This past Sunday (November 22, 2015) in my Episcopal tradition is usually referred to as “Christ the King” Sunday. The Gospel lesson is the conversation between Jesus and Pilate in which Pilate asks Jesus if he is “the King of the Jews”. In my way of thinking, every Gospel reading should raise a question which each of us must answer for ourselves and then work out the implications of the answer we conclude.
In this case, the question is “Do I accept Jesus as my King?” By answering “Yes!” I must then wrestle with the implications – i.e. what does it mean for me in practical terms to confess that Jesus is my King? (more…)

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Spiritual Journaling

Sandie Wesley

Journaling is an often misunderstood practice; Spiritual Journaling is probably even less understood.

Journaling in general is used in many contexts – for some, journaling is just making a list of the day’s activities; for others it is a form of self-examination.  It is used in therapy groups, recovery groups, school groups (especially for ADD students), and others.

But I want to talk specifically here about Spiritual Journaling.  Max Lucado (in “God Came Near”, p. 161) has a beautiful quote (more…)

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“Be Ye Transformed…”

One of Paul’s many profound declarations comes at the beginning of Romans 12 – “Do not be conformed [to become like] to this world, but be transformed [in Greek, metamorphosis= to be changed in both form and substance] by the renewing [in Greek, anakainosis]of your mind.  The Greek word anakainosis is more clearly translated “renovation”.

Like some of you, I imagine, I have worked in the building trade as a home remodeler or “renovator”.  I’ve learned three things about “renovation”:

  1. In a renovation project, change happens slowly over a period of time;
  2. In a renovation project, there are usually numerous set- backs and starting(s) over;
  3. A renovation is a total change, so much so that the renovated space is often unrecognizable when compared with its original shape or form.    (more…)
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Let’s Talk About Hell

Greg Garrison writes for The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Alabama. In his article on Friday, August 7, 2009, titled “Heaven? Sure. Hell? Not So Much,” Garrison highlights discussion at a recent annual Beeson Pastors School at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He quoted Kurt Selles, director of the School’s Global Center, who led two workshops on the subject “Whatever happened to hell?” Selles asked how many of the pastors had ever preached a sermon on hell. Nobody had, he said.” (more…)

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Does the Holy Spirit live inside of you?

In the Gospel of John, chapter 14, Jesus is preparing his disciples for his approaching death, resurrection and ascension. He explains that it is necessary for him to leave so that he can send the Holy Spirit to them to be a companion, a support, an encourager [“paraclete”, from the Greek para, along side of, and kaleo, called]. In verse 17 Jesus says of the Holy Spirit “he will dwell with you and shall be in you”. (more…)

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Are you a convincing christian example?

One writer has summarized a major theme of the
New Testament in these words: On account of abundant iniquity (evil deeds and un-repented sin), the love of many will grow cold. Only those who endure to the end will be saved (Matt.24,12-13; Mark 13,13; Luke 21,19).

Looking at many of what are called “main-line Churches (i.e. Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian), the judgment of “love has grown cold” seems to apply. Paul’s description of these Churches in II Timothy is that they “hold the form of religion, but have not the power of it.” (more…)

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Is the Christian Church as bad as you suspect?

Is the Christian Church as bad as you suspect? In today’s world, people who might be interested, are inclined to pursue “spiritual” things apart from “religion” or “the Church”. I understand this suspicion. The Christian Church has admittedly caused its own bad image. In recent history, the Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals of the 1980s, and the Roman Catholic priests’ sexual abuse and related cover-up of the 1990s, has only added fuel to people’s already tainted view of the Christian Church. I can’t tell you how many times I have had people cite to me “the Church is full of hypocrites” as the reason for their non-participation in an organized Church. TV preachers in general have added to people’s suspicion that “the Church is only interested in my money”. On and on. Sure, there are plenty of good reasons NOT to participate in organized religion or the Church. But one contradictory and undeniable fact still stands out – God created the Church to be part of His plan of Salvation for the human race. (more…)

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“What is your passion?

What is your “passion”?

It is kind of “faddy” to ask “what is your passion? As one author I read puts the question: “What drives you to get out of bed every morning?” I “googled” the question just to see what kind of answers were “out there”. I guess I wasn’t totally surprised by what I found. I looked at about the first 25 Google hits; by the end they had gotten pretty repetitive. I listed the responses people had made on various blogs and websites: reading, movies, people-watching, stories, beaches, gaming, sleep, music, learning, grandchildren, driving, running, (more…)

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Traditional Church Practices

About 8 people gather in the side Chapel of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Smethport, PA., every Thursday morning for an hour. After a traditional opening of prayers, Bible readings and brief discussion of one or more of the readings, we recite a Litany for Healing. (more…)

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