Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Notes

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Download "Introduction to Good Shepherd: Podcast for New Members and Interested Guests" in MP3 format

Dear Good Shepherd,

I've been meaning to hold New Member classes for the last several years and have not done so. Now, especially since we have so many new and interested members, I've decided to do the class by Podcast. The above podcast is the first in a series of five or six ten minute presentations designed to give you a sense of Good Shepherd's mission, purpose, organizational structure, programs, ministries, membership expectations, and leadership structure. By the end of this series you should know all there is to know about Good Shepherd and how to become a member.

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: Begins every Friday morning at 6:30am. We're currently working our way through 1st Samuel. I am cooking tomorrow but if anyone would like to volunteer in my stead, I'll buy the stuff, please give me a call.

Beginners Bible Study: We've taken a three week haitus because of Anne's trip to Kenya. She is back now, so there will be bible study this evening after the Shepherd's Bowl at 6:30pm at Conklin Avenue Baptist Church.

Prayer Chain: One thing Good Shepherd presently lacks is a prayer chain. A prayer chain is made up of a number of people who commit to pray for the needs of the church and their brothers and sisters. When prayer is needed, the first person in the chain is notified by phone. The first person then calls one or two other members of the chain who, in turn, call one or two more until every one in the chain has been notified. This is a quick way to get a lot of people praying when necessary.

Julie Liddle has volunteered to organize and lead the prayer chain. If you are interested in being a part of it please contact her by phone or email: Her telephone number is: 723-1344. And her email address is:

Weekly Prayer: The Weekly prayer meeting this coming Wednesday will be very important. Intercession has been an area of weakness for this congregation that we've been trying to rectify. Prayer is essential for a living church to continue to live and grow. It is one of the primary vehicles through which God in his grace has chosen to affect change and transformation in the world, the chruch, local congregations, and individuals. At this Wednesday's prayer meeting we'll begin to organize an intercessors group committed to praying regularly for the mission, ministry, people, and future of Good Shepherd. The meeting will begin at 6pm in the chapel this coming Wednesday.

Acolytes: There will be acolyte practice this Sunday after the 10:30am service. All acolytes and new acolytes are encouraged to attend.

Women's Bible Study: Will meet this Saturday at 10am at the church.

Systematic Theology: We'll meet this Saturday for the first time in 3 weeks at 3:30pm. We'll complete our discussion of the communicable attributes of God and hopefully bridge into a discussion of the Trinity.

High Sunday School during the Summer: As most of you know, Micah Towery, our current Youth Minister will be leaving in the fall. Ife Ojewato will be taking his place as Youth Minister and high school Sunday School teacher. Because of this transition and because we are in the process of rethinking our Christian Education program and strategy for high-shool students, the high school class will have Sunday School with the for the remainder of the Summer.

Podcasts: Last Sunday was the second sermon in the series on "Marriage" entitled "Why Did God Make Marriage?. You can listen to that podcast here and read the text. We've also been podcasting the Sunday morning Adult Education classes "Anglican Worship and Sacraments". Here is part 2 in that series.

Adult Christian Education: Anglican Worship and that we have laid some introductory groundwork this Sunday's class will be all about baptism as Anglicans understand it. We've had some great discussions, hope you can make it. Class starts at 9:15am on Sunday morning.

A New Mike: For those having a hard time hearing the class podcasts, a generous donor has supplied a microphone for my ipod so the audio will be much better from now on...thank you.

A New Church is Born: The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was born this week in Ft. Worth Texas. Good Shepherd is a member congregation of this new Anglican province which includes over 100,000 members in both Canada and the United States. You can read about it and follow the news on the ACNA website.

Here is the opening procession (taped just this evening) for the installation of Archbishop Robert Duncan--pretty good stuff:

Mark Driscoll on Humility

Make time today to listen to Mark Driscoll's sermon on humility--great teaching for everyone. I was convicted personally and it just seems like something Good Shepherd needs to hear right now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Washington Times article on the ACNA

Here is a good article from the Washington Times on the new Anglican Church in America:

BEDFORD, Texas | The Rev. Rick Warren brought hundreds of former Episcopalians to their feet in applause Tuesday when he called their exodus from the denomination "a historic event" and said God was "calling you out" of the Episcopal Church.

"I jumped at the chance to come here," Mr. Warren, evangelical pastor of the 24,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., told delegates to the constitutional convention of the newly created Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). "We will stand with you in solidarity as God does something new in your midst."

The assembly, in its second-day meeting at a school just west of Dallas, is calling itself a new 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Although not recognized by the archbishop of Canterbury, who heads up the 77 million-member body, the new province has about 100,000 people drawn from the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada.

"My heart is so full for you today," said Mr. Warren, who has offered the use of his extensive Orange County, Calif., campus as a meeting place for dissident Episcopal groups...more

Monday, June 22, 2009

Archbishop-elect Duncan’s Opening Address to Provincial Assembly

Archbishop-elect Duncan’s Opening Address to Provincial Assembly

Given by the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop-designate, at the Inaugural Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America during the Holy Eucharist on 22 June, A.D. 2009, the Feast of St. Alban, Anglican Proto-Martyr (First English Martyr).

...St. Alban was a layman who heard the gospel and gave his life to it and for it. He was a pagan householder in the Roman settlement at Verulamium, which today is the English city called St. Albans. Alban took in a fugitive Christian priest who was fleeing the Diocletian persecution. The year was 304 A.D. While in hiding, the priest shared his faith in Jesus Christ with his host, Alban, and Alban was converted. Then the most extraordinary thing happened: as word came that the authorities were searching house to house, Alban asked to put on the priest’s clothes. So it was Alban that was arrested and Alban that was executed. Like Maxmillian Kolbe at Auschwitz centuries later, Alban sacrificed himself to save someone else, someone he had only just met. He lay down his life because he himself had been transformed by the love of Jesus. Some sources say Alban was a soldier, likely enough in a Roman garrison town. Certainly he was a soldier of Christ, the first recorded “anglican” [from the Latin meaning English] martyr.

Many of us have sacrificed a great deal to follow Jesus to this place. Many of us have lost properties and sacred treasures and incomes and pensions and standing and friends Yet, remembering the challenge of the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, few of us have suffered [Heb.12.4] to the point of shedding blood (though some here, especially among our global émigrés, actually have.) Alban, a new convert, shows us the way. Jesus isn’t finished with his asking and we aren’t finished with our giving. Are we? Alban was the consummate Christian convert, willing to follow his Savior even into a death for others. Are we ready, if more still is asked? Are we ready? Are we willing?...more

Anglican Church in North American Inaugural Assembly

The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)...of which we are a part...began its Inaugural Assembly meeting this morning. You can follow events here including a live feed of worship and legislative meetings here. Here is a video introduction.

I'm a member of the ACNA Governing Committee and, along with about 20 others, helped draft the Constitution and Canons that will be ratified this week. Wish I could be there to see it but at least I'll be able to watch it.

Anglican Worship and Sacraments part 2: Intro to Baptism

Please turn up the volume in order to hear the recording. Next class I'll have a mike for my ipod and that won't be necessary.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Download "Anglican Worship and Sacraments part 2: Intro to Baptism" in MP3 format

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sermon: Marriage Part 2: Why Did God Create Marriage?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Download "Marriage Part 2: Why Did God Make Marriage?" in MP3 format

The first sermon in this series asked the question “What is Marriage?” We defined marriage as: “a life-long covenant established by God between one man and one woman that makes two different people one in flesh and spirit and purpose while at the same time making both individually more completely and wholly themselves as they openly and freely bear their souls bodies hearts and minds to God and one another”. We put that definition together from Genesis 1 and 2 and then I gave seven general observations about the nature of marriage to help fill that definition out.

This morning we ask the why question: Why did God establish marriage?” Think for a moment about the fruit of this first marriage between Adam and Eve. It is because of the first marriage that other marriages took place. Families were formed through marriage and then bands of families or clans were gathered into groups and tribes and then peoples and nations. Human social structure, our fallen social structure, rests on the family unit and in particular on the marriage covenant that was established before the fall. Marriage was the first human institution or government and it is the foundation of every other human institution. A divinely established covenant lies at the foundation of even the most secular societies.

This helps me understand why there exists in some places such contempt for marriage especially among people who seek to create a purely secular society. Marriage mocks the idea that you can create a purely secular society, because no matter how you put the pieces together societies rest on the coming together of one man and one woman to make babies and form families—a structure created by God.

That marriage lies at the core of human society still does not tell us much about the purpose of marriage. What has God set it at the core of human society to do? That question may sound esoteric and theoretical and not very relevant at all but if we can find the answer to that question, I think we will also reap some very practical fruit. If we know why God has established marriage, we'll also come away with a better sense of how to do marriage—the way married people are called to live out their married lives. And unmarried people, as we said last week, will gain greater insight into God's character and nature and purposes.

To answer the “why” question, we are going to have to do a little flipping around. First I'd like you to put bookmarks in two passages. Genesis 1:27 and John 1:1. Both texts should be familiar to us. We were in Genesis 1:27 last week and we've been in John 1:1 many times.

Let's start in John. One of the reasons we go to John 1:1 so frequently is that it is the clearest biblical revelations of the Personal distinctions within God—God is one and there is no other (Dt 6:4) and yet, within the Godhead there is more than one personality or Person. This fact is important to our task so lets spend some time establishing it. John 1:1

In the beginning was”. Very important first three words. They take us beyond the beginning of the cosmos—before the beginning of time and space—before anything that was created was created, the entity John is about to introduce, already “was” already existed. And what is that thing?

It is “the Word”. The Logos. There are many things we could say about what the word “Logos” means and get totally off the marriage track but we won't do that so let's move on. The Word, whatever the word is, exists before anything that was created which means that it is not a creature. The Word simply is. But the word is not alone.

The word was with God.” There were two entities existing before the beginning; the Word and God. Two. We know that there are two entities because they are with each other. They are together at the same time, before the beginning, and in the same place. “The Word was with God”.

But the text goes on: “and the Word was God.” The two entities are also, in some way, both two and one at the same time. The Word is both with God and is God.

Now if you'll just glance down to verse 14 you will see that this same Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and if you read the Gospel of John and the other three Gospels you will find that Jesus Christ, the Word, God, continues to be with God, calling him Father, while at the same time claiming divinity for himself.

The Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, provide infinitely valuable insight into the way the Father and the Son, two Persons and One God interrelate. Turn to John 17:24. This is part of Jesus' “High Priestly Prayer”, his prayer to his Father for the church, his people, the night before he died. In verse 24, he prays:

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

The Father loves the Son eternally, “before the creation of the world”. Before anything “was” the Father was loving the Son—pouring himself out in self-giving love for Him. Likewise, if the Gospel accounts of their temporal relationship reveals the eternal relationship between Father and Son, then we can also say that the Son pours himself out in love and and obedience to the Father eternally. He empties himself. He gives himself wholly to his Father's will serving and pleasing him with all his might, and in the incarnation, to his last breath. And the Father raises the Son to life, brings him glory, bestows on him not only the entire cosmos—but a kingdom, a people, a body, a bride to glorify him for the rest of time—all that the Father has, he gives to the Son.

The gospels and epistles together reveal a mutual self-giving, outpouring love and glorification between Father and Son and Spirit that exists between Father and Son and Spirit and that has always existed from before the creation of the cosmos. And in Jesus Christ that love was made manifest to us so that we can see from the Gospels what John means when he says in his first epistle that “God is Love”. He does not mean that there is this amorphous feeling out there and when you feel this amorphous feeling you are feeling God. No. Agape—self giving love is only possible when there is another, someone else to agape. But how could God be agape before the beginning, before there was a humankind, unless the other he most loves is within himself. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally pouring out love toward one another, eternally agape-ing one another. All three Persons, coequal, co-eternal, One God.

Now turn to Genesis 1:27,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Last week, if you were here, I told you that the “man” God created in his own image is not a singe “male” but “humankind”. The word “man” singular refers in Hebrew to humanity in general. God created “humankind”, humanity, human beings, in his own image and we spoke about what it means to be created in God's image, not physical image, but qualitative image. We are like God in that we can think, reason, communicate, love contemplate time, we are self-conscious and have a sense of what is good and what is not. In all those ways humankind is created in the image of God. So God creates man, humankind, in his own image—again a single unity, but within that single unity created in God's image—there are two distinct and different kinds, male and female, who are equally human and yet not one but two. There is one kind of being, a human being, but within that one being there are two distinct types.

No reflection is perfect, no analogy is perfect, but most theologians see this oneness and plurality in Genesis 1:27 and say, God created one humankind, and made this one humankind, both male and female, as a reflection of his own being—he is One in being and three in person. Humankind is one in essence in nature and yet two. The pattern of John 1:1 is very very similar to Genesis 1:27. We are told in Genesis 1:27 that human beings are created in the image of God. God, I think, has given his creation a living picture of the Trinity in making Humankind both male and female. One humanity in two types reflects, reveals, glorifies One God in Three persons.

And when God brings the very first female to the very first male in the context of a mutual, complementary, permanent, loving covenant relationship—that vision; that revelation is made complete. The distinct persons are joined together in a life-long, permanent love relationship. God created male and female to point to his essence as Trinity. Then established marriage to provide a living picture of what life is like within the Godhead. Adam and Eve were to pour themselves out for one another, give themselves wholly to one another, cling to one another, to agape one another, to empty themselves, to be naked, unguarded, before one another and in so doing bring the glory of God and the love of God to bear on the world—to be living images of God's nature and the nature of his love

That is why God created marriage and that was and is what every marriage is supposed to do, lay bear the character, and being of God and reveal his love to the world. Think about that. God put a picture of himself at the very foundation of human society, human civilization. At the very core, in the bond of marriage, we see God's face and God's love. So even as the world pulls away from God it may twist and mar and seek to redefine but it cannot escape the picture of his love.

On an individual level I find this convicting. By our mutual outpouring, selfless giving to one another, Anne and I's marriage, your marriage, every marriage is designed and intended to be a living picture of the love between Father Son and Holy Spirit. What happens when it is not? We falsify the picture. This is why God hates divorce. Divorce breaks the image. It tells a lie about God's own nature. Father and Son and Spirit are eternally One God. But I think we can tell that lie even while maintaining the same street address when we speak and act toward each other in ways that are dishonoring, mean, self-seeking. This is not only hurtful to the one we have been given to in marriage, it tells the world a lie about the nature and character of God.

At the same time—apart from the conviction that this realization brings—what a wonderful mission we've been given—a mission that pervades every moment of our lives together. This is brass tacks earthy stuff. The way you act toward your spouse in every day trivial little matters has meaning. With every word and action you preach. You say something about God. Our task is to preach the truth.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Anglican Church in North America Website

The Anglican Church in North America (of which we are a part--through our diocese, the Anglican Diocese in New England) now has a new

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Thank you for your prayers and all of your help over the last couple of weeks while Anne and the girls were away. They're home now safe and tired from a 19hr flight plus some lag in getting used to the time difference. Kenya is about 7 hours ahead of Binghamton.

Block Party/ice-cream social/health fare: Thank you to all who organized and/or participated in last Saturday's neighborhood fare. It was a great success. There were a lot of people here, more than last year (although since this church is bigger it may not have seemed like it). We made a good number of new friends and everyone had a fantastic time. What a great way to reach out to the community. Don't miss the picassa photo site that Micah set up to see pictures that were taken during the event.

Chicken BBQ: There will be another chicken BBQ this Saturday from 11am to 2pm. Please come and tell your friends...and if you've signed up to help, please don't forget about it.

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: 6:30am Friday morning at the church. We're in 1st Samuel. Brian and Tom are scheduled to cook.

Thursday Beginners' Bible Study: We'll pick back up with Beginners Bible Study NEXT Thursday. This study is held at Conklin Avenue Baptist Church following the Shepherd's Bowl.

Sermon Podcast: If you were at the Reaffirmation of vows on Sunday then you know that I preached the first of three sermons on marriage: 1. What is marriage? 2. Why did God establish marriage? How do marriages work? Last Sunday's sermon "What is Marriage?" can be heard here. I'll try to get the text up before this weekend. We'll get back to John 3 and our series on what it means to be "Born Again" after the series on marriage is complete.

Calendar: Remember to check the parish calendar for updates on the weekly and monthly schedule and to find the current duty rosters per Sunday.

Acolyte Practice: The first acolyte practice will be next Sunday the 28th of June after the 10:30am service

Systematic Theology: After one week's break, we'll pick back up this Saturday at 3:30pm as usual. We'll start into a discussion of God's incommunicable attributes and set the groundwork for a discussion of the Trinity next Saturday.

Christian Education: Anglican Worship and the Sacraments: We started a new teaching series for Sunday morning Christian Education last week designed to help both Christians new to Anglicanism and those who have been Anglicans for a long time understand Anglican worship and Sacraments. Why Anglicans worship the way they do? Here is the introductory discussion. This Sunday we'll take up Baptism in a more detailed way.

Bob+ and Joyce Carlson, Anne's parents will be here this Sunday and for the next month or more. Both have worked as missionaries for Wycliff Bible Translators in Africa for their entire careers. Anne grew up with her parents in Mali, which is in west Africa, but they presently live in Nairobi Kenya where Bob+ teaches as a professor. Bob was recently ordained an Anglican priest by Archbishop Nzimbi and I hope I can succeed in persuading him to preach and celebrate some while he is here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prayer requests

Please Pray for:

1. Bob who is recovering from surgery

2. Anne, Emma, and Gwendolyn who are flying home this morning (they'll arrive God willing Weds morning)

3. For Charlene who lost her premature twins

4. For Mary S.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sermon: Marriage Part 1: What is it?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Download "Marriage Part 1: What is it?" in MP3 format


I've been wanting a reason to preach about marriage because we've focused so heavily on deep theological stuff in class and in sermons and we've not dealt explicitly with matters of every day life. Marriage is definitely an every day life matter and God has a lot to say about it.

If you are not married, this topic is relevant to you. All scripture is God breathed and useful teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). All scripture is God breathed and useful. God discloses himself to us through his Word which means that even if a particular text or passage does not directly apply to your specific life situation, it is nevertheless always “relevant” to you and “useful” because it reveals something about the nature and character of the God who created, redeemed, and loves you. On a very practical level, if you're not married now, you may be in the future. If you have friends or relatives who are married and having problems it's important to give wise advice.

I preached my first sermon on marriage during my second year at Good Shepherd, my third year of marriage. I got the sense that people were thinking, “this guy's got a lot to learn.” And I did. Five years and 4 kids later I still do. But my task is not to give you Matt Kennedy's take on marriage. My task is to help you see what God says about marriage and since God's a lot wiser than me and since he's God and knows everything about every marriage that has ever or will ever be, its wise to listen to what he says even if his messenger is not perfect.

The sermon series will be divided into three sermons: 1. What is Marriage 2. What is the purpose of marriage and 3. How do you do marriage—how is it supposed to work.

“What is marriage?” seems like a simple question but people get confused all the time so let's take a look at Genesis 1:27-28 and Genesis 2:22-25. Genesis 1 and 2 reveal the world as God designed it before we sinned and ruined everything in Genesis 3. Genesis 1-2, there is no sin—creation is pristine, pure, good.

Chapter 1 is a broad overview of creation in general and, toward the end, the crown of creation, humanity. We don't see the details, who was created first, how God did it, the wedding—that comes in 2. We just get a basic overview. Let's read Genesis 1:27-28
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Notice the shift from singular to plural verse 27. God created “man” in his own image, in the image of God he created “him”; male and female he created “them.” That shift will be important in this sermon and especially in the sermon for next Sunday.

The word “man” does not refer to the male of the species. It refers in singular form to humankind—to both male and female. God created human kind in his image. Both sexes, male and female, equally bear the image of God. It's not a physical likeness but a qualitative likeness. Humans can reason, can love, create, know things, remember the past and think about the future, we're self-conscious—these are reflections of God's own character and being and they're qualities men and women share.

And yet, though we are both “man” or “humankind”, there is a difference. God created Male and Female humans. This is important because the very first command God gives Adama, humankind, is to procreate—make babies and fill the earth with them. Let's move to chapter 2.

Chapter 2, is a detailed account of how God did what he did in Genesis 1. God creates Adam, the man, first out of the dust of the ground and breaths life into him, sets him in the Garden to work, gives him the fruit every tree in the Garden except the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and all is well. Notice that the first instructions God gives--work the land, don't eat from the fruit of this tree--he gives to the man before woman is created and he does not repeat instructions to the woman. The implication, which is made explicit elsewhere in scripture—is that God gives the man the responsibility to take leadership to guide the woman in doing what God has given them to do. And his failure to do so (Romans 5) is why we the world has fallen into its present state.

God declares that it is not good for the man to be alone he needs a helper suitable for him. The word for “helper” is not like “servant” or “maid” but means “complement”—someone to fill what is lacking in Adam. God shows Adam all the beasts and let's him name them, but Adam doesn't find a suitable companion. God wasn't surprised by this but he wanted Adam to see that despite his fulfilling work in the garden and the company of the beasts of the field—there's something missing.

God puts Adam to sleep, takes out a rib. Let's pick up in verse 22
“Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
This is an account of the first wedding. God created the man and then he created woman from the man and then he brought the woman to the man. God joined them together and established a bond in the form of a covenant with terms in verse 24—a man will leave his parents and be united or “cling to” his wife. That is marriage. It's not a secular social construct. It's not a vehicle of the state. It's not something that humans invented. God established marriage at the beginning before sin, as part and parcel of his pristine created order.

When the pharisees ask Jesus about divorce in Matthew 19, Jesus goes directly to Genesis 2, quotes part of the passage we just read, and says. God is the maker of marriage. What God has brought together let man not separate—Jesus understood this bringing together in Genesis 2 as the model for his teaching about marriage.

So God created humankind in his image, both male and female. He created the man first, gave him a number of instructions, then the woman from the man and then he brought them together as one in marriage. Together, they were instructed to procreate and exercise dominion. I have seven general observations over and above those I've already made to help answer the question “what is marriage?”

1. Marriage is complementary. There's both a created difference between husband and wife and a created similarity. The woman is suitable because she is “like” the man: she equally bears God's image and she is made from his flesh and bone. And yet, she's different. Woman is not man and man is not woman. In marriage, man and the woman become one flesh but they remain two distinct and different individuals. Some marriages get into trouble by either obscuring the bond of unity or flattening out the differentiation. Some couples, for example, have two very different lives, two different bank accounts, two different sets of friends, two different bedrooms, two different sets of bills, two different career paths taking them in two different directions—two people on two different trajectories and it's a crisis waiting to happen. They need serious work on unity. Other marriages go to the opposite extreme. One person becomes a non-entity. His or her personality, desires, likes-dislikes, hopes, dreams, needs, are flattened out and defined by the dominant spouse. This also is a marriage headed for crisis. To become one flesh does not mean that one person becomes the other person. In a healthy marriage both husband and wife become more fully themselves over time not less.

2. God gives the husband the responsibility of leadership.

3. The Marriage bond takes precedence over other family relationships. The husband leaves his mommy and daddy. The wife leaves her mommy and daddy and they are united together. All other human relationships. Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Grandchildren—all of these come after husband and wife, not before. The marriage bond takes precedent. No running to mom or dad No making a buddy out of children in order to form an alliance against the other spouse. No ignoring your spouses needs because of your own need to fulfill your children's every want and desire.

4.There are no spares. God did not create Adam and Eve and Jenifer and Cloe and Jane. And it was not Eve and Adam and John and Mike and Brad. There's nobody else in the garden but Adam and Eve and God. God did not give them alternative spouses in case things didn't work out. Marriage was intended as an exclusive permanent divinely established bond between one man and one woman. There was no divorce.

5. God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman, not two men and not two women.

6. Marriage involves sex and babies. Marriage is pro-creative by nature—it is the means God gave humankind to fulfill his command to increase and multiply. God loves babies. God created sex primarily because he wants more babies. That is the primary function of sex in marriage. Sex in marriage has a second function. Through it, the unity of the marriage bond is made manifest—the two literally become one flesh. Sex is the way the man and woman seal and signify the bond and covenant between them. It is the outward and physical expression of the single unity that was created when God brought the woman to the man. Notice God placed sex within the marriage relationship, after the marriage not before, inside the marriage, not outside.

7. Finally, marriage is naked. The two are naked and not ashamed. They are not just physically naked. That Adam and Eve were naked means that the husband and wife do not hide from one another. They bear their souls and hearts and minds, they lay them open freely to one another and toward God. It was after sin entered that they covered themselves. But in marriage as God designed it, there's nothing hidden. This is connected, I think, with the fact that God did not create spares...that God established marriage without the possibility of divorce. If both husband and wife are committed to never leaving one another, then there is a wide open field of freedom to be yourself, to share yourself, to express yourself, without fear of abandonment or rejection. You can be naked in marriage and not fear loss.

Summary: Marriage is a life-long covenant established by God between one man and one woman that makes two different people one in flesh and spirit and purpose while at the same time making both individually more completely and wholly themselves as they openly and freely bear their souls bodies hearts and minds to God and one another.



Anglican Worship and Sacraments Part 1

This is the first lesson in a Sunday morning Adult Christian Education teaching series on Anglican Worship and Sacraments. You may need turn up the volume in order to hear this recording since I did not have a microphone

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Download "Anglican Worship and Sacraments Part 1" in MP3 format

Friday, June 12, 2009

This Week's Update

Since I did not get an Update out today, the Thursday Notes will have to do for this week...but there are two additional notes:

For the block party/ice-cream social/health fare, please remember not to park in the parking lot--we've got to keep that clear for ponies, children, and other beasts.

New Member class: Many have been asking about how to become a member of Good Shepherd. I'll be putting together a packet and a class in the next week or so. So stay tuned for information on that. The membership regulations in the Episcopal Church are very low...something like "Are you breathing and are you in the pew?" Yes. "You are a member of our church". We hope to do a little better than that now that God has given us this new start.

That's all...see you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Afternoon...hope all is going well for you. I am exhausted, have a whole new level of respect for single moms and dads, and I am very ready for Anne and the girls to get back. Good news is that it looks like, since Joyce is doing so well, they are going to be able to come back early...7:45am next Wednesday morning to be exact. I've said it before, but I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me get by these last two weeks: dinners, baby-sitting, patience with less than well organized daily planning on my part...etc...thank you.

Block Party/Ice-Cream Social/Health Fair...It's coming up this Saturday. Festivities start at 11am but I was asked to encourage everyone to show up as early. There will be a prayer meeting at 9:30am to start things off on the right foot. By now I suspect everyone has a task and knows what to do but above all--and this is really important--let's be warm and hospitable to our guests. For most who come, this event will be the first time to meet you and the first impression of Good Shepherd. Good Shepherd has a reputation for being a friendly and welcoming church so let's live up to that and put on Christ before we do anything else.

Thursday Night Bible Study: There won't be any Thursday night bible study tonight because Anne is still gone and the logistics for baby-sitting have not worked out. Next week, when she is back, the Thursday night study will pick back up.

Reaffirmation of Vows: There will be a special celebration this Sunday as Curt and Chris Osgood reaffirm their vows during the 10:30am service. Please come to celebrate the day with them. The sermon will be about marriage and

Friday Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: Darrell and Bob are cooking. Study and breakfast begin at 6:30am every Friday. We're in 1st Samuel 10. All men invited

Women's Bible Study: There will be no women's bible study tomorrow because of the Block Party but it will return the following Saturday.

Systematic Theology: There will be no Systematic Theology this weekend either since everyone will most likely be exhausted from the block party and cleaning up afterwards. We'll pick back up next week with a continuation of our discussion of the Communicable attributes of God and bridge into a discussion of the Trinity and creation

Sermon and Class podcasts: Here is a podcast of last Sunday's sermon on being "Born Again" and what that means. If you've not listened to it yet, please do because it will be the first in a series of sermons on John 3 and this first sermon lays some important groundwork. This Sunday's sermon will be on the topic of marriage--what it is and how it is supposed to work--but next Sunday we'll pick the series back up. Here also is the class podcast from last Saturday's Systematic Theology. I only made it half-way through before the battery ran out but I managed to get some good stuff recorded.

John Piper: If you've not already, please take the time to listen and watch this great lecture series by John Piper on the veracity and reliability of scripture. The first two lectures are linked above.

Photos: If you are from out of town but read Good Shepherd's website, you might be interested these pictures of our new location. Thanks be to God for his grace and power in providing us with this new beginning.

Christian Education: We'll be starting a brand new series this Sunday for Christian education called: Anglican Worship and the Sacraments. If you are new to Good Shepherd and new to Anglican worship, this class will be designed to help you understand not only what Anglicans believe about worship and the sacraments but also why we do the strange things that we do during the Sunday morning Service. We'll start out Sunday with a discussion of Baptism. If you are curious and want to read ahead, you might check out what the 39 Articles say about Baptism and the baptismal service in the Book of Common Prayer.

Don't forget the Chicken BBQ on the twentieth...

That's all for today...

Truth, Reliability, and your Comprehension of the Bible

I copied this list directly from Mark Driscoll's facebook page, but it is an excellent list--too good not to pass on. If you are looking to increase your understanding of and trust in the bible, this list of resources is the place to start:

The Canon and Manuscripts

Bible Translations

The Divine Inspiration of Scripture

Biblical and Theological Jargon

*This is one of the few books by Bart Ehrman that I could recommend. He has since renounced his orthodox Christian faith.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pictures of Good Shepherd Anglican

People who do not live in Binghamton have been asking for pictures of the church grounds. Since Anne took the camera with her to Africa, the most recent photos I can find are from a family picnic we had about three weeks ago in the nice field in front of the storage building across from the church building and rectory. They're not great and don't do the beauty of the place justice, but you can get a good idea of how the grounds are laid out.

This is a side view of the church building from the picnic field across our parking-lot

panning left you can see Emma in the purple pok-a-dot dress on the left and the rectory with a nice two car garage on the right

still panning left, the sidewalk leading to the school building is in view behind the kids. You can see the metal railing.

Still panning left, this is the back of the school building...not as nice as the front and sides which have a lot of windows...but you get a sense of how the property lays out. If you keep panning left you get to see the storage building which is directly opposite of the church building across the parking lot.

Here's Rowan standing to the left of the storage building holding his purple ball.


Here is Gwendolyn sitting on the sidewalk that leads directly from my back door to the church cool is that.

When Anne gets back we'll take more pictures

For those of you who don't like incense... thankful you go to Good Shepherd

John Piper: Why We Believe the Bible Part 2

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sermon: Who is Born Again? Part 1

sermon by Matt Kennedy

text: John 3:1-3

Monday, June 8, 2009

Download "Sermon: Who is Born Again? Part 1" in MP3 format

John Piper: Why We Believe the Bible Part 1

Some Housekeeping and a Podcast

What a great picnic yesterday. I thought I was going to escape being water-ballooned...but no. And I was standing on a grassy knoll too. Thanks Amanda.

I am going to re-record the sermon from Sunday because the thing wasn't working at 8am. I will also be re-recording a few Systematic theology discussions since I had the same problem for two weeks running.

I did manage to get the first thirty minutes of Saturday's Systematic Theology class recorded before I ran out of space (usually remember to make space on my ipod prior to class...I forgot this time). Here it is:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Download "Systematic Theology (class 5): Incommunicable and Commuicable attributes" in MP3 format

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Systematic Theology: Incommunicable and Communicable attributes of God

Systematic Theology today at 3:30pm at the church...I'll remember to record it this time.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Morning. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Thanksgiving service last night. God has blessed us abundantly this year. We'll talk more about that this Sunday

Parish Picnic This Sunday: The annual Good Shepherd Picnic is on Sunday June 7th--that's this-- at Cole Park at shelter #1. If you can't follow that link or need help getting there, I will be leaving the church at 10:30am and you are welcome to follow me.

The worship service will start at 11:00am at the park and then we'll start up the grills. There is a baseball diamond and a playground and usually water balloon fights out there so there will be lots for kids to do--be sure they wear something that can get wet.

Please bring guests. This is a great opportunity to invite people to church who wouldn't go on a regular Sunday.

For those who cannot go to the picnic but don't want to miss church, there will be an 8:00am service at the church and Adult Christian ed afterwards.

Joyce Carlson: Thank you for your prayers for Joyce. She is out of the hospital and doing very well. Anne has just this morning written an update on her blog. They expect to come back to the US later this month. Please continue to pray for her full recovery

Thank you: To everyone who has stepped forward to help the boys and me while Anne and the girls are taking care of Joyce. Babysitting, warm dinners, invitations to dinner, calls, help around the house...all of these mean a great deal to us. Thank you.

Systematic Theology: We'll continue our discussion of the "Incommunicable attributes" of God and move into the communicable attributes. I intended to record the last two discussions but for some reason my italk recorder was not working. It worked this Sunday however so I'll be podcasting the next session since I know several regulars will be away.

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study will meet this Friday at 6:30am. We're studying 1st Samuel. All men are welcome. Charles and Ray are cooking

Beginners Bible Study (Thursday nights) not meeting for Three Weeks: I really regret this but with Anne gone for the next few weeks I don't think I'll be able to lead this bible study. If it were held at Good Shepherd I could do it, but the logistics of getting two boys taken care of on Thursday evenings while I go to Conklin Ave. Baptist are just not working out. So the Beginners Bible Study is on a 3 week hiatus until Anne returns and then we'll start it up again.

Acolytes: I've talked to most everybody and it seems that Sunday afternoons are better for everyone...including me.

I had moved practice to this Saturday but since we are moving to Sundays and this coming Sunday is the picnic, I am going to move the next practice to Sunday June 28th. Thereafter practices will be on the 4th Sunday of every month. I have changed the calendar accordingly for the rest of the year.

Volunteers needed this Saturday: We need help this Saturday to distribute flyers for the June 13th block party People will gather at the church at 10:00am

For new acolytes and/or prospective acolytes and their parents, I would like to have a short meeting with you on Sunday the 14th of June after the service, just to pass on information about acolytes and answer questions you may have.

Christian Education: Christ and Culture--Islam: This Sunday we'll finish up our Christ and Culture series and our discussion of Islam--discussing strategies for evangelism among Muslims.

The Next Christian Education series will be a discussion of the Sacraments: Baptism and Communion. What are they, what does the bible say about them, how do Anglicans understand them. We'll also talk a little bit about the way Anglicans worship and the reasons we do what we do. There are a number of people who are interested in Anglicanism and have been asking questions about this topic and I also think that its good for some of us long-time Anglicans to refresh our memory.

Podcast Sermon: Last week's podcast sermon for Pentecost is availible here.

Youth Group Update from Micah:
The youth group will be meeting at regular times this Sunday: Senior High, 6-8; Junior High, 1-3. I will be trying to hand out a schedule for the next few months of Summer. Parents, please remember to let me know when you're going on vacation if you know. It's important that I have this information while forming the schedule. We are going to be doing all kinds of fun things like B-Met's games, cookouts, and if we can coordinate well, I'd like to take the kids to an amusement park. Youth, these are a great time to bring friends to youth group.

Youth Tip: Kids aren't your personal slaves, nor are you theirs. It's easy to dump stuff you don't want to do on the nearest warm body, especially if they are younger and have to listen to you! It is the tendency sometimes of parents to give their kids lots of little tasks that they don't want to do, rather than give them actual responsibilities. Responsibility requires trust. Turning your kid into a gopher does not. The other side of this is not always being the gopher or slave for your kids. Don't clean up after them, make sure they clean up after themselves (future roommates will thank you!). Again, the key here is giving responsibility. As your child grows older, give them real responsibilities. And make sure that when they do not fulfill them, there are real consequences! Your ultimate goal is to make it so that when your kid reaches 18, they are able to go out and hold down real jobs, or go to school and not spin out of control.

Calendar: Remember to check the parish calendar every week for Duty Roster and ministry schedule updates as well as daily happenings.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What is the Gospel?

a brief article by DA Carson
...The Bible can exhort those who trust the living God to be concerned with issues of social justice (Isa 2; Amos); it can tell new covenant believers to do good to all human beings, especially to those of the household of faith (Gal 6); it exhorts us to remember the poor and to ask, not “Who is my neighbor?” but “Whom am I serving as neighbor?” We may even argue that some such list of moral commitments is a necessary consequence of the gospel. But it is not the gospel. We may preach through the list, reminding people that the Bible is concerned to tell us not only what to believe but how to live. But we may not preach through that list and claim it encapsulates the gospel. The gospel is what God has done, supremely in Christ, and especially focused on his cross and resurrection.

Failure to distinguish between the gospel and all the effects of the gospel tends, on the long haul, to replace the good news as to what God has done with a moralism that is finally without the power and the glory of Christ crucified, resurrected, ascended, and reigning...more