Saturday, August 22, 2009


THIS WEEK 8/23/2009 Proper 16

READY FOR HEAVEN: Since I did not receive any more questions about heaven, our series is complete.


Pray for Anita who continues to be in the hospital at Buffalo General.

Pray for your Pastor whose van broke down that it will be repaired quickly. We are jockeying a busy work, church, and life schedule with one old 1995 car so please bear with our temporary scheduling cancellations and slow down due to transportation limitations.

Pray for our aged members who you don't see in church. Absence generally means they are physically not well enough on a given week to be there...

Pray for the growth of the CEC and St. Patrick's. If our mission in Amherst is to stay alive for the long term, it is simply imperative that we see new members as our older members retire, move away, and move on. Prayer changes things, and church growth never will happens without a solid prayer foundation. Churches grow as prayer helps the leaders develop strategies to reach and disciple people for Christ. Also, churches grow by those who attend and/or belong at the church want to see their church grow by sharing their faith and church experience with others--Make a friend, Be a Friend, Invite a Friend!!!!

Pray for church finances as summer this year has seen fluctuation in giving and attendance.

Pray whether meeting at ACC at noon on Sunday should continue. We have trended down in attendance since leaving the Park School and trying a noon worship hour. Our church must begin to grow, so we are re-evaluating as we put together the church plan for the new school year.

Pray for a new deacon and more lay leaders as Dn. Henry and Sharon are now retired and will not be here for a good part of the year. I am asking the Bishop to be prepared to send other priests to cover for sickness and needed time off, and to encourage younger seminarians to consider moving to Buffalo to help with the work.


LAST WEEK part one of this series of weekly email teachings introduced the concept of biblical covenant as the undergirding "constitution" that is the basis for our relationship with God as His people. The essence of our relationship God is covenant love, but the idea of a covenant also implies a formal relationship. The mutual commitment of a love relationship may be expressed in a legal form which makes the obligations of love explicit. A covenant is such a formal love commitment.

Again the analogy of the marriage is helpful. The fact that a wedding vow is a legal ceremony does not detract from the love which it expresses. Just the contrary. If a man professes love to a woman, but he refuses to assume legal obligations, the reality of his love is questionable at best. God's love for man is expressed in the legal form of a covenant in which God takes obligations upon Himself and calls man to be loyal to the covenant. The covenant, therefore, has a clear structure and may be expressed in formal legal language.

The book of Deuteronomy, the book of covenant love, provides us with our understanding of the covenant. The whole book is a covenantal document, structured in terms of a five-point outline which is used throughout the Bible to define the covenant. Ray Sutton explains the outline of Deuteronomy as follows:

Transcendence (Deut. 1:1-5). The covenant begins with an acknowledgment of God's absolute Lordship. He grants the covenant. He is the absolute King.

Hierarchy (Deut. 1:6-4:49). In this section of Deuteronomy, Moses describes the history of Israel in terms of God's leading and blessing. God gave Israel leaders, covenantal representatives. When Israel was faithful to God, she obeyed her leaders.

Ethics (Deut. 5-26). The central section of the covenant defines how God's people are to live so that they can be His holy nation. God's relationship with His people is an ethical relationship. They must be righteous to enjoy the blessings of the covenant.

Oath (Deut. 27-30). The covenant promises blessings for those who obey the law and curses for those who rebel. When God's people take the oath of the covenant, they call upon God to curse them if they disobey and to bless them if they obey.

Succession (Deut. 31-34). The final section of the covenant concerns the heirs of the covenantal blessings. God intends for the covenant to continue from generation to generation in godly families. Training children to follow God and working to pass the blessing on to the future is essential to true covenantal obedience.[1]

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