Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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.   Once we see them, we need His “merciful guiding” so we “may perform the same…”.  After all, what good is it to know what we should do, if we won’t, can’t or don’t do it?

That brings us right to Saint James’ point, we gain our salvation through the freely given gift of Grace by our Lord Jesus Christ.   Once given, it must be accepted.  If we truly accept the gift, it will be evident in our actions.  Our actions will naturally reflect that we are a hearer and a doer of the Word, and not just a hearer only. To truly 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 you are going to be a Christian, what you say is of no import compared to what you DO.  Do your actions reflect God’s image or that of the other guy?  Who do you put first?  Pretty basic questions that often we don’t like the answer to. But they must be answered nevertheless, all the same. 

We must align our lives to be able to show people we do follow Christ. There are too many people who claim to be Christians, who are clearly not, because their lives do not reflect their stated belief. We must not let this happen. 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 will act upon that Word of God and serve Him in this life. 

Without Christ’s guiding light, we are not on the path to holiness and righteousness. We must show this in our lives, by living and breathing His Word, and using His Word to guide us throughout our lives. These are all actions we naturally take which demonstrate we have belief and are acting upon that belief.  This is important to our souls for our spiritual health, and as well as our physical health too. We need all the Help of the Holy Ghost to keep us on this path. How do we keep on this path?

We find a lot of help in John’s words, he give us insight into things that none of the other disciples do.  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.  Don’t pray to Him, pray to God.  Feel free to use His Name.  Pray to God in His Name.  In effect, we are CC’ing (Carbon Copying, to use an archaic term which as transitioned to an electronic mail (email) term) Jesus in our prayers. We are not to put Him in the To: line, but the CC line. Not addressing Him directly, but to address God directly with Jesus copied, as it were. He tells us God loves us because we love Jesus.   But, pray to God. I think that 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.

If that is the case, seems like it pretty much rules out praying to Saint Bob, does it not? If we can’t pray to Jesus, why would we be praying to a Saint?  We would be praying to a human, who we may or may not put any trust in. But if we pray to God, we can be certain He will answer us, and even if we don’t like the answer, we know that is the course we will have to take. It doesn’t matter if we like God’s answer or not, we still have to listen to it, and do it anyway, knowing it will be the right path in the end. We will always have some sort of a struggle with this in our lives, but if we turn to God, He will help us win our struggle. 

We have to listen to His Answer and think on it and then act upon His Answer and not just dismiss it. Dismissing it is all too easy for us to do, since we are naturally inclined to follow our natural desired, not His. But we have to think that dismissing His Answers will not gain us anything in the long or short term.  We need to listen to His Answers and then act upon them, which will be the key to true happiness within our lives. 

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 critical portion 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 that 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 a hearer of His Word. He will always give us what we need, but will we listen to what He wants us to do?

Need and want, they are both four letter words, oft used interchangeably, which do not mean the same thing.

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, May 14, 2017

Fourth Sunday after Easter - Mothers Day

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Mother’s Day 
On Mothers
On this Mother’s Day, it is very easy for us to look back at our mother’s life and think of all the things we like about our mother.  We like, it is all about our mother and what she did for us.  The pivotal thought seems to be us.  It is not about us, our / us is merely an adjective to describe a particular mother.  For motherhood is about self-sacrifice.  Putting the child’s welfare above that of the mother.

The love of the mother for her children comes with a price; yet the price paid is not without return.   The last words of almost all soldiers who die in battle are either “Mom” or “Jesus.”  There is a lesson all in of itself.

What did your mom choose?  An extra child or an extra home or trailer?  Your schooling, or her vacation without you?  Dental work for you or a new car for her?  Shoes for you or a fancy dress for her?

Jesus commanded us to follow Him, He who put our lives before His.  Who on this earth does this more consistently than mothers?

Saint James tells us in his Epistle, “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only.” Who on this earth does this more consistently than mothers?


As Christians we need to uphold and recognize the example of sacrifice in motherhood so that we might understand the sacrifice made by God on our behalf in Jesus’ death for our sin.

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, May 7, 2017

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 function of the Holy Ghost is to open our souls, hearts and minds to God’s Will.  It is to help us not be so deaf as those who will not hear.  Thus, to open our “ears” to His Voice.   As is oft the case, the Collect really asks us to let the Holy Ghost in so He can change us.    Today’s Sunday Report has a 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. Where we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. Where we 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 does this so that we might return to His Path.  He does not show us where we have erred for no reason, but rather that we might use His Light to return to the path which brings us to His World. Then we can shine that Light for others to see, 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. Then we shall transform the world from total darkness, to that of a total light. At least that is what we are always striving to work towards, even when evil is often thwarting our efforts to the maximum. 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. 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, but first you have to ask 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.

Paul tells us if we follow Christ’s example, we will live lives like His to the extent we can.  We will do good, be law abiding, work hard, be generous to our fellow human beings, help where we can, pray for help when we can find no physical way to help.  It may be hard to give physical help, but if you are generous and prayerful, you can often do good even when physical help is next to impossible. 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.  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. Be better than you were yesterday, if you do this, then you 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. Any irritations or sorrows, large ones or small ones, are in the large scheme of things (eternity that is) very small and insignificant compared to our future with Him in heaven. We 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 30, 2017

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

It is critical to understand Jesus 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, 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All 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 what we understand to be the Universe.  He created this world, it is by rights His, not the rightful belonging of the Prince of this World.  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.  In addition, as we have a dire need of direction, our internal sense of right and wrong so oft lacking, He came to earth to provide us with a perfect example of what to do, while we, ourselves, so oft serve only as bad examples.  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.  As the Collect makes 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.  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 earthly 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 His example and follow His Direction, counting the cost only after the work is done? He himself had to go through suffering so 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.

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. He is the ultimate protector and guide. 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 be saved without 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.

If we absorb His Teachings, we will be more prone to act upon them. 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 8 Be 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.  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 that 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.

For there is much profit,  joy and satisfaction to be found in proper action.

When the time comes, how will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God