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The Blessing of the Hands

2015 April 16

Many people at Christ the King use their hands to minister to and/or bless other people.
Certainly included in this number are nurses, teachers, musicians, ministers, doctors,
healthcare workers, caregivers, Licensed Liturgical Ministers…
but the list goes on and on!

This Sunday–in both services–we want to anoint those hands that touch lives
and ask God’s blessing upon them.

So, be in church Sunday to have your hands blessed or to stand with those whose hands
touch so many lives in so many ways.

If you use your hands to the benefit of others, we want to thank you and to bless your hands!

See you Sunday morning at 8:30 or 10:00 A.M.!

The Cathedral of Christ the King
4881 Highway 34 East
Sharpsburg, Georgia 30277
www.ctkcec.org

Easter Sunday

2015 April 4
by Admin

Bishop David Epps

Forty-five years ago, I was away from home on Easter Sunday. I had been attending church regularly during my high school years and Easter had become an important observation. Now, I was at Parris Island, SC undergoing what is now called Basic Warrior Training for Marine Corps recruits. As I sat (a rare event) alone (rarer still) during a quiet moment (an unheard of rarity) on Easter Sunday morning, I began to think about what was happening back in my hometown.

I knew that friends would be showing up at Mountain View United Methodist Church shortly, the young folks, of whom I was one, would be piling into the back pew after Sunday School in that way that teens do at church. For us it was a very important social time as well as a religious one. The choir would sing, there would be special Easter music, Rev. Fred Austin, our young pastor, would bring a sermon that almost all of the kids paid attention to, and we would know that a special Sunday—the highest day of the Church year—had been celebrated.

After church, my father, mother, and 10 year old brother, Wayne, would gather for a Sunday meal in our very modest home in the Hillcrest area of Kingsport, Tennessee. Mom almost always had two meats on special Sundays, and bowls of vegetables cooked country-style—that is, non-dietetic—and a dessert to follow. Perhaps even homemade banana pudding!

As an older teen, my afternoon would be spent with friends doing whatever it was that we could find to do on a sleepy spring day in northeast Tennessee. Or, I might have gone to my current girlfriend’s house and then we might have gone for a leisurely day trip to Warrior’s Path State Park. Whatever the course of action, it would be shared with church family, natural family, and friends.

But I wasn’t there. All of a sudden the struggles of Marine Corps boot camp seemed like nothing as homesickness took over. I missed my family. I missed all my friends. I missed being in church. It may have been my worst Easter ever—except for one thing. I still had the ability to pray and, in praying, had a profound sense of the presence of God, even at Parris Island.

As best as I can remember, I have not missed an Easter service since. In fact, I rarely miss a Sunday church service. Yes, I know I am a pastor but, when I travel or am on vacation, I find a church to visit. I go not so much out of a sense of duty but because, for me, church is a place where the presence of God can be realized. Like the ancient Irish Christians, I believe that church is a “thin place” where the separation between heaven and earth is not so great. And, although every Sunday service is, or should be, a celebration of the resurrection of Christ, Easter seems much more so. Somehow, the miracle of the Incarnation and the Resurrection is more keenly felt and appreciated.

In any event, it is my opinion that every Christian believer, unless prevented by sickness or dire circumstances, should be in worship on Easter morning. It is a time to celebrate but it is also a time to start over, to renew spiritual vows and commitment, to let the past be the past, and embrace the grace, love, and mercy that is found in a relationship with God through Christ. It is a time for the fallen, for the neglectful, and for the wanderer to come home. It is a time to forgive and to be forgiven. It is a time to realize that nothing—nothing—is impossible with God.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Highway 34 E, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). Services on Easter are at 8:00AM and 10:00AM.  He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org

Men are Simple

2015 April 4
by Admin

Bishop David Epps

Men are simple. They are not all that complex. Some time ago, a lady came to me to rant about her husband. “My husband never helps me with things that need to be done around the house! We both work and, when I get home, I am expected to do all kinds of things while he sits on his big behind and watches television!” Being naturally perceptive, and highly trained in such matters, I concluded that this lady was unhappy with her husband.

I asked, “Do you tell your husband that you need help?” “You bet I do,” she replied, “for all the good it does.” “Okay,” I said, “walk me through it. What happened the last time? What did you say?” Without hesitation, she said, “I marched into the living room, stood in front of the TV and said, ‘I need some help around here!’” “Hmmmm,” I said. (All counselors must master saying “Hmmmm.”) “And what did he do?” Said she, “He followed me into the kitchen and said, “How can I help you?” “Well, that’s a good start,” said I. “And what did you say?” “Just look around at this mess!” she said. “There are hundreds of things to do! Just find something and do it.”

“And how did that work for you?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “In just a few minutes, he was back in front of the TV. He didn’t do anything,” she said with a touch of bitterness. After pausing for an appropriate amount of time (counselors must learn the art of “pausing”), I said, “Listen, I need to share some things. First of all, part of the problem is that you talked to him like you were his mother. Grown men don’t appreciate being talked to by their wives when their wives sound like their mothers. They have a mother. They don’t need another one.”

“Secondly, men are simple. They are not complex. When you told him you needed help, he was ready to respond. When you said there were hundreds of things that needed doing, he decided that, whatever he did, it would be the wrong thing. So, knowing he was going to do the wrong thing anyway, he decided to do nothing and go back to watching TV.” Said she, “You’re nuts!”

Ignoring the caustic, personal remark (counselors have to learn to ignore caustic, personal remarks), I said, “Look, try it this way next time: When you need something specific done, go to the living room, smile, and say, ‘Honey, when this program is over, I would really appreciate your help with something.’ He will probably say, ‘How can I help you?’ Then you say, ‘It would really be helpful if you could put up the dishes, or whatever.’” Seeing the look of distain for me on her face (counselors must learn the art of enduring distaining looks), I said, “Men are simple. If you give them a vague list of a hundred items, without any priority, they either know instinctively, or have learned through bitter experience, that they are going to fail. They are not mind readers. They will assess the risks, realize they are in a no-win position, and go back to watching TV. Give them one task at a time to do and they will succeed nearly every time.” “Men are dumb,” she said. “No, I corrected, “men are simple. It’s the women who are complex.”

“Just try it,” I urged, “and let me know if it doesn’t work.” Well, she never brought it up again so I assume that there is, out there, a happy wife with a good husband who is steadily working through a list of hundreds of items one task at a time. Either that or she just ignored me and did it her way. (Counselors must get used to having their advice ignored). And women who ignore such sage advice must get used to husbands watching TV when there are things that need to be done.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org

Ask Father Paul – Right and Wrong Thinking

2015 April 2

Paul MasseyDEAR FATHER PAUL: I am a forty six year-old father who has begun to seriously ask himself, “has this planet gone crazy?” Almost everywhere you look there is violence, injustice, lies and selfishness. Are there any rules any more? Any concern for others? Any of what my momma used to call plain old human kindness and good manners? There must be more people like me. Do all of us who bemoan the state of humankind in 2015 need to just move to some remote island someplace? What do you think is going on? Steve

DEAR STEVE: You aren’t alone. I’m a few years older than you, but I have never seen the world, or America in such a sorry state. Who would have thought we’d ever come to the point where the President and the Congress aren’t even speaking to each other…or that some people on the planet would preach that it’s okay to cut off the heads of people who don’t see things just like they do?

I used to enjoy watching the evening news on TV, but today there is so much hate, blood, self centeredness and extremism on the television news that I skip it most nights. Poll after poll show that a huge majority of people think that the country and the world are “headed in the wrong direction.” Truly, we could fill this entire edition of today’s paper with a list of our world’s problems and how we are, indeed, going in the wrong direction.

But you asked me what I think is going on, so here are a few of my thoughts.

Basically, in my view, by far most of the problems in the world today and in our nation have at their root (as the headline above says) Wrong Thinking as opposed to Right Thinking. “So what do you mean by Right And Wrong Thinking, Father Paul?” Just this. A vast and growing number of people, starting with the so called “Enlightenment” period in the 1600’s and the 1700’s have come to believe that there is simply no such thing as absolute truth. This I believe is Wrong Thinking. To these people, who used to be just a few of the intellectuals in our world, but who now include perhaps the guy who fixes your car or the lady who does your hair…”truth” is relative, not absolute, and not unchanging. Whatever truth there is today may be different next week. “My truth is every bit as valid as your truth,” they say. There ARE NO ABSOLUTES…everything is relative. “Rules, if they exist at all, are for other people, not me. I can pretty much do whatever pleases me. “I” am the god of my own life. “I” decide for myself what is good and what is bad…what is right and what is wrong, and… I am accountable to no one but myself. It’s all about me.” Again, Wrong Thinking.

This kind of world view, is called “relativism,” or by some “humanism.” It has brought us everything from slavery, to wars, to the holocaust, to the “sexual revolution” of the sixties, to abortion on demand, to drug use and rampant crime, to same-sex marriage, to a dysfunctional government and yes, even to ISIS. The mantra, “if it seems good to you, then do it”.

This “Wrong Thinking” world view is growing. But it stands in direct conflict with what many call “a Biblical world view.” A Biblical world view, in contrast, is a view that says there is a creator of the Universe…God…and, just as this creator established rules of absolute and unchanging truth in things like math, science and music, (for mankind’s benefit) this same creator has also established rules of absolute truth for human living and conduct, which are also for mankind’s benefit. I’m talking about, among others, The Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule. Right Thinking.

It’s a no-brainer to predict where we’ll end up if we continue down the Wrong Thinking road of Relativism and Humanism. In the toilet bowl of history. But what if instead, every single person on planet earth tomorrow morning began Thinking Right and living every day 24/7 by even the few absolute truths of the Ten Commandments and The Golden Rule? Wow! Think about it.

Do You Have A Question? Send it to me at paulmassey@earthlink.net and I will try to answer it in the paper.

Father Paul Massey is Pastor Emeritus of Church Of The Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Saving Babies, Transforming Lives

2015 March 31

Bishop David Epps

There are two non-profit organizations in Coweta and Fayette Counties south of Atlanta, whose primary mission is to save the lives of children—more specifically babies. In Fayette County, the organization is the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center. In Coweta County, it is Coweta Pregnancy Services.

Each year hundreds of expectant mothers call upon these organizations for assistance. In Coweta County, CPS performs an average of 750 pregnancy tests and 600 ultrasounds annually. Last year FPRC performed 258 pregnancy tests and, for the first time, offered ultrasounds to clients. Nearly 260 women took advantage of the offer to receive ultrasounds.

In addition, vital services offered include parenting classes, relationship classes, counseling, clothing assistance and a host of other programs and services. One of the major goals is to assist women and men to see that there are viable alternatives to abortion, which has claimed some 55,000,000 unborn lives in the United States alone since 1973. At a recent fund raiser, one mother was present and extolled the virtues of the pregnancy center. She had, she shared, decided to get an abortion until she went to the pregnancy center. She proudly presented her beautiful six month old baby boy and received a standing ovation.

Between the two centers, 70 babies, who would likely have been aborted, are experiencing their first year of life. That may not seem like many compared to the vast number of children that never see the light of day, but that’s 70 kids who will grow up, graduate from high school, perhaps attend and graduate from college, get married, have their own kids, and live their lives to the full. Over a ten year period, this number would swell to 700 children who have been given a chance of life.

For the most part, services are free at the centers and confidentiality is maintained. How do they operate financially? A number of sponsors, including individuals, churches, and business, underwrite the organizations and fund-raisers help round out the financial needs. At the recent fundraiser for the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center, the keynote speaker was Star Parker. Ms. Parker, an African-American, experienced four abortions and was a welfare recipient before choosing a new path.

Today, Star Parker is the founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501(c) (3) non-profit think tank which promotes market based public policy to fight poverty. Before involvement in social activism, Ms Parker had seven years of first-hand experience in the grip of welfare dependency. Now, as a social policy consultant, she brings new energy to policy discussions on how to transition America’s poor from government dependency. She is a sought after expert on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and for national radio, television, and print interviews, nationwide.

Ms. Parker has a BS degree in Marketing and Business from Woodbury University and has received numerous awards and commendations for her work on public policy issues. She consults with Republican legislators on numerous urban issues, has lectured on anti-poverty initiatives at more than 180 colleges and universities and serves on the advisory boards for several national organizations. She is also a devoted Christian, a passionate pro-life advocate, and a stellar example that, whatever the circumstances, life can be redeemed and become full of promise and meaning.

This, too, is part of the message of these two organizations—that life—all life—matters and has meaning.

They boldly reflect the words of Jesus, “I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly,” in their services and programs. They are quietly serving others and, in the process, are saving lives.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org. The Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center may be contacted at 770-719-2288. Coweta Pregnancy Services may be contacted at 770-251-7158.

Netanyahu’s Warning to the World

2015 March 29

Bishop David Epps

A few days ago, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave a blunt, direct, and impassioned speech to a joint session of the United States Congress.

Even before the speech, controversy preceded the event because the White House was apparently not consulted about the invitation extended to the Prime Minister. In spite of all that, the speech was, perhaps, one of the most anticipated and listened to in many years.

Why would Netanyahu, facing an election in his own country, risk all politically to come to Washington? Why would he risk the relationship between Israel and the United States? Knowing that the President was disapproving of his coming to speak to Congress, why would the Prime Minister come anyway?

The answer is simple. Israel faces the possibility of annihilation.
Iran seeks to have nuclear weapons. Everybody knows this unless their heads are stuck deep in the sand. Iran has the stated goal of exterminating the nation of Israel.

Israel has fought numerous wars since 1948, not over land or resources, but because its neighbors have sought their destruction. For Israel, the issue is not an academic exercise. The issue is survival.

People, who are still living, remember the Holocaust of World War II in which six million Jews were murdered. Many in the West knew of the Nazi atrocities against the Jews but remained silent or turned a blind eye. Israel knows that they can depend on no one, not even the United States, to come to their aid should Iran acquire nukes.

From Israel’s point of view, the current administration’s negotiations with Iran will end in only one way — eventually Iran will go nuclear.
If and when they do, does any thinking person doubt that they will use these devices and/or make them available to terrorist organizations?

It is reported that Israel has nukes. If they do, they obviously have chosen not to use them, even when they have been under attack by overwhelming forces. However, if Iran, or any other regime hostile to Israel, becomes a nuclear power, the game changes radically.

If nuclear weapons are used against Israel, she will doubtless retaliate in kind. Before that happens, Israel will attack Iran to destroy their nuclear facilities. Israel will never risk another Holocaust. The Prime Minister has made that abundantly clear. And so, he came to plead his case and try to persuade the United States to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The United States has the dubious distinction of being the only nation to use nuclear weapons against another nation. Doing so, according to many sources, saved the lives of up to 1 million U.S. military personnel, who would have been killed in an invasion of the Japanese homeland, and an untold number of Japanese citizens.

Some contend that nuclear weapons are immoral. But the truth is that war itself is immoral. Innocent people perish. Seventy-two million people died in World War II, a large percentage of them civilians. But governments are empowered by their laws and by moral law to protect its citizens. Someone, hopefully someone with caution and restraint, has to have the big stick.
It has been 70 years since the United States used these weapons. It has been that long since anyone used these weapons. All that will likely change if aggressive regimes and terrorist organizations acquire them.

Benjamin Netanyahu has sounded a dire but serious warning. Like Winston Churchill, he has sounded an alarm that needs to be heeded. In the 1930s Churchill was ignored and the world was plunged into war.

Bullies, who have announced their intentions to inflict harm on others, must be denied use of the big stick. If the world is set against itself in a nuclear conflict, the results will make World War II look like a school yard brawl.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org

Southern Snowfalls

2015 March 27
by Admin

Bishop David Epps

A couple of weeks ago, the area was under a winter storm watch. All area school and colleges were closed, motorists were being advised to stay home and truckers were warned that they may be denied access to the interstate highways in Georgia.
At 9:30 a.m., the temperature was 32 degrees Fahrenheit and nary a snowflake nor rain drop was anywhere to be found in the local vicinity.
On Tuesday evening, the weather gurus were saying that the snow would begin by 10 a.m. By Wednesday morning, the predicted snowfall was to be at 6 p.m.

The new Ice Age did not come.

Last year, the powers that be underestimated the weather and, from local officials to the governor of the state, the citizenry blasted their public servants for not responding to conditions that paralyzed the state of Georgia. This year, the mantra is “Better safe than sorry.”

Part of the problem is that we live in the South. We are used to blistering temperatures in August and Januarys that may see 70 degrees. We refer to our capital city as “Hotlanta,” and we close schools where there is sufficient snow to be seen — usually two or three flakes will do it. I didn’t have a winter coat for the first 16 years I lived in Georgia. There was no point.
All of this amuses our northern countrymen who deal with seven feet of snow. Think Boston. I spent three weeks at a seminary in Pennsylvania one January. It snowed every day. Did anything close? Of course not. Snow plows were out on the streets by 5 a.m., followed by salt trucks.

As I was walking across the campus with the dean of the program, he said,

“How have your three weeks been?”

“It has changed my theology.” I responded.

“Really?” he said. “In what way?”

I said, “I now believe that Hell is cold and located about 28 miles from the Pittsburgh airport.”

In the Deep South, if we get up in the morning and snow is on the ground, we have a method of dealing with it. We wait until noon.

By noon the snow is normally gone and life is back to normal.

When we get hit with the very infrequent “big snow,” anything over an inch or any amount of ice on the road, we don’t have the equipment nor the temperament to deal with it. The people who think they do know how to drive in the conditions head out anyway, which is why 2,800 hundred vehicles were stranded and abandoned in last year’s “Icemegeddon.”

The upside is that children get a rare snow day off and spend the day building snowmen from the quarter inch of snow that sometimes dusts the ground.

One year, on a Saturday, we awoke to find about four to five inches of snow blanketing the earth. I immediately grabbed my camera and headed out to take photos of the rare event.

My wife said, “Don’t you want to wait until the roads are open?”

“If I wait,” I said, “the snow will be gone.” And, by noon, it was.

For many, snow means building a fire in the fireplace, sleeping late, catching up on work around the house, paying bills, and sitting at the window basking in the beauty and peace of a white world. For others, it means the panic of rushing to the supermarket and stocking up on enough milk and bread to feed Patton’s Third Army for a month.

A few days ago, when snow came to the North Georgia mountains, a little girl of about 3 was shown on the local news channel encountering her first snow. She was filled with wonder and, holding a handful of snow, said to the camera, “And it’s sooooo cold!”

So, embrace the wonder. Stay off the highways. Remember that, in a few hours or a day or so, life will return to the snowless normal.

And thank God Almighty that you didn’t have to live in Boston this winter.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org