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My husband, Bishop Leo Michael and I have been on a whirlwind Episcopal tour of our Wyoming churches with a final stop in Greeley, Colorado.
So much happened on this trip, many testimonies of God’s love, even a great writing related story, but that’s for other posts. For this post, pictures will best share our week’s adventures.
First stop: Left early in the morning from Kansas City and arrived at Casper, Wyoming in time for dinner at Bosco’s Italian Restaurant with Bishop Ken and Priscilla Kinner…
…there we met Wyoming Senator John Barrasso and his lovely wife, Bobbi. We showed them a picture we’d published of them in Koinonia, the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite publication.
The next day, requiem Mass for our beloved Deacon Bill Brummett at the church where he faithfully served, Church of the Holy Family in Casper.
Then on the road to Lander, Wyoming…
Our Church of the Morning Star does not need stained glass windows. God provides the beauty:
Then followed Bishop Kinner and Priscilla to Meeteetsee, Wyoming…
Then, back to Casper for a service at the Church of the Holy Family with reception of new members…
And then on to Greeley, Colorado, our final stop before heading back to Kansas City.
All in a week’s work! Well, can’t really call it work. It was a wonderful time. Loved visiting with our church family and welcoming new members. And the views weren’t bad either.
PS. If you like these photos of Wyoming, check out my friend’s Kristina’s blog, My Wyoming Adventure
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On his way home from a church conference in 1989, Don Piper’s Ford Escort was struck head-on by an 18-wheeler. He was killed instantly — pronounced dead by four sets of paramedics.
But God worked a miracle and sent Don back to a broken body. To date, 34 surgical procedures have taken place. He walks only as a result of miraculous and in some cases medically unexplainable circumstances. During the time he was dead, Piper was granted the extreme privilege of glimpsing Heaven itself.
Ninety minutes after dying, Don Piper came back to life where he faced a long and grueling recovery. Don travels across the country and around the world sharing his amazing story of hope and healing. His message is simple … We can have a better life now and an eternal life someday through faith in Jesus Christ! Don has appeared and shared his miraculous story in numerous national media outlets, including Fox News, CBN, “The Today Show” on NBC and Newsweek.
And guest what? !!! DON PIPER has agreed to come to our little church in Kansas City!
St. James Anglican Church (Holy Catholic Anglican Church-Anglican Rite) is pleased to announce best selling author and speaker, Don Piper, as its special guest on June 13, 2013 @ 12:00 noon or 7:00 pm.
To come and hear Don Piper’s talk, come to St. James Anglican church on June 13th. Yay!!!
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Almost finished with Romans. Thanks for coming along on this Christmas Challenge, journeying into Paul’s letters to the Romans. Christmas eve is tomorrow and I can’t wait until the Christmas Midnight Mass! And Lessons and Carols in our Anglican tradition.
Here’s one of our beautiful stained glass windows at our cathedral, St. James Anglican Church (Holy Catholic Church, Anglican Rite) in Kansas City, where my husband serves as Bishop and rector (consider this my Christmas card to all of you wonderful blog followers.) Merry Christmas and God Bless you!
New International Version (NIV)
15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says,
“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain.
I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
What a beautiful chapter. Paul encourages Christians to uphold and love one another, so that we may all glorify God the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Then he speaks of his confidence in the gentiles, and of his upcoming journeys, asking for prayers. You can really feel the voice of Paul in this, and the love he has for followers of Christ.
Merry Christmas to all! May we uphold one another in love and prayers as we journey on this earth until we reach our permanent home in Heaven. Glory to God in the Highest! And Peace to His People on Earth!
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Thanks Deacon Alfred, for this challenge. What a blessing to read Romans! Wow! Gold mine! There’s so much rich wisdom in this chapter! Read, enjoy, and come away spiritually richer! And at the end of this post, enjoy an inspirational true story from Bishop Kenneth Kinner.
New International Version (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Amazing! If I could say one verse was my favorite, hmmm….maybe: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
If everyone lived only by this verse, imagine how beautiful this world would be.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
It’s sad that evil and hate exists and not everyone wants to live in peace with one another. The key words are, “as far as it depends upon you.”
On a personal note, this is something I’ve struggled with. I can’t control others or force them to live in peace with me, though God knows I’ve tried, even doing the heaping coals thing. Blood isn’t always thicker than water. The blood of Christ is what binds us to each other. If people don’t love God and if they hate and wish harm upon me or upon my dearest loved ones, I will not repay evil with evil. But I will keep my distance, pray for them, and do my best to live joyfully in Christ, maintaining my spiritual fervor, and continuing to use the gifts the Lord has given to me, as this chapter teaches. Father, we are all your children, please handle us all according to your perfect will. Amen.
Regarding Romans 12:2, please enjoy this inspirational true story, written by Bishop Kenneth Kinner, Episcopal Vicar of Church of the Holy Family, Casper, Wyoming, (Holy Catholic Church, Anglican Rite):
Phil came to Casper seeking a new start in life. He had been in a California prison for seventeen years. He still faced a form of imprisonment; Phil was addicted to alcohol. As a felon and as an addict it was very difficult to find employment.
Finally he landed a job cleaning up a local bar every night after closing time. The overwhelming temptation always in front of him.
Phil was ashamed, hurting , feeling worthless. Then in his most basic of needs he learned to pray to the Lord for help. This world, as he knew it, was a path to self destruction. On a certain morning he was walking back to his ‘home’ in a seedy hotel about a mile away. Dawn was about to signal a new day; Phil was asking the Lord to help him.
What happened next changed Phil’s life forever. The Lord Jesus appeared to him on Center Street in Casper, Wyoming. I’m not sure what the conversation was but clearly the loving power of God was released. Phil never had another drink as long as he lived.
Then what do you do about employment now? The postmaster in another town, learning of Phil’s experience, gave him a job as caretaker of the post office property. A convicted felon in a post office ! Against all the rules. But, for over ten years Phil cared for the property; he never once failed his charge.
In the fullness of years God called Phil, a sober Christian man, to his eternal home.
I was asked to offer the Burial Office for him. Yes, they called it a ‘memorial’. A friend of Phil’s handed me Phil’s Bible. My attention was on a marker in Paul’s letter to the Romans. The following was underlined: “Do not be conformed to his world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” Romans 12:2
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Thanks for joining me in Deacon Alfred Sturges’ Christmas Challenge to read a chapter of Romans, each day, until Christmas. Here’s Chapter 10. Let’s see what wisdom it carries for us today…
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.2 I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Salvation Is for All
5 Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say?
“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all have obeyed the good news;[c] for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
19 Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
So, Paul begins by saying not to discuss who is going to Heaven and who to Hell, but to: “confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
And Paul says there is salvation for all who believe. What a simple doorway to Heaven, to everlasting life, to God. Confess and believe! Could God make it any easier? Who wouldn’t do it? Who wouldn’t want it? Right?
I was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran church, and was confirmed in the same church, then later became an Anglo-Catholic Christian.
Several years ago, a Baptist gentleman asked me, “Have you been saved? Have you confessed with your lips that Jesus is Lord?” Though I believed I was saved at my Baptism and thought I’d personally confirmed that at my confirmation, and I truly did think Jesus was the Lord, I had to think for a moment. Had I said the words? Really meant them in my heart. Paul says we should do so. Is there a formula, a string of words we must say? While I’m sure it’s all about where your heart is when you say this prayer, why take chances? That evening, I got down on my knees and prayed the words, really meaning them in my heart. While I’m sure that prayer didn’t hurt my soul, later, I realized that I say the same words each Sunday during Mass. They’re in the Nicene Creed, found in our 1928 Book of Common Prayer that we use during our service, and are a part of many Christian services:
I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.
The words above truly seem to be a confession that Jesus is Lord. And if we say them, we should believe them in our hearts. God makes it all so easy. As the last lines of this chapter say, 21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
Who, in their right mind, wouldn’t take the hand of God when offered? I don’t understand. Whatever denomination or non-denominational Christian or seeker we are, the word is near us, on our lips and in our hearts. Say them!
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Lovely Novena/evensong that the Holy Catholic Church, Anglican Rite has put together. A different Novena/Evensong youtube goes out each day. Even if you don’t have time to watch, it’s definitely worth playing on your background while on your computer. The singing is performed by a professional, Will Perry. The prayers and readings are also done by a professional, Father Don Holley, whose voice sounds like the voice of God speaking. Wonderful prayers, beautiful music, very uplifting.