Join us for a Journey of Discovery in Orthodox Christianity
Sundays 12:00 to 12:30 (after coffee hour)
Some Western Christian converts to Orthodoxy have described the discovery of Orthodoxy as "discovering gold". Other converts have described finding "the light of the early Church" that still shines in Orthodoxy". Others have described Orthodoxy as the "fullness of the Christian faith".
The purpose of these classes is to journey together to discover or rediscover this "gold", this "light of Christianity", this "fullness". Our goal is not only one of discovery, but also one of learning how to experience this fullness of life in Christ through the fullness of the Christian faith retained without alteration in the Orthodox Church.
We will begin with a short history the Church, the Great Schism and the developments of Western Christianity leading to the Reformation and then the impact of the Reformation. This will lay the groundwork for a presentation and discussion of the full historic Christian message and how to live it.
There will be 10 classes, in all, which are broken into 3 parts. The first part will consist of 4 classes on "The Good News" and the historic Orthodox understanding of salvation. At the end of these classes we should have a basic understanding of the full Gospel message and the Way we must follow. The theme of this section is "To be saved is to be transformed".
The second part will consist of 3 classes on "Safeguarding the Good News", that is, The Church (The Body of Christ), the Holy Scriptures and the "Cloud of Witnesses". Fr. Barnabus Powell is a former Pentecostal preacher who is now an Orthodox priest. He often speaks about the Orthodox Church as a fireplace to contain the fire of the Holy Spirit so that it would be
beneficial and not destructive. This section is about that "fireplace" and the handed-down experience of Christian Warriors who are the "Cloud of Witnesses".
The third and final part will consist of 3 classes that are the "meat" of the series: How do we make the Good News a living reality in our life? After seeing what our Great God has provided for us, what must we do and how do we do it? That is, the "working out" or "spiritual warfare" of our salvation, the "how" of salvation. How do we kindle the fire? How do we become "hot
coals" within the fireplace (using Fr. Barnabus's helpful analogy of the fireplace)?
Salvation is free thanks to Jesus Christ, but it is not magic or a legal transaction. We must be willing to embrace and fight to incorporate this gift into our life and become less egotistical and more Christ-like. Remembering our theme from part 1, "To be saved is to be transformed", part 3 will challenge each of us to address our own transformation. This part is not easy. But, this
also leads us to a key to the Christian life. Since God's strength is made perfect in our weakness, don't despair, our failures become the key to growth in humility which will lead to our transformation. We cannot do it ourselves. Please join us on this journey of discovery.
The Good News...To be saved is to be transformed
Class #1 (9/17/17) Introduction and ”The Good News" (1 Peter 1: 3-12)
The prophets & the angels longed to see what we have received.
Jesus is the Messiah. "Joy to the World"
Class #2 (9/24/17) Christ is Risen! (1 Corinthians 15)
Descent onto Hades, victory over sin, death and Satan.
We can be saved as a result. We cannot save ourselves.
Class #3 (10/1/17) The Problem & the Solution
We don't have a legal problem-we have a deeper problem.
The priority of grace & the obedience of faith. Free will...God protects it.
Class #4 (10/8/17) The Purpose (Responsibility) of Life..become holy.
Christ's victory is a weapon, not a pillow. Christ saves sinners by giving them the means to become saints.
Thankful cooperation. Synergy/Humility.
Safeguarding The Good News...The Church, Scriptures, Witnesses, Action
Class # 5 (10/15/17) The Church, the Holy Scriptures & the Witnesses (1 Tim. 3:15)
The Church (as spiritual hospital), Holy Scripture, the Creed, the Fathers, the Liturgy,
Hymnody, Icons: our wonderful inheritance. Both conciliar & hierarchical
Class #6 (10/22/17) Keeping the Commandments: Prayer, fasting and almsgiving
To know God (not about Him). Prayer creates pathway to follow back to God.
Establishing daily practice.
Class #7 (10/29/17) The Christian Warrior.
St. Cosmas of Aetolia says: "Life is spiritual warfare. If you're not fighting, you're losing".
Like it or not you are under attack.
The Heart of the Matter... "Thee not me"
Class #8 (11/5/17) Unseen Spiritual warfare Luke 22: 30, Col. 3:5
St. Paul's radical call to "put to death" the things that hinder us.
Fr. Roman Braga video, Christ in me!
Class #9 (11/12/17) Embracing Self-Denial & the Holy Disruptions of Life
Psalm 50 (a heart broken & humbled)-Humility leading to "Christ in me", the hope of
glory. Pondering St. Paul as 1st of sinners and the Centurion. Being under authority.
Class #10 (11/19/17) Sharing the "gold" of Orthodoxy.
Fr. Barnabus Powell says that, " withholding spiritual food from spiritually hungry people
is as immoral as withholding physical food from a starving man".
THE CROSS: LIFE'S TRUE GUIDE
If we were about to embark upon a challenging journey -- one that we know will be filled with hardships and dangers -- we would be foolish to make such a trip alone. The sensible thing to do would be to have a guide lead us -- a guide with the skills and knowledge to assist us in reaching our intended destination.
There is no more difficult "journey" than our walk through life itself. As Orthodox Christians, our ultimate destination is the Kingdom of Heaven. But what a rough road we must travel to get there! It is a road filled with temptations and stumbling blocks -- a road we cannot possibly manage alone. We, too, need a "guide" and we have it in the form of the precious and lifegiving Cross. As we celebrate the solemn Feast Day of the Elevation and Exaltation of the Holy Cross -- a day that commemorates the finding of the Cross by Saint Helen -- it would be good for us to remember the many ways that the Cross guides us. It is our guide in making decisions, for all of life's great choices must be made with the light of the Cross illuminating our thoughts.
The Cross guides us in time of sickness and suffering, for the Cross reminds us of the patient way our Lord endured all that He was forced to bear. The Cross is our guide when sorrow overcomes us because of the loss of a loved one.
The empty Cross serves to remind us that death's hold over man is only temporary. We, too, will rise one day if we truly believe in the One Who conquered death. Christ's words to the thief, spoken from the Cross, provide us with the necessary encouragement as we deal with all of life's hardships:
"THIS DAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE."