Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bishop’s Note: October 29, 2015 Gifts of the Spirit – Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues

Bishop Eric Menees

When I was sixteen year old, a friend of mine invited me to go with him to his Pentecostal church. It was a very different experience than anything I had known - no real liturgy; very loud music - and during the extended time of prayer people were speaking in an ecstatic language that I couldn’t understand. On the positive side, it was not frightening –it was electric. I knew something powerful was happening, but I didn’t know what it was. On the negative side, it was clear to me that, from their perspective, the “spiritual” people had the gift of tongues and the “un-spiritual” people did not. What I heard was the gift of tongues but without the gift of interpretation.  

Sometimes the gift of tongues comes as a prayer language that is used simply to praise God in an unknown language, or when the Holy Spirit prays through us - in intercession for us.

Sometimes the gift of tongues will sound like a strange, almost made up language, and sometimes it is a known language of the world that the recipient of the gift did not learn – it comes supernaturally.

The gift of tongues is most powerful when combined with the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues. This is exactly what happened on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples: “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:6-11)

In Jerusalem the visitors for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost heard, for the first time, the Good News of Jesus Christ in their own language! The Gift of Tongues is most powerful when God the Holy Spirit communicates something powerfully to someone in their own language when the recipient of the gift has no clue what is being said.

The most powerful example of this that I have witnessed was in 1979 – I was a senior in High School and attending our youth group bible study. We normally closed the bible study with prayer, and this night one young woman began to pray in what sounded like French. Soon, Dennis, the adult leader, had tears streaming down his face. It turned out that the French was actually Québécois, the French dialect associated with the province of Quebec, Canada, where Dennis was from. It turned out that the young woman was praying that Dennis would reconcile with his father, with whom he had not spoken in years. As a result Dennis contacted his father and was reconciled. Less than a year later, Dennis died suddenly of a heart attack.

We should all be praying that the Lord would use us to His honor and glory. The Gift of Tongues, and the Gift of the Interpretation of Tongues, are two gifts that do just that!

I pray you all a truly blessed week and Lord’s Day!

Catechism Questions 172 - 175

172. What does “hallowed” mean?
Hallowed means to be treated as holy, set apart, and sacred. To hallow God’s name is to honor him as holy.

173. How can you hallow God’s name?
God is King of all the earth, and I pray that all people everywhere may revere and worship him, according to his revelation in Christ and the Holy Scriptures. (Psalms 2; 24; 47; 96; 99; Isaiah 40:12-20; John 14:8-9; Acts 4:8-12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 1, 21:9ff.)

174. How does God answer this petition?
God gives grace that I may honor his holy Name and Word in private and public worship, and he enables me to walk humbly with him, my God. (Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-20)

175. How else can you hallow God’s Name?
I can hallow God’s Name in word and deed by living an obedient and ordered life as his child, as a citizen of his Kingdom, and as one who seeks his glory. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who Put God In A Box?

Fr. Dale Matson

The Word of God is both a mirror and a light. It reveals our inner nature to us, both saint and sinner. What I was impressed with in writing a devotional was my own lack of humility when in God’s presence and how often I fall short of His call to live a pure and holy life.

I am also impressed with how God has been turned into a charitable friend by our modern churches. We do have a friend in Jesus but He is so much more than that. He is also the transfigured and ascended Christ, Who is also God. He is also the Christ who was a co-creator with the Father. In the 1979 BCP lectionary readings, we see the compassionate human Christ but the righteous Christ Who threw the money changers out of the temple is downplayed. Christ demands that we follow Him, yoked to His pain, joy and holiness. We will all drink from His cup of suffering until we put on immortality.

One cannot walk away from the experience of writing a Lectio Divina format devotional without being bathed in the light of Scripture. What has been missing for me is the obvious Divine aspect of Christ, the moment-by-moment presence of God the Holy Spirit and fear of the Father. I think the 1928 Book of Common Prayer gives us a much fuller understanding of God than the 1979 BCP.

Much of the 1928 prayer book is driven by a traditional catechism with questions like this. “What is thy duty toward God?” “My duty toward God is to believe in him and fear him…life.” The 1979 prayer book asks, “What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?” “God is love”. He is a loving and gracious God but to only portray Him in this way is a form of idolatry and paves the way for a false Christology that deemphasizes God’s call to Holiness.

My questions would be, “Who is God?” “Is God only love?” “Is he not also a jealous, holy, sovereign and righteous God?” “Who is man?” “Is he created in God’s image but also contaminated with original sin. “Do all humans and all of corrupted creation need a savior?”

In the 1979 prayer book, human nature is misrepresented. “What does it mean to be created in the image of God?” It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and God.” What is described is human existence before the fall. There is no mention of the fall, original sin and the corruption of all creation. While the 1979 prayer book emphasizes free will and choices (freedom), the 1928 prayer book describes in detail our duty (responsibilities) to neighbor including “…to do my duty in that state of life unto which is shall please God to call me.”

When a church manipulates belief through the selective use of lectionary Scripture, then it is no different than Satan’s three temptations of Christ with the selective use of Scripture. What Scripture is selected for the lectionary lessons and how it is selected reflects the underlying theology of those who select it. The Underground Pewster has had several examples posted on his blog over the years, where Scripture readings are broken up to avoid certain passages. (

It is TEC leadership that put “God in a box” by overemphasizing one aspect of His being. In so doing, they also let man out of the box, so to speak. We are called to “…do our duty.” We are free but we have constraints and boundaries, duties and responsibilities. Good theology is God centered. Theology that is man centered makes God in the image of an idealized man. When man is god, the material earth becomes his kingdom and it is more important to save the earth that humans may "flourish" than to save souls for the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Daily Devotional: Using The 1928 Book Of Common Prayer Morning Lectionary

Fr. Dale Matson

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[Example- Kindle version Fonts]

January 1
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)
Reflection: The name Jesus means the Lord is salvation. This name was given to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and also by an unnamed angel in a dream to Joseph the husband of Mary. Is there any doubt that this is what God wanted His Son to be named? YHWH was an unpronounceable and intentionally un-invocable name. When we say the name of Jesus, it should be a prayer of invocation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your name is above all names and there is no other name that we can call upon to be saved for You are our salvation, our life and our true self.

A daily devotional is the single most important thing that can be done by a Christian as the first act of the day, on an ongoing basis. A dentist may disagree with this but teeth are temporal and a soul is eternal. Using a devotional is like a swimmer in a pool, taking a deep cleansing breath as she turns at the end of the lap. I have begun my day with a devotional reading, followed by journaling every day for twenty five years.  Starting daily in this way is a statement of priorities. All time spent with God is not taken from the day before us. It is time returned tenfold. It is saying above all, that you are dedicated to a relationship with God and committed to maintaining and deepening that relationship.

When an individual begins a devotional using Scripture including prayer, that person is not just connecting with the Word of God. That person is not alone but is a participant in the Body of Christ, the universal church forever celebrating the Glory of God. The person is connected to the true vine Jesus Christ where he is not just transfused but transformed. Individuals are reuniting with their ancestors and the saints who have preceded them on this earth.

In beginning each day with a devotional there is a sense of focus, meaning, pace and purpose. Why am I here? What really matters? Can I make a difference? It is a time of peace in a world of chaos. It is portable and when we travel we can take the devotional with us. It is a matter of being in the moment. It is living in the real world that has no boundaries not a virtual world where others exist in a few lines of a text message on a small screen and quickly are ignored or dismissed.

The Christian life is intended to be directed, have meaning, and be empowered by God the Holy Spirit. It is a life intended by our Creator to include reflection, self-examination and service to others. When we leave our worship service, we are dismissed by the Deacon with the charge, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Our response is, “Thanks be to God.”

Commitment to a daily devotional introduces discipline into a life that would profit from discipline when it is absent or increased discipline when it is needed. The devotional can become a safe and familiar harbor from which each day’s journey begins.

Finally, the devotional sets the tone for our entire day. The devotional is done intentionally, consciously and directed to God. It is a good work that affects the entire cosmos. It becomes incense, carried with us throughout the day, anointing with its fragrance the ordinary secular daily acts and makes them sacred. It is not time spent alone but in solitude. This is a frightening idea for some, since much of their bustle and distractedness is an attempt to avoid the reality that surrounds them on all sides.

So, Fr. Dale, you have said why a devotional is important. Why did you write a devotional? This is my answer.

“Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Cor. 1:14)

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bishop’s Note: October 15, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Discerning of Spirits

Bishop Eric Menees

This week, as we continue our series in the Bishop’s Note on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we look to another of the Revelatory Gifts – the Discerning of Spirits.  St. Paul mentions this gift in his list of Gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 10: “For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.(1 Corinthians 12:8-11 ESV)

The Discernment of Spirits is the revelation of the Holy Spirit to a person to recognize whether the Holy Spirit, a human spirit, or an evil spirit is motivating a person or situation. This is more than the hairs standing up on the back of your neck – this is a revelation via vision, specific knowledge, wisdom, or a sense in the center of your being where God reveals what type of spirit - if any - is present in the person or situation.

St. Paul’s experience in Macedonia, where he confronted a fortune telling slave girl, is an example of this gift at work: “As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.” (Acts 16:16-18 ESV)

This gift is essential when working with people who have been involved in witchcraft, Wicca, the occult, satanic worship, grave sin, drug use, etc. and who desires to change their lives.

The person receiving this gift must be careful to seek the Lord’s wisdom and discernment when engaging in Spiritual Warfare. He or she should have teams of intercessors, be very well versed in the Holy Scriptures, and be under spiritual authority themselves as a way of putting on the full armor of God and protecting themselves and the person who may be suffering under oppression or possession.

May the Lord bless and keep you all!

Catechism Questions 169 - 171

169.    What is the First Petition?
The First Petition is: “Hallowed be Thy Name.”

170.    What is God’s Name?
God’s Name refers to his personal being – his nature, his character, his power, and his purposes. The Name God reveals to Moses is “I AM WHO I AM” or simply “I AM” (Exodus 3:6, 14). This Name means that he alone is truly God, he is the source of his own being, he is holy and just, and he cannot be measured or defined by his creatures.

171.    Does God have other names?
Yes. Through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, God’s Name is also revealed to be “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bishop’s Note: October 08, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Utterance of Knowledge

 Bishop Eric Menees 

One of Gifts of the Holy Spirit that works hand in hand with the gift of the Utterance of Wisdom is the gift of the Utterance Knowledge. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,” (1 Corinthians 12:4-8)

The Utterance of Knowledge is the supernatural revelation of facts from the past, in the present, or in the future. It comes when the Holy Spirit speaks to a person’s heart, addressing something in a brother’s or sister’s life with the purpose of building up that person in the Lord. This could be everything from speaking to the need for reconciliation, the need to act in a given situation, or the need to prepare for something that is coming in the future.

From time to time the Holy Spirit will speak to my heart, giving me a word of Knowledge to share with someone. When I prepare for a confirmation or ordination service I spend the night prior to the service praying for the candidate and asking the Lord if He has something to give to me to share with the individual. When in prayer during the service, I will generally speak in tongues over the candidate and then share with them what the Lord has put on my heart.  I am always thrilled when the individual can confirm what I shared. Of course, the true test of all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is shown to be true by the fruit they produce.  

Have you ever felt that nudge from the Holy Spirit that gives you special insight into a person's life, but then remained silent for fear of being wrong and making a fool of yourself? I would encourage you to risk looking the fool, because the Lord may be asking you to speak life into the heart that individual. If it is of the Lord, the person will soon know it, and if it is not – well then, nothing ventured, nothing gained. As I generally say to someone: “Let me know if this is of the Lord, or if this is indigestion.” That little bit of humility acknowledges that we may be wrong. If we are seeking the Lord and seeking to love our neighbor, then I trust that the Lord will use us for His honor and glory!  

I pray you all a truly blessed week ahead.

Catechism Questions 165 - 168

165.    How is God like earthly fathers?
Like all loving and sincere earthly fathers, God loves, teaches, and disciplines us, observing our needs and frailties, and planning for our maturity, security, and well-being. (Psalm 103:12-14)

166.    How is God unlike earthly fathers?
Unlike our natural fathers, our heavenly Father is perfect in his love, almighty in his care, makes no errors in judgment, and disciplines us only for our good. (Hebrews 12:4-11)

167.    What is heaven?
Heaven is the realm of God’s glory, presence, and power, which exists alongside this earthly realm, and from which he hears the prayers of his children. (1 Kings 8; Isaiah 61-6; Revelation 21:1-5a)
168.    If your Father is in heaven, can he help you on earth?

Yes. God is everywhere, and as my almighty Father in heaven, he is able and willing to answer my prayers. (Psalm 99; Isaiah 6; Ephesians 3:20, 4:6)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

An Introduction To Alpine Basins Of The Central Sierra Nevada

An Introduction To Alpine Basins Of The Central Sierra Nevada
Dale Matson

Click On Photograph To Enlarge

I now realize that so many of the places in the Sierra Nevada I have loved to visit are mountain alpine basins. Mountain passes and peaks are singular and impressive but they are places we pass on our way to a campsite in a mountain basin. For example the climb to a pass may be difficult and arduous. We may like the view but we press on because we hope to end with a well-deserved longer rest at the pass followed by a descent to a basin campsite. We may have to put our windbreaker back on there. We may have to sit down every few switchbacks to rest ourselves by sitting on a boulder in the shade. I often think of the difficult climb up to Glen Pass on the northbound John Muir Trail. Once on top there is only time for a short celebration and rest because our campsite will be in the Rae Lakes Basin below.

A mountain basin reminds me of a great cathedral where we are surrounded by lofty steeples. Alpine basins are at 10,000’ plus feet yet you still look up and are walled in by massive granite walls. I was at guitar lake at 12,500’ and looked around at peaks 1,500’ higher yet.

These basins (also called watersheds) all have their own ecosystem but share common elements. Uplift or glacial scouring generally forms them. Basins are similar to valleys but valley tends to be “V” or “U” shaped while basins are round or oval shaped. There is generally a stream and a beautiful rather stark expansive view with scattered vegetation. These basins also contain several tarns or lakes, which may be fed by the same creek. Eventually these creeks flow into a river. For example Piute Creek flows into the San Joaquin River. The lakes can be deep blue or even green if fed by glaciers. Some basins are very popular like Rae Lakes and Kearsarge where there are length of stay limits.

I often imagine the deer, bears bighorn sheep and other animals living in but also wandering away from these basins or traveling over the passes. I once saw a deer tagged in the Owens Valley that was in Kings Canyon 30 miles away up by Reflection Lake. The bighorn sheep seem to make up their own rules about where they go.

I have written this book as an encouragement to the experienced physically fit but average person who is interested in going to these places. The person does not need great navigational skills but it is necessary to have map and compass skills at a minimum. I say experienced because some basins like Evolution Basin are literally days away from a trailhead. These trips require quality gear that has been tested by prior use. You need four things in the wilderness. You need to be able to stay dry, warm, hydrated and fed. A health emergency can arise like altitude sickness; do you have a way of contacting someone? I carry an Iridium Satellite Phone. When you pick up your wilderness permit you will have to show an itinerary. Stick to it for your own safety sake. If you have problems on the trails, there is always a chance someone will come along. If you are off the trail by yourself, you may never be found.

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