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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:
31 Episodes
A NEW COMMANDMENTMuch is made about love in our society. We see this appeal to love or find love through various spheres of influence, yet much of what we find outside of the church carries with it an emptiness rather than a fullness because it is love separated from the source. In our lesson for this week, we see that the commands to love God and love our neighbor find their fulfillment in Christ and are fleshed out through following His example.
THE SON OF PERDITION Judas Iscariot was one of the more complicated figures among the twelve disciples. He was a member of the zealots, who desired to overthrow the Roman government, and he was a thief, known for pilfering the money purse he was responsible to oversee as treasurer. Still, Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve, and was dearly loved by Christ, which made the betrayal that much more painful. As we will hear in our lesson for this week, Judas had a choice, and he chose his own interests over the interests of his friends.
WHAT REALLY MAKES ONE GREAT?In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul describes Jesus’ attitude during His earthly ministry as, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬). These words echo throughout our lesson this week as Jesus demonstrates His love and humility by washing His disciples feet, showing that to be considered great in the Kingdom of God you must be a servant to all.
NO CROSS NO CROWNWith His gaze looking ahead to His inevitable death, Jesus knew what it would take to bring about the fruit of salvation. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews wrote, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame...” Christ’s example of self-sacrifice and faithful devotion is not easy, in fact, it is impossible to follow without the Holy Spirit working in us, “to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose,” as Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians. Still He invites us to walk in the Light, and that walking means choosing to deny ourselves and carry our cross, much like Jesus did only a few days later.Jesus’ call in chapter twelve is a challenge to all who would come after Him as we continue with “Life’s Meaning and Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John.”
Our guest for this episode is Fr. Bryan Wandel. Fr. Bryan is the rector of Church of the Atonement, an Anglican church plant in the City of Buffalo, and host of The Nickel City Forum, which is a bi-monthly gathering to learn about and discuss big idea topics in theology, ethics, and culture. Together we talked about the challenges of planting an Anglican church in the City of Buffalo, work-life balance, and what Church of the Atonement is doing to serve and build relationships within their community. Here is our conversation...
THE ROAD TO CALVARY IS PAVED WITH UNMET EXPECTATIONS Our expectations can mislead us, especially when we expect God to work in a certain way. Judas’ expectations were challenged when Jesus defended Mary’s use of expensive perfume to anoint His feet. The crowd’s expectations of Jesus being the king who would raise up an army to overthrow the Romans were also challenged as He rode into Jerusalem not on a warhorse, but on a young donkey. Unmet expectations can lead us down the path of surrender, where we recognize that God’s ways are not our ways, and that His ways are better, or it can lead us down the path of rejection, where we shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” with the rest of the angry mob. As we near the final days of Jesus, we will see that many will choose the path of rejection which will ultimately lead to His death.In what appears to be a high point during Jesus’ ministry we begin to see the seeds of rejection that will eventually lead to His arrest, trial, and execution as we continue with “Life’s Meaning and Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John.”
LAZARUS COME FORTH!In our Twenty-Fifth Episode Jesus demonstrates His power over life and death, raising Lazarus from the grave, as we continue with “Life’s Meaning and Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John.”With so much that can and does go wrong in our world, it can be hard to see the silver lining. Bad news seems to dominate the airwaves, and even in moments of peace it feels more like the calm before the storm. It’s in these times that we need to be reminded of Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans where he writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬) No matter what we face in this life, God’s love is with us in Christ. This is the very same love, and the very same God who, in our lesson for this week, raises Lazarus from the dead. If we believe Jesus is who He says He is, even if there is nothing else to hope for in this world, we have hope in Christ, and He is all we really need.
LIAR, LUNATIC, or LORD?C. S. Lewis posed this question in his book “Mere Christianity” and it fuels the debate we find in our Twenty-fourth Episode as we continue with “Life’s Meaning & Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John.”In part 2 of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’ writes, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.” We find this dilemma in our lesson for this week as the people and the religious leaders debate over who Jesus is; with some believing, some unsure of what to make of Him, and some rejecting Him to the point where they pick up stones to kill Him.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERDThese words from Psalm 23 find their meaning in Jesus as we continue in our TWENTY-THIRD EPISODE with “Life’s Meaning & Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John.”The purpose of anything that is considered counterfeit is to deceive us into thinking it is what it appears to be; the real thing. This is ultimately done to take advantage of us and to steal that which is valuable. While the saying “ignorance is bliss” may be popular, it is certainly not true, and many have lost much at the hands of these ‘false shepherds’. We must know the real thing in order to guard our hearts against the counterfeits of this world. In our lesson for this week, Jesus identifies the counterfeits as being those who climb over the wall or enter the sheep pen through any other way instead of through the gate. As our Lord puts it, the one who enters another way is “a thief and a robber.” The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. Jesus is our shepherd, the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep, and whose voice we must know in order to follow Him and avoid the traps of the Deceiver.
SEEING AND BELIEVING In our TWENTY SECOND EPISODE Jesus heals a man born blind and confronts the spiritual blindness of the religious leaders as we continue with “Life’s Meaning & Purpose: an in-depth study of the Gospel of John."During his early years, John Newton had a reputation for being a profane and debaucherous young man, who would spend much of his time working on merchant vessels and slave trading ships. But on one fateful voyage, while caught up in a terrible storm, the trajectory of his life would change as he put his faith in Christ. Now you may not be familiar with John Newton’s story, but you may be familiar with the words to his most famous hymn, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” In these words, John Newton likens his conversion to that of a blind man receiving his sight, much like the blind man in our lesson this week whose eyes were opened not only physically to behold Jesus’ face, but also spiritually to behold Jesus as the Son of Man. Sadly, we also see the contrast between this man and the religious leaders who remain spiritually blind as they continue to reject Jesus.
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