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Wishing You a Blessed New Year!




We welcome you to our Divine Liturgy


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The Unprecedented Miracle!



Unprecedented, that is the word of 2020!  We had an unprecedented explosion of corona virus and unprecedented deaths associated with the virus, unprecedented fires in California.  We witnessed unprecedented restrictions with worship, , unprecedented lock downs and businesses closing. . During the elections we witnessed unprecedented voter turn out. We witnessed Americans storming the Capitol building, the list goes on.  Websters defines unprecedented as: “something never done or known before, unparalleled, unmatched.”

 

When Jesus stepped into the Jordan to be baptized by St. John, the most fantastic,“unprecedented” miracle happened where the Creator of the Universe humbles Himself to enter our world, our skin, our life to lead us back to His Kingdom.  This unprecedented event rocked the world forever and initiated a revolution!  And we are all invited to partake of this sacred revolution of love, of truth and peace.  An invitation to re-claim with God’s Grace our original beauty!

 

During these times with the virus-crisis and drama with the elections, we have a decision to make. We can either respond with a Christlike revolution with humility, with the fruits of the spirit or react with judgment, sarcasm, blame, defensiveness, anger, etc.  I’ve seen many people being overtaken during the elections and the storming of the Capital building, reacting out of fear, anger or self-righteousness.  

 

We’ve witnessed families literally blowing up because one member approves of the President’s responses and political stance while another family member attacks their position feeling the president had been lying to the American people.   We have experienced lies and deceptions and have stamped our version of truth to these behaviors.  We have relegated people to be on the left or right, conservative or liberal, on my side or their side.  Last I heard is that we are on God's side, we are God’s beloved and we need to treat each other this way!

 

This is the ploy of the devil to divide and conquer, to disrupt the revolution all in the name of one’s self defined truth. All in the name of being Right. And the more you and I scream at each other with fear, anger and self-righteousness, the devil wins.  Please know we must respond to the current challenges with a prayerful heart and clear mind.  We need to respond to deception when we see it, St. Paul clearly states that we are to be careful, "see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy." Colossians 2:8

  

St. Paul also challenges us to  redirect our energy to respond with Christ’s armor, “with the belt of truth buckled around our waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, 

and with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace!”  In addition to all this, St. Paul says, “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6: 14-17

 

It seems like the character and ethics of each person has been assaulted and we are reacting in ways that would not please our Lord.  In fact, it says in the bible that Jesus wept, and I believe God weeps today at how we are treating each other!  Families have been divided over wearing a mask or not, been divided over believing the Corona Virus is a hoax or real!  We have butchered each other out of fear yelling, judging and disrespecting others.  We must stop this and do our best to respond with unprecedented compassion and understanding to our current affairs with the virus and transition of presidents.

 

St. Porphyrios's words can melt our hearts as we invite Jesus to have the power to prayerfully respond to our challenges we will face in 2021.  He says, “When you become a captive of Good, you cannot speak evil, you cannot hate, and you cannot tell lies. You are unable to, even if you want to. How can the Evil One approach to tempt you with despair, disenchantment, laziness and other such things?"


"If Divine Grace fills you, these things have no power over you. They cannot enter when your room is full of grace and filled with memory of your spiritual friends – I mean the angels, the saints, the martyrs, and above all Jesus Christ. The opposite occurs when you become captive to your fallen nature. Then you are dominated by the evil spirit and you cannot do good. Therefore, strive to become captive of all that is good."

 

God is watching the movie of our life, and I pray He sees us engaged in 'unprecedented' behavior of being 'captive of Good', of being filled with grace and love that reflects the image and likeness of Christ?  

 

Blessings to you all in 2021

 

+fr. tom

 



Upcoming Events


​​Click here for our online calendar​​​




Sunday January 10th:

Orthros 8am

Divine Liturgy 9am



Wednesday January 13th:

Bible Study 12noon - 1pm

Join Zoom Meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83144582046



Sunday January 17th:

Orthros 8am

Divine Liturgy 9am



Wednesday January 20th:

Bible Study 12noon - 1pm

Join Zoom Meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83144582046



Thursday, January 21st

Eight Dates: Growth and Spirituality 6:30 pm.



Sunday January 24th:

Orthros 8am

Divine Liturgy 9am



Wednesday January 27th:  

Bible Study 12noon - 1pm

Join Zoom Meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83144582046



Sunday January 31st:

Orthros 8am

Divine Liturgy 9am




Sunday Readings 


Gospel Reading


The Gospel According to Matthew 3:13-17


At that time, Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."



Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Mode 4.
Psalm 117.26,1

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endures forever.


The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7


TITUS, my son, the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.


Calling all couples!  


Our Eight Dates series continues to be a wonderful blessing with an amazing turnout from people from around the country, as well as Australia, and Canada.  Join us, even if it is your first time, as we discuss Growth and Spirituality


Play and adventure are vital components to a successful and joyful relationship. It’s okay if you and your partner have different ideas about what constitutes play and adventure. We will discuss how to invite and engage a couple's unique sense of adventure and what it means to each partner.


Approximately two-thirds of couples have a sharp drop in relationship satisfaction shortly after a child is born, and this drop gets deeper with each subsequent child. To avoid this drop in relationship happiness, conflict needs to be low and you need to maintain your sexual relationship.


 Join us for our next date: Thursday, January 21st at 6:30 p.m.   


If you haven’t already registered please click on the link and sign up!

https://goarch.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqf-CsqzMpHdy60SFQ_O7W1kh8slsIJOwV

 


We have archived the past several great video presentations...make time to review this great information offered to all couples and feel free to share with a friend!


http://www.familywellnessministry.org/8-dates-marriage-program







Bible Study: On Colossians

 

A Message of Hope in a Chaotic World


We started our introduction to Colossians last week and are looking forward to St. Paul's inspirational letter as we discovered the many pearls of wisdom in how to live our life rooted in Christ. We will focus on Colossians chapter 2.


Our next study will be  this Wednesday as we study St. Paul's 1st Chapter of his letter to the Colossians.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


 Study on Colossians:

 This is a recurring Wednesday meeting.  just click the link below

 

This is the recurring link to join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83144582046


Please make to immerse yourself in God's word...We look forward to being with you together with one mind and heart, to study St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians Wednesday the 13th from 12:00 p.m - 1:00 p.m..  Looking forward to stepping into this epistle as St. Paul helps us prepare our hearts for Christmas.




Wake Up and Repent!



We experienced our Lord’s Epiphany this past Wednesday.   St. John Baptized Jesus in the Jordan, not to cleanse Jesus from sin but so that Jesus could start His revolution, so we could start our journey to repentance.  Whatever direction we are taking in life, we are asked to make a u-turn and head back home, back to God's Kingdom! 

St. John says, “Repent and prepare for God’s Kingdom”!   Jesus came so we can repent, so we could be restored to our original beauty, so we can experience His peace, so we can respond to the challenges in life with a resolve that Christ will be with us giving us courage and strength! 
 
Our work, our life, our journey that Christ gave to us is to re-establish a right relationship with God.  When Jesus comes out of the water, all of human nature becomes renewed, and in our baptism we too have stepped into the Jordan river and mysteriously are joined to Jesus. Our baptism is a baptism of renewal of human nature.  Jesus’ baptism seeks to sanctify all of creation not just humans but He comes to restore everything to its true nature.
 
In Dn. John Chryssavgis’ book “Soul Mending”, he says that, “To repent is to awaken from the sleep of ignorance, to rediscover our soul, to gain the meaning and purpose of our lives by responding to the incomparable love of the One who is “not of this world….the focus of repentance is not our imperfection but the perfect love of Christ who is good and loves humankind."  

Let's wake up and repent!  Let us focus our thoughts, our actions, our behavior to restore our true love for our Lord who gives us the breath we breath, the life we have, and the beauty we enjoy!  

+fr. tom



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