemy. Jesus’ message was not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.

Jesus gives us an enlightened perspective of how to do things God’s way.  How the first must be last and the last first.  We need to pay the price and put our selves in position to enter through the narrow gate. The light of God cancels all the darkness.

There is an old parable about a bird that circles the sky and notices that his shadow covers some of the grass on the hills. The plants were suffering under the intense heat of the sun, so this bird gathers other birds and they all circle around and block some of the sun from the earth, saving the plants. When we pull together, and all of us do what God wants us to do, we can go a long way to advancing God’s plan on the earth.

Sparrows are trifling exceptions, just a speck, but by combing together, those specks become a mighty force.

John Coltrane put out an incredible album called: A Love Supreme.

He was writing to rejoice in God’s gifts. He desired to make people happy through his music through the grace of God which gave him the ability to share with others.

C.S. Lewis said, “You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making.”

After Coltrane played his music there was thirty minutes of applause and a great prayer as people thanked God for the music.

The Latin term  (Father Raphael gave me more info on nunc dimities)– It’s nunc dimitis-now you can dismiss(your servant o Lord, for I have seen your salvation). The prayer of the high priest Simeon when Jesus was brought to the Temple for circumsion. The canticle is often referred as simply nunc dimitis. Fr.R

We are servants of the Lord. We want to say, I’ve done what you asked me to do.

We cannot approach the truth until we let go of our self-centeredness.

The Beatitudes say blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

Go forth mindful that we are a speck. That we can combine with other specks to help and give graciously of the gifts God has given us to share.

Take up your cross and follow Him. We have a common purpose in the unity of Christ, and we go forth strengthened by the Eucharist to bring forth God’s Kingdom.

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Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone

Homily on Luke 12:49 53 by Father Raphael Iannone

Luke 12:49-53 I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

This is a real mystery of faith. Jesus of Nazareth – loves, heals, tells people God offers wholeness of life.

The religious leaders rejected Jesus instantly, not hearing what Jesus was saying. Why would they reject Him like this?  Because of fear, anger, and hatred.

A poll done in the twentieth century asked the respondents if Jesus came back, how would he be treated. They stated that He would be killed again and more quickly than during Jesus’ time.

Working within us is something that resists the Gospel and something that attracts us to the Gospel. We are drawn to New Life, but there is a part of us that resists change and that part rises up fear, anger, and hatred within us.

Jesus – the one who loves also brings fire.

We tell Jesus to keep out of our lives, we don’t want the fire that brings change.

Robert Bell speaks of the mysteries of the Bible. That Jesus touches lepers, hears the cry of blind Bartimaeus, dines with tax collectors, and talks with the Samaritan Woman (someone He was culturally not supposed to speak with). Jesus goes to the edge, bumps against the margin.

He reaches out to those who are in trouble, who are despised, weak, ignored.

Jesus is the living, breathing evidence that God wants everyone reached, saved, and touched by His presence.

Jesus challenges the conventional wisdom that God only wanted to deal with the select few (the Israelites). He confronted the system and showed that God wanted to reach everyone.

Jesus fulfilled what was prophesied about Him, and that provoked those who were in charge of the Temple, for their power was challenged. This led to Jesus’ arrest, trial and execution.

Jesus is an example of what it means to put new wine in old wineskins – the fire of the Spirit purifies the soul of self-centeredness and pride, which is the root of our enmity and hostility.

Jesus doesn’t stand for status quo. The status quo needs to be changed so we can (with God’s help) bring about what ought to be.   Some will accept this transformation; others will reject it.

Quote inscribed on an Anglican Bishop’s tomb:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change –

So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country,

And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

When we change ourselves we change our family, our nation and the world. It is difficult to change our lives. We hesitate when we realize we need to change. It makes us uneasy and we find change threatening.

Jesus is asking for substantial change –to be called upon, to renounce what we have made our own, to renounce our anchor.

Father Raphael told a joke about a man who was dating a woman

The woman told him to stop smoking – he changed and stopped smoking.

She told him to stop drinking – he changed and stopped drinking.

She told him to stop swearing – he changed and stopped swearing.

She told him to stop gambling – he changed and stopped gambling.

After two years he never married her. When asked why, he said, “I reformed so much that I figure I can do better than her.”

Repent and believe in the Good news. This brings with it demands for rebirth, renewal, and change – a change of heart, a change beneath our surface.

As we follow the reign of God in our lives we will forgive those who have hurt us, we will pray for those who mistreated us, bless those who hate us, humble ourselves, become compassionate for those we may think unworthy of compassion.

Dedicate ourselves to change and don’t stay with the status quo. When we work on changing ourselves, we provide an example to others that they can follow and also change. By changing ourselves, we influence our family, our neighbors, our friends, and the world.

But not everyone will change – there will be division in families when some members change and others don’t.

Be filled with the Spirit and let God change us deep within. We need God’s Grace to reorder our life. God will help us to change and that change will affect our neighbors, friends, family, and the world.

Hoping you had a wonderful Sunday.

Heather

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Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore

Facing your Jerusalem – Say Amen show 161

This is a transcript of a sermon preached by Pastor Don Moore. What is in [brackets] is what the congregation says. The transcript is slightly edited for readability.

SAY AMEN
FACING YOUR JERUSALEM
SHOW 161

Some things may seem like wasted effort but they’re part of our training.  Some things seem like bad decisions, but they’re part of our training.  [hallelujah]  Sometimes the mountain is tall and we would choose to go around rather than over just to take the shortcut.  But, Lord God, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, give us some backbone.  Give us some understanding.  Father, give us some perseverance.  [yes, Lord]  That we will go the distance for You, in Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen [amen] 

Sometimes the Lord gives me a Word and it’s only for a few people.  And sometimes it’s for people that are going through a certain thing at a particular moment.  But today’s message is for each and every one of you in this building.  It’s for each and every one of us.  The Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth, divine in all of His great Deity, but also human in all of His humanness.  And He had to go through things as a human, even though He was divine.  [amen]  The Bible tells us that He had to set aside His glory, and operate by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit just like you and I. 

Jesus displays a certain aspect of character that applies to each and every one of us.  No matter how old you are, here today.  No matter how young or old, no matter what your circumstances are, you need this characteristic trait.  You need to be like Jesus in this way, if you are going to live a good life, serve the Lord, and arrive at your Jerusalem.

Look at verse 51.  Luke, Chapter 9:51…. “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,…”  The Word of the Lord.  “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” 

I want you to go to Matthew, Chapter 16… In Matthew He gives us a little bit more detail about what Jesus is grappling with here…. Matthew 16, verse 21.  “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.  Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.“”  …

Look up here for a moment.  These two passages of Scripture tell us that Jesus had an appointment to go to Jerusalem.  Peter loves Him very much, but in his love, Peter’s advice to Him is don’t even talk about it.  That there is a different plan that I, Peter, have for You, God.  Kind of comical isn’t it?  That Peter’s going to rebuke the King of kings, and the Lord of lords and tell Him to shut up.  I don’t have that boldness yet, and I’m sure Peter regretted that he had it.  [laughter, oh, yeah] 

So, in his humanness, he’s looking at the circumstances and the outcome of what Jesus is saying is going to happen because He’s going to Jerusalem.  That Peter is trying to, and this is why Jesus calls him “satan”, the spirit that spoke to Peter’s ear, was the suggestion of satan to alter the difficulty He was facing, to take an easier path.  [that's right] 

We have challenges in our lives.  All of them are not wonderful, blessed, beautiful, wonderful things to happen.  But there are some things that have to happen if we are going to ever arrive at the fullness of what God has called us to be.  If we’re ever going to arrive at the point where God can really use us and make us into what He wants us to be.  We’re gonna have to face Jerusalem. 

In this verse, Jesus says, that He, the Scripture says that He has set Himself fastly, or steadfastly.  He has set His face to go to Jerusalem.  There’s a passage in the King James, the way the King James translates this is a little more helpful to us.  Here’s what it says in the King James.  It says that He set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem.  Did you get that?  [yes]  He set His face like flint to go to Jerusalem. 

Some of the translators of the newer translations wanted to communicate an idea to us, but sometimes when we translate or interpret Scripture we have to be careful that sometimes they change the word’s meaning to give us meaning of the passage, but in the process will give us a disconnect from the prophetic.  [yeah]  Let me explain. 

It says that He set His face like flint.  Meaning, He set Himself like a hard rock, like a hard rock, that I’m going in this direction.  He said, He’s determined.  He is what?  He has perseverance.  He’s going to persevere no matter what it takes to keep His appointment with Jerusalem.  He set His face like flinty rock. 

When the interpreters of the Scriptures said He set Himself, set His face steadfastly, that little twist there gave us a disconnect from what Jesus was describing Himself as.  He’s telling us that He is the Messiah, and He’s going to fulfill Old Testament Scripture.  He’s going to fulfill the writings of the prophets concerning Him.  We have to be careful about words.  God said what He meant to say. 

Now, let’s go to the book of Isaiah, in the 50th Chapter of what?  [Isaiah]   Of Isaiah.  The 50th Chapter of Isaiah…. Let’s see if we can see the interconnect that Jesus wanted to have fulfilled in Scripture.  So, in the beginning of Isaiah, Chapter 50, God Himself, He is giving a divorcement.  He is putting Israel away because Israel doesn’t want Him.  Then He goes down a little bit further, and in the fourth verse He says, “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary….”  That’s what I’m going to give you today.  We’re talking about perseverance.  I’m going to give all you all weary folk a word of in season.  “…He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.”  He’s talking to you.  He wants you to hear as the learned.  “The Lord GOD has opened My ear;…”  Say, “He’s opened my ear.”  [He's opened my ear]  “I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.” 

Now, when we get to the fifth verse, it becomes a Messianic passage.  He’s talking about He’s divorcing Israel because they didn’t trust.  He’s divorcing Israel because they turned their back on Him.  He’s divorcing Israel because Israel has rejected Him, and doesn’t want Him anymore. 

God is never the first to break a covenant.  Say it.  [God is never the first to break a covenant]  God is not a covenant breaking God.  But if you destroy the covenant, walk away from it, He can put His “Amen” to it.  If that’s so what you choose, then you won’t have Me. 

And so Israel walked away from Him, turned to idols, didn’t want Him.  But guess what?  God’s always, always, has an elevator in the building or an escape, fire escape on the outside of the building, or a helicopter is gonna come on the roof to take you away.  [amen! applause]  He’s always got a plan to help you recover from your mess.  [yes] 

The answer to this one is, He has a Messiah, He has a Messiah who is the answer to the rescue plan for even Israel.  He’s gonna get her back.  But the Messiah is introduced here in the fifth verse in the Book of Isaiah 600 years before He even appears.  So, let’s see what the Messiah is saying here.  Here’s what the Messiah’s saying.  He said, “The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.”  Verse 6.  ” I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;…. [my God]  Lord have mercy.  Is Isaiah prophesying what’s to come?  [yes]  And look what He says.  “…I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”  You know they spit in the Lord’s face?  [yes, they did]  And He took it.  [yes] 

He had 600 years to prepare for that moment of shame and not strike back.  Cause He could have just called on angels to destroy all of them.  [that's right]  You know, the test of how much of a Christian you are is, can you take the abuse and not respond.  [hmmm]  That’s the answer.  The answer isn’t can you call fire down from Heaven and destroy everybody, or can you take it into your own hands to go on the warpath, but can ‘ya stand there honey and take it?  Can you put a smile on your face and say, “Though you rebuke me, or offend me.  Though your whole attitude stinks and is terrible, I forgive you in the Name of Jesus and I’ll not respond to your insanity.”  [amen]  Somebody say, “Amen.”  [Amen] 

That’s the test of your Christian walk.  It’s not – stop them from doing it.  It’s – can you take it after they’ve done it?  Can you throw back your shoulders, lift up your head, and keep yourself from reciprocating the evil that is being done unto you?  Can you walk in the love of Jesus Christ, when they tore out His beard and spit in His face, when they hit Him and slapped Him.  Can you still say, “Father!  Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  [amen] 

What is your position today?  What is your position today?  Can you set your face with determination to walk the Christian walk, realizing there is a greater reward for those who are offended but do not respond to it, than it is for those who are offensive and then do respond to it… Hallelujah.  [hallelujah] 

What makes you think everybody’s got to treat you nice? … They didn’t treat Jesus nice.  [no they didn't]  But He looked at them with great dignity, cried tears for them.  And still honored His Father by being able to take the abuse that the world was going to pour out on Him.  Somebody say, “Thank you Jesus.”  [Thank you Jesus]  Let’s read a little further if you can stand it.  You ok?  [yes]  Everybody alright?  [yes] 

Look what He says in verse 7.  ” For the Lord GOD will help Me;…” [hallelujah] hallelujah…  In other words, after they strike Me, after they beat Me, after they rip out My beard, He has the confidence to know, I will persevere through this because the Lord GOD will help Me.  [amen]  “Therefore I will not be disgraced;…”  [That's right] 

Listen Child of God, your honor is not tied to the opinions of others.  [that's right, amen]  Let me say it again.  Your honor is not tied to the opinions of others.  [amen]  … I mean I hope you like Pastor Don… [amen]  I hope, I really hope you do.  But when I step down from this pulpit I just want to know that I’ve served the Lord right.  I just want to know that, in here, I have the peace of God to know that even though I may not have said everything right, I said enough right that it put a smile on My Jesus’ face.  [amen]

People’s opinions of you cannot be your standard of acceptability and your standard of grace.   [that's right, amen]  You can’t please everybody.  You’re never going to please everybody.  You wear a red dress, somebody’s gonna tell you, “What are you wearing a red dress, you should wear a green dress.”  You wear a green dress somebody’s gonna tell you you should have worn black.  You wear a black dress, somebody’s gonna get racial about it.  [laughter] 

What are you talking about?  We have to learn to live in the love of Christ, that if I’m living right, He’s pleased with me and that’s enough.  [amen]  Let everything else fall by the wayside.  [amen, preach it]  Thank you.  I’m trying to.  [laughter]  …

Look at the second half of the verse, it ties us back to Luke. “…Therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”  [Thank you Lord.]  … Why not?  Because, “He is near who justifies Me; who will contend with Me?”  Let us stand together.  Who is My adversary?  Let him come near Me.  Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he who will condemn Me?  Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up.”  Lord, hallelujah.  Hallelujah. 

Sometimes we’re too tied to our time.  We’re too tied to the clock.  We’re too tied to the circumstances.  We’re too tied to the event that is on our plate and on our table and in our face.  Sometimes we need to disconnect from that and remember that we are a child of eternity.  [yes, amen]  The day will end, the week will end, the month will end, but we are praying for eternity.  I’m not here for tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.  I’m here for ever and ever.  I’ve got a long time to get it right.  And Jesus is not going to abandon me in the process.  [amen]  So if you slap me and spit on me on Monday, no problem baby.  [laughter]  No problem.  It’s not gonna be a game breaker with me.  [amen]  …

Jesus is saying in the Old Testament, that when I come as the Messiah I’m going to persevere.  I’m coming with determination.  I’m going to set my face like a hard rock and I’m going to Jerusalem no matter what it costs, no matter how long it takes, no matter who opposes me, or no matter how difficult it may be… I’m gonna set my face.  I’m going to Jerusalem. 

Well, you might ask yourself what does the word persevere mean?  What do you think, did I look it up?  [yes]  To be earnest toward something.  To be earnest toward something.  To be constantly diligent.  How?  [constantly diligent]  Constantly diligent.  To attend to something.  To attend to all the exercise of something.  To adhere closely to.  To give yourself continually to.  To continue in it instant after instant after instant.  And to wait on something continually as you go toward it you persevere. 

Persevere means you don’t stop.  It says continually.  Continually means I just keep going toward where I’m supposed to be going to.  I just keep moving in that direction.  I’m just constant in my effort.  I’m not giving up.  I’m not even getting distracted.  I’m not looking behind and always reminding myself of where I came from.  Because why?  I’m so busy looking at the scenery along where I’m going.  [whooo]  I’m continually persevering.  How?  Like Jesus persevered.  He set His face like steadfastly, firmly, continually looking to where He was going.  

Sometimes people can be a drag.  I know you don’t know that, but people can, people can be a drag.  Peter didn’t mean to be a drag. But guess what?  Peter was trying to pull Jesus, stop Him from persevering.  Trying to get Him off His course.  You know sometimes, it’s the people closest to you that are the biggest drags.  [yes]   You have friends and family that you tell them, I’m going to get, I’m setting my face for this.  I’m going for this.  And they’ll be the ones saying, “What makes you think you can make it?”  [laughter]  “Why in the world you want to go for that?”  … [laughter]  “You don’t got the money, you ain’t got the looks, and it ain’t even your idea.” 

You need to tell them, “Yeah, it’s a God idea, and I’m continually set goin’ for it.”  [applause, yeah]  Not moving off to the left or the right.  I’m goin’ for it.  [hallelujah] 

We’re in hard times. Oh yeah, we’re pressed in hard times.  It was no harder now than it’s really ever been.  It’s just, it’s always been hard.  It’s just that sometimes you have a better outlook than you used to have.  Sometimes circumstances will profit better for you, but guess what, if you set yourself with some perseverance you’ll get past that and on to the next thing.  Persevere past that and get on to the next thing.  [amen]  The perseverance that I’m talking about is to adhere closely to.  Give yourself continually to it. 

Do you ever think what would’ve happened if Jesus had taken Peter’s advice?  [oooh]  … [big trouble]  What if He had listened to His friend?   And said, “You know, Peter, I never thought…let’s skip Jerusalem.”  …

Do you realize the reason that Scripture, and you can look it up in the other passages, but I just want to share it with you.  In the other books we get a little clearer picture.  The reason that they wanted to talk Jesus out of going, and the reason they had trouble with His decision, was because Jesus had decided, I’m going… Listen to me carefully now – I’m gonna pass through Samaria and take a direct route to get to Jerusalem… I’m gonna pass through Samaria and take a direct route. 

For example, if I was in New York City – No, no let me take it the other way around.  I’m up here in the Catskill Mountains and I decided to go to New York City.  And if I said to you, I’m going to go to New York City via way of Connecticut.  You would say, “What are you doing?… What’s wrong with you boy?  It’s 90 miles straight down the Thruway, put the pedal to the metal and get there.”  Right?  How many of you would tell me that?  [yes, that's right]  That’s what you’d tell me. 

But here’s what.  What if, straight between here and New York on Route 90 I had to go through Samaria.  Well, what would that mean?  It would mean that Samaria was a place, watch this now – Samaria was a place where all the rejected people lived.  Samaria is a place where Jews had no contact with Samaritans.  Jews considered Samaritans low class, other class, called them dogs.  They called them dogs right to their faces.  They didn’t even talk to them. 

Jesus violated the cultural law by talking to a woman – that was bad enough;  but she was a Samaritan woman at the well.  Without that conversation we could take the Book of John, Chapter 3 and chapter 4 and kinda of throw it out, and throw all you gentiles out with it.  Because all you gentiles were considered to be as low as the Samaritans.  A good Jew wouldn’t even go in your house.  [yes, that's right]  …

So between New York City and here I would have to pass through the place where all the rejected folk are.  And you know, that’s all the Puerto Ricans and Nigra’s there.  I’m not gonna go through there.  [laughter]  I can’t go through there.  I’d go through Connecticut where all the nice, quiet white folks live.  [laughter]  Listen.  We all are discriminatory.  We all have somebody that we would discriminate against.  We all have somebody that we’re biased to.  We all have some way of excusing ourselves.  I won’t go there this is the Italian neighborhood.  I won’t go there.  You know the Dominican Restaurant.  Them guys cook good.  I don’t speak much Spanish, but we went there, me and my wife, I says why shouldn’t I spend my money just cause they’re Dominicans.  I went in there and spent my money.  Tried to act like I didn’t understand the Spanish that I was supposed to pay the check, but they didn’t fall for that.  [laughter]  They still wanted to get paid. 

Listen.  We’re all prejudiced about something.  And Jesus Christ is saying to us, He’s shouting it from the Scriptures, don’t you let anybody say that somebody is beneath you, is lower than you, that you can call them a dog and you can treat them bad.  He says, I’m going right through Samaria.  I’m going right through the rejected people.  I’m on my way to Jerusalem.  [applause]  I’m going to Jerusalem. 

Everybody looks the same to Jesus.  [amen]  Aren’t you glad.  [yes]  Aren’t you glad.  [yes]  If you’re not glad you need to join a different church.  [that's right]  Cause as long as I’m pastor of this church, we are not gonna be black, white, green, yellow and all like that.  We’re gonna be the children and people of God, we’re gonna walk in love toward everybody.  We’re gonna hug everybody.  We’re going to get along and we’re going to bring the Kingdom of God as much as we can.  Every time we get together because why?  Jesus is Lord over us all.  [yes]  Over us all.  [applause]  …

He set His face.  The question is, where’s He going?   We know the direction that He’s going.  He’s going to make a racial statement that He’s going to Jerusalem for all people.  [amen]  He’s going for the Samaritans, the gentiles, all people.  But where’s He going?  He’s going to Jerusalem… What is Jerusalem? … What is Jerusalem? 

Jesus the Christ is going for a testing.  He’s going to put His flesh to the total test.   He’s going to the testing.  He’s going to put Himself up against the people that hate Him, and still walk in love for them.  He’s going to a place called Jerusalem where His enemies are going to come out of the woodwork to destroy Him.  [that's right]  When He first gets to town, everybody loves Him.  But then a few minutes later, everybody hates Him.  So He’s going to be tested by His friends, He’s going to be tested in His flesh, and He’s going to be subjected to His enemies…

Where else is He going?  He’s going to a place of conflict.  We’re waiting so much for a peace.  We all want peace.  We all want peace.  Jesus is going to Jerusalem where He’s just going to have turmoil.  But you know what?  We need to want the peace that Jesus has. On the inside of Him there is the peace of knowing that He is going to persevere and get His job done. 

He’s going to a place of learning.  You say, well what’s Jesus gonna learn?  Jesus is gonna learn what it means to be beaten, to be scourged, and He’s gonna learn what death feels like.  Not the death that you and I are gonna die.   Cause Jesus is going to rebuke death before it gets to His body.  Lord have mercy.  [yes]   So Jesus is gonna learn about death but from a different way.  Jesus is going to His Jerusalem. 

What’s He going to face there?  He’s going to face death and He has to conquer death.  Before death can take His body, He has to dismiss His Spirit.  Jesus is going to a place where He’s gonna learn resurrection.  What is He going to learn?  He’s going to learn how God Himself, by His supernatural power, can breathe life into a body and change it from head to toe.  He’s going to learn the resurrection power of the Father. He’s gonna to feel the energy rush through His dead physical body and He’s going to come to life.  He is gonna to experience and He’s going to learn what true victory tastes like.  Not what the battle, the conflict was like. 

He’s gonna momentarily in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, he’s gonna have the victory that comes only by persevering and facing your Jerusalem.  You’ve got to face your Jerusalem. 

Stop whining and crying and complaining about how hard it is.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  You’ll never experience what Christ experienced and He persevered.  He didn’t slow down.  He didn’t give up.  He didn’t get distracted.  Sex had no appeal to Him.  Money had no appeal to Him.  Power had no appeal to Him.  He set His face like a flint.  He’s going for the ultimate victory and the conquering of sin and death and putting the devil underfoot.  [applause and cheering]  That’s His perseverance.  Come on, give Him some praise in here.  [applause]  That’s the perseverance.

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Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone

It is such a blessing to have a priest who searches the Word and seeks to share the Spirit of the Sunday readings with us.  Here is the Sermon for today.

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Avarice – we are not secure because of what we own or that fact that our needs are met.

Father Raphael told us a story. A pastor came across a parishioner. Instead of being well- dressed and financially stable as he usually was, the man was depressed and scruffy looking. The pastor asked the man what was wrong. The man told the pastor he had made some wrong financial investments, lost his money, and was miserable. The pastor suggests that the man open up his Bible, put a finger on a page, and listen to what the Word says. (Heather’s note – that can be dangerous – could get Judas went and hanged himself turn a page, put your finger down and get, go ye and do likewise). The next time the pastor sees this parishioner, the man is well dressed and happy. He tells the pastor he took his advice and opened up his Bible but didn’t come up with a passage – instead his finger landed on Chapter 11.  (declare bankruptcy).

We were looking at a passage in Luke 12:13-21Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

We don’t want to get caught up in riches or anything that takes away from where God is in our life.

The foolish rich man wanted to store his grain, figured now that he had a great harvest he could relax. But he was a fool because that very night his soul was going to be required of him.

We can get so caught up in storing up stuff for ourselves instead of making ourselves rich for God.

Father told a joke about a couple walking down the street and they heard a voice say, “You are going to live for one hundred years.” The couple was older and decided that, since they were going to live longer, they should improve their appearance, so they got facelifts and other cosmetic surgery. One day they crossed the road and were killed by a car. When they asked God, “Thought you said we were going to live one hundred years.” God said, “I didn’t recognize you.”

We want to live our lives so we store up our treasures in Heaven, not just to accumulate possessions and money here on earth.

Jesus mentions money sixty times. Money can lead to conflict and danger. Instead of focusing on earthly riches, focus on the house being built in Heaven for you. The planks are charity, the beams are hope, and the roof is love. Emulate the Pope who is showing by his life how to live a life of care for others.

We can get seduced by materialism and forget God.

Jesus is questioned by a rich young ruler. (Heather’s note, my favorite version for it shows Jesus’ love for this youth)  Mark 10:17-22 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”  And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Jesus told the young man to sell all he had and follow Jesus. The man had great riches and could not bring himself to do what Jesus told him to do.

A businessman told someone that if they wanted to start a business they must never forget peace of heart. If you create a business for only financial success you create a cage for yourself and it is lonely in that cage.

Keep God the center of your heart, not money or possessions.

God can keep us. He raised Jesus from the dead. God can take the money we have and help us use it to bless others. Grow rich in the eyes of God.

Someone said, there are no pockets in Heaven. When we give, we receive. God rewards us one hundred-fold.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

We can choose to be poor in Spirit or rich in purse. (Heather’s note – I suspect we can do both – if we plan to focus our finances to serve God and His Kingdom.)

Happy are we when we strive to serve God and show God’s generosity to others, not focusing on ourselves. 

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Hope your day is blessed,

Heather

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