Hello brothers and sisters in Christ!
The Bridge Covenant Church, in Riverbank. 2201 Morrill Rd, Riverbank, CA 95367
So, for the past number of years I’ve been working with a small Covenant church in Riverbank called, The Bridge. I’ve known many of the members since I was in High School, and am even related to some by marriage. They are only about 30 members strong, but their pastor left to do missionary work in Brazil and they were left in the lurch. They approached me to see if I could offer them a message from time to time–had no problem that I am Catholic, and are even okay with my using the Lectionary to craft my sermons.
Over time I began to record the sermons and upload them to Youtube. Three years ago they asked if I might come on full time as their pastor to help them grow their Church. While the decision was difficult, I found great encouragement in St. Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 where he writes, “Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews…to those outside the Law…to the weak…I have become all things to all, to save a least a few. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” Jill and I, and the boys, still attend Catholic Mass, but each Sunday now I lead a small community of very faithful Christians. And truth be told, I have found great joy in preaching the Gospel to anyone and everyone who might indulge me for a moment. I preach to Catholics, non Catholic Christians, Jews, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhists, and even atheists. I do not believe that God’s desire is that my message be relegated to only a few.
All this to say that I didn’t see any reason why I should not share with all of you, the sermons that I offer to all of them each Sunday–especially since I haven’t been posting since I’ve been busy writing and giving sermons! While the sermons are not particularly Catholic, they are particularly Christian and focus on the Scripture readings of the day. Feel free to visit the YouTube channel HERE for the sermon archives.
What follows (and the way I’ll do it each week) is the post that I’ve uploaded on The Bridge website. I’ll share it each week with all of you.
This past Sunday’s sermon is uploaded! CLICK HERE to view and share!
This past Sunday the Church celebrated Pentecost, the arrival of the promised Advocate, who would empower the Apostles then and in every generation to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations! The Spirit not only creates a hope in us for an eternal future with God, but also gives us the gifts for a real transformation now, right here, as we live out our days on earth.
The truth is that each of us is given the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit promised by the prophet Isaiah (11:2-3) of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and a delight in doing God’s will, at baptism when we are filled with the same Holy Spirit that filled the Apostles at Pentecost! (Acts 2:1-21) Those gifts of the Spirit make us “other Christs” to the hungry, thirsty, broken, depressed, and “thrown away” people of our day and age in just the same way that Christ was present to heal the disenfranchised of His day. We, no less than Him, are called to bring the Good News that there is a better way, forgiveness of sins, and salvation for all who call on the name of the Lord!
Everyone of us who make up the body of Christ is given some special grace and gift to build up the body of Christ–that Christ might be more present in every generation through the building up of the Body. (1 COR 12:3-13) The Kingdom of God is indeed growing and expanding and everyone of us is essential to its growth. Use your gifts and make Christ present to someone in need today. Jesus promised that if we come to Him thirsty, if we believe in Him and drink deeply of His Spirit, then “rivers of living water will flow out from within” us. (John 7:37-39). We become the living water and bring refreshment to the souls of all we encounter. Only then, having drank deeply of Christ and become a blessing to others, will we fulfill His commandment to love God and neighbor, and to spread the Good News to all nations.
Have a blessed week and use your gifts!