Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all.

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Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Going through the barrier with a colleague to board my train in a busy station in London, suddenly a loud alarm sounded. A voice came over the public address system advising, no instructing, every person in the station to leave the building immediately. The majority of passers-by stopped, stood still and looked at each other. Visitors to London were already making their way to the exits, Londoners were hurrying their way to their destinations. The message only came once. I looked at the person I was with, we shrugged our shoulders, and went through the barrier to catch our train.

We have, collectively, quite a bit of disbelief and fatigue when we are told that we really must respond, or do something, or change our behaviour or direction.

Mary Magdalene was exhausted by grief. With Jesus everything had died. Who knows why she thought she was going to the garden in which the tomb they had borrowed for him was situated, but who knows why we do lots of things when we are worn out by life? Mary’s emotion represents the emotion of the whole world in the presence of the overwhelming cruelty and irreparable nature of death.

With Mary there are so many that weep. In Syria mothers cry for their children and husbands. In the Ukraine neighbours cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered. In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt. Asylum seekers weep with loneliness and missing far away families. Mary continues to weep across the world.

This is the world we live in, a world which each of us has had a hand in creating. A world of crosses. We can comfort one another and treat the dying with dignity. We can make gardens and graves, we can move stones and wipe away tears. But we can do nothing to defeat death.

But listen, hear the announcement. . . The one who was dead, is now alive! The one whose body had been a corpse, lying motionless in the grave, inert, lifeless, lying flat on the stone ledge of the borrowed tomb – he now stands before Mary, speaking her name. This day he speaks everybody’s name to engage them with the news that he is alive.

When Mary hears her name spoken, we are told, she turns towards him. A moment before and she is in the deepest despair, a second after, her life has changed. For death has more than met its match. It has been defeated. Everything changes.

We cannot expel God, nor the life of God, from his world. In fact this new life insists that there is nowhere God is absent, powerless or irrelevant. There is no situation in the universe in the face of which God is at a loss. The one that was dead is now alive. Where there was weeping there is now joy.

Someone wrote recently ‘Joy might be a greater scandal than evil, suffering or death’. [David Ford]. This is what I have been moved by in Christian communities around the world who face the most devastating of conditions. Their certainty that Jesus is alive enables them to face all horrors with joy. Not happiness, but joy. Joy can exist alongside mental illness, depression, bereavement, fear, because the joy of Christ comes from knowing that nothing and no one less than God has the last word. I remember sitting in a room with the Bishop who had come over from Pakistan soon after the attack in September on a church in Peshawar. I asked how Christians were coping with the fear that such attacks brought, and wondered if there had been anyone in church the week following the attack. ‘Oh yes’ the bishop replied, ‘ there were three times as many people the next week’. Such action is made possible only by the resurrection. The persecuted church flourishes because of the resurrection. I think of women who I met earlier this year who have survived unspeakable sexual violence, yet who lift their arms in prayer and praise to God. I think of teenagers I met in Luton who have hope and joy, in lives that were dominated by self hatred and harm. This has only been made possible because Jesus is alive.

The announcement that Jesus is alive changes everything; not simplistically or even instantly do circumstances and situations change. But it changes us. It gives us hope where we were in despair, faith where we were lost, light where we were in darkness, joy where we were entirely in sorrow. That joy in huge life of Jesus is present in the food banks, the credit unions, the practical down to earth living that the churches are demonstrating across this country.

But Jesus hasn’t finished with Mary yet. It isn’t simply a personal thing for her. She must now become a witness. So Jesus sends her to the ‘brothers’ to tell them. Please notice, in all four gospels the first witness of the resurrection is a woman. So Mary becomes the apostle to the apostles.

Jesus comes to find us all. In all the gospels when anyone meets Jesus they are given a task. The task is to join the announcement. The meaning of our whole existence is to be witnesses to the new life that is offered by Jesus Christ. The persecuted church bears witness in its joy overcoming fear, in worship in the midst of war, of refugee camps. In an IDP camp in Goma in January, the reminder that Jesus is alive was worth more than many sentences of comfort, for he brings joy.

The new life of Jesus is given to us. We witness to it as we insist that money isn’t our ruler, that self- promotion isn’t King, that pleasure isn’t a fulfilling aim, and that the survival of the fittest simply means some die later than others. The new life of Christ has broken into our world, it cannot be contained, nor restricted, nor managed. The church exists to show by its life and work the transforming power that has been set free in the world. All that we need to do is respond in faith and receive the gift of that life.

To fail to respond is like hearing someone crying ‘fire’ and continuing to walk into the building. Or have someone whisper ‘will you marry me?’ and turn the channel to find something interesting to watch. This is an announcement that calls our attention, catches our lives, heals our brokenness, and send us out with a purpose, a hope and a joy. It is news that the world cannot ignore, that we cannot neglect, it is the news of joy immeasurable.

(From there).

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Posted April 20, 2014 at 6:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential “Galilee”: the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow him and to share in his mission. In this sense, returning to Galilee means treasuring in my heart the living memory of that call, when Jesus passed my way, gazed at me with mercy and asked me to follow him. It means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.

Today, tonight, each of us can ask: What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it? Have I forgotten it? Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it? Lord, help me: tell me what my Galilee is; for you know that I want to return there to encounter you and to let myself be embraced by your mercy.

The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of his resurrection. This is not to go back in time; it is not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth.

Read it all.

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Posted April 20, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The story of the salvation of the dying thief is a standing instance of the power of Christ to save, and of his abundant willingness to receive all that come to him, in whatever plight they may be. I cannot regard this act of grace as a solitary instance, any more than the salvation of Zacchaeus, the restoration of Peter, or the call of Saul, the persecutor. Every conversion is, in a sense, singular: no two are exactly alike, and yet any one conversion is a type of others. The case of the dying thief is much more similar to our conversion than it is dissimilar; in point of fact, his case may be regarded as typical, rather than as an extraordinary incident. So I shall use it at this time. May the Holy Spirit speak through it to the encouragement of those who are ready to despair!

Remember, beloved friends, that our Lord Jesus, at the time he saved this malefactor, was at his lowest. His glory had been ebbing out in Gethsemane, and before Caiaphas, and Herod, and Pilate; but it had now reached the utmost low-water mark.

Stripped of his garments, and nailed to the cross, our Lord was mocked by a ribald crowd, and was dying in agony: then was he “numbered with the transgressors,” and made as the offscouring of all things. Yet, while in that condition, he achieved this marvellous deed of grace. Behold the wonder wrought by the Saviour when emptied of all his glory, and hanged up a spectacle of shame upon the brink of death! How certain is it it that he can do great wonders of mercy now, seeing that he has returned unto his glory, and sitteth upon the throne of light! “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” If a dying Saviour saved the thief, my argument is, that he can do even more now that he liveth and reigneth. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth; can anything at this present time surpass the power of his grace?

It is not only the weakness of our Lord which makes the salvation of the penitent thief memorable; it is the fact that the dying malefactor saw it before his very eyes. Can you put yourself into his place, and suppose yourself to be looking upon one who hangs in agony upon a cross? Could you readily believe him to be the Lord of glory, who would soon come to his kingdom? That was no mean faith which, at such a moment, could believe in Jesus as Lord and King. If the apostle Paul were here, and wanted to add a New Testament chapter to the eleventh of Hebrews, he might certainly commence his instances of remarkable faith with this thief, who believed in a crucified, derided, and dying Christ, and cried to him as to one whose kingdom would surely come. The thief’s faith was the more remarkable because he was himself in great pain, and bound to die. It is not easy to exercise confidence when you are tortured with deadly anguish. Our own rest of mind has at times been greatly hindered by pain of body. When we are the subjects of acute suffering it is not easy to exhibit that faith which we fancy we possess at other times. This man, suffering as he did, and seeing the Saviour in so sad a state, nevertheless believed unto life eternal. Herein was such faith as is seldom seen.

Recollect, also, that he was surrounded by scoffers. It is easy to swim with the current, and hard to go against the stream. This man heard the priests, in their pride, ridicule the Lord, and the great multitude of the common people, with one consent, joined in the scorning; his comrade caught the spirit of the hour, and mocked also, and perhaps he did the same for a while; but through the grace of God he was changed, and believed in the Lord Jesus in the teeth of all the scorn. His faith was not affected by his surroundings; but he, dying thief as he was, made sure his confidence. Like a jutting rock, standing out in the midst of a torrent, he declared the innocence of the Christ whom others blasphemed. His faith is worthy of our imitation in its fruits. He had no member that was free except his tongue, and he used that member wisely to rebuke his brother malefactor, and defend his Lord. His faith brought forth a brave testimony and a bold confession. I am not going to praise the thief, or his faith, but to extol the glory of that grace divine which gave the thief such faith, and then freely saved him by its means. I am anxious to show how glorious is the Saviour—that Saviour to the uttermost, who, at such a time, could save such a man, and give him so great a faith, and so perfectly and speedily prepare him for eternal bliss. Behold the power of that divine Spirit who could produce such faith on soil so unlikely, and in a climate so unpropitious.

–From a sermon of C.H. Spurgeon preached on April 7, 1889

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Think of Jesus. His words are few. He is exhausted and in pain. Two words however remain: a word of mercy to the criminal who repents; a word of fidelity, handing himself to his Father, his mission completed.

Lord we live in a world filled with words. Perhaps never in history have there been so many words: spoken, printed, electronically stored or moving invisibly. Help us to realise that few words are necessary. Empty words foster empty hearts. There are realities which do not need words. Give us Lord the words to ask for forgiveness, the words which touch those things in our hearts we would not want anyone to hear, but things that keep us entrapped in sinfulness and isolation. Give us words to forgive, to be generous and loving.Open our heart in mercy to those who long for freedom. Keep us faithful like Jesus to what we are called to, to what is most noble and good in our lives.

In a world where everything has a shelf-life and what we dislike can be quickly discarded, help us to learn that singular characteristic of God: being faithful. The events of Good Friday realise something that has been spoken of throughout the history of God’s encounter with his people. God remains faithful to his people, even when his people generation after generation fail him and fail him and betray him and betray him[.]

True goodness is not a passing emotion. It is not about feeling good. It is about being faithful to goodness when it is easy, when it is challenging, and even when it leads to our annihilation in the eyes of those who seek their only own interest.

Jesus dies. He breathes his last and that last is the same as the first words recorded about Jesus: “I must be about my Father’s business”; “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.

Jesus humbles himself, he empties himself, and his love is so great that he empties himself even unto death, death on the Cross. But the Cross triumphs. His self-giving love is so complete that it brings new life, true live.

Lord help us to reject everything that is trivial and superficial. Give us the love that Jesus showed on the Cross: love that endures and that saves.

Read it all.

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Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because the newly public message which is the good news of Easter is at one and the same time so obvious – the message of new creation, which answers the deepest longings of the whole cosmos – and so utterly unexpected that if we are to announce God in public in these terms, as Paul did so spectacularly at Athens, we need the preceding private stillness to rinse our minds out of preconceived notions and make ready for God’s startling new world. Note, by the way, that it is the public truth of Easter – the dangerous, strikingly political truth that the living God is remaking the world and claiming full sovereignty over it – that has been for two hundred years the real objection, in western thinking, to the notion that Jesus rose bodily from the tomb. Western thought has wanted to keep Christianity as private truth only, to turn the Lion of Judah into a tame #####-cat, an elegant and inoffensive, if occasionally mysterious, addition to the family circle.

And part of the point of where we are today, culturally, socially, politically and religiously, is that we don’t have that option any more. We face a dangerous and deeply challenging future in the next few years, as the demons we’ve unleashed in the Middle East are not going to go back into their bag, as the ecological nightmares we’ve created take their toll, as the people who make money by looking after our money have now lost their own money and perhaps ours as well, as our cultural and artistic worlds flail around trying to catch the beauty and sorrow of the world and often turning them into ugliness and trivia. And we whose lives and thinking and praying and preaching are rooted in and shaped by these great four days – we who stand up dangerously before God and one another and say we are ready to hear and obey his call once more – we have to learn what it means to announce the public truth of Easter, consequent upon the public truth of Good Friday and itself shaped by it (as the mark of the nails bear witness), as the good news of God for all the world, not just for those who meet behind locked doors. Every eye shall see him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn as they realise the public truth of his Easter victory. But we can only learn that in the quiet privacy around the Lord’s Table, and the humble stillness where we lay aside our own agendas, our own temperamental preferences, in the darkness of Holy Saturday. When we say Yes to the questions we shall be asked in a few minutes’ time, we are saying Yes to this rhythm, this shaping, of our private devotion to our Lord, our private waiting on him in the silence, in order to say Yes as well to this rhythm, this shaping, of our public ministry, our living out of the gospel before the principalities and powers, our working with the grain of the world where we can and against the grain of the world where we must.

Read it all.

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Posted April 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

The focus of my sermon this evening is what it means to say those words and what it is to set those words at the heart of ministry.

Some of us have the immense privilege as priests of summoning a whole community to lift up their hearts in the Eucharist. But others are called no less to invite God’s people to lift up their hearts in different ways: in the ministry of the word and in the prayers, in pastoral care, in evangelism, as we lead worship or work with children or young people. This call and invitation goes right to the heart of our understanding of every kind of ministry. So what does it mean?

The words have a long and wide pedigree. They go back to the earliest descriptions of the Eucharist in the third century. They are present in the rites of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and all the churches of the Reformation as well as our own Church of England. What does it mean to say “Lift up your hearts”?

Read it all.

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Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest.”

At the Chrism Mass in Saint Peter’s, Pope Francis spoke about “priestly joy,” a joy, he said, “which anoints us,” an “imperishable joy,” a “missionary joy.”

The joy which anoints us, the Pope said, “has penetrated deep within our hearts, it has shaped them, and strengthened them sacramentally.” It is a joy that can never be taken away; although it “can lie dormant, or be clogged by sin or by life’s troubles … deep down it remains intact, like the embers of a burnt log beneath the ashes, and it can always be renewed.”

Read it all and you may find the full text of Pope Francis’ homily for Chrism Mass there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number and identity of the women in the resurrection accounts can be difficult to untangle, which is one of the reasons why we provide a glossary in The Final Days of Jesus as a guide. One of the confusing things, for example, is that no less than four of the women share the name Mary: (1) Mary Magdalene; (2) Mary the mother of Jesus; (3) Mary the mother of James and Joses/Joseph; and (4) Mary the wife of Clopas (who may have been the brother of Joseph of Nazareth). In addition, there is Joanna (whose husband, Chuza, was the household manager for Herod Antipas) and Salome (probably the mother of the apostles James and John).

As you preach this Easter, do not bypass the testimony of the women as an incidental detail. In the first century, women were not even eligible to testify in a Jewish court of law. Josephus said that even the witness of multiple women was not acceptable "because of the levity and boldness of their sex." Celsus, the second-century critic of Christianity, mocked the idea of Mary Magdalene as an alleged resurrection witness, referring to her as a "hysterical female … deluded by … sorcery."

This background matters because it points to two crucial truths. First, it is a theological reminder that the kingdom of the Messiah turns the system of the world on its head. In this culture, Jesus radically affirmed the full dignity of women and the vital value of their witness. Second, it is a powerful apologetic reminder of the historical accuracy of the resurrection accounts. If these were "cleverly devised myths" (2 Pet. 1:16, ESV), women would never have been presented as the first eyewitnesses of the risen Christ.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

RNS: You’ve talked a lot about your journey out of the church world. What do you consider yourself now? Christian or Episcopalian or something else?

BBT: It’s true that a wrote a book called Leaving Church in which I detail leaving parish ministry, but I’m still very much involved in the church world. I end up speaking and lecturing in church settings at least twice a month. So I haven’t journeyed out of the church at all as far as I can tell. I’d say I consider myself a practicing Christian and in April I’ll celebrate my 30th anniversary as a priest in the Episcopal church. So I’m an active and practicing Christian, though I’m as bad at it as most of us are.

RNS: So if you’re a Christians and other who have very different beliefs and practices than you are too, what makes a person a Christian exactly?

BBT: I can call myself a Christian, and there are bodies of Christians who could disagree with me based on their own criteria about what makes a real Christian. But I think a lot of us are rethinking what it means to be Christian. And a lot of us are rejecting other people’s rejection of us as Christians. At this point in my life, I am pretty willing to let people tell me whether or not they are Christian rather than imposing my own definitions of it on them. My base definition is “here she says, here she is a Christian.”

Read it all.

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Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Do the work of an Evangelist!” charged Bishop Mark Lawrence in his sermon to the 75 clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina who attended the annual Renewal of Ordination Vows service, held April 1 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

“The clock is ticking,” said the Bishop. “There are seven billion people in the world – three times as many as when I was born – Seven billion trying to eke out a living and experience a meaningful life. Can you digest a fact like that and not hear the clock ticking?”

Read it all and there is an audio link to the sermon also.

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Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted April 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis, marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter's Square, ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice. Later, he continued to stray from the script by hopping off his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people and also sipping tea passed to him from the crowd.

In his homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

"Has my life fallen asleep?" Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus' disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion.

"Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Unfortunately, brethren, we do not like to acknowledge our transgressions. It would seem natural and easy for a person to know his own self, his own soul and his shortcomings. This, however, is actually not so. We are ready to attend to anything but a deeper understanding of ourselves, an investigation of our sins. We examine various things with curiosity, we attentively study friends and strangers, but when faced with solitude without extraneous preoccupation even for a short while, we immediately become bored and attempt to seek amusement. For example, do we spend much time examining our own conscience even before confession? Perhaps a few minutes, and once a year at that. Casting a cursory glance at our soul, correcting some of its more glaring faults, we immediately cover it over with the veil of oblivion until next year, until our next uncomfortable exercise in boredom.

Yet we love to observe the sins of others. Not considering the beam in our own eye, we take notice of the mote in our brother’s eye. (Matt. 7. 3) Speaking idly to our neighbor’s detriment, mocking and criticizing him are not even often considered sins but rather an innocent and amusing pastime. As if our own sins were so few! As if we had been appointed to judge others!

Read it all.

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Posted April 7, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence...to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.... What Tophet is not Paradise, what Brimstone is not Amber, what gnashing is not a comfort, what gnawing of the worme is not a tickling, what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation, to be secluded eternally, eternally, eternally from the sight of God?
--From a sermon to the Earl of Carlisle in 1622

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.

--John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 9:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: Open our eyes to see, with thy servant John Donne, that whatsoever hath any being is a mirror in which we may behold thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Waiving this question, therefore, I proceed to others, which appear to me, I own, at the present moment especially, of the very gravest practical import.

What are the symptoms, by which one may judge most fairly, whether or no a nation, as such, is becoming alienated from God and Christ?

And what are the particular duties of sincere Christians, whose lot is cast by Divine Providence in a time of such dire calamity?

The conduct of the Jews, in asking for a king, may furnish an ample illustration of the first point : the behaviour of Samuel, then and afterwards, supplies as perfect a pattern of the second, as can well be expected from human nature.

I. The case is at least possible, of a nation, having for centuries acknowledged, as an essential part of its theory of government, that, as a Christian nation, she is also a part of Christ's Church, and bound, in all her legislation and policy, by the fundamental rules of that Church—the case is, I say, conceivable, of a government and people, so constituted, deliberately throwing off the restraint, which in many respects such a principle would impose on them, nay, disavowing the principle itself ; and that, on the plea, that other states, as flourishing or more so in regard of wealth and dominion, do well enough without it. Is not this desiring, like the Jews, to have an earthly king over them, when the Lord their God is their King? Is it not saying in other words, 'We will be as the heathen, the families of the countries,' the aliens to the Church of our Redeemer?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 29, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"She was about to make a life changing discovery, indeed she was about to make 3 life changing discoveries..."

Listen to it all (the recording begins with the gospel reading and the sermon itself begins about 5 minutes in) should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You’ll recognise the motifs on the badge from today’s 2nd lesson. ‘Take up the whole armour of God’ says Ephesians: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. The author’s appeal to his readers is vivid and urgent. ‘Be strong in the Lord…so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Combative stuff. But it fits exactly into the world-view of the first and second generations of Christians. They believed themselves to be warriors of light and truth in an alien, hostile universe. And just as Christ in his descent into hell had harrowed it, ransoming his own and rescuing them from the demonic clutch of death and Satan, so now the church was called bravely to battle against evil by witnessing to the gospel’s redeeming power and by turning human lives round from the oppressions of terror and wickedness to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Move the clock forward by six centuries, and we come to St Cuthbert whom we celebrated last week. There is a so-called ‘Celtic’ perception of our northern saint, and there is the truth. The fantasy is that he was a kind of proto-romantic who took himself off to the Inner Farne for peace, quiet, and plenty of time to contemplate ducks. The more austere truth is that he went to the Farne to fight, Bede says, to ‘seek out a remote battlefield farther away from his fellows’. For him, to be a hermit was to wrestle with evil, the demons within and those without. This warfare was not, or not principally, a private affair. It was an act of the church whereby the ever-threatening forces of chaos and disorder were kept at bay by those called, so to speak, to front-line service. The consolations of the Farne were, to quote the title of a book about desert spirituality, ‘the solace of fierce landscapes’. There is nothing perfumed or rose-hued about Cuthbert’s struggle for the good, the life-giving and the just. Like all who are valiant for truth, like the prophets and apostles, like the desert fathers and Irish monks, like Jesus himself, it cost him everything. He lived for it, and in the end he died for it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus."—HEB. vi. 19, and part of v. 20.

Life is full of changes and chances. It sounds commonplace to say so, and yet more and more one learns to realize that the commonplaces of life are the things we most frequently dwell on, and the things we most often need comfort about. Poverty and riches, sickness and health, prosperity and adversity, joy and sorrow, succeed one another in our lives in a way that men call chance, and Christians know to be the will of God. All external circumstances change and alter; friends fail us or are taken away; death breaks up family circles; we move away from the scenes of youth and dwell in other places; cities and towns lose their familiar appearance; nay, in this our day things that should be most stable shake and totter, and government and order seem about to fail, and the very Church itself partakes of the universal disquiet; and only the eye of faith can discern the sure and immovable foundations against which the gates of hell shall never prevail.

But, even if there were no external changes, the changes within us are still harder to bear. We are not what we were. Time more surely alters our inner selves than even it does what is without us. We do not love what we loved, we do not seek what we sought, we do not fear what we feared, we do not hate what we hated. We are not true to ourselves. However brave a front we may present to the world, we are compelled to acknowledge to ourselves our own inconsistencies. There is often a broad chasm even between the intellectual convictions of one period of life and of another; and our very religious convictions, except they are built on the unchanging rule of the catholic faith, contradict each other; and the weary heart, uncertainly reaching forth in the darkness, longs with an ever deeper longing for that immutable One "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Blessed, then, is it to hear of an anchor of the soul. The imagery is simple enough. The ship, beaten by waves, tossed by tempests, driven by winds, takes refuge in the harbor. The anchor is cast from the stern. The ship rides securely; the danger is over.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 22, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many of us love the busyness, energy, and creative dynamism of a robust church. Many of us love the program direction and even the management. And yet all of us pastors must summon an uncommon discipline if we are to reflect the priority and importance of preaching.

It can be done. [Joseph] Sittler [wrote in his essay “The Maceration of the Minister”]:
It [the congregation] is likely to accept, support and be deeply molded by the understanding of Office and calling which is projected by its minister’s actual behavior. It will come to assess as central what he, in his actual performance of ministry and use of his time, makes central.
The preacher, Sittler concluded, must order her or his time around study, reflection, and sermon preparation.

--Christian Century, March 19, 2014 edition, page 3

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let’s not fool ourselves. A lot of what gets called ministry is motivated by guilt. Peter was not reconciled to Jesus yet. So his efforts out on the lake that morning were driven by a desire to prove something, to compensate for a weakness in himself that he didn’t want to face. Peter was avoiding having that all important conversation with Jesus that thankfully he eventually did have. It is that conversation that will bring Peter back to his beginnings. Through that conversation he will relearn what we all need to learn that even if we’ve been Christians for a while, we never cease being sinners saved by Grace.

“Do you love me, Peter?” What a painful question that was. “You know that I love you, Lord.” “Feed my lambs.” Peter had to go back over his three denials of the Master and relive the agony of them. Three times Jesus asked him: Peter, do you love me? Peter do you love me? Peter do you love me? Only when Peter grasped that Jesus still accepted him, despite his huge failure, could his shame be absolved, and could he move on.

A failure to get this can affect whole churches....

Read it all or there is an audio link here if you want that instead.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A North Carolina pastor has established a website with the purpose of seeking questions from the public that he can address in his sermons each Sunday and helps attenders interact during the services.

Known as "WikiWorship," the online project is overseen by United Methodist Reverend Philip Chryst, who is a student at the Duke Divinity School. Individuals submit their questions to Chryst via the website or via email and he addresses them during a worship service he oversees in Wilmington known as The Anchor.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Chryst explained that the origin of WikiWorship comes from a sermon at Duke Divinity School's Goodson Chapel.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & Technology

0 Comments
Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Where are you with the door?”

“It may be some of you have been around door talk so much you’ve thought by osmosis you’ve gone through the door yourself.

And permit me Just tell you about what happened to me. It may be that some of you are continuing in a life you never began – doing Christian things but you never went through the door.

Read it all and then listen to the whole thing using the audio link.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everett L. "Terry" Fullam, who served as rector of St. Paul's, Darien, Conn., famous as tall steeple parish in the mainline Protestant renewal movement, died today. He was 82.

News of his passing came as a result of Bishop Gregory Brewer, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, who tweeted this afternoon, "Just heard that Terry Fullam passed away. A generation ago he was a hero."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Dr. Houck, a believing Christian, the preponderance of these sermons got at what he considered a neglected aspect of civil rights history. As much as the movement fought for political rights, it also catalyzed a theological struggle about whether God wanted black people to be treated equally, as his children, or unequally in accordance with certain biblical passages condoning slavery.

“I saw the extent to which Christians used the Scripture to shield their own prejudices,” Dr. Houck said. “These white ministers with Ph.D.’s and enormous congregations were saying, ‘If you need a scriptural warrant to go on with your way of life, here it is.’ That was a hard one to look in the mirror on.”

So it struck him as both revelatory and redemptive to find a white minister in quite possibly the most volatile racial setting of its time — a place where townspeople routinely dismissed the reported murders as a hoax perpetrated by outside agitators to embarrass the South — willing “to stand up and call out the Klan.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 9:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2009 the Richland County Ministerial Association was on the skids. Only six or eight pastors were showing up at the monthly meeting, a number that represented less than a third of the churches in this southwestern Wisconsin county. All but two of them were mainline pastors. Fifteen years earlier the evangelical pastors had split off and formed their own association. The culture wars were hot at the time, with Christians clashing over abortion laws, homosexuality, the inerrancy of scripture, gender roles, creationism, and politics.

One of the two conservative evangelicals who still attended the RCMA was Mike Breininger, pastor of the largest nondenominational church in the county. Liberals called Richland Center Fellowship “the flag-waving church.” RCF had a group that used flags in choreographed presentations and parades. For many years the church also performed a Passion play called The Keys, which drew some 40,000 people over the years. Breininger had been a wrestler at the University of Wisconsin, and he was known as a tough, no-nonsense leader. No one knew why he was still attending what most of his peers regarded as the liberal RCMA.

It wasn’t because he loved liberals or the RCMA. “My faithful attendance had nothing to do with a desire to see the association prosper,” said Breininger. “I was deeply concerned that the differences between the theological liberals and conservatives, and the ranting of those wanting everyone else to adopt their agenda, were a disgrace to the name of Christ. I didn’t want to lead the association. I wanted to silence it.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A writer named Cheryl Forbes once said people who live imaginative lives are what if? people. They respond to ideas and events with a what if? attitude. They behave in what if? ways.

What if? is a big idea, as big as God, for it is the practice of God. That's our God. Our God thinks, "What if I make a universe? What if I make people in my own image? What if, when they sin, I don't give up on them?..."

You guys all know next week we're going to walk together through a really important vote, and we're asking every member of our church to pray, because we're seeking together to discern God's leading for our church. We're asking all of you who are members to come back next weekend. Come early. Come at 8:30. We have to get registered. We have a 9:30 service. We're asking everybody to come early....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.

The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

2 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 11:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seen here as well as provided via email through multiple sources:
"BISHOP IKER HAS RESIGNED AS A TRUSTEE on the Nashotah House Board, where he has served for the past 21 years. This action was taken in protest of the Dean's invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary's chapel. Citing the lawsuits initiated by her against this Diocese, Bishop Iker notified the Board that he "could not be associated with an institution that honors her." Similarly, Bishop Wantland has sent notification that he "will not take part in any functions at Nashotah" nor continue "to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains." He is an honorary member of the Board (without vote) and a life member of the Alumni Association."


I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education


Posted February 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But see, how unkindly he turns away the humble request of his mother who addresses him with such great confidence. Now observe the nature of faith. What has it to rely on? Absolutely nothing, all is darkness. It feels its need and sees help nowhere; in addition, God turns against it like a stranger and does not recognize it, so that absolutely nothing is left. It is the same way with our conscience when we feel our sin and the lack of righteousness; or in the agony of death when we feel the lack of life; or in the dread of hell when eternal salvation seems to have left us. Then indeed there is humble longing and knocking, prayer and search, in order to be rid of sin, death and dread. And then he acts as if he had only begun to show us our sins, as if death were to continue, and hell never to cease. Just as he here treats his mother, by his refusal making the need greater and more distressing than it was before she came to him with her request; for now it seems everything is lost, since the one support on which she relied in her need is also gone.

This is where faith stands in the heat of battle. Now observe how his mother acts and here becomes our teacher. However harsh his words sound, however unkind he appears, she does not in her heart interpret this as anger, or as the opposite of kindness, but adheres firmly to the conviction that he is kind, refusing to give up this opinion because of the thrust she received, and unwilling to dishonor him in her heart by thinking him to be otherwise than kind and gracious--as they do who are without faith, who fall back at the first shock and think of God merely according to what they feel, like the horse and the mule, Ps 32, 9. For if Christ's mother had allowed those harsh words to frighten her she would have gone away silently and displeased; but in ordering the servants to do what he might tell them she proves that she has overcome the rebuff and still expects of him nothing but kindness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reconciliation is long and hard work. The first place we find reconciliation is in Jesus Christ. Only Jesus has the resources to give us so we can be reconciled. Paul says, be reconciled to God through Jesus. Even a loving person runs out of resources to forgive - like a bottle of water which becomes empty.

But the reconciliation of Jesus is like the Nile in flood. If you want reconciliation in South Sudan, renew your reconciliation with God in Jesus. In the revival of 1938, this region spoke of the joy of Christ. As Nehemiah says, the joy of the Lord is our strength. When I see you dance and I hear your sing, my strength is renewed.

It all starts with Jesus. So pray, pray and pray more. In England it’s a lesson we need to learn.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all (an updated version of an earlier story).


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / HomileticsStewardship* Culture-WatchBooksLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mosques across Egypt have witnessed the first Friday sermon on a set theme chosen by the government as part of newly introduced controls on Muslim places of worship.

The policy is controversial in a country that is deeply polarised after the army overthrew President Mohammad Morsi last year after mass protests, amid deep resentment against his single year in power.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments is the official Egyptian body which will decide what imams or preachers should tell the millions who attend the weekly prayers, known in Arabic as salat al-jummah. Attendance is obligatory within Islam for Muslims without a valid excuse such as sickness.

Starting from Friday 31 January, all Egyptian mosques are to abide by the weekly topic posted on the ministry's website.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Worth--Ship
Or..
Worth--Shape.

Shaping our lives according to....our highest worth!

Worship: Shaped by our highest worth!

So if Jesus is our highest worth , our highest priority in life, then true worship is offering our entire being to him, asking him to shape every part of who we are.

Read it all (an audio link is also available on the parish website, either for listening or download).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jan. 19 marked the beginning of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, celebrated that theme at three faith gatherings while reflecting on the need for Christians to come together.

Bishop Wester began the public portion of his day at the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Salt Lake City, where he preached the Gospel at the invitation of the Right Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah, who celebrated the Holy Eucharist at the 10:30 a.m. service.

The two bishops decided the "pulpit exchange" was one way to publicly display their belief that Christians of various denominations share witness and fellowship, and can work together.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”.

These words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer convey a strong resonance with our service this evening.

We gather to share in the ordination of three wonderful human beings- Charleston, David and Jason. We surround them and their families with our love and, we as a congregation, commit ourselves to supporting them not only now, but also into the future.

‘Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2014 at 7:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find the link to listen to it all here; note you can listen by clicking the link or download by clicking the blue "download" word underneath the black line. Professor Lennox preached at Saint Helena's, Beaufort, S.C. on Sunday.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureScience & Technology* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

0 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

These Mere Anglicanism 2014 speakers have agreed to speak or preach at the following churches on Sunday:

Dr. Denis Alexander
Christ St. Paul’s/Yonges Island

Professor Peter John Kreeft
St. John’s Parish/Johns Island

Professor John C. Lennox
Parish Church of St. Helena/Beaufort

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
St. Michael’s Church/Charleston

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchScience & Technology* TheologyApologeticsSeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted January 25, 2014 at 9:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Courage...is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry.... If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

----Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it
there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2014 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
If there is to be a renewal of true spiritual life within the Church today there must be a radical reassessment of what takes place in the pulpit. The welfare of the Church is vitally linked to the preaching of the Word. If the Church is to flourish then there must be a recovery of faithful, relevant, biblical preaching. Four hundred years ago, William Perkins’s immeasurable influence revolutionized preaching in England. Through his clear, practical and powerful preaching, God’s Word was set free in the pulpit and spiritual life blazed in the Churches of England. If we wish to see the dawn of revival in the Church we dare not ignore the evidence of Scripture and the lesson of history, that preaching is the primary task of the Church


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find the audio link here; listen to it all (just under 23 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologySacramental TheologyBaptism

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let us return again to the theme of witnessing. In the second reading the Apostle John writes: "It is the Spirit who bears witness" (1 John 5:6). He is referring to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who bears witness to Jesus, testifying that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is also seen in the scene of the baptism in the Jordan River: the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove, revealing that he is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father (cf. Mark 1:10). John underscores this aspect as well in his Gospel when Jesus says to his disciples: "When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you too will bear witness to me, because you have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). This is a great comfort to us in educating others in the faith because we know that we are not alone and that our witness is supported by the Holy Spirit.

It is very important for you parents and also for you godfathers and godmothers to believe strongly in the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit, to call upon him and welcome him in you through prayer and the sacraments. He is the one in fact who enlightens the mind, who makes the heart of the educator burn so that he or she knows how to transmit the knowledge of the love of Christ. Prayer is the first condition for educating, because in praying we create the disposition in ourselves of letting God have the initiative, of entrusting our children to him, who knows them before we do and better than us, and knows perfectly what their true good is.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristologySacramental TheologyBaptism

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not, there is not any star that moves by this way, but whether it be the sun you mention, or the moon, or all the other stars, we see them going from east to west; but this was wafted from north to south; for so is Palestine situated with respect to Persia.

In the second place, one may see this from the time also. For it appears not in the night, but in mid-day, while the sun is shining; and this is not within the power of a star, nay not of the moon; for the moon that so much surpasses all, when the beams of the sun appear, straightway hides herself, and vanishes away. But this by the excess of its own splendor overcame even the beams of the sun, appearing brighter than they, and in so much light shining out more illustriously.

...[Later in the narrative] it did not, remaining on high, point out the place; it not being possible for them so to ascertain it, but it came down and performed this office. For ye know that a spot of so small dimensions, being only as much as a shed would occupy, or rather as much as the body of a little infant would take up, could not possibly be marked out by a star. For by reason of its immense height, it could not sufficiently distinguish so confined a spot, and discover it to them that were desiring to see it. And this any one may see by the moon, which being so far superior to the stars, seems to all that dwell in the world, and are scattered over so great an extent of earth,—seems, I say, near to them every one. How then, tell me, did the star point out a spot so confined, just the space of a manger and shed, unless it left that height and came down, and stood over the very head of the young child? And at this the evangelist was hinting when he said, “Lo, the star went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.”

Read it all; this was paraphrased in yesterday's sermon by yours truly.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear friends, this is the question that the Church wishes to awaken in the hearts of all men: who is Jesus? This is the spiritual longing that drives the mission of the Church: to make Jesus known, his Gospel, so that every man can discover in his human face the face of God, and be illumined by his mystery of love. Epiphany pre-announces the universal opening of the Church, her call to evangelize all peoples. But Epiphany also tells us in what way the Church carries out this mission: reflecting the light of Christ and proclaiming his Word. Christians are called to imitate the service that the star gave the Magi. We must shine as children of the light, to attract all to the beauty of the Kingdom of god. And to all those who seek truth, we must offer the Word of God, which leads to recognizing in Jesus "the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).

--Benedict XVI.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted January 6, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in Isaiah’s image, the garland is the very thing that identifies the bridegroom as a bridegroom, and the jewels identify the bride as the bride. It’s the first thing you notice about them and the very thing that defines who they are. Think of a how a modern bride’s stunning white dress and a modern groom’s white tie set them apart so that all may see who they are and celebrate with them.

Isaiah is saying that in the same way, God has placed the mantle of salvation and the robe of his own righteousness upon his people that they may stand out and be identified – NOT because of who they are and what they’ve accomplished (or not accomplished) but because of who HE is and what HE has done. Isaiah is rejoicing because salvation is not achieved by strong city walls or enormous temples or successful lives, but is given as a gift of God’s grace, adorning his people with his own righteousness, his very own character, that all may see who they are, and whose they are, and celebrate together. You really are what your wear!

This is Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, in reverse...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I was a stranger, and you took Me in." Matthew 25:35.

"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:12.

I lately received a New Year's card which suggested to me the topic on which I am about to speak to you. The designer of the card has, with holy insight, seen the relation of the two texts to each other and rendered both of them eminently suggestive by placing them together. There is freshness in the thought that, by receiving Jesus as a stranger, our believing hospitality works in us a Divine capacity and we thereby receive power to become the sons of God.

The connection suggested between the two Inspired words is really existent and by no means strained or fanciful, as you will see by reading the context of the passage in John—"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." So He was a stranger in the world which He Himself had made! "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." So He was a stranger among the people whom He had set apart for His own by many deeds of mercy! "But as many as received Him"—that is to say, gave entertainment to this blessed Stranger—"to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."

I thought that this might prove to be a suitable and salutary passage to discourse upon at the beginning of a New Year, for this is a season of hospitality and some among our friends will think it well to commence a New Year by saying to the Lord Jesus, "Come in, You blessed of the Lord; why do You stand outside?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted January 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Do you enjoy The Weather Channel and all the rescue stories? If you’re having trouble sleeping at 3:00 a.m. there’re some good ones on that channel. Who doesn’t love a real-life rescue story? If you’ve ever been what you called “rescued”, then it’s something you’ll never forget.

Many of you regular Adventers have heard my story. I was a boy of about 5 years. My best friend, Bobby, my neighbor across the street, and I were playing in his back yard. This was before there were regulations against throwaway refrigerators having doors that could not be unlocked from inside.

All I remember is being locked up in total darkness, Bobby and I, kicking against an immovable door, and screaming and it getting warmer and warmer. And then, I remember the door suddenly swinging open, light flashing in and cool fresh air. Bobby’s mother “just happened” to come home early that day and hear our kicks and muffled screams....

Whatever our rescue story, what could possibly compare with God’s rescue of his people?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchScience & Technology* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted December 30, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.

--John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s tough to be on the receiving end of love, God’s or anybody else’s. It requires that we see our lives not as our possessions, but as gifts. "Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace," wrote John Wesley a long time ago.

Among the most familiar Christmas texts is the one in Isaiah: "The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (7:14) Less familiar is its context: Isaiah has been pleading with King Ahaz to put his trust in God’s promise to Israel rather than in alliances with strong military powers like Syria. "If you will not believe, you shall not be established," Isaiah warns Ahaz (7:9). Then the prophet tells the fearful king that God is going to give him a baby as a sign. A baby. Isn’t that just like God, Ahaz must have thought. What Ahaz needed, with Assyria breathing down his neck, was a good army, not a baby.

This is often the way God loves us: with gifts we thought we didn’t need, which transform us into people we don’t necessarily want to be. With our advanced degrees, armies, government programs, material comforts and self-fulfillment techniques, we assume that religion is about giving a little, of our power in order to confirm to ourselves that we are indeed as self-sufficient as we claim.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Well, here’s a story of someone behaving as a Christian. Hizkias Assefa was born and raised in Ethiopia and now lives in Kenya, where he works as a mediator and facilitator of reconciliation processes in countries experiencing civil war. He is also a professor of conflict studies at both George Mason University in Virginia and Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, where a friend of mine studied with
him.

Hiskias Assifa spent many months negotiating peace between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Rwanda. In late 1993, he and his team thought they had succeeded, after leaders agreed to a power sharing plam throughout the country. Assifa left Rwanda satisfied with his work and grateful for the progress made for peace. But in April of 1994, after the assassination of the president, the national government called on members of Hutu majority to kill as many of the Tutsi minority as possible. Over the next 3 months, an estimated 800,000 Tutsis were murdered. Every person that Assifa had worked with to broker peace was now dead.

The following year, he told the story of his presumed success and sober failure to the students of his peace-making class at EMU, among them my friend. He also told them of his plans to return to Rwanda. “How can you go back?” his students asked. “What can you possibly do for peace in the face of such violence?” He replied, “I am a Christian. For Christians, hopelessness is not an option.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted December 27, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The vulnerable God was born into a world that rejected him, and yet he loved it without limits. As we look around our world at injustice and conflict he calls us to His pattern of love: we see victims and perpetrators, and in loving them without limits we imitate Christ and challenge every injustice and any demeaning of human beings.

Today, singing of Bethlehem, we see injustices in Palestine and Israel, where land is taken or rockets are fired, and the innocent suffer.

We see injustice in the ever more seriously threatened Christian communities of the Middle East. The Prince of Wales highlighted their plight last week. Even this morning a church in Baghdad, where there have been Christians since the 1st century, was bombed and 15 more people testified to their faith with their lives. Christians in the region are attacked and massacred, driven into exile from an area in which their presence has always been central, undoubted, essential, richly contributing, faithful.

We see injustice in South Sudan, where political ambitions have led towards ethnic conflict.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted December 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.

The Angels sing!

The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!

The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!

The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, he had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God.

This day He Who Is, is Born; and He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became he God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead.

And behold,

Kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory;
Soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child-birth into joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy;
Infants, that they may adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, He might perfect praise;
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech;
Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men;
Publicans, to Him Who from amongst them named a chosen Evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant;


And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.

Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, not shaking the Thyrsian staff, not with the music of pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ.

For this is all my hope, this my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing:

Glory to God in the Highest; and with the shepherds:
and on earth peace to men of good will


--From Antioch in 386 A.D.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted December 26, 2013 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hymns echoed down the stairwell on a cold December morning. But they were not in English, or in the Norwegian of the Knudsens, Pedersens and other long-dead Scandinavians who are commemorated on the faded stained-glass windows.

Downstairs the descendants of the Norwegians continued to worship as they have done for decades at Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood.

But the Arabic prayers and responses heard upstairs were from a newer congregation that shares the building. The Salam Arabic Lutheran Church has become a home for Arab Christians, many of whom fled the Middle East. Some escaped violence in Syria and Iraq. Others say life was made difficult by armed gangs, kidnappers and extortionists, jihadi extremists or Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* Theology

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Posted December 24, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted December 23, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recently, LifeWay Research conducted a study on video venue/multisite churches. I have always been interested in this technology and the phenomenon of live-streamed sermons in churches in place of a present, physical preaching pastor. I have written about multisite churches before here, here, here, and other places as well.

In addtion to this research, I have reached out to Bob Hyatt and Geoff Surrat, two pastors who have helpful, however differing, views on multisite churches and their use of video preaching. Be sure to read both of their articles and learn from what each one of them thinks about video venues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyEschatology

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rather than focusing on zombies as campy characters in B-movies, our sermon series reimagined zombies in a more symbolic way. Zombies became the bad ideas that have popped up at various misguided moments in the church’s history and, for whatever reason, can’t seem to die off. They keep coming back and, in some cases, exert a kind of stranglehold on the life of Christians and the ministry of the church.

And the way we fight off these zombies is with better ideas — with good, solid theology that reflects the grace of God, the compassion of Jesus and life of the Spirit.

During our six-week series, we exhumed and battled all kinds of zombies. One Sunday morning, we focused on belief. As Christians, does it matter what we believe? Most would answer in the affirmative. But are there times in the church’s life when Christian faith has become only about believing certain things to be true? Absolutely. Many de-churched folks can trace their journeys out of their congregations to the day that they stopped believing all of the fantastical things they were being asked to believe.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 11, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Father,—Do not be grieved at the slanderous libel in this week's Express. Of course, it is all a lie, without an atom of foundation; and while the whole of London is talking of me, and thousands are unable to get near the door, the opinion of a penny-a-liner is of little consequence.

I beseech you not to write: but if you can see Mr. Harvey, or some official, it might do good. A full reply on all points will appear next week.

I only fear for you; I do not like you to be grieved. For myself I WILL REJOICE; the devil is roused, the Church is awakening, and I am now counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake... Good ballast, father, good ballast; but, oh! remember what I have said before, and do not check me.

Last night, I could not sleep till morning light, but now my Master has cheered me; and I "hail reproach, and welcome shame." Love to you all, especially to my dearest mother. I mean to come home April 16th. So amen.

Your affectionate son, C. H. Spurgeon.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire. This is highly recommended to blog readers for three reasons--you can meet Rob Kunes, a new member of the diocese of South Carolina, but you can also hear testimony about healing and the power or prayer--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / HomileticsSpirituality/Prayer* South Carolina

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Posted November 27, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

2. Besides being the centre of creation, Christ is the centre of the people of God. We see this in the first reading which describes the time when the tribes of Israel came to look for David and anointed him king of Israel before the Lord (cf. 2 Sam 5:1-3). In searching for an ideal king, the people were seeking God himself: a God who would be close to them, who would accompany them on their journey, who would be a brother to them.
Christ, the descendant of King David, is the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one; united with him, we share a single journey, a single destiny.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted November 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Facing crowded pews and heavy hearts, Dallas clergy took to the pulpits on Nov. 24, 1963 to try to make sense of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy just two days before.

“The ministers saw the assassination as an unwelcome opportunity for some serious, city-wide soul-searching,” said Tom Stone, an English professor at Southern Methodist University, who has studied the sermons delivered that day.

“Though Dallas could not be reasonably blamed for the killing, it needed to face up to its tolerance of extremism and its narrow, self-centered values,” Stone said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheodicy

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Posted November 23, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In closing, permit me to highlight three areas of Simeon’s ministry which have greatly challenged me in my reflections and which, if we were to follow them, would have the potential to rejuvenate our ministry.

1 Giving priority to an effective devotional lifestyle, with a commitment to spending ‘quality’ time in Bible study and prayer.

2 A commitment to living a holy life, recognizing the need of the renewing and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

3 That, along with Simeon, our understanding of the purpose of our preaching would be: ‘Sir, we would see Jesus’ (John 12:21).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

England, of course, is the nation that once gave us preachers the likes of Charles Simeon, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Now, with the rare and blessed exception of some faithful evangelical churches, preaching has fallen on desperate times.

Some observers of British life now estimate that in any given week Muslim attendance at mosques outnumbers Christian attendance at churches. That means that there are probably now in Britain more people who listen to imams than to preachers.

This raises an interesting question: Is the marginalization of biblical preaching in so many churches a cause or a result of the nation's retreat from Christianity? In truth, it must be both cause and effect. In any event, there is no hope for a recovery of biblical Christianity without a preceding recovery of biblical preaching. That means preaching that is expository, textual, evangelistic, and doctrinal. In other words, preaching that will take a lot longer than ten minutes and will not masquerade as a form of entertainment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The agency of Satan in the affairs of man cannot be doubted by any one who really believes the representations given us in this inspired volume. His great employment from the very first has been to seduce men to sin.

----Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae MCCLXXVI

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He screened his last sermon, a 30-minute short film called "The Cross - Billy Graham's Message To America," to the assembled crowd, as his waning strength has made it difficult for him to preach from behind a lectern.

"Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I have wept as I have gone from city to city and I have seen how far people have wandered from God," he said. "With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth-- that God loves you."

Focusing on Christ's sacrifice on the cross, the film was filmed over the course of last year, partly at Graham's home in North Carolina.

Read it all and watch the whole video also.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problem is that preachers and teachers of such messages are not telling us the whole truth. They are not giving us a full understanding of the Good News.

Proverbs is only half of wisdom. The other half is found in the Book of Job. And Ecclesiastes. And Jesus at Golgotha. The other part of wisdom—the deeper wisdom—centers on the folly of the Cross.

Not the Cross as a mere rest stop on the way to Resurrection. Not suffering as a means to an end. Not hardship that builds character and makes us better. That's more Proverbs wisdom and is true as far as it goes. That's the theology of glory—if we do this and that, and endure this and that with the right attitude, all will be well.

The theology of the Cross says that God is most deeply met in the suffering itself, not just on the other side of it. Forgiveness of sins is not found after the Cross, but in, with, and under the Cross. This is the "wisdom of the cross" (1 Cor. 1–2) that is folly to the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dean of St John's Cathedral must curb plagiarism by its preachers by setting up strict guidelines and a committee to investigate the practice, a Baptist University academic says.

The call from Chan Sze-chi, a senior lecturer in the school's religion and philosophy department, comes amid new evidence of plagiarism by several senior priests at the Anglican cathedral and its affiliate, Emmanuel Church, in Pok Fu Lam.

Reverend John Chynchen delivered a sermon at St John's Cathedral in August that was written by an American pastor in 2004 and published on a website called Sermons That Work.

Read it all and for those interested the website for the Cathedral in Hong Kong is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the first thing that God’s people are meant to be, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, is we are meant to be a people who know our own failure, and who come to God with nothing in our hands, with no strength of our own, simply seeking his forgiveness, admitting our weakness. One of the great failures of the church in European history is that too often it is taken in by the appearance of strength and forgets its need of God. Over recent years we’ve done that over issues of the abuse of children in Europe. We’ve failed to say where we’ve gone wrong. We are to be a repentant church.

It is very easy to be confident in your own resources. When I was at university, which was sadly a very long time ago, two friends and I decided to walk across Scotland. It was about 230 miles, so it took about two weeks. We were good walkers but bad map readers. So we probably did 300 miles because we kept going one way and having to come back another. And on one occasion we were walking in western Scotland, and we came to a valley that split into two bits, and after a little while we realised that the valley we’d taken after about four miles ended in a cliff, and the other one had the main road. So we went back, and as we were going back we met some other people coming along the same bad route. And so being nice people we said to them, ‘This is the wrong way, there’s just a cliff at the end.’ And they said, ‘No there isn’t. We know this is the right way.’ So we smiled politely and we went on, and when we got back to where we should have gone from, we sat down and made a cup of tea and waited for them to appear, looking embarrassed.

Repentance is when you know you’re going the wrong way and, rather than going on, you turn round and go back and take the way that God has shown you. We are to be a repentant church. That is part of the culture of Christian faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted October 31, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is also a sacramental, and even an institutional dimension to the church’s unity. Paul specifically connects the trinitarian unity of the church to the sacrament of baptism: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Paul also writes: “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”(Eph. 4:12). In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, he speaks of the distinctive role that has been given to the apostles and their successors: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Jesus also prays, “I do not ask for these only, bu also for those who will believe in me through their word” (v. 20). If all that talk about truth and love speaks to the Evangelical dimension of the church, then truth and love are embodied concretely in the church in its catholic dimensions. There is no church without sacraments and gathered worship. There is no church without an ordered ministry that continues the task of the apostles.

And, finally, the unity of the church has a missional purpose. The church is distinct from the world, and yet has a mission to the world. In the concluding words of Jesus’ prayer, he states the purpose of the church’s unity. On the one hand, the church is distinct from those who are not the church. Jesus says: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am of the world” (John 17:14). At the same time, Jesus also prays that the church may be one for the sake of the world: “that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (v. 23). The church’s call is to let the world know of the love with which the Father and the Son love each other, the love that dwells in the church because the church is one with Christ, and the church is the body of Christ, the body whose head is Christ, the body that grows so that “it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16). And the world will not know of this love if the church is not one, and if the members of the church do not love one another.

That is a very brief outline of the theology of the church that we find in the readings in Ephesians and John’s gospel. This outline has a lot in common with the different understandings of the church that I mentioned earlier. A church whose unity is grounded in the truth and love of the Trinity will be a church where the word is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations* TheologyEcclesiologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted October 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few months ago, in late July, an interview was published in England, in which I’d been interviewed and had among many other things talked about what are called credit unions in England. These are small, local, community financial organisations. Over the last 40 of 50 years they have more or less disappeared. And if, in England, you are in a poorer part of the country, and in much of the rest of the United Kingdom, and you need some money quickly, you can get it very easily. There are many organisations. The interest varies between 2500 percent a year and 5500 percent a year. So it costs you. You borrow 200 pounds for five days. You roll it over cause you can’t pay it back. You roll it over again. Before you know it you owe two, three, four thousand.

I made what seemed to me the fairly obvious comment that I considered this to be usury and usury had been a sin since Moses. Well, it was a quiet day in the press. And they had nothing important to report, so we found that they reported it rather large scale. It was a casual comment. I wish I could say that I had a grand strategy, but I didn’t. It was an accident. But it was an accident in which God was involved. Because it has created such momentum that there is a great new movement to change the way we do community finance. And it is such a powerful movement that we’re even working with the Scots about it. And there is a miracle. It takes a lot to make the Scots willing to work with the English. Understandably, we’ve spent about 800 years ill treating them. But, what was interesting to me, was a comment by the head of our mission and public affairs department, who said he’s had to rewrite part of a book he’s writing on social action of the church, to say that it is not only about grand statements and about prayer, but in today’s society we are called to action. That in the postmodern society people look for a story of change, of engagement, of commitment, that brings testimony and witness to words and prayers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Theology

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Posted October 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEcclesiologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This morning I stopped to chat with John W Yates III of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, N.C.. John was a former study assistant to John Stott and we talked about Uncle John’s influence on North American Anglicans.

Take the time to listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Global South Churches & PrimatesGACON II 2013* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted October 24, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several years ago, as I watched our diocese and our church head towards the inevitable break with the national church and as I watched churches struggle with hard decisions on the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of scripture, or any other number of issues I went on a journey to see if I really fit in the Anglican Church. Part of my issue was a fear that there would be no professional home for me in the coming years, and I might as well see if I am truly Anglican or if perhaps I was Baptist or some sort of non-denominational Christian… The other issue I struggled with was reconciling my theology with the theology of the National Episcopal Church (who claimed to be Anglican). So I started searching my heart and mind for what I believed, as well as what scripture says to see what Christianity is supposed to be about. And while I am definitely not the scholar that Father Greg is, and while my understanding of pork products and the sacraments pales in comparison with Father Free’s, I hope you might find what I have to say somewhat helpful… In understanding my journey, and in a brief introduction to what we Anglicans believe.

Now I should start by saying that I am not Anglican by birth. I was not a cradle Episcopalian. I was baptized in an Episcopal church as an infant, but through a series of events I grew up in a rural Methodist church. Please don’t hold that against me or my parents… So I can’t claim to be Anglican because it is all I have known. In fact, when I visited an Episcopal church for the first time, I had to come to grips with the fact that it existed at all. My Methodist training and upbringing had neglected to tell me about the Episcopal Church. I didn’t even know it was there. So I claim no birthright.

And to be fair, I went to an Episcopal church because I thought a girl was cute. I was a teenager, a rather typical one actually, whose mind was less on theology and more on what my girlfriend was wearing. So I can’t even claim to have chosen the Episcopal Church. In many ways it chose me. A group of loving adults pointed the teenage me to the Jesus of the Bible, prayed that I might come into a saving relationship with Christ, and then proceeded to disciple me. Anglicans chose me, not the other way around. But a few years ago, I no longer could rest on that fact. It was time for me to choose.

As I searched my heart, and indeed the Bible, one thing was evident to me… Scripture is very important! I know that many of you hold to a very high view of scripture – in fact you would agree with St. Paul as he reminds Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is breathed out by God…”. That the Bible is God’s very word! That God inspired its creation, and He speaks through His word today. But the Bible has an author (God) and an audience (us). While God breathed out the scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament, he did so for his glory and our transformation. Paul continues in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is breathed out by God… and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Bible is sparked by the divine, with all His authority. In fact, because it comes from God it’s profitable for little ‘ol me. God’s word can transform my heart and my life. And through that transformation, I might be made more and more into the image of Christ, ultimately leading to righteousness.

So, I wanted a church that thought as highly about the word of God as I do. I want a church that encourages us to daily take in God’s word, ponder its meaning, apply it to our lives, and live it out according to God’s purpose. So what is the Anglican Church’s view of scripture? Please turn with me to page 877 of the Book of Common Prayer… To the Chicago – Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Lambeth Conference of 1888…

A quarter of the way down the page, you will see a number one. It proclaims, “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the revealed word of God.” And if you scan further down the page to the “A” under the Lambeth Conference, it reads, “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as ‘containing all things necessary to salvation,’ and as being the ultimate rule and standard of faith.”

So, what does that mean? Simply, it means the Anglican Church, and St. John’s, hold a high view of scripture. It contains all things necessary to our salvation. In the Bible, the gospel is proclaimed to us, in it the grace of God is demonstrated for us, in it we are called to repentance, in the Bible our identity in Christ is made clear to us, and through it we are strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit to live redeemed lives. And we can see the Anglican Church’s view of scripture in this very service. We enter in prayer and then sit under the word of God as it is read to us from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament, and as if that weren’t enough, even from the Gospels as well. No other flavor of Christianity (that I know of) spends so much time in the word of God. And then to cap it all off, the priest stands up to teach us from God’s perfect word. I sought a church that held a high view of scripture, and in the Anglican Church I found a wonderful home.


And while I tend to view myself as a good boy steeped in the Reformed tradition, I realized that scripture called Christians to do more than just study God’s word endlessly. That we were to live in our world, proclaiming Christ crucified. That indeed we are connected to the historic church through the centuries… That we are to profess the faith of the early church Fathers… And we profess this faith; we summarize what we believe, through the Apostle’s and Nicene creeds.

You know, I was trained many years ago how to interact with the random Jehovah’s witnesses that showed up at my door by telling them exactly what I believe. I was taught to do that by sharing the Nicene Creed. The creeds effectively sum up what the Bible teaches us about our faith… Who God the father is, who his son Jesus Christ is, who the Holy Spirit is, and what the church is. I hold fast to the creeds, especially in recent years.

It seems like every day there is a new preacher, interpreting scripture in a new way, telling us that God really meant this or that. And the best way I have found to combat that is through searching scripture for answers the church has been giving for nearly 2000 years. In the creeds, the doctrine of the church is summed up for us.

If you look back at your prayer book, number 2 and “B” both point us to the use of creeds to sum up our faith. To keep us in check… To make sure that we don’t wonder from essential truth’s about God due to our own selfishness. This is so crucial! In Malachi 3:6, God tells the Israelites, “…I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” I’m sure you have heard it said that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And that is what the verse in Malachi is telling us. That God doesn’t change his mind – He doesn’t go back on his promises… He doesn’t think one thing is sinful one day and then come back to us another day to tell us there is no more sin. And because God doesn’t change his mind, the church shouldn’t either. So when someone argues the deity of Jesus – we point them to the creeds. When the uniqueness of Christ is questioned – we point them to the creeds. When the Holy Spirit is denied – we point to the creeds. So we as a church must continue to profess the same God as the first Christians did. And we do that by learning the doctrine that the creeds teach us. The creeds are useful summaries of our historic faith.

Father Greg has told me several times that the Nicene Creed is placed after the sermon in Rite I and II services to stand as a correction if the preacher wonders too far from the truth found in scriptures. I hope that isn’t too necessary today!

So as I see it, we need the Nicene and Apostles creeds to ensure that we are holding on to the faith of the historic church, to scare away Jehovah’s witnesses, and to correct false teaching.

I feel like this might be getting a bit serious or stiff, and in my training as a youth minister I was taught to break up your teaching as often as necessary to keep people’s attention, to let their minds ponder what you have just shared, and to let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts. So let’s take a momentary detour.

In 1996, I went off to college… Well, by off I mean that I went to the College of Charleston, which is essentially just down the street. And what I wound up studying while I was at college was history. I love history. And my wife doesn’t… I am constantly trying to tell her that I love history because it connects me to the people who came before me. I enjoy going to civil war sites and thinking about the brave soldiers that stood there long ago. I like to think about what they were doing, feeling, and seeing. I love going into old churches and sitting in the pews. I like to think of the countless people who have sat in that seat seeking God’s voice, crying out to him in pain, or praising God’s holy name. I love history. I am so honored to stand here, knowing that great Bible teachers have stood here proclaiming the word of God, that missionaries who have given their lives wholly to God stood on this ground sharing what God is doing through them, that children have grown up at St. John’s and then stood in this spot to proclaim who God is. I love history.

And as I searched my heart and the scriptures I saw that history matters. We see the importance of history in the genealogies of Jesus… We see the importance of history in God’s unchanging promises… If you think about it, that is exactly what God is telling the Israelites in Malachi, that he doesn’t change. He is telling them that his promises don’t change. That verse tells us that history, what God has done and said, matters.

So I longed for a church that understood history. I wanted a church that was connected to the ancient church. It’s like the creeds in that respect. I wanted to be sure that the body of Christ I belonged to was the body that Jesus set to create through the early apostles and by his death on the cross. And that is exactly what the Anglican Church offers. Please look with me at the prayer book again. Number 4 and “D” both tell us about the history of our church. It reads, “The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.” That is a dizzying sentence.

I might need to offer a simple definition… Episcopate = bishops.

We are a church run by Bishops. And as a lay person, that can frustrate me at times. That someone is in authority over me. But many times scripture reminds us that we are not our ultimate authority.

Take 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 for example; “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly because of their work…” Paul is reminding the people of Thessalonica that God has put others over them. And in Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul says, “(God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for ministry…” Our Bishops, priests, and leaders are gifts from God! Sometimes it is hard to see that, but think back to our recent struggles with the National Episcopal Church… Who would not count Bishop Lawrence as a gift from God? Who would not count our vestry and priests as gifts from God? And Paul goes on to tell us in Romans 13:1 what our respect for God’s gift of leadership is to look like… “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Now, I realize that Paul was talking about civil authorities, but let’s look at the principal. We submit to the authority God puts over us. In the church the authorities over us are bishops and priests. That God calls to lead us, to shepherd us, to teach us, to equip us for ministry, to counsel us, to love us as God loves us… So we submit – we surrender ourselves (our wills and our authority) to their authority, as they submit themselves to Christ Jesus.

But you might have noticed that I skipped a word that the Chicago – Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Lambeth Conference both use: Historic. And by now you know I love that word. So not only are we a church run by bishops, our bishops can trace a line back to the earliest apostles. So we are an ancient church, confessing the truths that Jesus taught his disciples. I love that, don’t you? Knowing that we aren’t adrift on a sea by ourselves… But that we are connected to a church that spans 2000 years of history. I love that we are connected to a church whose body covers the entire globe. We are connected to that church by the very bishops God puts in authority over us today. That Bishop Lawrence is connected all the way back to the founding apostles. Amazing!

Some of you tuned out the last few minutes either because I was talking about history or because I was talking about someone being in authority over us. All I can say is… I’m sorry?

There is one more aspect of Anglicanism that I have fallen in love with: The Sacraments. Please look one more time at your Book of Common Prayer. Number 3 and letter “C” talk about the importance of the sacrament to the Anglican Church. Letter “C” on page 878 says, “The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.”

I love that the sacraments are the visible, tangible signs of what Jesus is doing and has done for us. I love that they are the very things that Jesus did when he walked the Earth – that he ordained them Himself. I love that he gave them to us. I love that through them I am receiving the grace of God.

For example… Every Sunday, as I am invited by the priest to come to the Holy Table, I am aware of how much I don’t deserve to be called to feast with the Lord. I am aware of what Jesus did on the cross to secure my spot at the table… I am aware that God is looking past my sinful nature and at Jesus, whose sacrifice covers me – and He is calling me his child. Telling me to take my seat… And then he feeds me… And not just with any food, but with spiritual food… The body and blood of Jesus himself, shed for us that we might come to God’s table. It is clear to me that God’s grace rests upon us as we approach his altar. And I love that! Don’t you?

Because sometimes it is hard for me to think in abstracts, and I need that visible – tangible – outward sign of God’s grace. And we have that in the sacraments.

I realize this has been a long sermon, and there is much more that could be said or taught about what makes us Anglican. But I’m going to stop here and ask you a question.

Why does this matter? What difference does it make if we are Anglican or not? That was a question that I wrestled with for quite some time. And to answer it, I need to tell you about fishing tackle… Before I had kids (when there was such a thing as ‘Rob’ time), I loved to go fishing. I honestly didn’t care if I caught too much, I just liked to be on or near the water, with a line in the water – waiting to see what I might bring up. And one thing I learned while fishing in front of my in-laws house was that you need the right sinker for the right type of water.

When the tide is slack, you can use a small, light sinker – the current isn’t pulling it away from you very hard. When the tide is coming in our out – you need a larger sinker (or more than one) to fight against the current. To reach the depth you want to fish in…

Well, the current of our culture, our world is a hard and fast moving current. It pushes us – and it even pushes churches… The culture will try to erode our thinking on biblical issues, tell us that Jesus is just another great teacher – an example to emulate… But He is not God. It will tell us that we have been reading the Bible all wrong, and that we should skip certain parts of scripture because they have no meaning in our world. The culture will tell us – will push and pull us – to be just like them.

So we need a good sinker. And Anglicanism has four heavy sinkers…
1. We hold fast to God’s word. We know it comes from Him and is useful for our transformation and His glory. So we read it, we teach it, we study it, we seek to live it…
2. We use the creeds to summarize our faith and to be a solid foundation of doctrine for us to stand on. Fighting hard against the current of our culture – refusing to change our beliefs since God himself does not change.
3. Anglicans are not a fly by night kind of church. We can trace our roots back to the earliest church. So our sinker is heavy, and we run our church as scripture asks us to – with people submitting to the authority put over them, even as the leaders of our church submit to Christ himself.
4. And our last sinker is the visible and outward sign of God’s grace for us. The sacraments. I am so thankful that Anglicans did not throw out the sacraments like many other churches during the reformation – since they are a means of God’s grace for us.

All four of these sinkers, when held faithfully together, are enough to drop us down through the fastest current. They anchor us to Christ and the church he died to create. And they work together making us Anglican. That is why this matters. And that is why I am an Anglican.

--Mr. Rob Schluter is the Youth Minister at Saint John's, John's Island, S.C. (and this is posted with his kind permission)


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Identity* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / HomileticsYouth Ministry* Theology

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Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Accra, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. M. Torto, has condemned excessive alcoholism among Christians, especially Anglicans, in public.

According to the Who Health Organisation (WHO), the harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths each year, and 320 000 young people, between the age of 15 and 29, die from alcohol-related causes, resulting in 9% of all deaths in that age group.

Alcohol is the world's third largest risk factor for disease burden; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas, and the second largest in Europe.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchAlcoholismReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 8, 2013 at 11:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 2, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 1, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...lastly, if I want another argument to make you good soldiers, remember your Captain, the Captain whose wounded hands and pierced feet are tokens of His love to you. Redeemed from going down tothe pit, what can you do sufficiently to show your gratitude? Assured of eternal Glory by-and-by, how can you sufficiently prove that you feel your indebtedness? Up, I pray you! By Him whose eyes are like a flame of fire, and yet were wet with tears—by Him on whose head are many crowns, and who yet wore the crown of thorns—by Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and yet bowed His head to death for you—resolve that to life’s latest breath you will spend and be spent for His praise. The Lord grant that there may be many such in this Church—good sold iers of Jesus Christ.
Read it all (cited by yours truly in yesterday's sermon).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristology

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Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This sure is matter of love; but came there any good to us by it? There did. For our conception being the root as it were, the very groundsill of our nature; that He might go to the root and repair of our nature from the very foundation, thither He went; that what had been there defiled and decayed by the first Adam, might by the Second be cleansed and set right again. That had our conception been stained, by Him therefore, primum ante omnia,to be restored again. He was not idle all the time He was an embyro all the nine months He was in the womb; but then and there He even ate out the core of corruption that cleft to our nature and us, and made both us and it an unpleasing object in the sight of God.

And what came of this? We who were abhorred by God, filii irae was our title, were by this means made beloved in Him. He cannot, we may be sure, account evil of that nature, that is now become the nature of His own SonNHis now no less than ours. Nay farther, given this privilege to the children of such as are in Him, though but of one parent believing, that they are not as the seed of two infidels, but are in a degree holy, eo ipso; and have a farther right to the laver of regeneration, to sanctify them throughout by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. This honour is to us by the dishonour of Him; this the good by Christ an embyro.

--From a sermon preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Sunday, the Twenty-fifth of December, 1614

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

2 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in - suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.

But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.

And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection....

Read it carefully (noting especially the original setting as described) and read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted September 11, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchChildrenPoverty* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 3, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire (give the audio approximately 30 seconds at the beginning to right itself [wait until the prayer is concluded and then about a five count beyond, after "Hello").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 2, 2013 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If preaching is central to Christian worship, what kind of preaching are we talking about? The sheer weightlessness of much contemporary preaching is a severe indictment of our superficial Christianity. When the pulpit ministry lacks substance, the church is severed from the word of God, and its health and faithfulness are immediately diminished.

Many evangelicals are seduced by the proponents of topical and narrative preaching. The declarative force of Scripture is blunted by a demand for story, and the textual shape of the Bible is supplanted by topical considerations. In many pulpits, the Bible, if referenced at all, becomes merely a source for pithy aphorisms or convenient narratives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationSoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 23, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen here if you wish.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina

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Posted August 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all using the options avilable.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Listen to this encouraging sermon from St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore if you wish here.

More Sunday Worship available here

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted July 28, 2013 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pastor Rick Warren is scheduled to preach at Saddleback Church in Southern California next weekend, marking his return to the pulpit about three months after he lost his 27-year-old son.

Warren will preach at the Lake Forest campus at 4.30 pm PT on Saturday, with online streaming available on the church's website.

According to a spokesperson, Pastor Warren will start a series of sermons titled, "How to Get Through What You're Going Through."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted July 22, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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