THE PARISH REGISTER
St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church
April 2002
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CHOSEN OF GOD - AN EXALTED CALLING

by The Rt. Rev. Franklin H. Sellers, D.D.
This article by Bishop Sellers first appeared
in the March 1987 edition of the Parish Register.

The Apostle Paul used a unique and special salutation when he wrote to the Christians at Colossae, a Greek city about 100 miles east of Ephesus, near Leodicea. He was intent on instructing them on the importance of positive God-like personality traits which he felt should be the visible signs of the fruit of the Spirit of God working within one’s heart.

Paul earnestly believed that if you wanted to become a better person you had to act like a better person, i.e. you had to produce evidence that internal belief and desire were at work within in such a way that they guided behavior and outward action. Paul invisioned

Christian as one who responded and interacted with the world in a beautiful and holy manner. Certainly this is a high and lofty goal, but how is it to be achieved? What would the motivation be to drive individuals living in a realistic world, tainted with evil, to strive to direct all their actions along “God-like” paths?

Paul’s answer to this question is contained in his special form of address to these

Christians, i.e. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.”

To those of us who have grown up in an environment colored by democracy, interest in titles and forms of address takes a low priority. None-the-less, we still show great respect to those whose abilities and accomplishments have earned them such titles as “The Honorable” or the “Most Reverend,” etc. How much more should we take notice of the accolade Paul intended when he wrote of Christians being “the elect of God”--”holy and beloved!” What a choice body believers in Christ should be. Oh, how their conduct should reflect that privilege. Paul used the Greek word “eklektos” which signifies one who is “picked out,” “gathered” or “chosen.” The King James translators worded it “elect of God.” The New American Standard worded it “chosen of God.” The meaning, however, is the same - God made a choice, He selected, He gathered, He picked out unto himself a body of believers.

Needless to say, caution must be exercised here less we believe the choice was motivated by some individual merit within a person. To feel or act this way would be high-minded and the direct opposite of the “humbleness of mind” that Paul desired to see the Christian believer exhibit. And it would defeat the very purpose which Paul was trying to achieve.

Our firm belief is that the writings of Paul were directed by the Holy Spirit and thus reveal God’s truth, that truth being that the source of this “choosing” is always God’s grace. When Paul addressed the Christians at Ephesus (1:4,5), he wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love.” “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” (NAS)

The fellow Apostle John, in I John 4:9-10, supports this idea of selection “according to the kind intention of His will” in his letter. The NIV words the above passages: “This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin.”

Thus, the complusion for better behavior by Christians and in Christians is rooted in our calling! Wonder of wonders, God loves us and has “picked us out” to be special unto him. In response to this astounding fact and happening, can we live a life bereft of the holy qualities God desires? Herein is our motivation to change habits and practices to conform more closely to the ideal of God.

Let the world see your: (1) Heart of compassion (2) Kindness (3) Humbleness of mind (4) Meekness (5) Long suffering (6) Forebearing one another (7) Forgiving one another

If perchance you desire a stronger call to rededication than this review, pay some heed to an additional Apostolic endorsement, that of Peter, who in II Peter 1:3-11, wrote: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in you knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fail, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

May the Lord bless you and may His Holy Word guide you now and forever.

96th Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America

The Synod met on February 22, 2002 at The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, in Houston, Texas. Major decisions were made at the Synod. It was decided to reunite the Missionary Diocese of the West with the Diocese of Mid-America. Such a move became necessary because of Bishop Fincke’s health. This brings the number of parishes in the diocese to thirty-six. Also in preparation for General Council in June approval was given to the proposed changes to the Constitution and Canons, along with the final Prayer Book revisions.

Woman’s Guild Work Days

On Tuesdays during Lent the ladies of the Woman’s Guild met for cleaning and getting things in better order at the church. We thank them for their dedication and hard work. Woman’s Guild The Woman’s Guild meets every 3rd Sunday of the month.

General Council of The Reformed Episcopal Church

June 18-21, 2002, Houston, Texas. Do be in prayer for this important gathering.

Parenting Seminar

April 27 & 28, 2002. Mr. Don Albee, guest speaker.
For more details call the church office. (708) 614-7404.

Domestic Missions

Remember to pray for Rev. and Mrs. Paul Howden (Beth) and their children, Malachai, Mark, Timothy, and Charissa. St. Luke’s Reformed Episcopal Church, Santa Ana, CA.

Annual Parish Meeting
April 14, 2002, following Morning Prayer.

The meeting will be preceded by a catered luncheon in the Parish Hall. All members should plan to attend. All treasurers and committee chairmen should be prepared to deliver reports.

Happy Birthday!

April 5 - Beth Levi
April 21 - Mark Levi

APRIL

by Helen Kitchell Evans

Snow has vanished from the hill tops.
Daffodils from down below Look up from the valley;
Like drops of gold they glow.
Soft clouds drift and float aloft.
Buds, each branch now, tightly fill.
There is a freshness in the air
and Birds call out with voices shrill.
Lovely are the April days,
Sunshine bright and then, a shower;
All reminding us that God Daily shows to us His power.


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