Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Southtowns Small Group?

If anyone who lives in the south towns of Buffalo is interested in forming a Bible study group, fellowship group, or some other kind of gathering for that area, please let me know. Our church strategy is to be a metro church meaning people from all over come. In order to then facilitate support and relationship building, we need to form small groups in every area where we have families.

This group could meet weekly, every other week, or even monthly in the beginning. Let me know if God speaks to your creative heart to pioneer a new group!

Fr. Kevin

6/23/2008 Monday Afterglow

I don't know about you, but I have been blessed in our recent church services. There has been what I think is a very gentle presence of the Holy Spirit in our Sunday school and worship services as of late. Ever since beginning worship at the new building, as pastor I sense less spiritual warfare and a growing sense that the Holy Spirit is coming in our services to touch each of us, or better yet, pour into our hearts how much God loves us and cares about us.

Sunday's Gospel from Matthew 10:16-33 told us that as we go into the world to live and speak for Jesus Christ, that we will face opposition of various kinds from mild to severe. When those times come, God wants us to know he sees us. His eye is on the sparrow and since we are of much more value to our Heavenly Father, his eyes are on us too. He knows how many hairs are on our head, so he certainly sees the more important things such as when when we need His protection and strength when undergoing trials and troubles for his sake.

God sees and he cares.

This week, please pray that God heals the various healing needs in our church, especially Kathy Bucierka after foot surgery, and for Fr. John Denurger--Abbott at the Abbey of the Genesee--who had knee surgery Tuesday.

Please pray for God to add to our numbers, and for God's leadership on how to best let the neighborhoods surrounding the Church that we are there to love and serve them in Jesus' name.


Fr. Kevin

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Church and Politics: Election Year Discussions

I read an article today about a church that is challenging the IRS code that prohibits churches from endorsing candidates and getting directly involved in political activity. The quote that caught my eye was from an 1863 sermon by Henry Ward Beecher, he said, "It is sometimes said that ministers must not preach politics. … They would have to toe hop, and skip and jump through two thirds of the Bible if they did not, for the there is not another book on the face of God's earth that is so full of commerce and business and government, and the relations between the governing and the governed, as this same Bible."

In 1954, the IRS arbitrarily passed code that forbids churches , "from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office." Churches today are allowed to teach what the Bible says about politics, foreign and domestic policy, and church and state, but cannot endorse or be actively involved in supporting a campaign.

My questions today in this presidential election year are:

1.) Why do you see so many churches, mostly in certain segments of society, hosting political speakers primarily from one party and this is not considered a violation of the tax code?

2.) Does this law only apply to churches? What about Islamic mosques where political endorsements are made regularly? I simply do not know--has anyone looked into this?

3.) In the Bible, the prophets from Moses to John the Baptist regularly not only spoke about politics, but actively participated in calling kings and queens into account to God. The Church has continued this prophetic task of declaring God's heavenly position on earthly matters. What do you think the Church's responsibility is before God as it pertains to its relationship to the State/Caesar?

Let the discourse begin.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday Afterglow 6/16/2008

Here at the Abbey of the Genesee where I work by day, I look out at 1200 acres of farmland. Bros. Alberic and James work dilligently as our "farm brothers" to plant, care for, and harvest peas, sweet corn, and other crops that are a vital part of the community well being. Without farming, a significant source of revenue and the ability of the Abbey to survive would be threatened. When harvest time comes, the farm is buzzing with activity to bring in all the fruit of the labors that have preceded the harvest.

This past Sunday, our Gospel took us to the portion of Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful and ready, but there are too few laborers to go and bring in all that God has made ready in the land of the earth. It is a convicting message. Jesus is basically saying that he has made ready the harvest by doing his part. He has done the work of salvation at the cross. He has sent the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of men. People are ready to believe and be saved.

The problem is, we do not want to work the fields. Illegal immigration in America has taught us that Americans think they are below doing many manual labor jobs like picking the harvest on farms or cleaning hotel rooms. My thought today is, "Has this attitude infiltrated the church to the point that we are not willing to do the harvest work of the Church?"

American churches are more built on entertainment models than agricultural models. Do you think this has any correlation to the ability of the American churches to harvest what God has prepared?


Fr. Kevin

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hello from Phoenix, Arizona

Greetings from beautiful sunny Phoenix! The Abbey sent me here to a training conference. Kathie was able to come along with me, so we are taking in the sights.

Getting here was no joy. When we got on the Northwest flight out of Buffalo heading for Minneapolis, the air conditioning was broken on the plane. We were scheduled for a 6:55 p.m. departure. We sat on the ground for almost an hour with a cabin temp over 90 degrees. With babies crying and hot irritated people surprisingly "keeping their cool," we finally got on our way. We were scheduled to land in Minneapolis to connect with our flight to Phoenix at 9:15 p.m. We got to the gate at 8:45 p.m. and had to make a run for it from H terminal to G terminal. We were one of the last to board, but made it just in time--Praise the Lord!

A little over three hours later we were on the ground in Arizona where it was 95 degrees at 10:40 P.M. I got on the rental car shuttle and could not believe how far the rental car center is from SkyHarbor Airport!!! After picking Kathie up at Terminal 3 we headed off to Tempe Mission Palms Hotel where we are staying. It was 3:00 a.m. Buffalo time when we got into the room. The hotel is adjacent to Arizona State University and I can see the Sun Devils Stadium from my window.

On Wednesday we went to mass at St. Mary's Basilica. Then we visited Heard Museum. If you are ever in the area, it is a real neat place to visit and not too expensive at $10.00 each for adults.

Here are some local web cams right here in the South Mill area near ASU where we are staying. If anyone needs anything, feel free to call the church phone 716-548-4785. If you need personal care, Dn. Pittman is covering for me while we are away. We return Saturday and look forward to Sunday when we will be meeting Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew where he talks about having compassion on his people and looking at fields white unto harvest asking us to pray for laborers.



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Monday Morning Afterglow 6/9/2008

OK--I was finally asked "What is an afterglow?" In Exodus 33, we discover the prayer of Moses for God to show Him his glory. Many years later, Moses and Elijah, along with Peter, James, and John would see the glory God in the Transfiguration. 1450 years BC, Moses got a "sneek peek" at the revelation of glory. What Moses was privileged to see was the afterglow of the glory of God passing by. He could not see the direct glory of God and live.

18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." 19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."


This past Sunday was an unseasonably hot day for early June in western New York with temps in the mid-90s. Praise God the weather did not hinder the people of God from coming to worship. The Gospel for the day was from Matthew where Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees for keeping company with tax collectors and sinners after calling Matthew to follow him. It is the sick that need the physician; the righteous do not need to be called for repentance but the sinner.

The key lesson we all need to learn is that the fellowship we enjoy as God's people should not cause us to lose contact with those who need to know Jesus. Jesus met Matthew in the business world, and took people from church (disciples) to hang out with Matthew and his friends who were not yet believers.

This week, think about how you can find people like Matthew and his friends to hang out with. Jesus calls us to go into all the world with the Gospel. The best way to do this is to be the good news yourself! People need good news--they need you.


Fr. Kevin

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Monday Morning Afterglow 6/2/2008

Our Sunday services on 6/1/08 definitely were filled with the Lord's presence. While attendance went from a weekly high since Easter to a weekly low since Easter in the space of one week, there was a special sense of family Sunday, especially in the fellowship coffee time after church.

My sermon was on the Gospel reading for the day in Matthew 7--Not all who say to me Lord, lord... and building life on the rock or the sand. I spoke about being ready to weather life's storms, and carefully presented Jesus' teaching on building the foundation of our life on the Rock or the Sand. Life in 2008 is pretty stormy, so I made sure I preached a clear message of salvation and presented four kinds of faith relationships to Jesus that can end up with one being numbered among those who say "Lord, lord" and then hear "Depart from me I never knew you." If you would like a text copy of the message, email me.

On another note, we may have to curtail our Sunday school class before church due to ACC needs for us to not be in the building while their church is letting out. I am awating word from the Pastor, and this item is on our next parish council meeting agenda as well. I will keep everyone posted. We could do the class immediately after church till 2:00.


Fr. Kevin