Bishop Clark Lowenfield and Bishop Terrell Glenn
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
Bishop Terrell Glenn of the Anglican Church was invited to preach this Sunday, by his best friend Bishop Clark Lowenfield at HopePointe in The Woodlands, TX. He began by saying the Greeks had two words for time - chronos and kairos. I used to mark my young twenties spending time on an accounting project called The Chrono. Time was indeed a tick tock thing, time merely passed in effort. And then there is Kairos. In the renewal project called Decolores the love letters of renewal and regeneration are called Caritas. Kairos - time in which something special happens.
And this was a very meaningful sermon for me. Saying God gives us specific exercises in life to strengthen us to His purposes. Why would He do this? If it were merely exercise in life, we might burn out or be bored. The analogy was the movie "Karate Kid." Unfortunately the movie is unknown to me, but not the analogy that effort has life in His plan, Strengthened us.
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
God does indeed call us to His purpose. We can resist and become hardened, bitter, unhappy, dismayed. And even if we are seeking HIM, without the diligence to find gratitude we will indeed become immune to the blessings of life.
Gratitude is not something we should do without and
requires effort for most of us.
God does not ask us to spend our lives guessing His purpose and task for us. It's rather a simple thing. Humble. Give Justice with Mercy, Walking Humbly with Him.
Life has some strength in determining His purpose for me. For all of us. And it is a rather simple way with it. Easy to remember. Easy on the brain, comfort for the soul.
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.
It's rather overwhelming for us to follow in the footsteps of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Who opened His arms and took on the sin of the world. Our sin. And almost incomprehensible for most of us to imagine, being Peter, moving out of Jerusalem and moving onward on His Path. The Lord's own brothers did this too. And Paul.
However, we all love the stories of Jesus interacting with the Centurion. And we all foster a secret hope in us this is Cornelius. We cannot know until the day we go Home to be with Jesus. Yet we can mostly imagine being Cornelius. Working for a rather hostile environment to Christianity. How did Cornelius witness? He looked for the teachable moments. He opened his hands in the morning to the Lord.
Lord Father God, let us go with You each day praying in all circumstances. Knowing we want to do better. But not giving into the sadness of our weakness, instead rejoicing You see us with patience, kindness, rejoicing in our truth giving, bearing us up, believing in us, hoping in His Love and omnipotence, enduring our weakness, rising over our weaknesses in triumph. Giving us, in grace, Your promises of enduring life, a plan for a hope and a future. Because You are Love.
Father God we give great thanks for the continuing prayers we give for each other strengthening us to do Your will. The prayers of the righteous people are powerful and effective. In Jesus Christ Risen over Death, our Lord. Amen.
Each day we are building. In prayer we ask, let me be fruitful for You. Let Your glory shine in my life. And eventually, there is a moment you are called upon. This is a good thing, a warm thing, because Father God builds us easily to do the good works He plans for us. We serve the Living God, who walks with us in wonder, just like He did for His disciples, and equips us for this.
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
God is love. The disciple who wrote this walked with the incarnate Word of God. And he was enriched and changed for all his days, proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven Is At Hand.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.