This is a guest post from James Helmy, a deacon serving at St Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church in Delray Beach, FL. In this post, James shares an excerpt from the book, "If You Love Me: Serving Christ and the Church in Spirit and Truth" by Fr. Matthew the Poor - a man who James says is "an amazing example of spiritual formation and reformation for Copts living in modern times." If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.Read More
This is a guest post from Shereen Marcus - a proud member of St. Timothy & St. Athanasius church who has guest posted before. In today's post, Shereen speaks candidly about her experience with the children's program at STSA - a program she has been instrumental in creating and managing since the start. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Several years ago, I was entrusted with heading up the Youth Ministry program at my church. Then, a short time later, I was asked to take a step away. I thought I was doing a good job, and my priest didn’t disagree, but yet he still asked me to step away from it. But… I wasn’t done yet.
“You don’t have to agree,” he said, “But you do have to obey.”
I was devastated. Re-vamping the Orthodox Church model for Sunday School had become a passion of mine. And to be honest – I really thought I was doing a good job. Kids were having fun – and parents were telling me how it was their kids who dragged them to Church instead of the other way around.Read More
"It's my anger that gets me in trouble; but it's my pride that keeps me there." Mark Twain
Humility is the foundation of our Christian life. It's knowing who we are and who we are NOT. Without humility, there is no connection with God. The problem though is understanding what is humility is (and what it isn't).
That's our topic in this week in Spiritual Sweat II. We're talking about humility - the mother of all virtues. What is humility? How can we measure humility? And what can we do to increase our humility?
“For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15Read More
It’s here. It's now officially here. Put away those hamburgers and get that ice cream out of sight. It’s time to break out the veggie burgers and soy milk. Why? Because LENT IS HERE!
Every year at the start of Lent, I like to set a goal or focus. Instead of fasting aimlessly, I like to have a target that I'm aiming for. And this year, God convicted me that my focus is very similar to what it was two years ago. (I'm even going back and rereading the same book I was reading back then).
So I decided to dig up the old blog post from 2015 - which is equally applicable for me - and hopefully for you as well. Happy Lent everyone!Read More
"Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD till He comes and rains righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12
After a week off, I am BACK in action for the start of the highly anticipated Lent series - SPIRITUAL SWEAT II.
For those who don't remember, Spiritual Sweat I was a series we did in 2013 about getting "in shape" spiritually. The sequel is all about getting BACK in shape and reviving our hearts to the place where they once were. We're digging deep to shake up the "fallow ground" and the complacency that plagues so many of us.Read More
“We don’t choose where or when to be born. We don’t choose where or when to die. But we can choose either to help others or turn away. We can choose to do nothing or be a hero. If you want to be a hero, do what God wants you to do. He will let you know what that is, as long as you are open to finding out.” ~ Mama Maggie
Last night I met a hero. A real life hero! Someone who does real hero stuff – like saving lives and giving her own life to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. Things that most people wouldn’t consider doing even once in their lives, she does them on a day to day basis.
That hero’s name is Mama Maggie – the modern day “Mother Teresa of Egypt” as she is often referred to. And I got to meet her last night!Read More
Be honest. What's the real reason you don't read the Bible more? Too busy? Not sure if it's true? Don't need to hear God's voice? Nope. None of those are the root. The real reason we don't read the Bible is simple: WE DON'T GET ANYTHING OUT OF IT!
I am fully convinced of that. If you found HOPE in the Bible, you'd read more. If you found COMFORT in the Bible, you'd read more. If you found DIRECTION in the Bible, you'd read more. Our problem is not that we don't want to read the Bible; our problem is that we get nothing out of it when we do.
That's why this Week 3 in the YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT series might be the most important one for you. In it, I talk about what I believe is the most important thing we need to do to find meaning in the Word of God. We know that there's good stuff in the Bible; but it doesn't do me much good unless I know how to find it and understand it.
Check out this week's message - The Real Reason We Don't Read the Bible - below and get ready to discover the one key to unlocking the benefit of God's Word in your life.
Wanna know what the worst feeling in the world is? It’s working hard and putting a lot of effort into something, only to later find out that you did it incorrectly. That’s the worst! No effort and no results is ok – I can accept that. Or much effort and positive results – that is what we want. But lots of effort and then no results…THAT IS THE WORST!
As one author put it, “it’s like climbing to the top of ladder only to later realize that you’re at the wrong house.”
Every dad who has ever tried to assemble a toy or piece of furniture for his kids knows this feeling. You read the instructions, try to follow them as precisely as you can, break your back in the process and then get to step 38 and find out….
…you did something wrong in step 2 and you need to go back and undo everything since then. AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Again, “it’s like climbing to the top of ladder only to later realize that you’re at the wrong house.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." (John 10:11)
In the first message of the I AM series, we heard Jesus declare His power and His divinity. In this message, we heard how Jesus plans to use that power and divinity - that is, to lay down His life for us.
In a world where power corrupts even the best of people, come see how Jesus uses His power for the sake of His sheep.
This week's message in the Spiritual Sweat series focused on what I believe is the toughest of the disciplines - but also the most rewarding. CONFESSION. Think you know what confession is all about? Take a listen and see.
SERVICE - a word that means different things to different people. The longer you've been a "church person" the more you've probably formed ideas of what this word means and what it's supposed to look like.
Well, I think you might need to reevaluate your understanding of the word service and see what Jesus really meant when He said: "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all." (Mark 10:43-44).
“These two virtues – gratitude and humility – are important because they dispose the heart of man to open wide to God”
This simple sentence buried deep within the chapters of an amazing book absolutely rocked me. It totally transformed the way I have started to approach God, and I realized just how true it was as I kept thinking about it. Even the Church Fathers seemed to understand that both gratitude and humility are incredibly important in anyone's relationship with God because the Agpeya, our personal trainer when it comes to prayer, begins every hour with the Thanksgiving Prayer and Psalm 51.Read More
In light of the recent election and extreme divisiveness that it brought to our nation, I found an article that I wrote more than 5 years ago that I am reposting today. The article was originally written for the monthly newsletter of Good Shepherd Christian Academy, but it is the perfect message for Americans now after one of the most polarizing and divisive Presidential elections ever.
The election is now over and regardless of who you voted for, it’s time for us to move forward as a nation UNITED. "United we stand, divided we fall," right? That’s what we always say. Jesus said something similar:
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24-25)
I believe that our response as a nation going forward will ultimately determine what direction our country goes in. It isn’t the guy in office that is going to either save us or ruin us. It’s our job – we the people of the United States of America – to stand up, join hands and work together to build this nation of ours. That’s the spirit of America and that’s the spirit of Jesus as well.
Take a look at the article below and let me know what you think by leaving a comment. If you’re with me, go ahead and say so and spread the word as well.Read More
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-3
We’ve all been therefore haven’t we? Thinking that we’re so right about something only to be smacked in the face with the reality that a) we’re far from being right and b) we’re actually more wrong than we’ve ever been before! It’s not the “being wrong” that surprises us, but it’s the shock that I could be “so wrong” all the while thinking and acting as if I am “so right.”
That’s where the disciples found themselves today. They are walking down the road discussing a question that seems to have come up quite often with them, “which one of us will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” [It looks like they inherited the competitive gene as well :) ].Read More