Daily Archives: February 23, 2018

(TLC Covenant) Esau McCaulley–Seeking the Holy Spirit

I found the Holy Spirit when I was not seeking him — and in the most unlikely of places. In college I found myself attending an Episcopal chapel for two reasons. First, my car was not reliable enough to take me far from campus. Second, a woman whom I would later marry attended the 8 a.m. service.

In that music-less service I heard the liturgy, and over time it did its work. The God of the Bible shouted at me in the confession of sins. I found myself face to face with my brokenness week after week. I found myself stirred as I awaited the bread and the wine. Then, if the weekly Eucharist was the Holy Spirit coming in fits and starts, my first Holy Week was a torrent. When they stripped the altars on Maundy Thursday and we stumbled out of the church in the darkness, I was shaken. By the time we got to the solemn collects of Good Friday, I was a wreck. I felt as if for the first time I had truly entered into the passion of Christ and lingered there.

I discovered something in my first year with the church’s liturgy that has remained true since. The liturgy is stable, but it is not safe. You never know which part of the church year, which part of the liturgy, which reading, which celebration of a saint will step out of history and grab you by the heart. The Spirit broods over our work. I also found that the Daily Office helped me listen to the Spirit. So many ideas and concerns assault me as I sit down to pray. I have found that the set prayers of the Daily Office settle my spirit, so that I can finally sit quietly and listen to God. My most powerful experiences of the Spirit have come during that waiting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(ACNS) More tributes from Anglican leaders follow death of US evangelist Billy Graham

The former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, told Eternity News that he became a Christian at a Billy Graham rally at the age of 15. “The thing that struck me was that he held the Bible in his hand and he preached the Bible,” he said. “I already believed that the Bible was the word of God, so when he preached the Bible – and he preached that day from Noah and the Ark in Genesis – it seemed an inevitable thing to do to follow his invitation to come down the front, as a way of indicating that you wished to commit your life to Jesus Christ. It seemed inevitable to me that one would do that.”

He said that the rallies “reaped a harvest”. He accepted that “nominals dropped away from church but those who were committed remained”, and added: “if we’d not had the Graham Crusade, I believe church-going would have decreased much more significantly than it did – and the level of commitment in church would be far less.”

The Church of England’s Bishop in Europe, Robert Innes, spoke of the “Wonderful memories of the powerful Cambridge University Mission [Graham] led in 1980”, and said: “I join with millions of others in thanking God for the life of Billy Graham.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Russell Moore–Billy Graham Bore Witness for 99 Years; He was perhaps the most significant evangelist since the Apostle Paul

I remember the scene well: Years ago I was sitting in the pews of an almost-empty church listening to an Episcopal bishop discuss why Billy Graham was irrelevant. The prelate insisted that Graham was not the problem. No one could question his sincerity or integrity—only his message.

“Modern people simply cannot accept the supernatural basis of Billy Graham’s gospel,” I recall the bishop saying. “Billy Graham should change his gospel or he will never reach our world as it is.” A man sitting next to me turned and said, “There are 40 people here, and four million listened to Billy Graham in a crusade last night.”

Graham, who died Wednesday at 99, was perhaps the most significant Christian evangelist since the Apostle Paul. This wasn’t because of his media savvy or political influence. He transcended all of that with an obvious belief in the gospel he preached—obvious even to those watching on television or sitting in a stadium’s nosebleed seats. Graham did not think the brave new world needed anything other than an old-time gospel.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

(Church Times) From the archive: Billy Graham in London, 1954

He held up the Bible and spoke about the God of creation. “God is all-knowing. Not one single thing in your life escapes his knowledge. No sin that has ever been committed has escaped the eye of God.

“God is unchanging, holy and pure and righteous, and he is a God of love. We lost contact with God because Adam and Eve sinned. When Adam sinned, the human race sinned with him. There is only one way back, and that is through Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Jesus Christ took your judgment. He will give you joy and peace and happiness. . . There is no way to know God apart from Jesus. . .

“I have seen gangsters receive Christ and become preachers; alcoholics lose their taste for alcohol; I have seen prostitutes changed; men and women in every walk of life . . .”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

A Billy Graham Tribute – I can only Imagine

Billy Graham Tribute – I can only Imagine from Mike Blakemore on Vimeo.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture

John and Polycarp on Heretics

From here:

“There are those who have heard [Polycarp] tell how when John the disciple of the Lord went to bathe at Ephesus, and saw Cerinthus inside, he rushed out of the bath without washing, but crying out, ‘Let us escape, lest the bath should fall while Cerinthus the enemy of the truth is in it.’ Polycarp himself, when Marcion once met him and said, ‘Do you know us?’ answered, ‘I know you, the first-born of Satan.’ The apostles and their disciples took such great care not even to engage in conversations with the corrupters of the truth, as Paul also said, ‘A heretical man [(ἁιρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον)] after a first and second warning avoid, knowing that such a man has fallen away and is a sinner, being self-condemned.'”

–Irenaeus, Against heresies 3.3.4

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Portion of the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp for his Feast Day

Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, “Have respect to thy old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], “Swear by the fortune of Cesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.” But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;” Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”

The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, Chapter IX.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Polycarp

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, in all the fullness of thy power so gentle, in thine exceeding greatness so humble: Bestow thy mind and spirit upon us, who have nothing whereof to boast; that clothed in true humility, we may be exalted to true greatness. Grant this, O Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.”

–Mark 2:13-22

Posted in Theology: Scripture