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At our last Synod, our Canon Theologian Henry Jansma recommended this book and so thinking of my son, I began to read the book. J.C. Ryle initially paints a dismal picture of the state of young men. This might make reading a little hard at first, but the reward in the end is worth it. I would encourage even older men, even women to read it, because it contains insights that I think might be new to you.

Thoughts for Young Men, Review #1

It is a short book, only 75 pages long and it follows a simple outline:
1. Reasons why young men need to be exhorted;
2. Dangers young men face;
3. Counsels (more general principles);
4. Special rules for young men.


The Forward has a more detailed outline (pages ix-x).
In Part 1, he asks, “Are you thinking you will have a convenient season to mind these by and by? So thought Felix and the Athenians to whom Paul preached; but it never came…” Let’s look at this particular passage that Ryle is referring to.


Acts 17:22-23 (ESV)
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription:
‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.


Paul is preaching to them and trying to tell them that though they have many gods, they also hold onto an insurance policy of this unknown god just in case they are not aware of him or her. Paul tries to explain that this unknown God is in fact, Jesus.
 

Acts 17:32-34 (ESV)
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.


Some people heard the Word and believed, but others did not. What would you do if you were in this boat? Maybe you will get a second chance? Maybe some other preacher who is really good will come along and convince you? Or maybe not.
 

Acts 18:1 (ESV)
18:1 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 

 

So they had no second chance after that. If you have not heard Billy Graham speak, your only option now is to listen to a recording. Don’t wait, the Holy Spirit maybe tugging on your heart right now. Don’t resist or you may never get another chance.


Not only did Paul talk to regular people, but also to people in positions of power. It is sad really that it maybe harder for a more affluent person or someone in a position of power to come to a saving faith.


Acts 24:22 (ESV)
But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”

 

Felix knew about Christianity, which at the time was called the Way, but he was not convinced.


Acts 24:22 (ESV)
24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.


Not only was Felix not convinced, but he tried to extort money out of the Christians. Don’t wait till the last minute to come to saving faith. Now is the time, if you have read the bible and still have reservations, then this book will help you see your need of Jesus. Another option you also have is that every Sunday, EVERY Sunday, you can come to St. Georges to hear the Word of God preached.

 

That is all for now, but I will explore other parts of the book in my next blog.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Each of us faces challenges in life. Sometimes these challenges seem insurmountable. We don’t know if or how we will get through them. Whether you are currently going through a challenge or have recently failed in a storm of life, I want to talk to you about going “One More” step. The challenge is to not quit, but to keep going. That can be easier said than done, but maybe this song will help.

One More Step

The Song
There used to be a Christian alternative rock band called Superchic. Their song “One More”, talks about when we feel like we should give up, but need to struggle forward.


It feels like I have lost this fight
They think that I am staying down
But I'm not giving up tonight
Tonight the wall is coming down
I am stronger than my fears
This is the mountain that I climb
Got 100 steps to go
Tonight I'll make it 99


(Chorus)
One more, go one more, yeah yeah
Don't stop now, go one more, yeah yeah
One more, go one more
Go one more, go one more, yeah yeah


One More lyrics © Matt Dally Music, Whizbang Artists Music, Onegirlmusic, DAVE
GHAZARIAN MUSIC, DJ SPACEMONKEY MUSIC, STARLIT P MUSIC, VMK


The wall is that mental\emotional\spiritual barrier that prevents you from staying in the fight. You may feel worn out, tired, depressed, angry, in pain. It is a fight. Don’t downplay the emotional and spiritual side of this. Don’t think that you just need to be tougher. Some people will say that you just need to have more will power. Those are the words of people who never try or never struggle. God has given us all the will power that we need. The problem is that the Devil tricks us into thinking that we are weak.


Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.


Evil is real. The struggle is real, but you can go just “One More” step.


The Chain of Pain
Have you heard of the Chain of Pain? It is a term used by some to describe the battle that someone aspiring to earn a Black Belt must go through. It is a series of fights designed to 
test the person’s stamina and their will to fight. My friend, Bob, would bike between 50 and 100 miles on the weekend. You would think this guy would have the stamina to get his black belt?


He said he was exhausted by the end of it, but he stayed in the fight. His instructors did not make it easy on him, but they also did not discourage him. They would tell him to, ‘Stay in the fight,’ as they threw punches or kicks. God has not promised that we will have an easy life, but He has promised something eternal if we stick it out.


James 1:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


Testing almost sounds easy in comparison to the Chain of Pain. Let me reiterate that what we may have to go through maybe a lot worse. And maybe there is nothing you can do but endure. Cancer treatments come to mind. Go just one more step. Don’t give up. Don’t quit.


The Final Hour
Hopefully you have heard Pastor Lafferty preaching, because he has mentioned more than once from personal experience that God answers prayers, but sometimes it is in the final nerve-wracking hour. Don’t despair in that moment. Wait! Hold on! Don’t turn back to what you have already repented of. It might feel like the moment will never end, but it will, just go “One More” step.


Psalm 23:4 (KJV)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.


Whenever I quote this verse I use the KJV translation (instead of the ESV), because in my opinion the “valley of the shadow of death” sounds a lot more dangerous than the “darkest valley.”


God is with you in the moment, not physically, but the Holy Spirit IS there. You are not alone! Please remember that! The Holy Spirit will sustain you.


Lastly, let me add, if you have given up, you are not lost yet. There is always hope. If you have sinned, turn back to Jesus. Sometimes we wander off the straight and narrow path. Take “One More” step back onto the path. Go one more step towards Jesus today. Do the same tomorrow, and the day after that...

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Some people consider themselves Christian and yet they still worry if God really cares about them. The sad fact is that the teachers (myself included) don't always teach the good part of the Good News. We sometimes focus so much on the sin, that we forget to mention that Jesus died to set us free from that sin. God does indeed care. He cares so much that he sent his ONE and ONLY son, Jesus to die for us. Therefore, we are no longer separated by sin from our Father in Heaven. Let me use two illustrations, one song and one bible passage to illustrate this to you. I encourage every Christian who has this thought in their heart to read this thoroughly and even bookmark the bible passage for quick reference. Don’t doubt whether God really cares or not. He does. If he did not, he would not have told us so.

Does God Care, REALLY!?

My first illustruction, comes from the Michael W. Smith song, “You Won’t Let Go.” The refrain for the song is fairly  memorable and goes like so:


You are the anchor for my soul
You won't let go
You won't let go
No matter what may come I know
You won't let go


Michael uses the idea of how an anchor is used to hold a boat in place and keep it from drifting. Our soul is held in place by God himself. Comforting words. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life when you know that you are anchored. But let’s move on to a key verse in Mr. Smith’s song.


Neither life, neither death,
The highest high, the deepest depth
Nothing can
Nothing can separate
Neither tears, neither trials
Certain as the sun will rise
Nothing can
Nothing can separate


Again these words are even more comforting to us. No matter what our circumstances might be, God is there with us. No matter what you are going through, God is there. You could be suffering the worst kind of illness, disease, even cancer, and you can rest assured that God is with you. You might have just lost your job. God is still with you. A loved one might have just died. God IS with you! You might say what good is a song? How do I know if there is any truth in it? How do I
know that God is speaking through this music? Well that takes me to my second illustration. A somewhat longer than normal section of the Bible than I would normally share, even for a sermon. I want to include the entire section that is titled, “More Than Conquerors.”


Romans 8:31-39(ESV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:


“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

[Psalm 44:22]


37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


There you have it. You can see that Michael W. Smith’s song was inspired by Romans. You can also see from Romans that God does care and that NOTHING can separate us from his love. You ARE NOT ALONE! GOD CARES FOR YOU! Remember that when you doubt. Share that with someone who is doubting.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

You may have heard we are one generation away from being a nation without Christianity. If that seems odd to you then let me explain. If day after day the bank of a levy is eroded, eventually the water starts to trickle down the side. At that point, water and erosion shows its true power. Little by little the erosion makes the opening larger and eventually washes away large sections of the levy which then causes flooding of the nearby area. Likewise if year after year fewer people go to church you will eventually have couples getting married who no longer attend church. We are currently well into that right now. I know plenty of people who were raised as Christians, but if they ever darken the doorstep of a church, I am not aware of it. It is sad, because many of them were raised in the church. Some of them used to go, but have fallen away. We need to do something about this problem. There are many things that can be done,but I think the most important thing we can do is pray.

One Generation Away

It would be nice to see more people in church, but I want to be clear on something, I am not saying force your child to go to church or Christianity is doomed. Maybe you will recall the following:


Proverbs 22:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.


I don’t think that this means that you force your child to go to church. It means train them. We have to somehow impart our Christian walk on them. I could get completely off-track and dive into something on parenting, but that would be counter-productive, plus there are many people with more wisdom in this manner than I. All I know is that I have too many friends who were forced to go and now no longer do.


There are things we can do to make the service more appealing to the younger generation. I am probably one of the few people my age who actually enjoy listening to hymns. Probably 99.9% of all children and a large percentage of adults below some ever increasing age do not like singing hymns. At some point, when we are ready, we will need to move back into more praise style music. Fr. Lafferty is working on that.


We need to provide events that are appealing to younger people. I think we have made great progress in this regard with the Kidztown focus on the Strawberry Festival. I hope that continues to be a good focus and helps us to grow in influence within our community. Still my purpose in this blog is to not lay out a plan for St. Georges, but to discuss this
problem of the church dwindling.


We are living at a time when people don’t know that the bible says. When I get into arguments over the morality and the culture of sin that exists in our country, people are no longer appalled by it because they don’t even think that it is sinful. If two people say its love, then who are they to disagree with them? It is sad, because truth for them is relative.


They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let’s look at a bible passage that gives us a practical example of that. 
 

2 Kings 22:8-13 (Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law)
8 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the
king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the
priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”


Matthew Henry’s Commentary suggests that this “Book of the Law” was either the actual book written by Moses or an authentic copy. He also suggests that God must have been involved in this to safeguard this book. Evil people might not have wanted their deeds revealed, but their guilty conscience prevented them from destroying the book outright. Good people might have realized that the evil kings before might have sought to destroy it and thus tried to hide it hoping that someone good might find it in the future. But therein lies the problem, it could be a LONG long time before such a book is found. There are plenty of science fiction movies that have similar moments and not always for the better. You may recall in the movie, The Planet of the Apes. The main character George Taylor is an astronaut and he thinks he has crash landed on some planet, where apes rule and humans are slaves. He doesn’t realize that he is on Earth, just in the future. It is not until the end, when he escapes that he finds the buried Statue of Liberty that he realizes that he is on Earth and some terrible nuclear war must have taken place. 

 

Those are just two examples of who things can go terribly wrong when information is lost. Let me close with prayer, because I believe that after everything else that we try to do, we need to pray. 

 

I pray that my children do not walk away from their faith. I pray that if they do, that they return before long. Likewise, I pray for our whole church and the children in it. I pray for all of the children who are now adults and have turned from you God. I pray that you motivate them in only the way that will work for each of them to turn back to you. I pray that each of us will raise  up our family, friends, and neighbors in prayer, that they may come to know the love that you have for each of us Lord Jesus. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Normally I talk about subjects with an emphasis on the Bible and the Word of God. This time however, I want to talk about an app. I literally JUST found out about this app on Anglican Unscripted. ACNA stands for the Anglican Church in North America and our diocese has been apart of ACNA for awhile. So now they have an app that you can install on your phone or tablet.Please don’t be rolling your eyes. I bet one of you is rolling their eyes and just about to stop reading. This is helpful not just for you, but also for all of us. So bear with me, because this will be pretty quick.

You can download the app to your phone from Google Play or the Amazon Appstore. You might be thinking what is the benefit? What can this app do and why would I need it on my phone? Well it can help people find Anglican Churches. Why is that important you say? Churches are easy to find, right? I would disagree! Places of worship are easy to find, but are they all Christian? I would venture to say that many Christian churches are Christian only in name. It used to be VERY easy to find an Episcopal, especially in New Jersey, but since we left the Episcopal Church, finding Bible believing, non-revisionist, orthodox churches is a LOT harder.

The ACNA App

There are two main reasons why being able to search for other like-minded churches is a good thing. First, when you are on vacation, visiting some place far from home, or maybe even a business trip, you can look to see if there is a local ACNA church. We did this once down in Virginia and ended up at an a wonderful spirit-filled, thriving, ACNA church. The Church Finder also has links to the church’s website, so you can see what the service times are.

 

Second, other people when they are visiting New Jersey can do likewise. Maybe they will come to visit St. Georges because of it? We are hearing from more and more people that are finding us on the Internet. See what a search on the app shows for a given zip code. Maybe you have friends or family that are moving to a new area. They might not know what church to go to, but you could suggest one for them or show them the app and let them decide. I know a person that plans to move to Virginia. It turns out there are several down there. While this person is not an Anglican, my prayer is that they find it similar to what they are used to.


In addition to finding a church, the app also gives you access to 1) event resources for all of the ACNA conferences, 2) Watch or listen to past conference keynotes and breakouts, 3) Check out an ever-growing list of podcasts, 4) Keep track of all denomination happenings with the calendar and news feed. With all of the goofy apps people put on their phones, here is one with truly eternal possibilities. Try it out and I hope you like it.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

When you take a test and score 100% on the test that is good. REALLY good. Essentially you cannot do better than a perfect score, unless there is extra credit. In life, however, there is not always any extra credit.

 

What about the spiritual world? What about with regard to God? Are we scoring 100% with God? This is a really good question. What does the Bible say with regard to testing? Actually, it has a lot to say. Too much to discuss in depth, but you can always use a Concordance to see where the word, “test” appears in the Bible. Another method is to use an online tool like Biblegateway.com.

100%

The Bible indicates that God would often put someone to the test. Job is a classic example of God allowing the Devil to test Job. But there are also plenty of times both Old and New Testament where the people put God to the test. Christians will relate to how the Pharisees and Sadducees would often ask Jesus some sort of trick question so they could discredit him and accuse him of breaking The Law. Lastly there are numerous places that are prayers or wisdom to help us get through a time of testing. That said, let us dive into the Bible, keeping in mind that God maybe using this very moment to get us to test ourselves in the light of God’s Word.
 

God Tests Us
Genesis 22:1 (ESV)
[ The Sacrifice of Isaac ] After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”


You probably recall the story, where Abraham is told to sacrifice his only son, Issac. You may recall that Abraham kept saying that God would provide. God took Abraham right to the edge. He almost killed his only son. Abraham had given himself 100% to God and consequently scored perfectly with God. I pray that none of us are ever in such circumstances, but it does not mean that we won’t face difficult choices. Will we do as well? I pray that we all do.


Exodus 16:4 (ESV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.


This is a rather simple test to see whether the people would follow God. God would feed the Israelites every day with enough food, but they were not supposed to be greedy. The test is not always a hard one like Abraham’s or Job. Likewise, our test may not be hard. How are we doing on the weekly Sunday attendance? Pretty simple for a test. All you have to do is show up. Let’s move on an look at some of the ways in the Bible and in real life, we put God to the test.

 

We Test God
Exodus 17:2 (ESV)
Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”


The Israelites were going through a difficult time. They remember how life used to be easier when they were slaves. Does that sound ironic? They were no longer slaves, but they were complaining that God was not taking better care of them.
 

Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV)
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. The test in the wilderness is probably why this verse was later written.


Matthew 4:7 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”


You may recall that Jesus had to remind the Israelites about it. However, there is ONE exception to this rule and that is the following:


Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.


What is our score in this regard? How often do we trust God? If we do trust him, is it 100%. I must admit, that often I want to do the driving and control how things turn out.  Fortunately, everyday is an opportunity to turn back to God and trust him more.


The Holy Spirit Gets Us To Test Ourselves
Finally, let’s look at some scripture that may help us during our times of testing.


Psalm 17:3 (ESV)
You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.


Each of us needs to be purposeful in life, prayer, reading of scripture. If not then it is like going to an exam, without having studied at all.


Lamentations 3:40 (ESV)
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

The Holy Spirit, through the Psalmist, calls on each of us to look inward and examine our lives. Where are we with regard to God. We all want to get at least a passing grade when it comes to our faith. The problem with The Law is that if you don’t get a perfect score, 100%, then you fail. That is how a works-based theology goes. We think that we can earn our salvation when in fact we can’t. Fortunately, Jesus makes our salvation much easier. All we have to do is believe in Him and we are saved.


Luke 8:13 (ESV)
And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.


This comes from the parable of the seeds, where the seeds are sown in different places. The rocky place meant that when persecution comes along they fall away from the faith. This should be a challenge to us, because the country that our parents grew up in is very different today. It is a country much more hostile to Christians and much more likely to embrace almost any other kind of faith no matter how absurd.


Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Many opponents of Christian faith will say that our faith is blind, but here we have our very own Bible encouraging us to test our faith, so that we better understand God. Reading God’s Word will transform us. Since none of us were around when Jesus preached, we have heard his words through other ministers and through the Bible. However, that means at some point in our lives, it all began to make sense. The Word sunk it and transformed us.


2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!


I used to think that I was a very inward looking person, but it took a few years with a psychologist and group-therapy to really help me to start to looking inward and testing myself. You don’t need to share your test results with me, but I am certain that it is not 100%. If it is, maybe you can start to give me lessons in how to walk on water? By now you might be getting weary of this Bible, but we are in the home stretch here.


1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)
but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Like I said before, test your faith. Why do you believe what you believe? Check out the Bible, you can find your answers there.


James 1:12 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


This is my life verse. God help all of us to not cave in when we are in any trial, whether it is medical, financial, emotional, spiritual, or anything else.


1 John 4:1 (ESV)
[ Test the Spirits ] Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. Something else to keep in mind is that we might think that something is from God when in fact it is not. Test it against the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, then it is not a good spirit.


Revelation 2:10 (ESV)
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.


Like I mentioned previously, there will be times of persecution. It can easily be your family. They might not like it that you love God or love Him more than they do. They might not like that you want to go to church EVERY Sunday, even though it IS the Lord’s Day. It is very easy to not earn 100% when it comes to your salvation. In the Old Testament days, the people would bring sacrifices all the time in order for the priest to make a sacrifice for their sins. The price had to be paid over and over, because it never satisfied it 100%. 

 

Fortunately, all you need is faith. Faith that Jesus makes up for our inadequacies. Faith that Jesus stands before the Father and intercedes for us. Faith that He is our advocate when we are tested and judged before the throne of God. Jesus paid the price 100%, so there is nothing more that we can do or add to what he has done. All we can do is accept it and believe.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

If you know me, you will know that I am not a sports fan. I like outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, canoeing, and rafting, but team sports were never really my thing. I played little league baseball for one season, soccer for two, and track for three. Sitting on the sidelines because you were not one of the more talented athletes, can be disheartening, but fortunately God looks at us differently.

Send Me In Coach

The following paragraph is a quote from Bishop Julian Dobb’s Pastoral address at the 2019 Synod. Our bishop used to play rugby and shared with us this aspect of game play called ‘injury time,’ to motivate us to get into the game.

 

When a rugby game reaches the end of the allotted 80 minutes of game time, the referee, if he chooses to do so, may play extra time for injuries that have slowed down the game. In injury time, there is a window of opportunity to make a play and score points" (the outcome of many serious international rugby games has been changed during injury time).

In Luke chapter 9, time is essentially up, the disciples are calling for judgement on a Samaritan village which rejects the lordship of Jesus, but in chapter 10 Jesus says, there is a window of opportunity for the offer of salvation to the whole world. This is not yet the time for judgment.

We might say of May 17, 2019 that we live in injury time as far as the history of the world is concerned. There is a moment of opportunity. It is not yet time for the final whistle.

You can find his entire Pastoral Address in the link below.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.cloversites.com/83/835b7ff2-914d-435a-97f2-c22ad3966ee2/documents/Pastoral_Address_Public_2019.pdf

 

So we live in ‘injury time.’ We have the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone even now. There is still time for you to speak to a friend about Jesus. If you are reading this and you do not believe in Jesus, there is still time. There is an opportunity to win the biggest game there is, bigger than the Super Bowl, the World Series, or the World Cup. Heaven is just a prayer away. Turn from your sin and believe that Jesus died and rose for your sins and you are on the path!

Romans 10:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

We so often make it harder than it really it. It is not all that hard. In addition, we should not get wrapped up in what to say, because God will help with the words. But this requires action on our parts. A little bit later in Romans it says the following:

 

Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

 

Don’t think that this means that only clergy are witness. We are all called as ministers for Christ. Finally let me just add that we need to be enthusiastic like a certain Old Testament prophet, Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 6:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

 

I pray that you talk to God and ask him to send you into the harvest. Send me in coach!

 

Matthew 9:37 English Standard Version (ESV)

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

"The Holocaust didn't happen but it should have". Those are the words on a sign carried by a masked protester in Arkansas recently. The Neo-nazis had shown up to protest a Holocaust Remembrance March. It is terrible that there is still so much hatred in the world. It is incredibly terrible that such hatred still exists in our own country and that it could happen as recently as this month.

The Truth Will Set You Free

It makes you think that these people must be brainwashed, but I believe that it is what happens when you hear a lie, but are repeatedly told it is the truth. Some Neo-nazis have been raised that way from their youth. Their parents sow this poison in them. Worst of all is how some of them can even think that they are Christian, but again, an evil person can twist the truth of the Bible. If I were to cherry-pick verses out of the Bible and misinterpret them, I could paint Jesus as having a grudge against the Jews. Jesus would never condone violence. In fact he commands a more peaceful approach.


Matthew 5:38-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.


Now you could point of John 2:15 where Jesus drives the money changers out of the Temple, but there he uses righteous anger to correct an abuse of God’s Temple. In our politically correct world, his actions would be taken as nothing less than violence, but we have long departed where a little physical punishment was considered the standard way of changing
behavior. In any case, it does not indicate specifically that he actually hit any of them although at the very least he must have threatened to do so.


In any case, these people, whether they are Christian or not, are in desperate need of the Word of God. They are need of our prayer. We need to pray that God will bring them to their senses. Especially the ones that are Christian, because their faith is warped. They do not really understand the Bible and what Jesus came to do. A Christian cannot believe that genocide is acceptable in any way, shape, or form. If they would simply look at the evidence, it would be overwhelming. Sadly the number of people who lived then and saw the sights dwindle each year.


John 14:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I think if they took that verse to heart, they might want to read a little more of the Bible and little less of whatever filth they are filling their minds with. The same is true for us as well. We need to fill our minds with good things and not the garbage that easily sells, has the highest ratings on TV, or is on the best-sellers list.


John 8:31-33 English Standard Version (ESV)
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been
enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”


The Jews at the time thought Jesus meant free as in not a slave, but he was talking about spiritual freedom. When you are sinner and you KNOW you are, then you realize that you need something. Some people think it just the right information or if they do the right thing or say the right prayers or perform the right ritual, they will be saved. It is so much easier than that. “Abide in my word”: This means to read the Bible, but not just read it casually. It means to absorb it, digest it, dwell in it, saturate yourself in it. You don’t have to become a monk to do this. Just crack it open each day and you are on your way.


“Know the truth”: When you spend time in the Bible enough it will strengthen your faith. Things will start to make sense about your faith. Your confidence will not be shaken when someone questions you, because you will have read something about that recently.


“The truth will set you free”: When you are trying to earn your own salvation, you are like a hamster on a wheel. You are going around and around in circles, but you are going nowhere. We should always proclaim the truth, because there are forces, even entire nations like Iran that want to deny the Holocaust. But in the future it might not just be the Holocaust. It could be the Bible. It could be your right to speak out against ungodly practices.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Awhile back, I needed to fill in for Pastor Lafferty and the Old Testament reading was the beginning of Genesis, chapter 15. While I commend the entire chapter to your reading, I want to pay particular attention to this verse.

Genesis 15:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Can You Count the Stars?

That very day, when I got home, I started listening to some Christian music, which is not an uncommon thing for me. However, let me just take a moment to share a funny story about myself. I have a playlist on Youtube, actually I have several, one for popular Christian music covering everything from pop to rock, some country, and even a little gospel. Each list has over 100 songs, but the songs are always played in the same order. Youtube has a feature that lets you shuffle the list, but I find that it doesn’t shuffle properly after a certain number of songs, almost like it just can’t handle long lists. Due to that problem, my family is probably a little tired when I play it, because they often hear the beginning but not the end of the list. Just so you know, even I get tired of it, so I do rearrange the order of the list about once a month.
 

In any case, on my regular Christian Music list is a song currently near the top called Calculate and as I listened to it that Sunday, I saw the connection to the reading from Genesis. Now most of the song is just praise and thanksgiving to God for all that He has done, but the following part, I believe, was inspired by the verse in Genesis.


... Your love is like the stars, filling up the skies
It’s impossible to count all the lights
I could spend forever, but it’s not enough time
No it’s not enough time
No it’s not enough
I can’t calculate, calculate
All the ways that you love me, that you love me
I can’t calculate, calculate
All the ways that you love me, that you love me
Oho, oho, oho, oho, can’t calculate ...

Calculate by Everyday Sunday Songwriters: Kipp Williams / Chris Sernel / Glenn Walter Iii Pearson 
John D Salbego 
Calculate lyrics © Artist 101 Publishing Group, Oh Hush Makes Me Blush

If you would like to watch their Official video, you can find the link below. It is very upbeat song that I would hope inspires you as much as it does me. Click Here to View Video

I have spent many nights looking up at the stars. The darker the place you are in, the more stars you will see. Still I would find it INCREDIBLY hard to count the stars. You know they don’t line up for you. If they were in a nice even grid pattern it would make counting much simpler. We can thank God that in his infinite wisdom, he gave us such variety in the night sky or we never would have all of the wonderful constellations. Plus, a grid would not look natural.
 

If I could make a little tick mark either visually or mentally next to the star, I would be to keep track of what I tried to count. I suppose I could take a picture and then I could use the tick-mark method. That option, however, was not available to Abraham. Using a high-quality photograph(s), the task of counting the stars is just laborious. Using just the naked eye, it goes to nigh impossible.


The number of stars are too many to “Calculate.” Likewise, God’s provision for us, IF we were to sit down and list all of our blessings, would be too numerous to count.

 

Give thanks today for the air that you breath. There are places on this Earth with worse pollution than New Jersey.
Give thanks to God for your health. There are plenty of people with worse health than most of us.
Give thanks to God for the food you eat. You may not get to go out to eat as often as you like, but you are not scrounging the garbage heaps fighting off dogs for something to eat.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Pastor Lafferty in one of his Sunday sermons shared
the following story, which I am going to share along with
pictures, because his illustration worked so well. Pastor
Lafferty is a ham radio operator. In order to get on the air,
he strung a wire behind the Rectory between two trees as an
antenna. Recently there was a LOT of wind, but the wire was
strong and did not break the wire. But a tree branch fell
down and landed on the wire and the weight of the tree limb
was more that the wire could bear and down it came. Pastor
Lafferty noticed that this branch that came down had ivy
growing on it. In that moment he realized he had a sermon
illustration.

A Tree Falls in Helmetta

So here we go! The picture above illustrates a tree like the one that Pastor Lafferty hooked his antenna to.The only difference being that the tree above has leaves.The ivy is on one side of the tree. The little green line running down the side of the tree is the ivy. Now imagine that the wind is blowing, but it is hitting the tree on the side opposite where the ivy clings to the tree. In this instance, the tree is protecting the ivy. This is much like the situation, whereGod is protecting us.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

God protected the Israelites on a regular basis. You may recall how he brought plagues on the Egyptians to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave. Likewise, in the New Testament, Paul was whipped, stoned, bitten by a snake, almost drowned, and yet never killed until God wanted to bring him to Heaven.


Sometimes however, God is not protecting us. In this case, the wind blows right at us and the tree is NOT protecting us. You may ask, “What happens then?” The ivy, due to the wind pressure, is pushed into the tree. What this means for you and me, is that when difficulties arise, we too are pushed into God.

This means we are being nudged either forcefully or even strongly to get closer to God. We can do that by reading the Bible. We can do that praying or being prayed over. We can do that by staying in the community of other Christians. So that you know that the Bible is always an excellent place to find inspiration to lean further into God, here is a good verse.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The band Kansas released their album, Point of Know Return in 1977. I was 16 at the time and I am pretty sure that I probably did not hear it till maybe a few years later. I was too busy listening to pop rock. It probably wasn’t until I got into college and started listening to a classic rock station that I probably ever heard this song. I know that by the mid-80’s my musical taste had increased dramatically, and I actually owned this album. Still even though I would sing along with the song, the words just rolled right off me. It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties that I started paying attention to the lyrics. Let me share some of them with you.

Dust in the Wind


“I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind”

Songwriters: Kerry Livgren / Kerry A Livgren
Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

We all have dreams and by that, I mean desires. I am not talking about the dream you sometimes have that you are like Superman and can fly. What you’ve never had that kind of dream? I have, but I digress. Maybe you dream of retiring to Florida or sending your children to college? Those are good dreams, but the point of this song is that nothing is eternal or at least nothing on Earth is eternal.
 

“Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind”

Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

This song is so up-lifting! Aren’t you excited just listening to it? Face it, this song is dreary. In New Jersey, this time of year leading up to Ash Wednesday can be a bit lifeless. The weather is often cold. We have passed the highs of Christmas and New Year’s. The flowers are not yet in bloom. Your life may not be going well, your job may be stressful, your health may be deteriorating, or your spirituality may have ‘crumbled to the ground.’


“…Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind…”

Dust in the Wind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Finally, we get some advice. The songwriter reminds us that our money will NOT buy us even a moment in time. You may be humming this song right now in your head. Given this cheery song that I have shared, what do we do with our lives and where do we turn for answers, especially since our money is useless? The answer is simple. We turn to God for what He has said, and we turn to the Bible as His gift to us so that the answers that were given back then, remind us of our salvation.


Genesis 3:19 (ESV)
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

The words, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” are often used at the
imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday. This reminds us of our sinful nature and that
sin leads to a physical and spiritual death, if we chose to live apart from Jesus.

 

Job 2:12 (ESV)
"And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven."


Dust or ash was often used as a sign of mourning. Job’s friends mourn for the situation that they find their friend in, because things are SO bad.


Ecclesiastes 1:13-15 English Standard Version (ESV)
"13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.
It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have
seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

 

This passage was written by Solomon, who also was a song writer. You might wonder to what extent Kerry Livgren might have been influenced by this verse? Well Kerry did not come to faith till a few years later. Still he might have been exposed to this passage. There is a beauty in this verse. Solomon is the wisest man that has ever lived. According to the God’s statements about Solomon, no one since Solomon has ever been as wise as Solomon, so we should pay attention to what is being said here. The wisest of the wise says that all the pleasures that one can run after are NOTHING. Even chasing knowledge, making it into an idol is meaningless. The reason why is because we have a limited time here on Earth. But there is hope in being dust, as it says below.


1 Corinthians 15:48-49 (ESV)
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

So, this Ash Wednesday, take some time and visit church and put on the symbol of our Lord in
ashes. Be reminded that you too will also one day return to the dust, but like Jesus you will also rise to
Eternal Life!

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Fatherand of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commandedyou. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [emphasis mine]

Jesus has given us the Great Commission to go out into the world and spread the good news. Each of us has a reason why we believe in Jesus. We all need to share those reasons with others. We cannot be like the ostrich and put our heads in the ground. We have to share the good news.

The Great Commission

You may have found that sharing is not always easy. You may hope that your actions, lifestyle and what you stand for will be enough. The only problem with not using words is that there are plenty of atheists and other non-Christian believers who also do nice things. How will the average person tell the difference, if you don’t share why you believe?


I try to share wherever I can. I even share on Facebook. I have yet to be blocked for posting something, but I know that some of my friends do not agree with me. What amazes me is that they have not unfriended me. I give thanks to God that they have not, because it means I have time to try again. People may unfriend you or say that you are intolerant, just remember that Jesus told his disciples the following:


Matthew 10:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet
when you leave that house or town
.”

My beliefs have had an effect on my friends and I am sorry that they feel that way, but I have to honor God first. I believe that I am being as pastoral as is humanly possible. I really strive to not get into arguments with people, but rather have good conversations. I try very hard to convince them without belittling them. I am not a debater. I was never on a debate team, but I have read the Bible and I have not shied away from discussions on it, because I want my faith to be stronger.


We could also just hunker down in our church and not try to venture out into the world and risk making anyone angry. This is a fortress mentality. That is not the Great Commission.


Notice what I emphasized in Matthew 28. God is going to be with us even to the bitter end of this age. That means that if we die before the age comes to an end, then God has been with us. If the end of the age comes soon, then again God has been with us. WE ARE NOT ALONE. When we left the Episcopal Church, we were the only CANA church in New Jersey. Now there are more. When CANA joined the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), we became part of what is perceived to be the new Orthodox Anglican Province in the United States. Look at the map below. It is a map of the ACNA churches in the Eastern and Central part of the country. I have even marked where St. Georges is. You cannot even see the borders of New Jersey there are so many churches in the Greater Tri-State Area. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God is with you. God is with me. God is with us. God is doing something. It may have seemed like he was not doing anything before, but now he is.


In addition, we are no longer hampered by unorthodox beliefs that you have to dodge when people question you on what you believe. I am so glad to not have to make excuses for why I went to a conservative church in a denomination that was turning away from biblical orthodoxy. Do not be shackled any longer, go out into the world telling people why you believe in Jesus. Our Lord and Savior requires us to do so.

A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb."
 

There are some topics, I will speak boldly on and others that I will speak more quietly on. This is the later. There has been much talk recently about a law passed in New York that affects abortion. This is a very heated topic. People on both sides are quite passionate. There is no value in getting angry with the opposition. There is nothing to be gained by being belligerent. This is not an issue that will go away with petitions. 

It's All About the Word

This is only an issue that will go away when Christians get about the business of making disciples of all nations. I am not going to talk about the people who advocate one way or another on the issue. I want to talk about the people dealing with the issue. Those are the people making the decisions.

 

How are Christians helping these people?

The people in these circumstances go someplace for help and counseling, where might that be? I would imagine that many go to Planned Parenthood. How many come to church? I am sure that some do, but do many expect to be judged if they were to confess that they or someone they love is pregnant? There are local organizations that can help, but how well do you know them? There are alternatives in almost every county in New Jersey. Some of these are church-affiliated, like Catholic Charities, others like Life Choices Resource Center in Metuchen are Christian, but not by any particular church. These kinds of organizations need help. Parents need diapers, toys, baby food, and do I really need to spell it out for you? You know the drill. They need stuff. LOTS of stuff. Babies grow fast, so they need support for a while, when it comes to clothing. This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who might have a passion for this to do some volunteer work.
 

Do these people know that God formed them in their mother’s womb?

Maybe if this psalm resonated with more Christians, then maybe we could help other people to better understand it themselves? We are more casual about sex as a nation. Go out into your backyard and get some dirt, rocks, sticks, and vegetable matter. Go the drug store and get some medical supplies. Go to the hardware store and get some metal, wood, nuts, bolts, and piping. Now go home and try to build a human being. You can’t do it with all that stuff, but God gave us a gift of life. When a man and woman are intimate life can be created. It is so simple that we take it for granted, but life is miracle. Pregnancy is the miracle of life. Yes, it has been going on for quite a long time and maybe it has lost its luster. Maybe you need to spend a few minutes sitting with a couple that cannot get pregnant. I know of two couples that could not get pregnant the normal one. One went to many extremes and ending up adopting not one child, but three, those children are now all young adults. Another friend could not conceive and so tried various in vitro fertilization methods and they are finally pregnant. Spend some time with these people and you will hear about the frustration about trying to do it normally when you cannot. Maybe we all need to read a little more of the Bible and see what that says about this?
 

Did the writers of the Bible care about children?

People will say yes and no on this issue. In one respect, people needed to have lots of children, because the likelihood that they would reach adulthood was low. It was also important in the culture to have an heir. Still this verse from Psalms I believe is an indication that God cares about us at every moment of our life. There are those who will say that life does not really start until you are actually born. If that is the case, then why would we have this verse? Why are there so many stories about how difficult it was even back then to always get pregnant. People might have thought it must have been very easy, but then why are there so many bible stories about barren women? The stories that we have are just the famous ones that went to do great things, but we need to look on these stories to better understand what God thinks about life and how God care about us in our desire to have children.

Genesis 11:30 English Standard Version (ESV)

Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

 

Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah and how they were barren and old? God promised that they would have many descendants and so they had Isaac. 
Genesis 25:21 English Standard Version (ESV)

And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

 

Isaac and Rebekah have two sons, Esau and Jacob.

Judges 13:3 English Standard Version (ESV)

And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son."

 

Judges tells the story of the birth of Samson.

Luke 1:7 English Standard Version (ESV)

But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

 

This Gospel chapter tells of the birth of John the Baptist. Numerous stories of couples who could not have children. Did their husbands dump their wives for someone more fertile? No. We have something to share. Jesus knows about suffering. He is ready to walk with people who are suffering. We need to be his arms and legs.
 

How do you feel about not being aborted?

It’s a fair question. If you are reading this, then you would not aborted. How do you feel about that. It makes me pause. What if circumstances in my life had been different. My parents suggested that my brother, Mark, three years younger than I, was not planned. They talked about aborting him, but thank God, they did not. What if life had just been a little harder on your parents? What if you were not planned? What if your parents had no church family that would support them? How DO you feel about not being aborted.
 

I am VERY thankful. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without Mark. He is a blessing to me. Yes, there were times when he was a young goofy kid that he drove me crazy, but then he grew to be the coolest brother I could have. He’s an engineer. He builds cool stuff. He is a business man. I give thanks that my parents made the right decision. It may have been the most difficult decision they ever made.
 

Do YOU know that God formed YOU in YOUR mother’s womb?

Reflecting on Psalm 139:13 - A blog by Deacon Greg Ventura

On January 13th , Pastor Lafferty spoke to us about the giants in our lives. Your giant could be anything that prevents you from being the person who God wants you to be. This could be things like fear, depression, lust, pride, finances… Your giants will scream at you in order to intimidate you. The giant wants to make you fearful in order to shut you down! You may recall from the story of the David and Goliath, that Goliath did this very thing. He taunted the Israelites. 1 Samuel 17:8-9

He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” But we need to remember that our Lord will fight for us. We need to remember that God has helped us in the past, he will help us now and in the future. 1 Samuel 17:37

How to Stop a Giant

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” David goes into battle with a sling and five smooth stones, likewise we will look on 5 things that will help us deal with our own giants.

1. Vision: Giants look larger than they are. We need to  remember that God is bigger. This reminds of a VeggieTales song that goes like this: God is bigger than the boogie man. He's bigger than Godzilla, or the monsters on TV. Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man.
And He's watching out for you and me." You can find that on YouTube. It is really funny, but also VERY true.

2. Valor: We win by training. This mean partially we have the skill, but also that we have the confidence. The men were afraid, but David was not afraid.
3. Venture: We need to remind ourselves of the stories of the bears and lions that we have faced. We need to share those stories. We need to remind ourselves of the bear and lion, when we go up against the Goliath of cancer or unemployment, or whatever your giant might be.
4. Victory: Remember, that you and I do not fight in our own strength. The battle is the Lord’s!
5. Value: Keep a record of how God won the battle. It may help you in the future, but it will also
help your heart stay close to God and finally you may someday draw someone else closer to God
with your story.

Every year as the New Year approaches there is always a countdown. Probably the most common are radio stations doing the top hits.

 

See below the greatest hits of CANA East, the information comes from our Bishop, Julian Dobbs.

 

As a diocese - CANA East had a superb year!

  • almost 250 people gathered for our annual missions' conference and synod

  • new men have been ordained to holy order

Looking Back at 2018

  • a growing number of seminarians have committed to study.

  • new congregations like Christ Church, South Bend, Indiana have been planted.

  • lay leaders have been commissioned for ministry.

  • Bishop Seabury Church has a new building and was named as a pro-Cathedral.

  • almost 85 clergy and spouses gathered for the annual CANA East clergy and spouse retreat.

  • bible teaching, baptism and discipleship have been seen from Maine to Miami, FL and from Tulsa, OK to Long Island, NY

 

When CANA East was inaugurated in April 2013 there were 23 congregations. Today, we give thanks to God for the GROWTH of 38 congregations and 4 additional church plants. Give thanks to God for such blessings! Pray for how you can help the Lord in the harvest of 2019!

 Teaches us forgiveness
 Is where we find deeper meaning in our lives
 Helps you heal
 Connects us with God
 Gives us a chance to reflect on gratitude
 Gives a message that helps
 Gives opportunity for fulfilling worship
 Connects us socially
 Helps us better connect with our spouse
 Allows us to feel reverence
 Provides plenty of opportunity to give back
 Helps us “Find the Lesson” in our trials
 Fills our hearts with song

What can Church do for you?

Here are insights provided by Army Chaplain and Scott Koeman on how to pray:
 Pray that they would have the peace of Christ with them – especially if they travel outside of this Forward Operating Base
 Pray that they will depend on the love of God to keep them from bitterness at others (who needlessly make life difficult on their subordinates especially when they aren’t the most competent leader).
 Pray for their spiritual and emotional resiliency so that regardless of what they face, they will be able to be effective in their military role and responsibility.

Praying for the Military

 Pray for protection. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” 

 Pray that they will be vigilant if they are called upon to fire upon the enemy. “praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle” 

 Pray that the enemy will be turned back. “May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion: may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace” 

 Pray that they will be fulfilled in their job. Without purpose, time in the combat zone is extremely long and difficult.

 Pray that they finds “good and solid” Christian brothers to have fellowship.

 Pray that if they struggle or are discouraged, they will seek out their chaplain for wisdom and encouragement.

 Pray for the leadership in Platoons, Companies, Battalions, Brigades … depending on what level the soldier works. Leadership can make or break a man.

 Pray that they will resist lowering themselves to lower levels of conversations and instead seek to be an example of goodness and righteousness.