Friday, May 21, 2010

What Does the Christian Alternative Look Like.

The Christian Alternative exists on four levels. We will look at these one at a time.

The first level of the Christian Alternative is the family. We believe that the family under the authority of the father is the basic unit for teaching, evangelising, healing, and praying. The family is seen in a semi monastic light, keeping the hours as is practical for their situation. It is hoped that each member of the family will find time to pray on their own, that the parents would learn to pray together, and that twice a day the family would unite together for liturgical prayer.

During the course of times the parents share and explain the faith to their children. They demonstrate evangelism and a true Christian life style. They will encourage their children to pray, witness and study God's word, and prepare them to receive the Lord. As well over the course of time, the family will read the entire Bible.

As well, we envision families eating together as much as possible, and celebrating the Sabbath and other festivals together, using these as ways to teach the faith. We find that strong families eat together, and strong families accept the head ship of the father. Families can get together and visit hospitals and nursing homes.

Does your family pray together twice a day?
Do you and your spouse pray together without the kids once a day?
Do you all try and keep the lesser hours?
Do you read and study the Bible and encourage the kids to do so as well?
Are you on a programme where the whole Bible will be read by your family.
Do you have the confidence to share Christ?
Do you have the confidence to pray for and heal the sick?
Does your family tithe?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why do bad things happen to good people

The events of the last few days lead many to cry out, "Why Lord, why do these bad things happen to good people." Here in Houston, with the murders of two women, the shooting rampage in Alabama, the school shooting at Winnenden, Germany. All of these things often make us question God.

Why does God allow bad things to happen? The question is not always so easy to answer, but basically it boils down to two things, the first of which being free will. When God created us in his image, he was creating us to be his companions in creation, and stewards on the earth. Only one problem, to be a real companion, one has to have free will, which God gave us. In other words, each man and woman has the power to decide whether they are going to obey God and be his companion, or disobey God and be a free agent. If we did not have free will, then we would be no more than robots, doing what we were programeed to do. The sad thing is, that when we decide to be free agents and disobey God, that is exactly what happens to us. We become slaves to sin. Let us remember that the middle of sIn is I, when we put I before God, when we put I before others, when we put I above creation, we end up becoming slaves. St. Paul describes this so well, "I know what is right but I don't do it. In fact I do the very thing that I know is wrong." (my paraphrase). In other words sin reins in us.

The second problem in the world is evil. Angels too had the power to decide between good and evil, and Satan chose evil, and one third of the angels decided to joion him. Satan, chose not to obey God and as a consquence was banished from heaven. He is in perpetual rebellion and seeks to hinder God's purpose wherever he can. Sadly for him, he cannot see that God has already beaten him, and no matter what evil Satan does, God uses it for the purposes of the kingdom.
So why do bad things happen to good people. Through Adam and Havah (Eve), evil entered into the world, disrupting creation. If we look around us, we can see in myriad ways how the earth is running down. When sin entered the world, sickness and death entered with it. Not only was manking corrupted, but the world was corrupted as well, making it a dangerous place.

Now not all things are bad, God sent his son Yeshua (Jesus) into the world to start a fifth column operation, called the church. Jesus through his crucifiction and resurrection conquered sin and death and has given us the power to conquer as well, as long as we remain in his word, and are nourished through regular communion and fellowship.

So how do we live in a fallen world. We are to be salt and light to the world, transforming it. As the Christians in the 19th century fought against and removed slavery in the world, so must we fight against sin in all its forms. The two recent shooting sprees in Germany and Alabama, USA, perhaps if a Christian had made friend with the perpetrators, perhaps this never would have happened. Jean who has been part of a one or two man crime spree in Pearland, Texas, maybe if he had had a Christian friend who would have led him to Christ, perhaps would have been helpiing people now, instead of stealing from them and killing them. Each Christian needs to look at where we have failed Christ. Maybe if the church in the Middle East had done its job, there would have never been a 9/11. It is time for us to consider and obey the Lordl

A Spanish and German version of this blog will soon be available.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fran Cooke

Possibly no-one will read this, but I need to give a little tribute to Fran Cooke. He passing was not noted by many, but I will be lighting a candle in her memory because she showed the light of Christ. Fran like myself was a life long Episcopalian and grew up in the southwest side of Houston. She and I frequented the same places, such as Westberry Square, the Myer Branch Library, Goony Bird Golf and Myerland Plaza, even though we did not know each other at the time. Fran, unlike myself stayed with the Episcopal Church because she thought that our diocese would be different.

Fran was a true humanitarian. She was always ready to help others, rescue animals, and give second chances. She had an honest and real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. She leaves behind a husband, Richard, and Daughter, Allie and ___ who need your prayers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Christian Alternative

The Christian Alternative is a different way of looking at church. At present we have no buildings, and a tiny congregation. The main point of our services is to worship the Lord. Our main Sunday services are broken into two parts, the liturgy of the word, and the liturgy of the Holy Communion. While we have nothing against expository preaching, you will only hear it occasionally in our church. Like the Jews in the time of Jesus, we read the lesson, and discuss. The Holy Spirit has been given to all of us, and as a portion of the body of Christ, we are to build each other up. The Bishop or presbyter moderates, and keeps us from wondering off the Christian path.

We use a four year lectionary for the New Testament, and Old Testament readings are read in course (mostly) over a somewhat longer period of time. The only thing we skip are genealogies, so if you attend regularly, over a period of time you will hear the entire Bible read and commented on, minus most of the genealogies.

At present we have no church buildings. Our goal is for the typical church to have about eighty to one hundred people, small enough to know each other. While the goal is to have at least a presbyter and deacon at each church, our understanding is that the main ministry is undertaken by the members of the church, not paid clergy. Our presbyters are primarily spiritual leaders. The office of the deacon is to help those in need, both spiritual and physical. The Bishop is the leader of a group of congregations. Eventually we may build a large church building to be shared by all the churches for special services such as Easter, or funerals or weddings.

Our main focus is evangelism. If we truly know and love Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then we should be sharing the good news. If we truly love our neighbours as ourselves, then we should proclaim the good news to them so they do not go to hell. Our second focus is to grow in faith, as a group. We encourage small group Bible study, and we encourage parents to guide their children in the faith. Children will participate with their parents in worship services. Our goal for individuals is theosis, that is becoming more like God. This is done by studying God’s word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and on our lives, and by building each other up in the Lord. We believe the family to be important, as marriage is an icon of the relationship between Christ and his church. Families should get together regularly to study God’s word and worship as a family. We are saddened that in the realm of morals today that Christians do not set the example, and we seek to be salt for society instead of letting society salt the church.

Our primary liturgy for the communion service is the liturgy of St. James, from the third century with repetitions removed. We also use the Apostolic Constitutions as a base for the Eucharist, and for Easter, a liturgy based on the Jewish Sabbath and Passover liturgies. Our goal, is that everyone should go heal the sick, raise the dead and proclaim the kingdom, that is all members are ministers in Christ.

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