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Showing posts from 2008

Newman on Lessons from the Nativity

Salisbury Cathedral Nativity From his sermon on Religious Joy , Luke ii., 10,11; Parochial and Plain Sermons , Volume 8, No. 17 T HERE are two principal lessons which we are taught on the great Festival which we this day celebrate, lowliness and joy. This surely is a day, of all others, in which is set before us the heavenly excellence and the acceptableness in God's sight of that state which most men have, or may have, allotted to them, humble or private life, and cheerfulness in it. If we consult the writings of historians, philosophers, and poets of this world, we shall be led to think great men happy; we shall be led to fix our minds and hearts upon high or conspicuous stations, strange adventures, powerful talents to cope with them, memorable struggles, and great destinies. We shall consider that the highest course of life is the mere pursuit, not the en

Joseph's Challenge - First Sunday After Christmas - '08

In Acts 26, we read Christ's words to Paul while he was on the Damascus road concerning the mission given to him. It was Christ's intention to give to Paul's hearers forgiveness of sins and the inheritance of all those sanctified by faith in Him. However, these wonderful gifts would only be given on two conditions. The first is that their eyes would be open, that is, that they should understand the spiritual truth which Paul would preach. The second is that they would turn from darkness to light. That is the message of repentance. The blessings of Christ are in His light. All those who would have them must leave their darkness behind. They must leave their sins and their idolatry if they would have Christ. This is always the challenge of Christ to us. Will we have Him or will we hang on to what we have without him, namely sin and death? As the angel proclaimed to Joseph, Jesus came to save His people from their sins. This is a message much grander than merely g

Jesus, Stand Among Us - St. John 1:19 - Advent IV

We may not have thought about this before, but both John and Mark do not write about the birth of Jesus in their gospels. Those stories are found in Matthew and Luke. John does say more than Mark about his origins, but they both jump right into the days of Jesus' ministry, bypassing the Christmas story. After John's introduction to Jesus as the divine Word made flesh, he takes us to the public confession of John the Baptist under the interrogation of the Jews. This confession took place after the baptism and temptation of Christ. How do we know this? The next day, John declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God and that he knew he was so because he had already seen the Spirit come upon Him in His baptism. Also, since Jesus went immediately to His tempation after his baptism, then He is obviously back from the temptation, ready to begin His ministry. Now John tells the Jews, in effect: "There stands one among you whom you do not know and he is more important than I am.&qu

Behold the Lamb - Advent III - '08

The Advent season is the beginning of the Church calendar for the year and rightly so, for the earthly story of our Saviour begins with His coming to us, born as a child in Bethlehem. Because Advent is the beginning of the year, it is thus during this time that we observe the first of quarterly Ember seasons. During these times, three days of prayer and fasting, the Ember Days, are set aside in preparation for the following Sunday on which ordinations of deacons and priests of the Church traditionally take place. In this manner, the Church expresses her deep concern that her ministers be men of spiritual quality and duly ordained. This is why we have the prayer and Bible readings in our prayer book on this Sunday. They all have to do with the ministers of the church and they prepare us to participate in the first Ember season. The Scriptures teach us much about the qualifications for the clergy, through both instruction and example. In our Gospel reading today, one of the best example

The Importance of Educators for the Sake of the Church

From Martin Luther’s "A Sermon On Keeping Children in School" (1530): At this point I should also tell how many scholars are needed in medicine and other liberal arts, concerning which a great book could be written and about which one could preach for a half year. Where would the preachers and lawyers and physicians come from, if we had not grammar and the other sciences of speech? They must all flow from this spring. But the task would be too long and too great. I would be brief and say that a diligent and pious schoolteacher, or master, or whoever it is that faithfully trains and teaches boys, can never be sufficiently rewarded, or repaid with any money, as even the heathen Aristotle says. Nevertheless, this work is as shamefully despised among us as though it was nothing at all. I myself, if I could leave the preaching office and other things, or had to do so, would not be so glad to have any other work as that of schoolmaster, or teacher of boys, for I know that thi

A Church of the Book - Second Sunday in Advent, '08

Archbishop Cranmer I thought I'd post this sermon ahead of the day this week, since I remain without a cure and am not preaching anywhere this week. On this second Sunday in Advent, our Collect and Scripture readings have concerned the Holy Scriptures and their value to us. It is only fitting that, during this season when we remember the Word become flesh, we be reminded of the wonderful treasure that the Lord has given to us in the Bible. As Christ became a human baby, so weak to human sight, so His Wisdom revealed to us is enclosed in a book that looks much like any other book. However, by faith, we recognise that therein lies the knowledge of our salvation, of Christ Himself. Thus Christians heartfully sing words such as those found in Mary Lathbury’s hymn “Break Thou the Bread of Life” wherein she writes: Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee Lord: My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word! Historically, the Anglican Church has been a Church of the Book. The shape

Rev. Robertson's Obfuscation

"And we reiterate what has been true of Anglicanism for centuries: that there is room within The Episcopal Church for people with different views, and we regret that some have felt the need to depart from the diversity of our common life in Christ," the Rev. Charles K. Robertson said in the written statement. The problem with Rev. Robertson's "regret" is 1) it is hypocritcal - the Episcopal Church is very intolerant of diversity, because it is persecuting and excluding the orthodox, and 2) the diversity which is supposed to be of the common life "in Christ" as it is found in the Episcopal Church is not "in Christ," but in the modernistic, anti-Christian revolution. If Robertson and his ilk were so doggoned concerned for what has "been true of Anglicanism for centuries," they would cease their innovations, repent, seek the new birth, return to a Biblical world-view and ask the orthodox to forgive them for their apostasy and to p

Come, Lord Jesus! Advent 1 - '08

Today we begin the Christian year. It is the first Sunday in the Advent season and as we enter into this new year, our hearts are moved with anticipation of what the coming year will hold of the blessings of our Lord. But let us not rush through this Advent season - it will pass soon enough. Let us take time to reflect upon Advent and its meaning and allow the Lord time and space to bring these lessons home to us. Advent is primarily the season of anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Christ. But how are we to anticipate this celebration? Advent is really a complex event. Throughout the Church and throughout history, Advent has been a time, not only of listening to the joy of the angels and the shepherds and the wise men, but of listening to the call of John the Baptist to make ready the way of the Lord with repentance, and the cry of the Spirit and the Bride in Revelation, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus,” for we, like those Jewish believers who awaited the first comin

The Bishop's Hymns - V

This cup is the new covenant . Luke xxii.20 Before Thy Table, Lord, I kneel And clasp the cup of holy wine - The great New Covenant's royal seal, Authentic, visible, divine. Thy two-fold grant, it all is here, The death-bought peace, the cleansing power; Sure is Thy seal, my title clear; I claim the whole this blissful hour. H.C.G.M. Image: Thanks to Sarah Harford of Ridley Hall, Facebook Group - lovely shot!

Our Need of Patience - Sunday Next Before Advent

In the Epistle today (Jer. 23:5f), Jeremiah spoke of wonderful spiritual blessings that God would bring His people in “the days to come.” Jeremiah surely delighted in the prospect of these blessings, but he never saw them. Indeed, he knew he would not see them for he knew that seventy years were appointed for his people to be under God’s judgment in Babylon. In the years that followed Jeremiah’s prophecy, Daniel knew the days that Jeremiah had foreseen were approaching and prays for the Lord to fulfill his promises. The angel Gabriel, in reply to Daniel, told him that the spiritual aspect of the prophecy of Jeremiah, the coming of the Branch, the King, the Messiah, would not be fulfilled for seventy times seven years - hundreds of years later. By the time of Jesus, the Jews had been waiting for Jeremiah’s prophecies regarding the Messiah to be fulfilled for almost six hundred years. Why does God sometimes wait so long to do the things we wish He would do? Oswald Chambers, when writin

Articles Removed from Elizabeth's Booke

In case you are interested. Numbered in accord with the 1562 edition, which only had 38 Articles: XXXIX. The Resurrection of the Dead is not past already . The Resurrection of the Dead is not past already, as if it belonged only to the Soul, which by the Grace of Christ is raised from the Death of Sin, but is to be expected by all Men in the last Day: for at that time (as the Scripture doth most apparently testify) the Dead shall be restored to their own Bodies, Flesh and Bones, to the end that Man, according as either righteously or wickedly he hath passed this Life, may, according to his Works, receive Rewards or Punishments. XL. The Souls of Men deceased, do neither perish with their Bodies . They who maintain that the Souls of Men deceased, do either sleep, without any manner of sense, to the Day of Judgment, or affirm that they die together with the Body, and shall be raised therewith at the last Day, do wholly differ from the Right Faith, and Orthodox Belief, which is delive

Stir up the gift of God that is in thee

For which reason I remind thee to fan into flame the grace-gift of God which is in thee through the layong-on of my hands.... (2 Tim. 1:6; HCGM) "St. Paul is writing to a man of the gentlest and most sensitive spirit, one to whom at the best of times difficult duty was a formidable load, and who was now about to suffer a deep bereavement, to face a hostile world alone, and to try to do his pastoral duty still. Timothy would be tremendously tempted to yield to the 'cowardice' which fails and sinks in prospect of the evil hour.... "What should he do? where in his bewilderment should he turn for courage, and for the power to labour on? The Apostle takes a method perfectly practical; he directs him to a concrete fact, an event not only of his inner but of his outward life; he reminds him of the laying of his hands on Timothy's head and of the spiritual import and issue of that act. We cannot reasonably doubt the exact reference here; it is to Timothy's Ordina

The Bishop's Hymns - IV

Actually, some of these posts are just poetry - not hymns - but here we go. He that is joined unto the Lord . I Corinthians vi.17 Dear is Thy presence with Thy friends To faith's glad eyes reveal'd - Their sun when sorrow's night descends In battle's hour their shield. But oh, when inmost spirits faint, 'Tis life to clasp the Word That tells of Thee with every saint For ever one, dear Lord. Companions may converse and go; But what shall now divide Members and Head, above, below - The Bridegroom and the Bride? H.C.G.M.

The Bishop's Hymns - III

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net . Psalm xxv.15. A voice, a call from glory, cries "Watch, Christian, watch, at eve, at morn, Lest open violence, or surprise, Defeat thy soul forlorn." My Saviour, Master, it is Thou! Thy voice awakes me to the strife! Yes, let me watch - each passing now, Each conscious pulse of life. Yet how can this unready will At once, at every point, repel The heart's own traitors, aided still By energies of hell? A sinner's watch against his sin I keep, with weary sighs, in vain; In vain on evil deep within This aching gaze I strain. But now a better hope is mine; Jesus, 'tis Thou, my life, my own; Bid through the Word Thy Spirit shine, And show Thyself alone. To see the glory of Thy Name, Eternal Son for sinners given; To embrace Thy cross for aye the same, Thy gift of peace, of heaven; To welcome Thy great light at length, Thy love unknown to trust, to know - This brings a tenderness, a stren

The Bishop's Hymns - II

The Ridley Hall Quad I will come in to him. Revelation iii.20 Come in, O come! The door stands open now; I knew Thy voice; Lord Jesus, it was Thou; The sun has set long since; the storms begin; 'Tis time for Thee, my Saviour; O come in! Come, even now. But think not here to find A lodging, Lord, and converse, to Thy mind: The lamp burns low; the hearth is chill and pale; Wet through the broken casement pours the gale. Alas, ill-order'd shews the dreary room; The household-stuff lies heap'd amidst the gloom; The table empty stands, the couch undress'd; Ah, what a welcome for the Eternal Guest! Yet welcome, and to-night; this doeful scene Is e'en itself my cause to hail Thee in; This dark confusion e'en at once demands Thine one bright presence, Lord, and ordering hands. I seek no more to alter things, or mend, Before the coming of so great a Friend: All were at best unseemly; and 't were ill Beyond all else to keep Thee waiting still. Then, as Thou art,

The Bishop's Hymns

Entrance to Durham Castle Bishop H. C. G. Moule wrote some beautiful and very edifying hymns. Sadly, there are none in the 1940 Hymnal! I wish to share some of these gems with you, starting with the following. Yield yourselves . Romans 6:13 My glorious Victor, Prince divine, Clasp these surrender'd hands in Thine; At length my will is all Thine own, Glad vassal of a Saviour's throne. My Master, lead me to Thy door; Pierce this now willing ear once more: Thy bonds are freedom; let me stay With Thee, to toil, endure, obey. Yes, ear and hand, and thought and will, Use all in Thy dear slavery still! Self's weary liberties I cast Beneath Thy feet; there keep them fast. Tread them still down; and then, I know, These hands shall with Thy gifts o'erflow, And pierced ears shall hear the tone Which tells me Thou and I are one. Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Durham_Castle_Eingang.jpg

Please Pray for Orissa, India

Update from a former YWAM'er: Thanks for your concern for the India YWAMers. There is an email currently circulating about YWAM India, but it is not actually written by YWAMers or about YWAMers, so we haven't been able to verify the specific details of that email. However, the persecution is very real, and we do know that about a dozen of our staff have been physically assaulted, and both private and ministry property belonging to our teams has been damaged or destroyed. One couple had their house burned down. In addition, though over 50 believers have been killed, and 50 churches damaged or destroyed, so the issue is much bigger than YWAM; in fact our staff specifically asked that the whole body of Christ there, particularly in Orissa and Karnataka state, be lifted up in prayer. The best resource for up-to-date information on this situation can be found on the website of the Evangelical Fellowship of India ( www.efionline.org ). Thanks again for praying for this issue, and

Nihil Sub Sole Novum

There is an "exceptionalism" about these United States, but, at the same time, there is really nothing exceptional about how the country is deteriorating along with the rest of the West. However the upcoming election pans out, it will be business as usual as far as history is concerned. The principles of freedom will still exist and they will still work. God will still reward righteousness with its precious fruits. But men, because of their evil hearts, will turn their backs upon them. Men with little responsibility in this world will harm little more than themselves. Men with great responsibility in this world will harm multitudes. I, along with others, keep thinking about the 1930's. I keep hearing Churchill's words ringing in my ears. Such words as, "So we go on preparing more months and years - precious, perhaps vital, to the greatness of Britain - for the locusts to eat." [Nov. 12, 1936] The same kind of selfish and foolish actions of politicians in

A Few Thoughts on Hope

Our hope is critical for our survival and our effectiveness, usefulness, and testimony. We must recognize our hope as not in a hopeful frame of mind. It is a Person, unchangeable, and He is in us. Our Hope is always, therefore, with us, though all other hope is gone. So, we rejoice, yes, and will rejoice (Hab. 3:17,18). The reality of our joyous hope displaces an idolatrous obsession with unhappy things in our life, enabling a more wholesome reflection upon the affairs of life in general, with the varied benefits obtained thereby.

Packer on AnglicanTV

Don't miss the recent posts on AnglicanTV of Dr. J. I. Packer in Virginia this past weekend.

Joy in Our King

In the midst of all the troublesome stuff in the news, I've been meditating on the kingship of Christ. There is a man, who is just as much a man as any other head of state alive today, that sits on the throne of the universe. All these other people in their various offices who struggle with serving the country or serving themselves are all answerable, right now, to this King. They themselves live in this monarchy! And someday they will answer for what they have done with the positions that have been given to them. The kingship of Christ is not a merely spiritual truth. It is a historic fact. All the nations of all the earth, whatever they may think of themselves, are literally subordinate to the divine monarchy. This king is daily active - in office - ruling over the affairs of mankind, directing them according to His Father's will. When the King was with us, he spoke of his kingdom in spiritual terms: "the kingdom of God is within you." This is still true today. Y