EPIPHANY MESSAGE TO CLERGY & CHURCHES

BY BISHOP STEVE BREEDLOVE

JANUARY 12TH,2016

Dear Christ Our Hope Clergy and Churches,

 

Epiphany greetings in the Name of Jesus, the Lord of the Nations!

 

Since September, “hope” has been poking around in my mind, gently, relentlessly, prodding and pushing its way into my heart. Hope is written large into the heart of the Gospel. Hope is a beautiful recurring melody echoing through God’s Word. Woven into the name of our diocese, hope has been opening up new space in my soul, clearing away clutter, expanding my vision, stirring up the affections of my heart. 

 

This scene greeted Sally and me this morning. (We are on a weeklong prayer and study retreat at a rustic family cabin perched on a bluff above Perdido Bay, Alabama.) Have you ever seen a more spectacular image of hope painted in the sky? Don’t be surprised if this becomes the banner for the Facebook page for the DCH! 

 

As beautiful as this scene was, today’s time in God’s word was even richer. I have been reading Colossians for the past few weeks, stuck for some time in Chapter 1:3-14. Today, the substance of the Good News expressed in Paul’s prayer took my breath away. 

 

  • The Gospel centers in faith in the historical, resurrected Jesus Christ (v. 4).

  • The Gospel calls for and produces a family of love (v. 4).

  • The Gospel proclaims a hope-filled future, for all eternity (v.5).

  • The Gospel is the truth (v. 5). 

  • The Gospel bears increasingly good fruit in the lives of people (v.6). 

  • The Gospel is the word of God’s grace in Christ (v.6).

  • The Gospel calls forth and enables radical, loving service from people (vv.7-8). 

  • The Gospel brings us to a place where we can know God and his will (v.9). 

  • The Gospel brings spiritual wisdom and understanding (v. 9).

  • The Gospel offers the promise of walking worthy of God, of pleasing him (v 10). 

  • The Gospel makes it possible for every deed to be a “good deed” – fruitful, helpful, just, true, and loving (v.10).

  • The Gospel brings spiritual strength (v. 11). 

  • The Gospel delivers endurance, and offers us a reason for persistent joy (v. 11). 

  • The Gospel engenders a life of gratitude (v. 12). 

  • Through this work of God, we are given an inheritance in light – that exists in light and consists of light (v. 12). 

  • Good news! We are delivered from the power and doom of darkness (v. 13).

  • Good news! We are citizens of the Kingdom of God (v. 13). 

  • Good news! We are redeemed by Jesus and forgiven of all sin (v. 14). 

 

Lists are hard to digest, but give it a shot. Reread the underlined words slowly: Sit with these phrases. This is the substance of the Gospel, the promise of the Gospel, the very nature of the Good News in Jesus. 

 

Reread the underlined phrases. All of this is declared, expected and possible. And what is possible for our lives is already promised and delivered. Let me repeat. The nature of hope in Christ is this: what is beautiful, good news is possible. What is possible is already promised. What is promised is already delivered

 

Recently I was reading Matthew 16. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being able to read the weather signs in the sky but failing to see the signs of spiritual reality. I look at the “signs in the sky” this morning and I believe God is saying, “This is the dawn of a new day for the people and churches of this diocese.” The Diocese of Christ our Hope is meant to be a people of hope, declaring the Gospel of hope, with hearts full of hope. 

 

Sally and I are thrilled, thankful, and looking forward to life, renewal, growth, and effective Gospel mission together in the years ahead. This is our hope and anticipation in Jesus!

 

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 

Grace, peace, love, and hope from our Lord Jesus Christ, 

 

Bishop Steve Breedlove

 

Our mission is to plant, build, and equip disciple-making Anglican churches, their people, and those who serve them.

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The Diocese of Christ our Hope’s mission is to plant, equip, and multiply disciple-making Anglican churches, and to support and serve their people and leaders in Christian life and mission.

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