Friday, November 20, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 19, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Miraculous Power

Bishop Eric Menees

As we’ve been working through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit - as listed in First Corinthians chapter 12 - verse 10 specifically mentions “Miracles.” Let me ask you: “What comes to mind when you think of a “miracle?” For many it is the last minute “hail Mary pass” to win the Super Bowl; or the Cubs making it to the playoffs. Often it is described as being miraculous when a person is ill and finally begins to respond to medical treatments.

The Menees definition of a miracle is as follows: “The suspension of natural law for the benefit of man and the glory of God.” Scripture is full of examples of miracles. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the man with Leprosy: “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)

Clearly this is an example of a Miracle of Jesus, who suspends natural law to heal Leprosy - an incurable disease at that time, which still leaves many people around the world permanently disfigured. Clearly the healed man benefited from this miracle, and God was and is glorified! Not able to contain himself, the healed man spread the word that Jesus had healed him and restored him to wholeness – mind, body, and spirit!

Now you might say: “Well yes, but that was Jesus – these things don’t happen now.”  Ah, but they do – daily!  God grants the gift of miracles to different individuals so that man may be benefited and God may be glorified. These miraculous events seem to happen regularly in the mission field, but they happen here in our present context too. I’ve witnessed several such miracles.  

As a young man, I participated with a group of faithful Christians who walked from Santa Barbara to Tijuana to raise funds for a ministry known as Los NiƱos. Once in Tijuana, a group of us spent the morning making sacks of food – peanut butter and honey sandwiches and a piece of fruit – to give out to people who lived in the garbage dump, picking through trash looking for food and recyclables. That morning we made two hundred bags of food, confident that we had plenty. When we arrived there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. I turned to one of the nuns who worked with us and said, “We do not have enough food.” Her response: “Sure we do – we’ve never run out before, and we won’t today.” After about an hour of handing out food to well over five hundred people, we still had dozens of bags left – those were brought back to the orphanage that we worked with. This was clearly a miracle of multiplication. Were the laws of nature suspended? YES! Two hundred bags of food were miraculously multiplied. Was man benefited? YES! These people had a nutritious meal. Was God glorified? You bet your sweet bippy God was Glorified! And in telling this story again, God is glorified again.

Keep your eyes, mind, and heart open to the miraculous and I promise you that you will see God’s hand at work. Ask God to use you as His instrument for the miraculous and act accordingly and you will both be blessed, and be a blessing to others!

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

Catechism Questions 186 - 190

186.    For what personal blessings does the second half of the Lord’s Prayer teach you to ask?
As a loyal child of God I pray first for God’s honor, Kingdom, and will; then I pray for my own needs of daily bread, pardon for sins, and protection from evil.

187.    What is the Fourth Petition?
The Fourth Petition is: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

188.    What does “our daily bread” mean?
Daily bread includes all that is needed for personal well-being, such as food and clothing, homes and families, work and health, friends and neighbors, and peace and godly governance. (Matthew 6:8; Luke 11:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

189.    Why should you pray for bread daily?
God wishes me to trust him every day to supply my needs for that day. (Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:6)

190.    Why does God give you daily bread?

God gives me daily bread because he is a good and loving Father, and I should thank him for it morning, noon, and night. (Psalms 81:10, 16; 103; Daniel 6:10)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bishop's Call To Prayer

Bishop Eric Menees

Today, without provocation or warning terrorists attacked several public gatherings in Paris killing over 150 people.  Once again we are graphically reminded of the fact that we live in a fallen and dangerous world.  Please join me in praying for the people of France – the leaders – the first responders and most especially for the families and friends of those killed or wounded in this evil attack.

“Almighty God and Heavenly Father.  We come before you with heavy hearts for the scores of men and women murdered in Paris in the terrorist attacks.  We plead your Grace and Peace to surround that City of Light and all of her citizens. We lift before you the French government officials responding to these traumatic events. We lift before you the terrorists themselves and pray they will renounce such violence and evil, repent of their actions, turn themselves in to authorities and most importantly turn their hearts and minds to Jesus Christ accepting your Son as Lord and Savior.  This we ask in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen” 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 12, 2015 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Healing

Bishop Eric Menees

“But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.” (Acts 3:6-7 ESV)

The Gift of Healing is when God chooses to pour out His supernatural power, which results in the healing of sickness and disease without the use of medical treatment. This healing can be purely physical, but generally God desires to heal us mind, body, and spirit.  

All too often, when we think of healing we limit our sights to physical healing, but our God desires wholeness. He heals traumatic memories from actual traumatic events; He heals addictions to all sorts of things; He heals grief that cuts to the bone – HE HEALS!

Healing came to my family with the birth of my daughter Milagro. Milagro was born with double pneumonia and a collapsed lung. No one had a clue until she was placed on Florence’s tummy - grayish blue and gasping like a fish. The nurse made a call and a doctor rushed in – grabbed her up like a football and ran down the hall. After a moment’s hesitation – caught between my first-born and my wife – Florence said, “GO!” and I ran down the hall! I caught up to them in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the doctor was placing her onto a bassinet thing and said something like: “Your daughter’s lungs are not inflated we need to put a tube in through her side; can I have your permission?” I said yes, but that I wanted to pray over her. He said, “Make it quick,” and I started praying. Seconds later, Milagro took a huge gasp of air, started screaming, and before our eyes expanded to twice her size, turning from gray/blue, to bright red, to very pink. I had to ask the doctor, “What’s happening?” He listened to her lungs and said, “Well I guess we won’t need these,” and pointed to the surgical instruments next to her bassinet.

Milagro was miraculously healed in front of the hospital staff and me, but the scars on her parents were deep. We almost lost our first-born – did we do something wrong? Anger, frustration, fear, and relief were front and center in our lives. After a couple of years of “dealing” with these emotions, I was doing Sunday supply at St. Luke’s in San Diego and they had a healing team present from the Order of St. Luke. The three of us went over for prayer after the service, and afterwards it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of our shoulders. The emotions were gone, not just pushed down. Our little family was now fully healed.

How could a healing be traumatic? Well, the fear of what could have been had weighed heavily upon us from the day of Milagro’s birth until that Sunday at St. Luke’s. The full healing for us came when God, in His mercy, transformed that weight into a triumphant heralding of God’s Grace and Glory!

Why is it that God allows some to be healed and some not? Truthfully, I don’t know. I am very aware that, as I write this Bishop’s Note, my mother-in-law is in surgery receiving a transplanted kidney from a person who lost his or her life, but who gave the gift of life to another. God chose not to heal that person, and to heal my mother-in-law instead.

Perhaps the question isn’t why, but rather what should we do when God heals? I do know the answer to that: Sing God’s praises, proclaim His glories, and fall at His feet in gratitude!

I pray you all a blessed Lord’s Day!
Catechism Questions 181 - 185

181.    What is the Third Petition?
The Third Petition is: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

182.    How is God’s will accomplished in heaven?
The heavenly company of angels and perfected believers responds to God in perfect, willing obedience, and perfect worship. (Psalms 103:20; 104:4; 148:2)

183.    Where can you find God’s will?
I find the will of God outlined in the Ten Commandments, learn its fullness from the whole of Scripture, and see it culminate in the Law of Christ, which calls for my complete love of God and my neighbor. (Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 119:1-16, 104-105; Proverbs 4; John 13:34; Acts 7:51-53; Galatians 6:2)

184.    How is God’s will accomplished on earth?
God’s Kingdom comes whenever and wherever God’s will is done. As the Church aims to hallow God’s Name and seek first his Kingdom, it should lead the way in wholehearted obedience to God in Christ, and I should join and support the Church in this. (Psalm 119:176; Matthew 5-7; Ephesians 1:11; Daily Office Prayer of St. John Chrysostom)

185.    What more do you seek in the third petition?
In the third petition I also pray for God to counter the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the Devil in my own soul; to thwart the plans of wicked people; and to extend the Kingdom of his grace to others through me. (Baptismal Service; Acts 1:8; 1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Timothy 2:4)

Monday, November 9, 2015


Holy Security

Click On Photograph To Enlarge

Fr. Dale Matson

Today’s world is full of sorrow, threats and uncertainty. As Anglicans we live out our faith carefully nourished by our worship. Our prayer book was designed by Thomas Cranmer to form the spiritual lives of lay people in a similar fashion to the Benedictine monastics. In a sense we are doubly monastic with Celtic monasticism as also a part of our history.

Life was uncertain in Cranmer’s day also. Cranmer intended for the layperson’s home to be his monastery. In this monastery the layperson lived a life organized around four services of the day, Morning Prayer, Noonday prayer, Evening Prayer. I am reminded of suffrages A from evening prayer in rite 1.

O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;
R. And grant us thy salvation.
V. Endue thy ministers with righteousness;
R. And make thy chosen people joyful.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in the entire world;
R. For only in thee can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under thy care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V. Let thy way be known upon earth;
R. Thy saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with thy Holy Spirit.

Compline is the fourth and final service said before retiring for the night.
Here is a collect from Compline.
“Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy
Defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the
Love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen”

Our home is not just our castle; it is our monastery and our sanctuary. We need to see our congregation and our homes as places of spiritual refuge and refreshment. Many homes have an altar somewhere in the house. I am often reminded of how insecure I could be when in the wilderness but there, my tent is my sanctuary. Imagine how terrifying it would be to be alone in the wilderness in the darkness without shelter to keep the rain and bugs out, a sleeping bag to stay warm, food to supply energy and water to hydrate. Then imagine what it is like after a warm meal in a warm sleeping bag inside a tent with your belongings arranged around you like a light, water, your pack, gloves and a wool hat in case you get a little chilly, a knife and a notepad to write the day's activities. Your food is available and secure in a bear canister 50 feet from the tent.

Being alone in the wilderness without any gear is no different than living in the city today without God. What I am saying is that the discipline of living daily as an Anglican Christian is your tent in the wilderness. The Word of God is your food that sustains and nourishes you. The Holy Spirit is the Water of Life wherein you will never thirst again. Our faith community provides the necessary warmth in a world where love has grown cold. Our faith community correctly sees reality through the eyes of God not contemporary culture. It’s hard to keep your head on straight when you are constantly bombarded with crazy ideas being formalized as laws. It’s hard to feel secure when your health or safety could be compromised on any given day.

Think about adding a daily morning devotional, one of the four services of the day and see if things don’t get less hectic, and troubling. We can do very little about the wilderness that surrounds us but we can prepare our hearts against the constant threats that await us. We have our tent for shelter, our sleeping bag for warmth, our food for nourishment and our water for hydration. That is biblical abundance living in today’s world, which is a barren spiritual wilderness.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 5, 2015 Gifts of the Spirit – Faith

Bishop Eric Menees

As we continue our discussion on the Spiritual Gifts we come to the Gift of Faith mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9: “ another faith by the same Spirit….”

We are so dependent upon God, that even our faith comes as a gift. When we think about the Spiritual Gift of Faith, it goes beyond our desire simply to believe in God and involves our willingly giving over to God. The gift of faith is described in Hebrews like this: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

This does not mean that faith is contrary to reason - faith takes into account and goes beyond reason. Think of Moses and the people of Israel as they finally left Egypt and were on the banks of the Red Sea. God commanded them to move forward, telling them that He would part the waters. Because they had seen God’s faithfulness in delivering the plagues against the Egyptians, but sparing the Israelites; and because Moses had seen God in the burning bush and experienced the faithfulness of God; when the Lord commanded them to move forward, they could do so with assurance of the hoped for promise of God. They moved forward, and the seas were parted!

The Spiritual Gift of Faith comes as a result of our submission to God. Not to say that we earn this gift through submission, but rather that we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit’s gifting when we submit.

Ultimately the Spiritual Gift of Faith is the supernatural belief that God is God, and that He will continue to act according to His magnificent character. When given the gift of faith, we are able to quite literally trust our whole selves to God’s grace and mercy; so that when we ask the Lord to heal a brother or sister, we are not surprised when He fulfills that request. When we call upon the Lord to cast out a demon, we are not surprised when that demon is cast away. And when we ask God to use us as His instruments, we are not surprised to be His hands, His eyes, and His heart in a broken world.

I would bid each of you to ask God the Holy Spirit for the Gift of Faith, and to trust that He will fulfill that request!

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

Bishop Menees

Catechism Questions 176 - 180

176.    What is the Second Petition?
The Second Petition is: “Thy Kingdom come.”

177.    What is the Kingdom?
The Kingdom of God is his reign over all the world and in the hearts of his people through the powerful and effective operation of his Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:28; Romans 8:12-17; Galatians 4:6-7)

178.    When you pray for God’s Kingdom to come, what do you desire?
I pray that the whole creation may enjoy full restoration to its rightful Lord. (Romans 8:22-25; Philippians 2:9-11)

179.    How does God’s Kingdom come?
God’s Kingdom, which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, was founded in Christ’s incarnation, established with his ascension, advances with the fulfilling of the Great Commission, and will be completed when Christ delivers it to God the Father at the end of time. (2 Chronicles 7:1-4; Matthew 10:5-8; 28:18-20; Luke 24:1-12; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:19-28)

180.    How do you live in God’s Kingdom?

My Kingdom life as a Christian consists of living with joy, hope, and peace as a child of God, a citizen of heaven, and a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. (Romans 14:17; Ephesians 4-6; Colossians 1:13-14; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:11)