Welcome Home Initiative Update

March 19, 2009

Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009
From: Sister Mary Elizabeth, CSM
Subject: Welcome Home Initiative Update
To all our Welcome Home Initiative Intercessors–
      Our fourth Welcome Home Initiative retreat for combat veterans begins this coming Monday afternoon, March 23.
      At this time we have over twenty warriors and their wives planning to attend who have collectively seen fire in conflicts ranging from Pearl Harbor in WWII through Vietnam and the Cold War’s Berlin Crisis to present Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. All but one couple on this retreat are new participants.
The breakdown of registrants:
      Warrior      Air Force Vietnam
      Warrior      Air Force (unknown)
      Warrior      Army National Guard Iraq
      Warrior      Navy Vietnam
      Warrior      Navy Vietnam
      Warrior & Spouse      Army Vietnam
      Warrior      British Army Northern Ireland
      Warrior      British Royal Marines Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Kosovo
      Warrior & Spouse      Army (Unknown)
      Warrior      Army Berlin Crisis
      Warrior      Army World War II
      Warrior, Spouse, Children      Army/Marines Iraq
      Warrior      Army National Guard Iraq
      Warrior      Army (active duty) Iraq
      Warrior      (tentative)
      In addition to Fr. Nigel Mumford, Bishop Dave Bena and Noel Dawes (Leadership Team), Sue Ellen Reutsch (Psychiatric Nurse), Dawn Smith (Child Care) and Sandra Lester and Lynn Mumford (Administration), pray for the Prayer Team and On Site Intercessors who will assemble on Monday.
      Because of the large number of new participants on this retreat, pray for wisdom for the Leadership Team in imparting both basic information regarding PTSD and concepts of inner healing prayer and opening enough opportunities for building a community of trust in which the warriors and their wives can share the memories that haunt their adjustment and wholeness in civilian life. Jesus ministered to individuals personally, as we want to. Pray this will happen even though this is the largest retreat so far.
      We are especially thrilled this WHI to have with us a 93 year-old warrior who saw combat at Pearl Harbor. His heart is for the younger men, and he has said over and over, “I want to serve…” Pray for a special blessing for him this retreat and that he might impart the blessing he desires to the young warriors attending.
      Pray for travel mercies for all the men and women; for good weather; for the preparation of rooms on Monday with the cards and baskets put together by our diocesan Daughters of the King; for arrangements for entertainment on Tuesday night; for any last minute administrative crises. Pray for protection for the men, their families at home and CtK, that God’s purposes to open healing to these participants will be unhindered by any larger spiritual warfare around us. Pray for the outpouring of Christ’s healing grace at this retreat.
      And pray that there be a good attendance at the Closing Ceremony at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25. Fr. Nigel has issued the following announcement — please pass it on to all those who love and pray for our military who might be able to join us that morning.

      Closing Ceremony for Armed Forces Healing Retreat
Wednesday, March 25th ~ 11.15 am ~ CtK Chapel
      Twenty veterans will participate in the Welcome Home Initiative program offered at the Healing Ministry of Christ the King Spiritual Life Center taking place March 23-25, 2009. Among those to participate are members of all four branches of the armed forces including a 92-year-old World War II Veteran. The public is invited to a closing ceremony on March 25th at 11 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel. Come show your support of these brave individuals who served our country.
      For more information about this service or the WHI program please call Sandra at 518-692-9550 x 202.
      Lunch will be served in the Trinity Dining Room following the ceremony for those interested. The cost is $8.50 and includes salad bar, soup, entree choices, dessert, beverages, coffee and tea. Children 5 and under eat free.
      This retreat flies on wings of your prayer. Thanks to all of you who pray for the men and women who serve in our military.
Sister Mary Elizabeth, CSM
For the Oratory of Christ the Healer at Christ the King Spiritual LIfe Center, Greenwich, NY.
See our website at http://www.christ-the-king-center.org/WelcomeHome/

Albany Intercessor

From our Archives: Matt Kennedy’s 2006 refection on Holy Despair

March 19, 2009

We posted this Lenten meditation by Fr. Matt Kennedy exactly 3 years ago as a “bonus meditation” in our 2006 Anglican Blogger’s Lenten Devotional series.  I came across this again today as I was retrieving several other entries from our archives.  I needed the reminder and encouragement Fr. Matt offers here three years ago, and I needed it again today.

Here is the “money section” – the truth I really need to grab a hold of today and daily:

Sin is condemned in sinful man through the sin offering of Christ’s own body and blood on the cross. And because of that offering and sacrifice, those who believe, those who come to the point of holy despair, have access to a Power deeper, stronger, and more ancient than the rotted roots of sin entwined about our souls.

Surrendering our roots to that Power is the struggle that consumes our present life. But thanks be to God, it is a temporary struggle against a defeated foe.

Thanks be to God indeed!


Matt Kennedy: Holy Despair

A bonus entry tonight in the Anglican bloggers’ collaborative Lenten Devotional Series. Thanks Matt+ for sharing this with us!
Holy Despair

A Lenten meditation by The Rev. Matt Kennedy
Romans 8:1-4 (from the daily lectionary for Sunday March 19th, 2006)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1)

One of my favorite radio preachers often reminds his listeners that when you see a “therefore” in the bible you always need to ask yourself, “what is the therefore there for?” In this case, the “therefore” in Romans 8:1 refers to Paul’s description of his own personal struggle with besetting sin in chapter 7. “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing…” (Romans 7:19)

There are some who contend that the struggle he recounts in chapter 7 is an experience pulled from his pre-conversion memory; that Christians cannot and do not experience such failure and heartbreak.

While I’m sympathetic to the argument, I think the majority view, that Paul is describing his Christian experience, corresponds more with the surrounding chapters which describe the process of Christian sanctification, of being cleansed and purified by God while struggling personally against the old sin nature. It would be odd, in my opinion, to use a pre-conversion memory as an illustration here.

But that’s not the only reason I think so. My own Christian experience both personally and as a pastor tells me that moral falls and failures are, unfortunately, a normative part of the believer’s life. I don’t necessarily mean egregious, notorious falls. I mean the daily private personal ones; the falls and failures nobody sees but God—those impulsive and ingrained habits of thought word, and sadly, deed, that daily darken the life of the believer.

Shouldn’t believers, new creations, be done with these?

Yes we should, but no we aren’t.

As I look back over my walk with Christ, I see a trail of divine victories. The most vile, vicious, and deadly behaviors that slowly devoured me before my conversion have been brought to heel. Christ has conquered.

And yet even as those have been nailed to the cross, I find myself clinging inwardly to their roots. And even as those roots are exposed and destroyed by the Spirit’s refining fire, deeper and stronger roots come to light.

I am brought to despair.

As the Spirit daily illumines the deeper recesses of my heart, I see myself as I am and cannot stand the sight.

But this despair is common. The true contemplation of God’s glory, said Calvin, brings man to a truthful contemplation of himself. It is the resulting recognition of utter personal unworthiness that leads nonbelievers to salvation and believers to repentance.

It is this holy despair that leads Paul to fall at Christ’s pierced feet and cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who can rescue me from this body of death?”

And it is those same pierced feet that evoke the answer, “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Holy despair leads Paul again and again to the grace of God and the power of his Spirit and the foot of his cross.

And it is the cross that overshadows the first passages of Romans 8.

“There is now,” says Paul, “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. ” (Romans 8:1-4)

Sin is condemned in sinful man through the sin offering of Christ’s own body and blood on the cross. And because of that offering and sacrifice, those who believe, those who come to the point of holy despair, have access to a Power deeper, stronger, and more ancient than the rotted roots of sin entwined about our souls.

Surrendering our roots to that Power is the struggle that consumes our present life. But thanks be to God, it is a temporary struggle against a defeated foe.

Thanks be to God that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The Rev. Matt Kennedy is the rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, in Binghamton, NY, and a regular feature writer for StandFirm.

Lent Quotes: Pope Benedict XVI – We are not spared dark nights

March 19, 2009

We are not spared dark nights. They are clearly necessary, so that we can learn freedom and maturity and above all else a capacity for sympathy with others… A part of every human love is that it is only truly great and enriching if I am ready to deny myself for this other person, to come out of myself, to give of myself. And that is certainly true of our relationship with God, out of which, in the end, all our other relationships must grow. I must begin by no longer looking at myself, but by asking what he wants. I must begin by learning to love.

— Pope Benedict XVI

hat tip:  Transfigurations

John 8:30-32

March 19, 2009

As he spoke these words, many believed in him. (John 8:30)
      Jesus, please help us believe the words you speak.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.” (John 8:31)
      Jesus, please help us daily abide in your word.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
      Lord Jesus, please bring us to that freedom which comes from abiding in the truth of the gospel.

      A word received: Pray that my people will seek all that I have to offer them. Pray that they will not stop half way. I long for my people to receive my grace and my Holy Spirit. I long for them to know my father’s love. I long for them to lay their burdens at my feet. Come to me; I AM waiting for you.

Thursday: [83] or 42, 43; Jeremiah 10:11-24; Romans 5:12-21; John 8:21-32
Friday: 88; Jeremiah 11:1-8,14-20; Romans 6:1-11; John 8:33-47

Albany Intercessor

Piper on Prayer: A Biblical Overview of Prayer

March 19, 2009

For many months I’ve neglected the series “Piper on Prayer” which I started last October to collect some of  John Piper’s helpful quotes and teaching on prayer.  Today, while doing some research in the ESV Study Bible online, I noticed that John Piper was the contributor of an article entitled “Reading the Bible in Prayer and Communion with God.”

That article had a section with quite a nice overview of prayer:

Humble, Bold Prayer

Finally, from this Father-initiated, Son-purchased, Spirit-effected communion with God, we pray with humble boldness (Heb. 4:16). That is, we speak to God the Father, on the basis of Christ’s work, by the help of the Spirit. This speaking is called prayer. It includes our confessions of sin (1 John 1:9), our praises of God’s perfections (Ps. 96:4), our thanks for God’s gifts (Ps. 118:21), and our requests that he would help us (Ps. 38:22) and others (Rom. 15:30–31)—all to the glory of God (Ps. 50:15), for the hallowing of his name, which must ever be our goal.

Prayer is the verbal aspect of our response to God in communion with him. The Bible does speak of “groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26), but ordinarily prayer is the response of our heart to God in words. It may be in private (Matt. 6:6) or in public (1 Cor. 14:16). It may last all night (Luke 6:12) or be summed up in a moment’s cry (Matt. 14:30). It may be desperate (Jonah 2:2) or joyful (Ps. 119:162). It may be full of faith (Mark 11:24) or wavering with uncertainty (Mark 9:24).

But it is not optional. It is commanded—which is good news, because it means that God loves being the giver of omnipotent help (Ps. 50:15). The Bible reminds us that ordinary people can accomplish great things by prayer (James 5:17–18). It tells us about great answers to prayer (Isa. 37:21, 36). It gives us great examples of how to pray (Matt. 6:9–13; Eph. 3:14–19). And it offers amazing encouragements to pray (Matt. 7:7–11).

God Gets the Glory; We Get the Joy

The Bible shows that prayer is near the heart of why God created the world. When we pray for God to do what only he can do, he alone gets the glory while we get the joy. We see this when Jesus says, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13), and then later says, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). In prayer, God gets the glory and we get the joy. God is the overflowing fountain; we are satisfied with the living water. He is infinitely rich; we are the happy heirs.

Central to all our praying, as we have seen, must be our longing that God’s name be hallowed in the world—known and honored and loved (Matt. 6:9). To that end, we pray (1) for his church to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness . . . to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11); (2) that the gospel would spread and awaken faith in Jesus among all the nations (2 Thess. 3:1); and (3) that many who do not believe would be saved (Rom. 10:1). In this way, the aim of God’s Word and the aim of prayer become the same: the glory of God and the salvation of the nations through Jesus Christ.

You can read the whole article here.  (There appear to be several articles on reading the Bible grouped together in one long article.)

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