Words for St. Paul’s

By , May 30, 2010


Heard at Pentecost


In response to your request in church that we share any thoughts or guidances that come to us regarding the days ahead for St. Paul’s, something came to me right away that day while we were in church.  It was this:  “Know that you are in the house of the Lord and trust in His protection.”                                                                              from Steve Knowles

“Love one another as I love you.  Seek to see one another through my eyes and with my  heart.”  - just ask.  “Repent – come to me with a clean heart.”  “Trust me in all things.  I will work miracles.”                                                                                       from Polly Verrico

“It’s time to play ‘Follow the leader,’ and I am that Leader.  I have delegated My kingdom work to Fr. Christopher and your vestry.  I have empowered them to do the work I have called them to do, and I will empower you.  You need only to hear and obey, trust and follow.  I will speak through My Word, through My people, through circumstances, through My creation.  I am in the midst of you, never departing.  Receive My love, My goodness, and My grace.  My forgiveness for sin is ever available to you because of My sacrifice on the Cross for you.

            “’If you confess your sins, I am faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.’  [I John 1:9

            “So, ‘confess your sins, one to another, and pray for each other, that you may be healed.’ [James 5:16].  St. Paul’s will be one of My healing pools – like the one at Bethesda [John 5:1-9].  Exercise your faith to believe this promise and you will see the fulfillment of many promises besides.  Pray, so that you will not miss the blessings.

            “In Me…the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. [Galatians 5:6].  Be willing to let me activate you, to energize you by My Holy Spirit, that you may express My heart to others.”                                                                       from Deacon Roberta Schneider

“I have put all things under the power of my Son.  He is seated at my right hand and you are seated with him.  Step out in confidence.  I am doing a new work and you will see things that you have never seen before.  Don’t be afraid.  Be bold.  A new fruitfulness is coming.

            “Where the river flows everything will live.  Look to me for life.  Don’t look at your own resources – at your little fish and loaves – look to me.  Come to me and have life.”

                                                                                                                        from Jeff Newton

St. Paul’s, enter into your golden years.  I have refined you…to go out.  Be sent out as pure and strong in the love of Christ.  Heal in My name.  Preach the Gospel.  Golden years, golden light, golden fields.  Gold, pure gold.  You are Mine.  Sing the alleluia.  Proclaim Me to the world.                                                                                                    from Dick Day

This vision was, I thought, just an answer to my prayers regarding Bob.  I had asked my Father to let me have a glimpse of Bob in his healthy and healed body…and I had asked the Lord if He would let me have a glimpse of what Bob is doing in heaven and to see him happy and joyful.  This is what the Lord showed me last Sunday…

During worship we were singing a song…”There is a river whose streams make glad the city of our God”…In front of my eyes I saw that river, bright blue and plush greenery all around…It is a real place and one day it will be on the “new earth”…I saw Bob walking along the river’s bank as well as a number [not the myriads] of others…they were all singing and praising…and then I realized they were singing the same song we were singing.  The Holy Spirit said that the “saints in heaven” know when the Body of Christ rejoices and they enter our rejoicing.

God’s vision was much broader than answering my requests…He showed me the “Communion of Saints” are not only joined to His body [Church] in His Holy Communion, but also in the communion of worship and spiritual life on earth as it is in heaven…Thank you Lord Jesus…Come Lord Jesus.  I am so grateful for God’s faithfulness and loving-kindness.                                                                                                                                       from Bonnie Brown

In my prayer time this morning I had this vision (in the spirit) and a word I believe is from the Lord…If after praying over it you feel it is appropriate to share it tomorrow please feel free to do so.

At first all I saw were beautiful white wings spread out over the roof of our church.  I asked the Lord to show me what it was because at first I thought it was an eagle or some very large bird….Then He showed me that it was indeed an Angel…so big that at first I could not see his face.  The Angel was intensely glowing and light illuminated from it which encompassed not only our church building but the whole property and although I could not see in the vision much beyond our church, I had a sense that the light illuminated way beyond.  Then He showed me the face of the Angel and there was a determination in his face and his eyes were intense on all the people in our church…He showed me every seat being filled and young people on their faces in the center aisle praising and crying out to the Lord.  The Glory of the Lord was falling all around us like gold dust through this smoky-like filtering light…There was such peace and sweetness that was radiating throughout our whole church.  I said to the Lord, “what are you showing me, Lord?”  And, He said, “Tell them I am with them, I am covering them with my love and my protection through this next season.  I want a deeper relationship with them – that is all I want right now…Tell them Rest in Me and watch and see, I make all things new. [He has been saying that to me a lot lately, that is how I knew it was Him!]…Tell them I love them more than they know or can ever imagine.  My Love…it is all about My Love – Loving Me, loving each other and loving the Lost…Just Love!”  And then He emphasized this to me…YOU ARE NOT ALONE…VICTORY IS ON THE OTHER SIDE!

I don’t think that was for me alone…I think it is for our whole church right now, but especially for you, too.                                                                                    from Joann Cerretani

When I asked God to give me a scripture for St. Paul’s, this is what I heard:  Isaiah 55, 56, and 58.                                                                                                           from Gaye Forbes

Father Christopher read this portion from Isaiah 58 on Pentecost

             8Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

               then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; 

you will cry for help; and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

               then your light will rise in the darkness,

                        and your night will become like the noonday.

            11The Lord will guide you always;

                        he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

                        and will strengthen your frame.

               You will be like a well-watered garden,

                        like a spring whose waters never fail.


            12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

                        and will raise up the age-old foundations;

              you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

                        Restorer of Streets with Dwellings

                                                                                    Isaiah 58:8-12

Pentecost’s Preface (in the Book of Common Prayer) records these words in summation:

            “In fulfillment of his true promise, the Holy Spirit [comes] down from heaven…to teach us and lead [us] into all truth;  uniting peoples of many tongues in the confession of one faith,

AND giving to your Church [members of St. Paul’s Darien] the power to serve You as a royal priesthood

AND to preach the Gospel to all nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


            keeps his promises;

            teaches and leads us to faith,

            empowering us to serve and to spread the Gospel of Jesus

            by and in the Holy Spirit to His glory!

            Praise be to our triune God!

                                                                                                from Pamela Corker

Fr. Christopher Leighton - John 16:5-15 May 30th 2010

On the Mark May 30th 2010

Just the Start of Summer?

Is Memorial Day just the start of summer – albeit a start which is unofficial, three weeks before the solstice?  Surely many of us gladly celebrate the last weekend in May as a three day splurge of relaxation, recreation and feasting (did someone say “barbeque”?)

It is always good to go to the root of things, and the root of Memorial Day is found in remembering the dead who served in the military service for our country.  Earlier this month was Armed Forces Day when we remember and give thanks for those who serve their country and their families.

It will be good this week to think about the sacrifices that have been made – especially those who laid down their lives for us.  Our lives can be improved by such thoughts and prayers.  Memorial Day could be not only the start of summer, but the start of a change of heart for our nation.  I would like to offer you this prayer that comes from the great soldier and first President of our country, George Washington:

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let Memorial Day be a day of thanksgiving.

Your Brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Fr. Christopher Leighton - John 20:19-23 - May 23rd 2010

Fr. Christopher preaches on John 20.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples


As a child, where was your favorite hiding place?

In what situations have you known a lack of peace?

When was the first time you can remember forgiving someone?  What was it about?


When does this event occur?

Why are the doors locked?

What does Jesus show the disciples in v. 20?


What’s the significance of it being the first day of the week?

Why do you think it’s important that Jesus shows the disciples His hands and His side?

Is there a connection between receiving the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins?

Why do you think we have this passage about the reception of the Holy Spirit, as well as Acts 2/Pentecost?  How are the situations similar?  How are they different?


Is there anyone you need to forgive?  Is there anyone you need to be forgiven by?

Where are you seeing His peace have an impact on your life?

How have you known the infilling of the Holy Spirit?

On the Mark – May 23rd 2010

What a Day; What a Season

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the third major Feast Day of the church year, on a par with Christmas and Easter.  Today we celebrate the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.  It is the first day of the season called Pentecost which will run until the first Sunday of Advent, some six months away, November 28. 

A glimpse at the titles from Scripture shows the third member of the Godhead as follows:

One Spirit (Ephesians 4:4)

Seven Spirits (Revelation 1:4;  3:1)

The Lord The Spirit (II Corinthians 3:18)

Eternal Spirit  (Hebrews 9:14)

Spirit of Glory (I Peter 4:14)

Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2)

Spirit of Holiness (Romans 1:4)

Holy One (I John 2:20)

Spirit of Wisdom and of Understanding (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of counsel (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of knowledge (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of Might (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of the Fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2)

Spirit of Truth (John 14:17)

Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10;29)

Spirit of Supplication (Zechariah 12:10)


Not only is God the Spirit endowed with such titles, just consider his works:

  It is through the Spirit one is born again (John 3:3-8)

  The Spirit lives in us (John 14:17;  Romans 8:9, 11)

  The Spirit seals us as God’s own (II Corinthians 1:22)

   We are baptized in the Spirit (Matthew 3:11)

   We are filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

   The Spirit guides us (Galatians 5:16, 25)

   Through the Holy Spirit we are empowered (Romans 8:13)

   The Spirit teaches us (John 14:26; 16:13; I John 2:20, 27)


Wow!  Now you know why so much emphasis is placed on His person and work.  What a day, what a season we are entering!  What a God we worship:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit!


Be Blessed,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Fr. Daniel Morgan - John 17:20-26 - May 16th 10:30AM Service

Fr. Daniel Morgan preaches on John 17:20-26

Jesus Prays for All Believers


 Who was your favorite teacher?  Why?

 Have you ever taught someone something and he or she “got it”?  What was that like for you?

 What images come to mind when you think of the term “unity”?


             For whom is this prayer?

             How have these believers believed?

             What has Jesus given them in v. 22?  Why?

             How long has the Father loved the Son?          


 How is each generation of believers responsible for sharing the Message?

 What kind of unity exists between the Father and the Son?  How is it possible for believers to have that same kind of unity?

 How should this unity affect others?

 What does v. 24 reveal about Jesus’ heart for you?  For the world?


 How have you believed through the apostles’ Message?  Who shared the Good News with you?  Who shared it with them?

 How do you treat believers from different denominations?  How can you tangibly demonstrate more unity with them? 

 How can you participate as Jesus continues to make the Father known?

On the Mark – May 16th 2010


In 1871, Horatio Spafford tragically lost his son, and in October of that same year the Great Chicago fire destroyed almost all of the real estate investments he held.  Spafford was a wealthy Chicago Lawyer who was a devout Christian man and good friends with D. L. Moody. 

In 1873, Spafford sent his family on a trip to Europe for a much needed respite after enduring such tragedy; he would join them later after completing some work.  Days later he received word that the ship his family was on had sunk; his four daughters were lost at sea and only his wife survived.  As he traveled the long boat journey he penned this song:

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,  

It is well, it is well with my soul.


Refrain:            It is well (it is well),with my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 

Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!  

My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more, 

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:  

If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life  

Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,  

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,  

Even so, it is well with my soul.

While I have never experienced tragedy of this magnitude, the recent days have been filled with great sadness as we approach our departure from St Paul’s. I think of all that I could say, all that I want to say and this song sums it up well.  IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!  No wind, rain, colliding ships, or anything the enemy attempts, can undo what the Lord has planted in me over the past eleven years.  Nothing can take away the joy that I have had teaching, challenging and leading you, or the growth that has happened in you over the past eleven years.  This is because:  "the favour of the Lord God is upon you and His goodness surrounds you like a shield."(Jan Nel).

Psalm 30:5 says: "For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." This is God’s promise to us if we will always see him in the storm, if we would choose to trust and follow him through the storm. His favor far outweighs any momentary sorrow. Will you trust Him with me for the future? Will you become a lover of His word and a doer of His will? Will you revel in His joy and peace.  If so, you will face any challenge life can throw you with this refrain:  “BE IT CHRIST HENCE TO LIVE; IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!”

Be Blessed,


The Rev. Daniel C. Morgan

Rector-elect, All Saints Church, Dale City VA.



Fr. Christopher Leighton - John 17:13-19 - May 9th 2010

Jesus Prays for His Followers


Besides AAA, who would you call if you had a flat tire in the middle of the night?  A deep personal problem?

What are you more inclined to deal with-the urgent or the important?

From either movies or literature, who’s your favorite “secret agent”?  Why?


Who hates Jesus’ followers?  Why?

In v. 15, what does Jesus not pray?  What does He pray?

Define “sanctified”.  How are Jesus’ followers sanctified?

For whom does Jesus sanctify Himself?  Why?


What does the “full measure of my joy” mean?

How does God’s Word act in the process of sanctifying His followers for His mission?

Why is it important that Jesus “sanctifies Himself”?  Isn’t He “sanctified” already?


How are your prayers like Jesus’ prayer?  How are they not like them?

How do you see Jesus dealing with the urgent vs. the important here?

What are the ways you are “not of the world”?

How is Jesus sanctifying you?

On the Mark May 9th 2010

Psalm 118:1

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good,

His love endures forever.”

Martin Luther was a great man but, of course, not without flaws.  As a leader of the Reformation, he had to fear for his life.  Against all odds he lived to serve the Lord.

Luther claimed Psalm 118 as his “chosen psalm”.  While he loved and valued all the psalms, he said that this particular one “saved me from many a pressing danger from which no emperor, nor kings, nor sages, nor saints could have saved me.”

In the face of turmoil, changes and fears we find refuge in God and comfort in His Word.  Psalm 118 begins with giving thanks to God and declaring that He is good.  Then the psalm expresses the fears of our hearts:  “In my anguish I cried to the Lord and He answered by setting me free.”

We may be sure that troubles come our way.  Even more, we can count on the help of God.  The Lord Jesus told his disciples on the eve of his suffering and death, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  [John 16:33]  I pray that in Christ you will be able to overcome!

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Fr. Christopher Leighton - First Sunday - May 2nd 2010

Discerning words from God

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