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Transforming Lives Together Podcast

Author: St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church

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The Transforming Lives Together Podcast is a ministry of St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Tonawanda, NY. St. Bartholomew’s is on mission to see lives powerfully transformed through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. For more information on the church please visit our website at: www.stbartston.org
62 Episodes
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“If it feels good do it” might be a familiar saying to you. Maybe you’ve heard someone use it to justify a particular action or actions. This type of maxim may sound appealing, even wise because our senses do help us discern between what is pleasant and what is harmful. For example, sometimes we learn not to sit too close to the fire by feeling the intense heat, or we learn the milk has gone sour by the pungent aroma emanating from the carton. While God gave us our senses to help investigate and understand the world around us, we were never meant to solely rely on them, especially when it came to moral decisions. Being able to discern what’s right and having the discipline to pursue it, even when it’s uncomfortable, can help us maintain our joy and lead to greater joy in the end.
The way we see the world shapes the way we interact with it and with others. Having the wrong narrative will not only complicate our relationships, it will prevent us from experiencing true joy. If God created us to be in loving relationships, the greatest being our relationship with Him, and to experience joy through those relationships, then we need to adopt His narrative and see things, including ourselves, as they really are. This will not only enable us to experience His joy, but we will also experience His peace. And don’t we need some peace in these trying times.
As we look out at the Church across the world we can notice many differences like ethnicity, style of worship, denomination, and language. But despite our differences, the Bible teaches us that we are all One Body because we all belong to One Lord, Jesus Christ. While we may identify with other groups and the loving relationships we have in those groups may bring us some joy, it’s our identity in Christ that ultimately leads to experiencing the fullness of joy, especially during difficult situations and seasons.
How we respond in difficult situations can say a lot about who we are. Being cool under pressure is a trait that’s admired and with good reason for it’s impossible to diffuse a situation when you need to be diffused yourself. In the book of Proverbs we read, “Like a city that is broken into and without walls So is a person who has no self-control over his spirit” (Proverbs 25:28). To be self-controlled is the mark of a spiritually and emotionally mature person, but this doesn’t happen overnight. We need to be able to recognize when our “switch” in our assessment center turns “off” and take the steps necessary to turn it back “on” so that in difficult situations we can remain relational, act like ourselves, return to joy, and in doing so we will be able to endure hardship.
The goal of our faith is ultimately to be like Christ. The Early Church Fathers summed it up best when they said that the Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men might become sons of God. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians that the goal of the ministerial offices is to equip and build up the church, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). This knowledge isn’t simply head knowledge, though that plays a part in our ability to know things. Rather, the knowledge Paul is referring to is experiential knowledge: walking daily with the Lord, spending time with Him in prayer and in His Word, and being an active member of His Body, the Church. As the saying goes, “You are the company you keep,” the more time we’re with the Lord, the more His life is expressed through ours, and what a world it would be if this were true for all of us today!
We were created to be emotional beings, but sometimes our emotions can get the best of us. This happens in especially tense and difficult situations. How we respond in those moments can say a lot about us which is why the ability to “keep our peace” when the “heat is on” is an important watermark for the believer. Self-control is not something we can achieve on our own, rather it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit as He works in and through us. As Fr. Ward points out in our lesson for this week, the degree to which we are walking in and with the Spirit will ultimately determine the degree to which we are able to exhibit those characteristics that define a person with RARE leadership. That RARE (R-A-R-E) is an acronym with the first “R” for “Remain Relational,” the “A” for “Act Like Yourself,” the second “R” for “Return To Joy,” and the “E” for “Endure Hardship.”
Stress and anxiety have become common terms in our word economy, so common, in fact, that it seems they’re all we hear about. There is plenty in our world to cause us stress and so much of our time can be consumed by it, even to the point where we become physically ill. If this was all we were made for then life would be one big sorrow filled with many burdens, but as we will learn from Fr. Ward, we were created for joy.
It’s good to be back with you for another episode, and we apologize for the mini sabbatical we took. With everything going on surrounding this global pandemic, we, unfortunately, weren’t able to keep up with our weekly schedule. Thank you to our listeners who have stuck with us through our absence and we hope you enjoy this new series we’re starting up titled “Finding the Joy of the Lord in a Stress-filled World.” In this series Fr. Ward will share how we can maximize our joy, looking at what the scriptures and brain science have to say about who we are and how we are wired. This series was initially recorded for video so you may hear various sounds or references to images at certain points. You can watch the videos by going to St. Bartholomew’s website which is www.stbartston.org
In the first chapter of his book You Are What You Love James K. A. Smith writes,“It is crucial for us to recognize that our ultimate loves, longings, desires, and cravings are learned. And because love is a habit, our hearts are calibrated through imitating exemplars and being immersed in practices that, over time, index our hearts to a certain end. We learn to love, then, not primarily by acquiring information about what we should love but rather through practices that form the habits of how we love.”(Smith, James K. A. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power Of Habit. Grand Rapids. Brazos Press, 2016. Print.)The Book of Common Prayer is a gift and an aid, giving us the habits and practices that help shape our loves. We have seen this throughout our series in the Sunday worship service, the Liturgical Calendar, and we will see it again in this episode as Fr. Thebeau guides us through the Psalter, Collects, and the Daily Office.
Whether we think about it or not, our lives are ordered around the days, weeks, and months that make up our calendar. It’s one of the ways in which we understand and interact with time. Unfortunately for many of us, worship of the Triune God is just one item among many that fill our calendars. This could be why Thomas Cramner saw the importance of developing a church calendar as part of the prayer book so that we would have a guide to help order our days around the life of Christ and therefore better inhabit the story of our faith. For these next two episodes it will help if you have a copy of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer as Fr. Thebeau will be pointing out quite a bit in the lectionary and calendar. If you do not have the prayer book, you can purchase a physical copy or download a digital copy from anglicanchurch.net.
In the preface to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Cranmer writes,“...if a man would search out by the ancient fathers, he shall find, that the same was not ordained, but of a good purpose, and for a great advancement of godliness: For they so ordered the matter, that all the whole Bible (or the greatest part thereof) should be read over once in the year, intending thereby, that the Clergy, and especially such as were Ministers of the congregation, should (by often reading, and meditation of God’s word) be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesome doctrine, and to confute them that were adversaries to the truth.”  (2019 Book of Common Prayer pg. 794)As we go through our lesson for this week, Fr. Thebeau will highlight the ways in which Thomas Cranmer made scripture an essential part of our worship, and how the liturgical calendar helps form our lives around the life of Christ.
Before entering the promised land, Israel was not only reminded of the law, but they were also given a liturgy; a set of rituals and habits that they were to participate in daily so that their lives would be formed around God’s law and their identity as God’s people. As Fr. Thebeau points out in our lesson for this week, we worship what we love, but because of the Fall, our loves became disordered. Therefore, liturgy is the way in which we retrain our hearts to love who we were created to love: the Lord our God.
As we learned in our last episode that the structure and arrangement of churches served a particular purpose in forming our hearts and minds around the right worship of God, so too do the activities we participate in and the vestments worn during Sunday services. Because you’re only getting the audio of this lesson, we have included an image with some of the vestments and their names to help give you an idea of what they would look like.
Conversations: Round Table

Conversations: Round Table

2020-03-2001:09:51

In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, I sat down with Fr. Bryan Wandel, Rector of Church of the Atonement, Dn. Matt Traylor, Curate of Church of the Atonement, and Fr. Andrew Thebeau, Curate of St. Bartholomew’s to have a round table discussion about our current state of affairs in the church, and how the church can stay connected and move forward in ministry while adhering to the restrictions, and social distancing practices necessary to help flatten the curve of this COVID19 outbreak.Just a note before get going: This episode may sound a little different from previous episodes because, in an effort to practice what we preach, we recorded remotely in a space where we could honor the recommended 6ft of distance from one another. Here is our conversation...
In the preface to the 2019 Book of Common Prayer we read that, “The Book of Common Prayer, from the first edition of 1549, became the hallmark of a Christian way of worship and believing that was both catholic and reformed, continuous yet always renewing. According to this pattern, communities of prayer—congregations and families rather than the monasteries of the earliest centuries—would be the centers of formation and of Christ-like service to the world.” Throughout this series Fr. Thebeau will guide us in understanding how Anglican worship and The Book of Common Prayer help to form our lives around the life of Christ.
Our guest for this episode is Erin Van Lente. Erin is the Youth Program Senior Case Manager at PATH Inc. which is a faith based not-for-profit organization with a mission to end human trafficking through education, prevention and restoration. Together we talked about human trafficking, Erin’s work with PATH, and how PATH is tackling the trafficking industry in Western New York. Here is our conversation...
What we love ultimately defines who we are and shapes the course of our life. We were made to love God and to love our neighbor, but, because of the Fall, our hearts were bent inward to love of self. In this ruined condition we, on our own, are incapable of reordering our loves, so God takes the initiative through the person of Christ; which then enables us to respond in faith. We can see this in the exchange between our Lord and Peter in our lesson for this week. Christ asks the same question three times, not only to reverse Peter’s denial, but to reinstate him and prepare him for what’s ahead.
Eyewitness accounts are valuable when validating whether or not an event took place, though there can be a fair amount of scrutiny given to ancient accounts like the one in our Gospel lesson for this week. We may not have the benefit of time travel to satisfy the naysayers, but we do have the benefit of a historical record that shows a world being transformed by men and women who put their faith in the Risen Lord and, by the power of His Spirit, worked to bring about His Kingdom on earth. As Fr. Ward points out, seeing doesn’t always lead to believing, and the Scriptures are filled with accounts of people who saw clearly with their eyes, but still did not believe in their hearts.
As we read the Apostle John’s account of the resurrection, we see that even the presence of angels was not enough to comfort Mary Magdalene in her sorrow as she wept over the disappearance of Christ’s body. If it weren’t for the resurrection of our Lord, we too would weep as ones to be pitied most. If it weren’t for the resurrection, our hero’s journey would end like so many others’. But as we read, Mary was not left weeping at the tomb, and just as she was commanded by our Lord to share the good news with the disciples, so we are commanded to share the good news with the world, “Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Throughout the four Gospels we hear the phrase “it is written” quite a bit. This phrase is meant to direct our hearts back to the Old Testament: to see that what was written then was being fulfilled in Christ. God’s work of salvation that our Lord completed on the cross was not a happenstance, but an event that was orchestrated from the beginning. In our lesson for this week Fr. Ward shares a couple of the Old Testament passages that point to Christ’s death and helps us see Jesus as the promised Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
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