Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Second Sunday after Trinity


Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Rev Jack's sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE!

Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  


Consider these words from the Collect:


… who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name…


We must fully understand and acknowledge God will help and lead us, but only if we will look to Him for that help and leadership.  The spiritually blind (us) cannot lead the blind (also us). We are spiritually blind without God’s help. We need His Help, in the form of the Holy Ghost, to direct our hearts, minds and souls to look to Him for that Help in our time of need.  Thus, we continually ask God, through the offices of the Holy Ghost, to help us understand we actually need help and be open to accepting it. And we must note that to fear God is not to be scared of Him but to respect Him for who He is, our creator and heavenly Father, and loving Him involves loving the others around us with the Holy Ghost in our hearts.


Speaking of time of need; when do we need God?  Pretty much whenever we are not perfect, which would be all the time. 


The Epistle is a great illustration of why we need guidance from the Holy Ghost all the time.  The world is not a nice place and at times it gets depressing to be in. John says we should not be surprised that the world hates us. For the World does not know of God and His Word so they fear that which they do not understand, namely the Word. And that God is the only one who can protect us spiritually from the assaults of the Satanic forces in this world. Through the Holy Ghost, He will give us that protection, we just have to let Him in. He will also cheer us up when we get depressed in this not nice place and give us spiritual comfort. Also we are called to love our fellow humans, regardless if they are believers or not. We are not called to lord our faith over them but to use our faith to help people. In other words, we are not to be Pharisees showing and boasting, but to good things to help people, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  This is harder to do than to say, but it is something that must be done none the less. 

We are to perform this task of loving people around us with great cheer. There is no true love without cheerfulness and a giving heart. In order to have God’s love, we have to love those around us. It is harder to put the actual love into practice. We have actually love those around us and not just say it.  Like many principles of the Christian faith, it can be hard at times, but as long as we do our best do actually love those around us, then that is all God asks. We may be serious at times, but we can still be cheerful in that we have the love of God within our hearts and we can spread that to others.  Don’t forget the little reminder from GK Chesterton:


The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.


A lot of times people put off church for other “more important” things, do you? They are like the people in the parable.  Like the certain man who made a great supper, the Lord sets aside a time every week for us to worship with Him.  Actually, His time is pretty flexible.  The Lord’s worship can be done at times other than 1000 on Sunday morning if you really do have to work, you have weekend duty, you are on alert or something you really cannot get out of. The key element here is prioritization. If you really do believe Christ’s word and He is important to you then you will make that time out of your week to worship Him. 


The Gospel is about more than just going to church, it is about prioritization.  It calls us to put the things that are really important in the list of things to do above the things that are not really important.  It all goes back to the want versus need issue. Two different words, often used interchangeably by people, but this is incorrect. We need to think about what is important to us and to God.  Sometimes they are different.  Then, we need the Holy Ghost to get our priorities in order. We need Him to overcome our natural inclinations to not prioritize correctly and get our priorities straightened out. Without His Help, we will never be able to see what is important in our lives, which is loving God and loving our neighbor as ourself.


People do what is important to them.  When they feel guilty they come up with excuses, but in reality, they please themselves. This is a common reason why there are so few people in churches these days, besides the fact that the churches have by and large embraced heretical teachings, which puts the people off of going to churches.


So, what we need to do is ask the Holy Ghost for help to make God’s agenda ours; thus when we please God, we please ourselves.  A win – win situation. And it will make us far happier people as a result, which is what God’s plan is for us all along 


If we do not make time for God, how do we expect Him to make time for us?  If we will not diligently study the lessons He has left for us, how can we expect to know what He wants us to do?


Do you recall more sage words from GK Chesterton?


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



We need to come to church and read the Bible so we can find out what God wants.  But, the idea is not to find out what He wants so we can work around it or live with it, but rather to live it. Once we find out what God wants for us, we need to live that reality He has planned for us, not the one that we want for ourselves.  This means putting into practice in our day to day lives, wherever we may be, the principles of Scriptures. Think about the 613 Mosaic laws and the Pharisees who made a good living telling people how to comply with them to the letter and still do just as they wanted.  There are many people who still do this to this very day sadly. In the end it will not get them to eternal life. However if we follow Jesus and God, we will not have to worry about our eternal future.


If we find out what God wants and decide to actually do it instead of avoid it, we are still faced with an often huge problem of where do we get the strength to accomplish this task.   However, the answer is simple, it comes from God, the Holy Ghost.  He never asks us to do anything we cannot do good enough for Him if we rely on Him.  Never. 


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, June 19, 2022

First Sunday after Trinity

Sermon  Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Rev Jack's sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE.

Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  


Consider these words from the Collect:


 the strength of all those who put their trust in thee;  through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed


This is a little longer Collect than usual, but in it we acknowledge God is the source of our strength, as without Him we are weak and cannot do any true good.  Thus, we ask His help or grace to do His Will in both in our thoughts and actions. This is a consistent theme through all the collects, because it is based on the simple truth we cannot help ourselves and we need true Divine Guidance in order to make it into heaven.  We need His Guidance to perform the actions we need to follow the course Jesus set for us.


And, what is the first action we are to take?  To love one another.  Saint John pointed out if we do not love our fellow creatures here on earth whom we have seen and touched, how then can we claim to have love for God, whom not one of us have seen?  We do not love God if we do not love our fellow humans. Even if they have strayed a long ways off the path, we are still called to love them and help them if they want to be helped. It does not matter how we feel about them personally, it is what God has called us to do and what Jesus has shown us through these actions. 


We are called to love individuals. How do we love individuals? The first step is if we have unrighteous anger and or hatred in our hearts to cease that towards them.  First hatred and unrighteous anger needs to be stopped, for it is not a virtue of God. Hate stems from sin and evil and from Satan. There is no individual on this earth worth hating. Ultimately hate will rot away your heart and soul until you have none left effectively. Hate is not worth the energy that it consumes. Instead of hating people, try to love them; a positive force instead of a negative force. It is easier said than done and sometimes it is really hard not to hate somebody, but whenever you find yourself doing that, think of the consequences of hating somebody and switch to loving them instead.


However, loving an individual does not mean that you approve of their acts that are sinful and harmful to ones health, spiritual or physical. This is concept which confuses many today. They think we are condemning them, when in reality that is far, far from the truth. We cannot condone such things as  smoking or homosexual acts or abortion. Though we may know individuals who do these things, we must despise the sin, but realize these people, no matter how truly fallen they may be (Some are worse than others, but none are better. As Paul says, all fall short), are people created in the express image of God by God. 


God loved us so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins.  That is true love.  Not that we love Him, but that first He loved us!  God is the source of true love and He is the reason true love has so many wonderful qualities, so strong and enduring.  So, if God first loved us, ought we also not love each other?  No one has seen God at any time.  Yet, He loves us and we say we love Him.  If we do love one another, then God is in us, the Holy Ghost, and we are in Him.  Be bold, the world will end sometime; for each of us this world ends when we leave here.  Fear not, trust in God and dread naught. 


Do not be afraid to love one another, regardless of what any man says. Do not fear man, only fear God, the great Judge, and Jesus the Advocate, and the Spirit, the Purifier, Guiding Light. Man can do nothing in comparison to God. Man can only hurt us physically, they cannot hurt our souls. God and His love will keep fear and the damage it does at bay.  Love each other and act on that love.


Jesus illustrates perfectly in this parable what happens when we only think of ourselves and do not help or even think of others. He could have taken pity on him and Actually helped him, like the Good Samaritan. Instead, he just let him die, figuring that that was the end of him.  Lazarus was a rather disgusting feature of his world; when he died, the rich man was pleased not to have to pass by him.  Yet, it never entered into his head to help.  


Why was he this way? It was because he was a selfish person who only thought of himself and how he was inconvenienced by Lazaruss presence, and never stopped to think of what Lazaraus was going through and how he could help Lazarus. This man was the total opposite of the Good Samaritan in every way. There is sadly way too many people in this world like the rich man, and not just those of high income status but those of low income status too. This is a problem that effects everyone due to our sinful nature.We must do our best to let God into our hearts and fight this sinful nature, so we can act more like the Good Samaritan and less like the rich man from the parable.


How can we prevent ourselves from becoming like the rich man? Put your trust in God and dread naught.  Love those around you and ACT on that love.  It does not matter if they are the same religion as you, but you still must love and act towards them all the same.  That does not mean baring your throat to the Koran following Muslims; but it does mean treating them with kindness and charity until you must act to defend you and your way of life from them.  They deserve pity, for as they follow Allah, that is the Devil, as Christ said They know not what they do.


Think how you can help, not how you can enjoy life. Helping never means supporting those who do not feel like supporting themselves.  For dependency breeds slothfulness and contempt.  Dependency destroys the soul.  


What is does mean is facilitating a way for those who do not have what they need to earn what they need; to bring them the means of acquiring those things which they need.  Those things are spiritual as well as physical.  A hand up; not a hand out.  You will find out the more you help, the more you enjoy real life.  Whether it is helping somebody at the office, around the neighborhood or a friend, there is immense pleasure from the result of helping people, so much more than feathering your own nest, so to speak.  It is not only more blessed to give than to receive, but it brings a lot more happiness into your life.


This is hard to do.  We want to concentrate on what makes us feel good about ourselves right here and right now.  We have to be coerced into staying on the narrow path upward and inward.  But, that is where our home is.


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, June 12, 2022

Trinity Sunday


Sermon  Reverend Hap Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

Rev Hap's sermon can be viewed on video RIGHT HERE!

Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


Todays sermon covers the basic concept of the Triune God, that is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and how they were introduced to us through time and the Bible in particular; it draws the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.  


Consider these words from the Collect:


 acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity


In the Collect, we acknowledge there is a Triune God, that is to say there are three aspects of God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.  A Triune God means literally Three in One, not three separate Gods or godlets, but a single being with three aspects.  How does this work?


The honest answer is  WE DONT KNOW.  We have not been told of how this Being operates. We just have been told there are three and They are ONE.  We have some knowledge and scriptural guidance on how parts of the thing work, but not all.  Saint Paul told the people of Corinth, 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)One of the basic principles of classified information is it is only to be revealed to those who have an actual NEED TO KNOW, not just the curious.  Like many secrets, we dont really have a need to know, so we have not been told.  


What we do know is:


·      God is I AM;

·      God the Father sent The Son to be our Savior, He was there at the beginning and created this world;

·      The Holy Ghost breathed life into the world, and brings understanding, comfort, strength, perseverance, courage, inspiration, patience;

·      They all have always been and always will be.


That is what we know; it leaves a lot we dont know, but we can certainly be kept busy with what we do know.  What we do know is that what we have must be enough for the here and now. It should enough for us to operate on His Word with our simple and limited understanding of the Trinity. We must be content with what we read in Scripture, all the other stuff we wonder about Him are just extraneous details, like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  So much theological discussion is captured in that term.  So, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  Whatever the number, the answer from our standpoint is so very simple; As many as God determines the circumstances require.  Note, as God requires!  Not you, not me.  God.  Trying to think about those intricate details that we do not know or understand only serves as a distraction from following God and doing what He asks. He does not want us to speculate on how the Three in One concept works, but rather just understand it is and go forth and follow Him to the best of our abilities.


We must put aside the thoughts of who and what God is, and just understand He is I AM, there is God, there is the Son, there is the Holy Ghost and they all work together in their own way to be the one God of our faith. There is a reason for this even though we dont know it, but it works out, so we do not have to wonder how it works, we just continue believing and acting!  Why do we feel the need for details when Jesus just asks to believe, 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 18:2-3)


You dont need to know how may angels can dance on the head of the pin, just that a sufficient number can and will at the right time,


But, what of later?  If we have eternal life, we have it now and later.  What comes later?  Heaven.  What is heaven?  In the epistle John attempts to describe to us what Heaven is like.  He attempts to show us the majesty and glory of heaven using words.  The picture he paints is intended to be awe inspiring and seems to meet that goal handily.  The main thing we can be certain of is that we will not be disappointed.  We speculate as to will this or that be in heaven?  When we get there, the answer will manifest itself and you will have no regrets.  Johns description should serve to tell us heaven will easily surpass all of our expectations. He is trying to convey Heaven is a destination truly worth our earthly toils. Heaven is the real world, where things are bright, not dull and dark as though looking through a glass.  Rest assured, we will see for ourselves what it is like one day, all we need to know is that it is a really wonderful place we should be aiming to go to when we die, through our belief and actions here on earth working together!


As to the details of heaven, think about the angels dancing on the head of a pin.  The only detail I can give you with complete certainty is you will not be disappointed, nothing will be lacking,  there will be no disappointment.  


So, how do we get to the real world from these Shadowlands?  There is but one way, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the Propitiation for our sins.[1]


Do not be fooled by there are many paths to God which seems to be the way of the world today, there is only one way into heaven.  All roads do not lead to heaven. Many lead to the pit, but out of the many roads, there is only one narrow uphill path which will get you to heaven. Doing good is good, so to speak; doing good without God is not good enough.  Only being accounted perfect will get you up the path and in the door.


One thing is clear, in order to traverse this narrow uphill trail we need help!  Lots of help as a matter of fact.  The first thing we need in our hearts is a new heart, a new and contrite heart.  This is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus in the Gospel. He was explaining how we need a new heart in order to continue to serve God.  The Pharisees could not or would not see that their hearts were not good enough on their own to serve Him, as ours are not if they are not regenerated. That is really hard, in fact, it is so hard it cannot be done by ourselves.  We need something like turning over a new leaf so to speak. There is a way as a matter of fact for us to do this.


We must be born of the spirit!  What spirit?  


The Holy Ghost.  We must accept we in and of ourselves will never be perfect.  Our hearts as they are will not lead us towards God, but away from God unless we have the help of the Holy Ghost! No one gets in to heaven unless they are accounted as perfect.  We will never be perfect in and of ourselves.  Should we quit trying?  No!  We are commanded to follow our Christ.  Will we fail?  Without question.  What is the solution?  To believe and follow the Christ.  To open our hearts to the Holy Ghost that we might believe in full and accept the help from the Christ that our imperfection needs to be His followers.


To follow God, we need Christ as our leader and the Holy Ghost as our compass. In short, we need all members of the Trinitys influence in our lives if we are to arrive in the real world, that of Heaven.


There is but one way to heaven.


That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits.  Open your heart to the Holy Ghost; use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.


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

[1] 1 St. John ii. 1, 2 and Book of Common Prayer, page 76

Monday, June 6, 2022

Pentecost - Whitsunday


Sermon  Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

Rev Jacks sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE.


Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


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 in our memories as Redeemer and Savior; but what to do for understanding and that needed closeness to God?  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, the 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 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 point behind the demonstration was that through the Holy Spirit, we can reach out to all the corners through the world and find a way to communicate the Good News to all people in this world. It was to show that we need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to help us spread the Word. There will of course be efforts to be made to learn the languages of the various peoples, this was just to show that with work and practice and with the Holy Spirit within us, this massive effort is indeed possible. Without the Holy Spirit this would be an impossible mission, but with the assistance of the Holy Ghost this mission is very much possible.


We need the Holy Ghost if we are to follow Christs Great Commission. He knew we would need the Holy Ghost if we were to have any success in this endeavor. However, He also knew He needed to leave if the Holy Ghost were to come and stay, so the Holy Ghosts 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. His Plan as always was perfect and His timing is impeccable.


Another reason we need to have the Holy Ghost within us is to give us the righteous judgment the Collect speaks of. This judgment is not the same as Gods final judgment on our performance, but it is a judgment based on Scriptural values, with the Holy Ghosts 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 certain behaviors in this world do not line up with Scripture, i.e. homosexuality and abortion. To say those behaviors are not Christian is a righteous judgment statement that the Holy Ghost helps us determine.  To stay on course we need to use the Holy Ghost for that righteous judgement so we can stay on the narrow up hill path towards heaven. 


Using the Holy Ghost for righteous judgment  is like when flight instructors are teaching a student, they go by the FAAs Airmen Certification Standards and if a student busts an altitude variance level or go outside a parameter for a certain maneuver, the instructor has to tell the student of their mistake and that they went outside the standards and then work with them to help stay within the standards and correct their mistakes. This is why God wants us to have the righteous judgement to help point out the errors, not force people into correcting them, but pointing it out for them to correct on their own. We cannot correct peoples mistakes for them, but we can let them know where they are in error so they can rectify it themselves.


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. This is why God sent the Holy Ghost that the Apostles and us might have that connection. 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. The people not of God and that dont have the Holy Spirit within them will never understand the righteous judgement and label it bigotry when that word couldnt be farther from the truth. Note Peters 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 God can always be with us wherever we arer.


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. God will not force Himself into our lives if He is not invited. 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 todays 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 bring understanding of His Word into 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 we are striving to be one with God, with Jesus and with the Holy Ghost.  Our love is 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, we must act for Him and by doing so will keep his commandments.  


If you think about it, you will recall the second half of the Book of Luke is 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, you must 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. Only by acting can we show that we have faith. Faith without actions is a very hollow faith.


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