This is not technically speaking a Good Shepherd Update...I'm supposed to be taking a break from things this week...but I wanted to give everyone some idea of what next week (and this Sunday) will look like. So, here you go.
1. Next week will see the birth of a new Anglican province or church in North America. This is what we have been waiting for, praying for and building toward for the last three years. Good Shepherd, along with over 600 parishes across the country and about 200,000 people, will be a part of the new province by virtue of our membership in the Anglican Communion Network and our Bishop's Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch who will be province bishops. What does this mean?
One thing it will mean is that we will no longer be institutionally bound to the Anglican Church of Kenya. We ought always to remain utterly grateful for the help Kenya provided and their willingness to step in to provide oversight for American congregations like ours in difficult situations. Affiliating with the Anglican Church of Kenya was akin to stepping off of a sinking ship and onto a life-boat. Now God is providing a new more sturdy ship in place of the sinking one making it possible to we can move once more from the life-boat to a permanent vessel, an American Anglican Church that will, by God's grace, grounded in the Word of God, grow and thrive and carry on the Great Commission of the Church that was, sadly, abandoned by the Episcopal Church.
The creation of a new province will also mean that one aspect of the Episcopal Church crisis that has been with us since it began in 2003, will be over. We'll finally have a church home.
I will be there in Chicago this week to witness the birth. I have to be there since I am on the new province's governing committee. I'll be back in time for the Men's bible study and breakfast on Friday.
2. All the bible studies will go on as usual this week and I'll be finding teaching substitutes for those that I will miss.
3. If you are in town this weekend, please be at church this Sunday, we'll be discussing some very important new developments both between services and a bit during the sermon time.
4. We'll wrap up our Christian Education series on division in the church this week and try to draw some conclusions. We'll also talk about some of the ideas for a new series. Here are some suggestions I've heard so far:
1. Christ and Culture
2. Other Religions
3. Creationism and Evolution
4. Politics and Religion
5. Family life
If you have others, let me know and I'll post it up. We'll either make a decision Sunday or I'll choose during the week. Let me know what you would like.
5. If you are looking for a new bible and have some spare cash, let me suggest the new English Standard Version (ESV) study bible. It was just published this year and is simply the best study bible I've ever laid hands on. Run don't walk to Arrowhead and get one.
6. This is a fantastic sermon by Alister Begg on the sixth commandment that hit me pretty hard this week. If you go backwards in his series and listen to his two sermons on the 5th Commandment (Honor your Father and Mother) you will not be disappointed either.
7. Finally, THANK YOU so much for all who showed up to the Day of Fasting and prayer. I was quite moved by the pastors who spoke and the breadth of community support we enjoy...Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Southern Baptists, other Anglicans, Episcopalians, Messianic Jews, Christian Missionary Alliance...all showed up to pray with and for us. What a wonderful day it was. I believe, also, that God has given us some clear answers which we'll discuss on Sunday.
Good News for the Week:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay,to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2nd Corinthians 4:6-18)