Fr. Christopher Leighton - Revelation 2:8-11 July 25th

To the Church in Smyrna


Is there a time in your life that you haven’t had enough money to buy what you wanted?  What you needed?

Have you ever “known” about something before it happened?  What was that like?


Where else do you see the phrases “the First and the Last”, “was dead”, and “is alive again” earlier in this book?

What are the church’s strengths?  Weaknesses?

What will happen to some of the members of this community?


Why would the facts that the Son of Man is the First and the Last and that He died and came to life again be of particular importance to the church at Ephesus?

How can they be both poor and rich?

What is the “synagogue of Satan”?

What is the second death?


In what kind of economic situation have you found it most difficult to live out your Christian faith—with money or without it?

The church at Smyrna is commended for its perseverance and urged to continue to be faithful.  How does the word that Jesus brings to them have an impact on you?  What does this teach you about suffering?

How does this word help you to overcome?

On the Mark July 25th 2010

Until Something Better Comes Along

No doubt you have started out at the supermarket, filling a cart, when you come to the realization that before you is a preferred product and you will now need to dispose of the other. So you put the no-longer-needed thing in a wrong place on the shelf or hidden out of the cashier’s sight off the rolling belt at the checkout.

How much of life is lived “until something better comes along”?

• I’ll go to the party until something better comes along

• I’m at this job until something better comes along

• I’m with this person until something better comes along

• I’m in this church until something better comes along.

Is it conceivable that I’m with this god until something better comes along?

There is a critical juncture in Jesus’ ministry when many turn away and leave Him. At this point He turns to the Twelve and asks “Do you want to leave, too?” Peter answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” [John 6:67-68.]

The 12 disciples had committed to Jesus and there was no turning back. As a follower of Christ we realize that our tendency to drift along and to dabble now must end or we will not be following Him.

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Fr. Christopher Leighton - Revelations 2 - July 18th

To the Church in Ephesus


What is one of the more “out there” dreams you’ve ever had?  Do you think it meant anything?

How do you keep up with old friends?


For some background reading on the church of Ephesus, check out Acts 19, I Timothy, and the Book of Ephesians.  What do we know about the church at Ephesus?

Where else do you see the phrase “who holds the seven stars in his right hand” and “walks among the seven golden lampstands” earlier in this book?

What the church’s strengths?  Weaknesses?


Why would the facts that the Son of Man holds the seven stars in his right hand and that He walks among the seven golden lampstands be of particular importance to the church at Ephesus?

What do you think it means that the Ephesians have “lost their first love”?

Why is it so crucial for the church in Ephesus to “hate” the practices of the Nicolaitans? (look on ahead to v. 15)


What did you first do as a follower of Jesus that you don’t do anymore, or rarely do anymore?  How do you keep that first love alive?

The Ephesian church is commended for their belief, but rebuked for their lack of prophetic witness.  How does the word that Jesus brings to them have an impact on you?

How does this word help you to overcome?

On the Mark July 18th 2010

A. I.

As a parent and pastor I have held to the opinion that being smart is not enough.  I believe in applied intelligence.  It is not enough to have the answers, or the knowledge, or even the wisdom, it all has to be applied.  I call it A.I. or Applied Intelligence.

What good is it to be the smartest person in the class but not to be able to apply what you know through words and, especially, through action?  Who cares if you are “the brain” at work if you can’t demonstrate it?  What does it mean to have knowledge of the scriptures if it doesn’t show itself in the way you serve God and others?

Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord but don’t do what I say.” [Luke 6:46] The Apostle James said, “We must be doers and not just hearers of the Word”. [James 1:22].

Which leads me to explain why I have chosen for the next seven weeks a preaching series on the Book of Revelation.  There has always been interest in the subject of the Apocalypse.  In recent years the “Left Behind” series has sold dozens of millions of copies.  Any book store – Christian or secular – has shelves full of writings on the End of the World. 

Since the book of Revelation speaks of the end of the world although it was written nearly 2000 years old and “the end has not yet come”, what is the purpose of studying it and applying it to the lives of the followers of Christ?  This question is particularly answered by studying chapters two and three, the letters to the seven churches.  Each church receives an epistle from the glorified Christ calling them to put into action what they know.  It is interesting that five of the seven churches are severely criticized.  Only two are commended for living up to what they believe.

Regardless of whether Jesus returns this year or in a later century, there is still so much for us to know and to apply.  Let’s read God’s word together and put it into practice.  It is called applied intelligence.

Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


Deacon Novella Lawrence - July 11th

By , July 11, 2010

On the Mark July 11th 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


A generation ago a classic western was filmed called “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly”.  The phrase is still in use in popular parlance.  I am using it here in relation to a preaching series that begins next Sunday, at St. Paul’s, on the seven churches of the Book of Revelation. 

These seven churches receive messages from the Lord Jesus.  Only two churches are praised and not corrected.  The other churches receive affirmation, but each is also criticized – in a couple of cases quite severely.  Therefore, the seven churches are “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  We will be looking at one church per week for the next seven weeks beginning July 18 with the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7.

It is interesting that the Lord’s message to each church concludes with the same warning, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”.  We will let the Lord examine us and affirm us where we may be affirmed, and correct us where we need to be corrected.

Let us grow in the knowledge of God and His Word as we commit to the life of faith – following Him!


Your brother in Christ,


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


On the Mark July 4th 2010

By , July 4, 2010

The Fourth of July: Independence Day


Here is a big holiday, one that makes me think about how our faith relates to our citizenship as Americans.  There is much to be weighed about our nations’ beginning and how we have lived out the Christian faith for over 300 years.

Frankly, if we lived in 1776 it would be difficult to decide our allegiances.  As Anglicans with a duty to obey the King, ours would be a mixed response to the violent overthrow of the government.  Over 30,000 Anglicans fled the colonies to live in Canada.  Of course, there were faithful ones who chose to remain here and fight.  Many of the patriot leaders were Anglican Christians.

Today, we find ourselves desiring to be faithful to Christ and His teachings and to be loyally committed as citizens of our country.  We love our nation and its heritage.  Yet, we also find disagreement about public policies and we know how very imperfect our government is.  If it can be said we are , or were, a Christian nation, it must also be said with humility that we are not what we were meant to be.

I think this fact leads us to see the need to pray.  We look at the way things are and we cry out to God to have mercy upon us.  We see all of the advantages our nation possesses and we see our need to be faithful stewards of what God has given to us.  In prayer, we remember our faithful forbearers who have dearly loved liberty and pain its price, even with their lives, and we thank God as we ask for help to serve others.

Americans are flawed like all people,  but we are also a blessed people who have a history of service to the nations of the world.


The Collect from the Book of Common Prayer for July 4th helps us pray:


“Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn:  Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace;  through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.”


The Rev. Christopher P. Leighton


The Rev. Gail Paige Bowman July 4th

By , July 4, 2010

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