Friday, May 31, 2013

Now We Believe

When St Photini, the Samaritan Woman whom Jesus spoke with at Jacob’s Well, invited her entire city to come and see Jesus Christ, she said, “Come, and see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4.29) We hear in the Gospel that the people came to see Jesus, and urged Him to stay for a few days and they listened to what He had to say. “And many more believed because of His own word.” (John 4.41)

Once the city people heard Jesus and interacted with Jesus, it was then that they took ownership of their belief. “Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4.42) It wasn’t enough to hear ABOUT Jesus, the people needed to ENCOUNTER Him.

The same is true for us today AND for our neighbors and friends. It isn’t enough that we TELL our friends we believe in Jesus Christ, or that we TELL them that we are Greek Orthodox. We are expected to INVITE them to come and see and ENCOUNTER Him for themselves. While St Photini went and invited the city, Jesus said to His Disciples, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! I sent you out to reap that for which you have not labored.’” (John 4.35,38) Jesus was reminding His Disciples, and He is reminding us, that the time for harvest is upon us. The time to invite our friends and neighbors and THE ENTIRE CITY, to come and see AND ENCOUNTER Jesus Christ, is upon us. They will come because we invite them, but they will believe because they encounter “the Savior of the world.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

W4T (Word for Today) – Εμπειρία – experience

Life experience is a two-edged sword. It can either harden or soften our hearts. The choice is up to us whether we follow Christ and His Church or the world. Don’t let your life experience harden your heart to your fellow human beings. Rather, allow it to inform you of the great need for mercy and love…and then put that experience into proper action!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Do So Many People Have to Suffer?

On the third Sunday following Holy and Great Pascha, the Church reminds us of the reality of pain, suffering and death in this world. In the story of the pool of Bethsaida (John 5.1-15) and the miracles accomplished by St Peter (Acts 9.32-42) we learn of God’s purpose for miracles. We all know, by first-hand experience, that MOST do NOT receive miracle healings by the Lord, although sometimes Holy Scripture gives us the misimpression that miracles are common everyday experiences. When the Lord DOES intervene with miracles, it is for a greater purpose than mere physical health. We don’t need to fear sickness and death. Miracles, and suffering by default, are to lead us to find the Lord and embrace His Good News for a brighter future. Then we must heed the warning of our Lord, “Go and sin no more,” lest someone worse befall us. video this week, TO LISTEN NOW, click on the link to the right

This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at

Friday, May 24, 2013

No Sunday School….No Greek School….No Church?

Every summer a national exodus of Christians from their churches takes place. Families have planned for months to enjoy that long-awaited and much-needed vacation. Trips to the mountains and beach are on the family calendar. Enjoying “lazy” mornings with the family and cookout dinners….These are all part of our many summer experiences. But where does Church fit in?

Parents are still working; so many daytrips must take place over the weekend if they are going to happen at all. Longer vacations are planned out well in advance and time off from work is in order after a long year of “nose-to-the-grindstone” work ethic. But where does Church fit in?

Church has to fit in, right? I have always been concerned with the attitude of taking a summer vacation from Church. Many times it has become customary to expect families to disappear until Sunday School begins again the fall. While we all should find time as a family to get away and retreat for a vacation and family bonding, that doesn’t mean from the Church.

There are more than 2000 Orthodox Christian Churches in America making it much easier than ever to include Sunday Divine Liturgy into your family vacation. It only requires planning. We plan for campsites, fishing licenses, cabin reservations, etc….why not Church? Most Churches have websites or Facebook pages making it simple to determine when Divine Liturgy starts.

Don’t let your summer vacation from the busyness of the world take you away from the holiness of the Church!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

W4T (Word for Today) - πληθωρικός - plethoric

W4T (Word for Today) - πληθωρικός – normally used in reference to quantity but can also be used to describe a person with an exuberant or having an overly-grand personality. One can be plethoric in style or physique.

We all want to believe that we add something special to any group or organization of which are a part. This is our ego working to puff us up rather than the call of our Lord to be a servant of all and act with humility. Sometime we are just "too much" or worse, "too full" of ourselves.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Faith, Courage, and Conviction; Honoring Our Mothers

When we think of our mothers, we think of the courage of compassion in the face of bumps and bruises and broken hearts. When we think of our mothers, we think of the conviction to stand up for the truth and her family. When we think of our mothers, we think of the faith they have in Christ and their dedication to nurturing that faith in our hearts. When we honor our earthly mothers, we honor the Divine Mother of God who expressed the traits of a devoted loving mother.


This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nothing Can Keep the Good News of the Resurrection Silent!

In the earliest days of the Church, many miracles were accomplished within the Church by the Holy Apostles. As a result of people witnessing these great miracles, many “believers were increasingly added to the Lord.” (Acts 5.14) In fact there were so many miracles, out of extreme jealousy the religious elite, the high priest and the Sadducees, arrested the Holy Apostles to silence their message. “But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.’” (Acts 5.19-20) Even the high priest of the temple was not strong enough to silence the Good News of Christ.

During our Great Lenten journey the Church invited us to look inward to reflect upon the state of our soul. We were invited to repent and rededicate our life to Jesus Christ and His Church. At the Paschal celebration last week, we were reminded of the great joy that exists in the message of Christ’s Holy and Glorious Resurrection. I invite you to allow the Light of Christ to shine in your hearts and your homes, and not to rush back to the worldly life.

Today we see the power of Christ’s Resurrection. We see the power of the Gospel in healing and saving the souls of all who believe. We also see the fear of those who reject Jesus Christ and His message of freedom. But the fear and jealously of the nonbelievers has no power over us unless we allow it. The angels of God will assist us in declaring the Gospel to the world and Jesus will bless those who believe. Be strong and speak the truth of Christ because Christ is Risen and there is no fear in the Risen Lord.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Leave the World Behind and Shine with the Light of Christ - Christ is Risen!

The world is dark and full of pain and suffering. The Light of Christ is warm and filled with peace. Whether we shine in Christ or rush back to allow the world to light our way is our choice. We pray that you will kindle the Light of Christ in your heart this year for Pascha without being so quick to return to the worldly life.

This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Joy of Holy and Great Friday

Shortly before His Holy Passion, Jesus said, “If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father.’” (John 14.28) With these words Jesus sought to bring peace and comfort to His Disciples in the face of His impending death. He also said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14.27) The joy in the Passion of Christ isn’t in His death, but in His glorious resurrection. We rejoice on Holy and Great Friday not because we bury the Lord, but because we already know how the story ends. 

This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Have we learned anything about ourselves yet?

Sunday evening Orthodox Christians celebrated the first of three Bridegroom Matins. There are actually four of these services, but most Orthodox Churches substitute the Bridegroom Matins for Holy Wednesday evening (that’s tonight) with the Mystery (Sacrament) of Healing Oil (Holy Unction) so I figured I would pause at this point with a Holy Week reflection by asking the question: “Have we learned anything about ourselves yet?”

The Church has established certain themes for each evening during Holy Week.

    Icon of the Bridegroom (Florence, SC)
    Sunday Evening (Matins for Holy Monday Morning) – The Church reflects upon the withered fig tree
  • Monday Evening (Matins for Holy Tuesday Morning) – The Church reflects upon the parable of the ten virgins
  • Tuesday Evening (Matins for Holy Wednesday Morning) – The Church reflects upon the anointing of Jesus by the harlot juxtaposed with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.
  • Wednesday Evening (Matins for Holy Thursday Morning) – The Church reflects upon the Mystical Supper (commonly called the Last Supper) and the institution of the Eucharist

Glancing back on these themes a pattern, or better yet a trajectory, becomes obvious. We are encouraged by the Church to reflect upon our spiritual condition as it relates to:

  1. Whether or not our spiritual life is bearing fruit (thus the warning of the withered fig tree)
  2. Whether or not we are awaiting the return of Christ in a state of readiness (thus the parable of the virgins)
  3. Whether or not we are repenting in humility to the Lord rather than betraying the Lord with a self-oriented spirituality and greed (thus the warning of Judas)

If we take seriously our journey through Holy Week, and going all the way back to the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee at the beginning of Pre-Lent, if we have not learned something about ourselves, we have failed to take full advantage of the “reason for the season”, namely repentance and salvation. If we rather glance back at the past few nights (if even we were in Church) or the past 7 weeks and discover we are not somehow different, we have failed to take advantage of the Great Lenten journey and we run the risk of not bearing fruit (there’s that fig tree warning again!) and being shut out of the Kingdom.

It is true that Jesus has not come to judge the world but to save it, but that salvation comes with an expectation that we are somehow engaged in the process. It was just a few weeks ago that we heard Jesus say, “IF anyone desires to come after Me….” IF is a key word in understand the Passion of Christ. If we sit back and await the coming of the Lord considering that we are “totally ready and prepared” for Him, (there’s that foolish virgin warning again!) we will be shut out of the Kingdom.

If we are one of the many that want “Church on OUR terms” with the programs WE WANT and the services WE WANT and WHEN WE want them, (there’s that self-oriented spirituality of Judas warning again!) we will miss the opportunity to repent in total humility in front of our Lord, and be shut out of the Kingdom.

With just a few more days of Holy Week, there is still time to engage in the journey and bring your life around and face it toward the Lord Jesus Christ. There is still time to repent in humility to your local Orthodox Priest, who has been granted authority by Christ and the Church to forgive sins. There is still time to bear the spiritual fruit of prayer and fasting and be welcomed into the Kingdom as the wise virgins…

Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant, whom He shall find vigilant; and unworthy is he, whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, that you will not be overcome by sleep, lest you be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. Wherefore, rouse yourself, crying out: Holy, Holy, Holy are You our God, through the power of Your Cross save us."

May the remainder of Holy Week be blessed….

Jesus as King on Palm Sunday

Hosanna! Blessed is He Who Comes in the name of the Lord! Jesus comes to us as the King of Peace, the King of Glory, the King of Kings, but never with the force and pride of an Earthly King. Jesus as King is our protector and provider, defender and victor over our enemy. In return we are invited to allow Him to use our heart as His divine throne so He can rule our lives and protect us from within.



This Week’s Sermon also airs DAILY AT 12NOON and 7pm Eastern on Transfiguration Radio at or our mobile player at