Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost, commonly called Whitsunday

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Sermon – Reverend Hap Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  

Once again the propers for this week come together very well, their focus is narrow, thus powerful.

Consider these words from the Collect:

… sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort  …

When Jesus left on Ascension Day, we lost a teacher here on earth.  We still have Him as Redeemer and Savior; but what to do for understanding? In response to His departure, God sent us the Holy Ghost.

Who is this Holy Ghost and why is he here?

We worship the One True God, a triune God, that is Three in One; Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Most people have no trouble understanding the concept of God the Father, Christians seem to get God the Son, but many seem to have a difficulty with the Holy Ghost, that Third God Guy.

The Holy Ghost has been there since the beginning.  He breathed life into the world, yet His actions seemed to be sporadic until Pentecost. 

Well, today is Pentecost, the time one normally thinks of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, the Comforter.  When people do think of Him, they oft think of the actions described in the words of Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles.  The dancing and speaking in tongues.  All that happened so we might understand that with the help of the Holy Ghost we might bring the Word to all mankind.  The Word of God is a universal language.  When the disciples spoke in tongues, the people around them heard the Word in their own language, not an odd combination of sounds that no one understood. The disciples spoke and were heard by those around them in their own language, not Klingon.  It is not for us to speak in tongues without study; that was a one shot deal.  It was designed to show us we could and should with hard work and persistence bring the Gospel to the world in the language of the people. It showed we were in fact to preach the Gospel to all nations, not just the nation of Israel, but to all the nations of the World. The many nations of the fallen race of Adam comprise those to whom the Good News is to be spread. Which is why God sent the Holy Ghost; so we would understand it is for us to bring the light of Christ into the world for all to see and believe upon. He is here so we can understand and then act upon His Word. He is here to provide us with the guidance and understanding necessary to preach and spread the Word into the far regions of the Earth. The Holy Ghost allows us to spread His Word amongst all the people in the world to give them the knowledge that they might open their heart to the Holy Ghost and believe. He opens our eyes to what is good for us and what is not good for us, so that we know what to believe and what not to believe. 

We need the Holy Ghost if we are to follow the Great Commission Christ set forth. He knew we would need the Holy Ghost if we were to have any success in this endeavor. However, He also knew that He needed to leave if the Holy Ghost were to come and stay, so the Holy Ghost’s coming had to wait until after the Ascension. He had it planned out so the disciples would not be without a direct connection to Him for very long. 

The Holy Ghost also helps us to give the “righteous judgment” the Collect speaks of. This judgment is not the same as the final judgment that God judges us on our performance, but it is a judgment based on Scriptural values that with the Holy Ghost’s help, we can make on our lives and others lives, based on how we see it through the lens of the Holy Ghost and Scripture. It is not to insult people but to be truthful from the standpoint of Scriptures and be able to say that certain behaviors do not line up with Scripture, i.e. homosexuality and abortion. To say those behaviors are not Christian is a righteous judgment statement the Holy Ghost helps us determine.  

The Holy Ghost is also our direct connection to God. When Jesus left, the disciples were distant from God. When they were not near Jesus, they did not do as well as when they were with Him. As with the righteous judgement, the Holy Ghost helps us to align our actions and views with that of Scripture. The Holy Ghost helps us to properly understand and apply Scriptural principles in our own lives. Note Peter’s actions after the arrest of Jesus for an example, thrice denying His Lord. The Holy Ghost came so we would have understanding and a direct connection to God, wireless as it were, instead of having to be tethered to Christ.  This is how He can always be with us, even though He is not physically with us at the present time. We will never have to fear anything as long as He is with us, for if He is with us, who should we be afraid of, if we are on His side?

If we allow the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we will never be far from Him, and He will never be far from us. We have to consciously let Him into our hearts, He will not come uninvited into our hearts. The Holy Ghost helps us understand Scripture and gives us guidance on our earthly lives, as we work towards staying on the straight and narrow path towards heaven He will be a constant guiding presence in our lives, that will give us peace in times of trouble, and will help us guide and focus our minds in our worship of God.  He will give us inspiration and help us to do what is right for our fellow Christians and friends, while staying true to God. He will light our paths in difficult times and trials and will give us the guidance we need to finish our race for God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He would be leaving, but the Father would send a facilitator; one who whose presence, if we let Him into our hearts, would let us understand His Word with those self-same hearts.  The Comforter would bring the Love of God into our hearts to let us feel His Love.  He will help us understand that we are striving to be one with God, with Jesus and with the Holy Ghost.  Our love can be demonstrated by our actions.  Jesus points out those who do not truly love Him will not keep His Commandments. However, if we truly do love him, He points out we will act for Him and by doing so will keep his commandments. Which are only possible if we allow the Holy Ghost into our hearts and believe and ACT upon our faith! This is a point that is made time and time again in Scriptures. We need to be doers of the world, not just hearers, to paraphrase St. James. For if we love Jesus, we will do as He asked.

If you think about it, you will recall the second half of the Book of Lukeis titled The Acts of the Apostles.  It is not the thoughts, the beliefs, the feelings, the meditations, the inner feelings or any other touchy feely thing, it is the ACTS.  If you believe, act on those beliefs. The Holy Ghost is here to help us know how to act, we will just have to let Him into our hearts, and then ACT. 

We need the help of the Holy Ghost to learn what we are to do, how we are to do it and most of all to do it.  Action, not just diction.

Pray for His continual presence in your heart.

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, May 13, 2018

AOC Sunday Report


The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Today is Mother's Day.  It is a day of appreciation for our mothers, those mothers who have brought us to this point in the world and those around us who every day put their children's welfare above their own and allow us to move forward in the manner God intended.

Happy Sunday after the Ascension!  If you aren't familiar with the 'Liturgical Year', you might want to read about the Ascension and figure out what this is all about.  Even if you are, you might want to learn more.

Rev Jack was on travel, so you have really great sermons from Bishop Roy, Rev Bryan, as well as one from me.  They are each quite different, you will enjoy them.

There are a lot of people who need your prayers, start with Jay, Shamu, Bruce and work out from there.

Have a great week ahead.  You are going to be alive anyway, accept God's grace and have a week to enjoy.

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA




Sunday after the Ascension

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Sermon – Reverend Hap Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  

Once again the propers for this week come together very well, their focus is narrow, thus powerful.

Consider these words from the Collect:

… leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before…

Today is no different than the very First Sunday after the Ascension.  Jesus has ascended in to heaven, we are alone and physically separated from God who gives us the strength we need to do His Will.  Like Peter and the cock who crew thrice, the further we are from God, the weaker we are.  Thus, we are looking towards Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost.  We ask for God’s help we might have the true belief, courage, knowledge and strength to follow Jesus to heaven for all eternity. That help is on the way in the form of the Holy Ghost.  Yes, we do have the Holy Ghost, here and now, He does not ebb and flow with the liturgical year; where would we be if He did?
                                                                                   
The end of the earth and this world may come at any time, indeed for 313,000 people each day, their time here is up.  Thus, in a very real sense as Saint Peter put it, “The end of all things is at hand…”  So, how should we act?  We are to do what we can with a smile on our face.  We should act as if it was our last day on earth. We need to be mindful of the fact that at any time, the world may well end for each of us. In other words, if this was our last day on this planet, how would we act? That is a question we all must ask more often and not only ask it, but answer it. The answer comes with the help of the Holy Ghost, who could only come once Jesus left. That is one of the reasons why Jesus ascended into heaven. He left so the Holy Ghost could come down and dwell amongst us and in us to provide us with the guidance we need to follow God.

We have to wait and hear what the Holy Ghost has to say before we act. Then once the Holy Spirit has given the answer, we must act upon that answer. This is a continuous cycle and we must always prioritize our work to be for God, our Country, Family, friends and co-workers in that order and things will fall in line. Along these lines, we must strive to work hard, take care of those who cannot and be good stewards of the considerable grace God has given us.  This does not just refer to spending MONEY, but rather to giving of our time and effort to bring the Gifts of God to others. We must give ourselves entirely to help those in need of that help, so we may share the benefits of the Gift of God truly. Only then we will know the grace of God’s love truly.  We are to share the LOVE in our hearts with those we encounter, for Love is of God. And the Holy Ghost will help us spread that love to others in our lives. We are called not to hoard that love, but to spread it through ought our travels. For as love is of God, then it follows there is a large supply of love. In fact, love multiplies with use, so there is an even more infinite amount of love out there.

For as Saint Peter says in his Epistle this morning, charity (love) truly does cover a multitude of sins. So, when we do things for others, the driving force behind our actions should be that of charity, or love, for our fellow human beings and not any self-seeking motivation. Charity will cover for our multitude of sins, but we need to be thinking of how we can use charity in our hearts to help others. It is the greatest of gifts God and the Holy Spirit gives to us; a gift we find ourselves needing to use more often. The Holy Spirit is key in giving us the desirable thoughts and attributes that we need to carry out His Plan on Earth. He also helps us deal with our less desirable thoughts and attributes and helps us deal with very difficult people and situations. Turning to the Holy Spirit in those very stressful times will reduce the burden on your heart and shift it from you to God, giving you the clarity you need to act for Him, to be able to act in an effective and Christ like manner.

But, without the Holy Ghost, the needed action on our part is impossible.  We need God’s help and He sent it in the form of the Holy Ghost. He sent it as the “Comforter”, that is to Comfort us and to Guide us on the journey on the narrow uphill path towards heaven. The Holy Ghost is that portion of God who can enter our hearts bringing understanding, hope and most of all the courage and determination to do what needs be done.  Those who will not have Him in their hearts can never understand God and His Will.  That is why they cannot understand or fathom the plan He has for us. They cannot understand why we follow God and Christ. They do not believe; therefore, they cannot have Him in their hearts, and therefore they will not understand. The end of time is nearer each day than the day before, of that we can be certain. But there is a certainty we have in this uncertainly world, the unfailing love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, if we let Him in, and the inerrant Holy Scriptures to guide us throughout the rest of our lives. With this knowledge of an unchanging standard, we can stand fast by this standard and be content knowing we are following the One True Triune God, and though we may physically suffer a while, it is nothing to enjoying eternity with God. We just have to DO and ACT our best for Him here; though it may be hard, it will be worth it in the end. The current world climate and even in this country is less hospitable than in centuries to Christians.  There is a reason for this which only God understands and not us. God has a plan for all of this.    In time, we will realize what the plan is. But for now, we are unaware of His plan in the greater scheme of things. But what it is doing is solidifying the faith of true believers around the globe, forming the Army of Light together, ready to battle against the malicious forces of Satan. We cannot make this journey alone.  We must have the close and continuous presence of God.  That presence is the Holy Ghost.  That is why He is here.

Pray for His continual presence in your heart.

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same

As we near the Ascension and thus Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost, we ask for God’s “holy inspiration we may think those things that are good”, that is to say help from the Holy Ghost so we might direct our souls to the things we cannot see as good without His Help.   Then once we can see the things as good, we will still need His Help to guide us to act on those things.

James makes the point we gain our salvation through the freely given gift of Grace by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is on us to accept the gift of Grace. If we truly accept the gift, we must of consequence act upon the Word. Then once we have accepted the gift, our actions will naturally reflect that we are a hearer and a doer of the Word, and not just a hearer only. It is easier to be a hearer of the Word, it is harder to be a doer. To truly be a believer requires that we make that belief known in our lives through action. If you are going to be a Christian, the key is right there – BE.  Being requires action, not just diction.  Many can talk the talk, but will they walk the walk, too? Being a Christian requires doing both, which may be very difficult sometimes, but it must be done. It is the only way we will have salvation through Christ, but yet we must be with Him, by acting for Him. 

If our stated belief has any meaning, we have to align our lives with that of the Word. For without aligning our lives to the Word via action, our stated belief is meaningless. The meaning of our belief comes when we act upon that belief for God. In this world there are many Christians who are not truly Christian because they do not act upon their claimed belief. To the world, through our actions, we must show the truth of John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” To show this truth we have to live that truth through our actions. It is not just enough to say we know the Word of God, if we truly know the Word of God, we must act upon that Word of God and serve Him in this life. 

Serving God in this life naturally requires we align our being with Him and what better way to do that than acting for Him and advancing His Cause here on Earth. By aligning our principles with God’s, we can show the World our Faith has meaning and we are upholding Christian principles. This is not always easy. At times we will fail, but like every other time we fail, we have to get up and get back in the saddle. That is, confess and repent of our sins and go forth striving to do better and not sin again. 


John’s writings provide a lot of valuable theological knowledge and comfort. He gives us an insight into things that none of the other disciples have given us.  We need help. We pray for help. Pray for help that we might act, and that is how we keep on the straight, narrow and uphill path. So, what about prayer?  Let’s start with to whom do we pray? 

Jesus is pretty clear we are not to pray to Him; we are to pray to God.  He instructs us to pray to God in His Name. He tells us God loves us because we love Jesus; but, pray to God. I think that there are not many people have ever understood this part of scripture, as I have heard people pray to Jesus when he is not the correct person to address your prayers to. He specifically tells us to direct the prayers to His Father who will help us.


Once we have the answer from Our Heavenly Father we need to take that message into our hearts, souls and minds and with the help of the Holy Ghost, to act upon it. Once we act upon that message, we are living the belief we profess to the world. For without the actions that accompany our belief, we cannot truly claim to be followers of Christ. 

We have to realize what we truly need and ask that He will open our hearts, minds and souls to His answer that we might act upon His answer. The key word here is what we truly need, not what we want. Our needs and wants are not the same thing and whenever we are asking God, we have to make sure we are asking for a need and not just a want. It is easy to confuse need and want. They are too oft used interchangeably when they should not be.

The critical portion of all of this is that we act upon the answer that we are given, to do our best for Him and that our friends, family and coworkers and neighbors might see the light we shine for Him and see who we follow in word and in deed. We must show others not just through our words, but through our actions we truly belong to Christ’s flock. We must show great love for our fellow man, even to the point of death, through our actions, to reflect Christ’s love for us, that He, too, loved us even to the point of death.

So, pray to God, ask for what you want in Jesus’ Name. He always listens and He always delivers.  The problem for us is He delivers what we need, not necessarily what we want. Our wants and our needs are oft different, in fact they are seldom the same. But we should want what we need, and God will help us understand that, if we be a doer and just a hearer of His Word. He will always give us what we need; but will we listen to what He wants us to do?

God’s Will is always done, we just don’t understand. Accept what happens as acceptable, so long as you have done all you can.  In the end, all that counts is where you go when you leave here.  That depends on your actions in following Jesus’ instructions.  If you believe, you are safe.  Now and forever.

Ø Talk the Talk;
       AND
Ø Walk the Walk.

It is an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Fourth Sunday after Easter

If you enjoy this, you can download the entire AOC Sunday Report RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.  

Consider these words from the Collect:

… who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found

The very first phrase is critical to understanding our relationship with the world.  We want to follow our own hearts and they will lead us down the path to Donkey Island and eventually the pit.  This explains the “unruly wills and affections of sinful men.”   Our natural wills and affections are towards sinful things and not that of God. They are not naturally peaceful and loving wills and affections but that of violence and evil doing. It has been that way ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. God’s commandments to us are to re-shape our affections from things of mammon, to things of eternity. This is what the collect is talking about when it says “who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men”.  Only God can help us to re-shape those sinful wills and affections. It requires tweaking our perspective on what is best for us to match with what God knows is the best for us. He knows us far better than we do, and knows what is actually best for us. We have one hope; that we will listen to the instruction God freely offers us. If we will just do what He asks we will find true joy. 

We have to internalize His commands into our hearts through listening and then through repetition, action.  This is the only way we can follow His Commandments and show the World we follow Him. It is not enough to hear the Word only, we need to live the Word. Showing others that we are dedicated to following the Lord, and not just saying that we are following the Lord is how we can truly follow Him.  For all of the above to happen we have to let God into our hearts, souls, minds and bodies and let His Directions carry us through life. We have to allow room in our soul and hearts for the Holy Spirit to operate and give us that direction. We have to overcome our resistance to letting Him in, so that we can let Him in.  Because we cannot change ourselves; we need God’s help, also the Holy Spirit’s help, in changing ourselves. We have to do a hard boot to use computer speak and restart our lives in a new direction, 180 degrees opposite from our previous, more sinful lives.

Our life will be better when we follow His directions and if we will allow God to rule us and desire His help, we will be able to attain the state of happiness we will then deserve. He knows what is right and what is wrong for us. He does not want us to lead so called puritanical lives with no fun allowed whatsoever, but we must have fun the right way and not the wrong way. The right way can lead to a lifetime of happiness, whereas the wrong way leads to a life time of misery. Many people think that God forbids things for us, because He does not want us to have fun. Nothing can be further from the truth. He forbids things harmful for our spiritual well being, and allows us to have clean spiritual, joyous things in our life to develop our spiritual well being. Those people confuse the things that are harmful for our spiritual well being with fun and think that the things that are actually helpful for our spiritual well being are not fun. When it is completely not the case. The Holy Spirit will help us to truly see what is harmful for us and what is not harmful for us.

We need God’s help (this is one of the places the Holy Ghost comes in) to be able to want for ourselves that which He Wants for us.  If we can desire what He Wants, our ability to follow His Instructions will be much enhanced. And not only will they be much enhanced, but the more we follow His Instructions, the easier it will be for us to continue on that straight and narrow path towards heaven.

We are God’s creatures, first among all His Creation with all the privileges (which we like) and all the responsibility (which we are not so keen on) which come with that status.  All good comes from God, who is always with us; always the same; a true bearing in world in a constant state of flux. While the world may change, the Word will never change, no matter what happens in the world today. His Word is refreshing constant, in this world where things are changing every few years it seems, but His Word will never change. Its meaning never changes, as God never changes. As God is truth, which by its nature cannot change, so should we never change in our beliefs towards Him. It is refreshing to have Him in our lives as a constant we can always cling to when we get in trouble. Whenever it is a simple problem, such as a computer program malfunctioning, or a complex problem, we can turn to Him in our day of trial and find ourselves comforted.  We need to listen to not only Him, but those around us, think before we speak, think more before we act in haste.  We must put ourselves to good and separate ourselves from evil and superfluity of naughtiness so we can hear His Word, which will save our souls.

So, how can we hear?

When Jesus got ready to leave this world for His, He told the disciples that He would send them the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to keep them in Him and to help them understand what they had so far been unable to truly grasp.  Unless we allow the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts, we will never understand that which is from God.  This is an important concept with messages that are not from God being bombarded across the world through principalities and powers of this world. Only the Holy Ghost can help us remain grounded within the truth. We need the Holy Ghost to enter into us that we might be able to hear the Word of God, and more important than just hearing the Word, we need the Holy Ghost to be able to act upon the Word. We must allow the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts and souls so we can understand what God has for us.  It is that simple.  Open your heart, pray for God to send Him into that open heart. 

For with the Holy Ghost’s help, you can hear, understand and act on The Word.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Third Sunday after Easter

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  


We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.  

Consider these words from the Collect:

… who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same

God is a Triune God; Father, Son, Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost’s job is to open our souls, hearts and minds to God’s Will.  It is to help us see where we are in error and how to fix those errors.  Thus, to open our “ears” to His Voice so we can listen and make our improvements based on His Words..   As is oft the case, the Collect really asks us to let the Holy Ghost in so He can change us.    Consider this quote from Jack Lewis out of Mere Christianity:

“When He said, ‘Be perfect,’He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

It does not matter if it is hard for us to listen to the Holy Ghost, we must do it.  If we will listen to Him, God will always provide the light to show us where “We have erred, and strayed from His ways like lost sheep. Wherewe have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. Wherewe have offended against His holy laws. Where we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done[1]…”   He will shine His Light onto the dark areas in our heart and souls so we can focus on eliminating that darkness from within us. He does this so that we can turn to the path which brings us to His World.  For without that guiding light, we will be forever lost on the path to darkness.

Then we can shine that Light for others to see, to lead them to that Light, that they might pick up their torches and bring His Light into the darkness of the world, be it the Western Civilized Word or the Eastern World. First, we have to let His Light into our hearts before we can shine it to others that they may see the works of His Light. We cannot lead others to a Light we do not have within us. So, we must first make sure we have the Light of the Holy Ghost within us before we can think of leadings others to that Light.

We can start in our own little corner of the world and work our way outward. We are always striving to work towards total transformation of our area to the light. However, we will always find opposition from evil. If evil is thwarting our efforts then we all must put in 110% to stop evil and combat it across the world wherever it is. We must never, never, never, ever give up on this fight.  

We must fight evil wherever and whenever we run across it. Evil anywhere is Evil everywhere to paraphrase one of my favorite books, Lord of the Rings. We must not let the little and big evils in this life get us down or defeat us. We must rely on the guiding power of the Holy Ghost and God’s unlimited grace to save the day. His Grace can help you out of any horrific situation; only if you ask for and accept His help, which is a universal theme in our sermons here, because it is a truth and one that Jesus preached, that is that we have to accept Him into our hearts, if we are to become truly Christians. 

A couple years ago, I met a Navy SEAL in Guam, who gave an excellent sermon to the point we must be on the offense in the battle against Satan, never defense. The SEAL noted Paul did not describe any sort of back armor whatsoever, showing us Christianity was an offense based, not defense based religion.  We must never our back towards the enemy, but rather face forward and attack. The best defense is a good offense as in every case. We must never cease our fight against Satan, for he is powerful here on earth, tricking many. We are often outnumbered in the fight.  Numbers matter not.  We must always fight with all we have every time.  We must carry on; we must storm the beaches of Hell itself and keep on persevering in good times and in bad.

Peter tells us our actions need to be consistent with the principles of Scripture and of Jesus’ message. In short, we need to be good citizens, be good neighbors, take particular care of our Christian family. In short, do what Christ would do, as far as it is in us. We need to cling to the good and reject the evil thoughts and actions of our old sinful selves.  Let us do our best to think, in hard and trying times, what would Jesus do in our situation, and then act in a manner most like Him. In order to make the world a better place, we first have to start with our selves then work out word, applying the principles of Christ to our lives. God does not ask us to be perfect; He does ask us to do our best to try to be perfect, to follow Jesus’ lead to the extent we have it in us.  Each of us is different, some are in truth less bad than others.  God holds us each to the same standard, that is to do our best.  Not to be better than any other particular person, but to do our best to follow His Instructions.  Being better than someone else is of no account, what is of account is following His Instructions to the best of YOUR ability.  

Don’t think of trying to be better than your neighbor, think of being better than you are. We are not competing against anyone. We are just striving to be better than we were yesterday. If we do this, then we will improve day by day, year by year.

In the Gospel according to Saint John, Jesus tells of His impending bodily death and resurrection.    He reminds us if we have eternal life, sorrow, even the sorrow of death is transient, for He has conquered death. It is a very minor thing in the long term view the sorrow of a temporary parting of a loved one. For that is all that is, if we put our trust and hope in God and do our very best to follow Him.  have to keep this in mind throughout our travel along the straight and narrow upward path. His One Sacrifice, made One Time, for All Mankind, for All Time is that joy that no man can take from us.  But, if we want to share in that eternal life, we need to see the error of our ways in the Light of His Light and take actions to follow Him.

Often it seems much easier to take the path of least resistance, to quit our work at the first sign of effort, to goof off when “no one” is looking.  But in the end, the right thing to do is always the easiest, the most profitable. The one that will result in happiness. It might seem hard, but it will not be as hard as doing the “easy” thing.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

As we go off on our business, please recall this quote from GK Chesterton:

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;  it has been found difficult and not tried.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God


[1]General Confession – BCP Page 6

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Second Sunday after Easter

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California
Todays sermon ties the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.  

Consider these words from the Collect:

… who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life 

To understand the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice, it is critical to understand He is the only begotten Son(John 3:16) of God.  He is also referred to in places as The Word, the means by which God is given to the world.  But, more than that, 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.   (John 1:1-3)  Though the corrupted versions of the Bible (NIV, NKJV, RSV, etc) have attempted to erase His Divine Status and the role He plays in our salvation, that does not change the reality of Who He is. He is in simplest terms, the great I AM.  He was the one who brought light into this World. He has been there since before the beginning of time, before the beginning of what we know as our Universe. He created this world, it is by rights His; not the rightful belonging of the Prince of this World.  It was not Satan’s to give away, which Jesus knew when Satan failed miserably to tempt Jesus with his false promises in the wilderness.  He whom is begotten of the Father is who was sent to give His earthly life that we might be accounted as perfect at our own final accounting.  We ourselves, so oft serve only as bad examples, need the One who is the ultimate perfect example. Jesus has provided that perfect live for us to do our best to follow in our day to day lives.  He came to provide a new and perfect new covenant that is far superior to the old covenant. The way He acted and conducted Himself on this Earth was left as an example for all of us Christians to follow. He is the ultimate role model for us, who we should strive to be more and more like every day. The Collect makes this point very clear, we need the Holy Ghost in our hearts to more closely follow that perfect example in our daily actions.

This brings us to Peter’s point in the Epistle, Christ serves as a perfect example for the conduct of our lives.  There again the Epistle and the Collect tie together amazingly well. He conducted His ministry as examples for us to follow in our times of trial and tribulation, that we might see His light in our darkest moments.  If we are wrong and suffer for it, there is little honor; for we were wrong.  But, if we do right, that is follow God’s Will, and suffer for it, there is in fact glory, laud and honor there.  Jesus went to His death on the Cross for our failures that we might be accounted as perfect.  He who is, was and always will be perfect suffered great pain that we might live life eternal.  If He did that for us, should we not follow that example and follow His Direction, counting the cost only after the work is done? He himself had to go through suffering that the miracle of His Resurrection would occur; if we have to suffer, we can be at least rest assured that He suffered too and He underwent far more pain and misery than we ever will in our lifetime.

We are after all much like sheep, following the lead of those around us, somewhat like lemmings, it seems.  We have great need of a shepherd to lead us back from the edge of The Pit and to life, back to those verdant pastures and still waters. This Shepherd never will fail to lead us back to the pastures, we just have to pick up the guidance from the Holy Ghost and follow the path that He has set for us. 

As Peter referred to Jesus as a shepherd, so does John.  There is a reason for this constant reference to Jesus as the Good Shepherd; He is.  He leads us to green pastures and to beside the still waters. He restores and comforts our souls and drives the enemy from out of our souls and minds, if we let Him. This is a universal theme throughout the various Epistles of Paul, Peter and James. In order for us to have spiritual growth, we need to let Him into our hearts. He will lead us towards the path to Heaven, we just have to make the conscious decision to follow His Directions and etch them into our hearts.

In order to follow His Directions, we have to let go of our pride, vanity and arrogance and accept His Guidance and teachings of humbleness and humility into our hearts. We have to realize that We cannot do this alone. And also that we cannot save ourselves and that we need God’s influence in our lives.. And the best way to let Him in is to accept His Teachings and act upon them. Continually reading the Scriptures and not only reading, but learning and digesting is the best way to grow as a Christian. To digest means to absorb.  The best way to absorb these teachings is not only to read the Scriptures but to put the concepts into practice every day. 

Acting is the key word here, not just talking about it, but acting. It isn’t good enough just to read the Scriptures and go on our merry way and act like we did before we read the Scriptures. We have to apply the key principles of the scriptures here in our lives and shine the light of Christ to those around us.

The Gospel notes the difference of ownership. Our true owner will, and I might add, has, given His Life so we might be protected from the ravening wolves of this world, the Prince of this World.  We are cautioned to 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:(1 Peter 5:8)  But, sobriety only gets you so far; sheep do poorly against wolves and lions.  We need one who is experienced in protecting our souls against the spiritual wolves and lions of this world. Jesus is that experienced protector we need.  Make no mistake, we need the help of that Good Shepherd.  That Good Shepherd calls to each of us, we need the Holy Ghost in our hearts to hear the call.  Regardless of what you have been told by those of this world, there is only One God, One Lord, One Savior.  Thus, there is only One Flock; there are many ways to follow Scripture, but they must all have the same general plan.  That is the reason for the creeds, the reason we tell all to compare what is preached against what is in Scripture.  We need to daily work towards doing a better job of following God’s Will.

We need help, He provides it, we need to accept it.

The key is action, in this case our action. We need to actually accept the offered help; like the life ring thrown to a drowning person, we must grab God’s proffered help, else we profit nothing.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God