About Giving

Let's talk about money (without the guilt trip).

What does your bank account say about the condition of your soul? What does our spending of money say about what we love?

I don't think most of us are stingy and greedy, but I do think a lot of us wake up worrying about money, or how we're going to pay for things. Money has incredible power in our lives, to occupy our minds and hearts, and to hold us in a place of fear. In this way, money just feels like constant bad news.

Rarely does God invite us to challenge Him (watch out!) but in Malachi 3:8 He does, and it's about money. Basically, God says "try me" provoking us to put our trust in Him, to really learn to live on His gifts of grace and witness His power.

This Sunday I explored what the Bible teaches us about wealth, and how to use it in the most life-giving ways. Knowing full-well how important and personal money is in our lives, but more importantly that God is inviting us to live on His grace, I want to invite you to lean in with a few follow-up steps:

  1. Listen: If you missed this message, please go listen to it online on itunes or SoundCloud.

  2. Pray: Find a few times during the week to sit down and ask "God, help me to see what you're doing here in my life." Study and sit with scripture. Notice fears, defensiveness, and hopes that spring up in you. Ask God what those feelings are about. Put all of that before Him and invite Him to care for you.

  3. Chat: Have a conversation in your Table Group, with your spouse, or with friends. Talk about the sermon with others. It may be helpful to sit down with your Table Group leader, or one of our pastoral staff. Let us know.

  4. Plan: Figure out how you will respond to God's invitation You might take it a step at a time like this: make giving a priority (budget it first), pick a percentage (again look for God's invitation), and commit to making progress (every time you give pray for God's help to grow).

  5. Commit: Giving online at Rez makes consistent follow-through with giving super easy. There's even a new mobile app for Rez (apple, android) that makes all this even easier. And those wooden tokens at church make sure that my giving is connected with the liturgy in an act of worship. Starting in November, our whole church will be pledging how much we'll be giving in 2020. Find out more about all that here.

Friends, I want to encourage you not to be afraid. Giving is about discipleship. It's really about learning to trust God in an important area of our lives. The Good News is that Christ is already waiting for you in your journey, and so is your whole Rez community. Let's open our lives to the Lord and grow together, I wonder what He's going to do!

Peace,
Shawn+

What is Catechesis?

This Sunday, August 25 2019, we are commissioning Rez's first lay catechist! It's a really big deal and for really good reason. But "catechist" and "catechesis" aren't words we often hear, if ever. If you're wondering what catechesis is, we wanted to give you a quick introduction, adapted from our Anglican catechism: To Be A Christian.

It's about making disciples:Christian Catechesis (from the Greek katecheo: “to instruct”) is an essential part of Christian disciple-making. It is a process aimed at making clear to everyone what it means to be a Christian. It lays out what is essential for Christian faith and life. It opens the door to knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing the full love of God through him.

It's about the mission of the church:The process of catechesis leads to full involvement in the life and mission of the Church, and deeper understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

It's about "Life Together in the Goodness of God": Finally, catechesis anchors disciples in the full reality of unquenchable joy, beginning in this life and ever-increasing in the life to come. As such, catechesis is a missional means by which God may bring about both conversion to Christ and formation in Christ.

This is why we make such a big deal about it!
This is why we thank God for preparing people like Thomas Magbee, who we celebrate this Sunday. He is a servant and co-workers in the sacred ministry of catechesis. Make sure you join us this Sunday for this!

This is also why catechesis is built-in to our church's mission statement: "to participate with God to welcome, shape, and send disciples." We want to be in involved in God's life, and in Christ we are. We are welcomed in Baptism into the household of God, shaped and nourished at his table in Holy Eucharist, and equipped and sent into the world as ambassadors of His Kingdom in confirmation. Here's the way we visualize this mission at Rez:

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Who should go to Catechism?
You should.

  • If you're a Christian who desires to grow in the faith and help others grow.

  • If you've never been confirmed (what's that? A topic for another newsletter), start the process with catechesis.

  • If you're not a Christian but love coffee.

  • If you're a committed member of Rez, commit to growing in your understanding of the faith.

  • If you want to know more about the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Creed.

Don't miss this opportunity to grow.
Join us as we kick off a new season of fellowship, prayer, and study in our catechism hour before the service every Sunday, beginning September 8th at 9 AM. Kid's catechism classes will also be open during that time, so bring the whole family.

Find out more below on our Adult Catechesis page:

A Pastoral Letter Regarding the Shootings in Dayton and El Paso

Rez family,

We are all still reeling from mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. If you’re like me, you struggle with discerning how to live and speak as a faithful witness of the Kingdom of God when reading the reports that at least 31 killed in the mass shootings from this weekend alone. Sadly these tragedies and the evils of gun violence in general have become commonplace in our country. From where I stand, as a husband and father of 6 kids, as half-Mexican and half-white, and as your priest, I have felt the burden of our society’s old wounds, its willful ignorance, its ideologies that idolize the powerful and trample the weak, and the divisions built up by fear and sin. Everyone feels disrespected, misunderstood, defensive, angered, and disoriented. And yet the church has never been more perfectly equipped and suited to engage this darkness.

We tend to think all we can do is offer our “hopes and prayers”, get on social media, or fight for political change. Don’t get me wrong, these things aren't bad in and of themselves. I’m grateful we live in a country where people can exercise those freedoms. But as long as we believe that the problem is really somewhere “out there” to be fixed in the world or in others, and not in us, we make a fatal misjudgment and we miss the real way forward. Consider this: We live in God’s world, He is setting things right through His son, Jesus, and we are His church. This means there are conversations we really need to have and actions we really must take as witnesses of genuinely Good News for our world. There is much to say about all of this, but there are at least 2 things I want to point our community toward.

First, especially in the case of the mass shooting in El Paso, we must name the evil of white supremacy, white nationalism, racism in its various forms (including rhetoric that incites and encourages it, and the ways it's "built-in” to the way our society operates), violence, and domestic terrorism. For whatever blame we put on the president, lack of gun-control, mental health, video games, culture, etc., is blame we must also own our share in. Our politicians, policies, culture, are just a collective reflection of who we have become, an image we don’t want to see because we fear it's really true. The blame we put on others, even when rightly placed, allows us to tell a story about ourselves and others that maintain our innocence and righteous indignation at the evils in others. There is no “them”, it’s just us. There is no one righteous, not one (Romans 3:10-12). We have to begin by naming our society’s sin as a reflection of who we have become. We are complicit in these societal evils, we have participated in and propagated them, we have worked ourselves into this dark place of death and division, and we can be ready to repent and make things right. The grief of those who suffer should weigh heavy on us, and our guilt should lead us to repentance, not defensiveness. Repentance doesn’t “win” a point for our political party, or show how “woke” we are, nor does it need something from those we disagree with. Repentance admits defeat, puts down weapons, and drains all pride and vanity, to make space for the life that only God’s grace can provide.

Second, Jesus is still the answer. We have a hope capable of healing and unifying a severely broken world. When the worst evils of the world were unleashed on Jesus on the cross, when evil had given its best shot, he trampled over it and triumphed. The title “Lord” is only rightfully His, and this means he can tell us and this world what to do. This means that any power, any authority, any ruler, or party, or movement, and even ourselves, are subject to the agenda and will of Jesus Christ. No political party is safe from critique by the Kingdom, no establishment, no sacred custom or thing our society guards, and no cultural norm isbeyond His authoritative headline that His Kingdom is now settling over all of it. It all belongs to Christ, we belong to Christ, we are citizens in His Kingdom, and everything is subject and held accountable to Him.

Church, you are the sign of God’s work in the world. Think about it: what we cry out for is for God to gather up our broken world, to bring peace, to heal and set things right. This is exactly what God is doing in the church through Christ and by the power of the Spirit. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people (1 Peter 2:9). We’ve all got the same past: we are a people once caught in sin that Jesus has commanded be raised to life. We’ve all got the same future: God has inaugurated His new world and we are called as His bride to reveal his beautiful reign and rule. We are made one community in Christ, perfectly equipped and suited to engage the world. So don't be afraid to follow Jesus into the world’s pain and lean on the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid to confess and repent, to grieve and be present to those who suffer. Don’t be afraid to love boldly, and welcome outsiders, just as Christ has loved and welcomed us. Don’t be afraid to follow Jesus when the world resists the Kingdom He is establishing. Get used to being a peculiar people with an identity foreign to this world. You shouldn't fit comfortably into a political party’s ideology. You should feel out of place when with any vision of life that competes with the Kingdom of God. You should be frustrated by the arrangements of the world that devalues, tramples, takes advantage of, or destroys human beings. Nothing justifies evil, not economic prosperity, not the precedent of policy, not our privileges, and not our ethnicity or social standing. And nothing will stand in the way of the Kingdom that is at hand. God's everlasting Kingdom is our “home” placed in a strange and broken land.

It’s one thing to know in your head and heart, and quite another to learn to actually practice. Personally, I'm constantly working this out in my own life. It's for this very reason that Rez hosts a regular conversation called “Who is My Neighbor?” that wrestles with discerning the way of the Kingdom in our world. This Saturday at 5:30 PM we are exploring the timely topic of immigration, hearing from one of our own about their experience. This is important, please make it a priority to be there with us.

Peace,

Shawn+

2019 Prayer Book Drive

We're excited to implement the 2019 Book of Common Prayer in the life of our parish. We want to invite you to help us put a prayer book on every seat at the church. Here are two ways you can help:

1. Purchase a single prayer book for the pew at Rez ($15)
2. Purchase a case of prayer books for the pew at Rez (16 copies, $240)

The goal is to purchase 12 cases (192 copies) of prayer books to fill every seat. Thanks for your generosity! If you'd like to purchase the deluxe edition of the prayer book, it is currently sold out but will be available in October, you can purchase it online here.

Pentecost Survey

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An invitation of the Spirit's work in us

If you missed our Pentecost celebration last Sunday, we considered how the Holy Spirit has empowered the church to participate with God for the sake of others. Fr. Shawn shared stories of how Pentecost is already seen and put to work by so many in our community. When we see those gifts at work we are reminded that we have everything we need as a parish to thrive, joining in God's mission in South Austin.  

To help you join in, we've put together a brief survey of questions. Take a few minutes to fill this out so we can learn how to best support what God's doing in your life and in our community. The survey will be open for one week, closing June 17, so that we can compile the results and report back a summary of what we've heard from you.

We're excited to see more of what God is up to!

The Book of Common Prayer 2019

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Christianity – the fullness of the good news about Jesus Christ – came very early to Roman Anglia (England) through the witness of soldiers, sailors, merchants and missionaries.  Legend holds that the biblical tomb-giver, Joseph of Arimathea, was among the first of those scattered evangelists.

The early Christian mission in the British Isles was an encounter with pagan tribes and societies.  Converts banded together, and in this context, communities of common prayer, learning, and Christ-like service emerged, living under agreed rules. Thus “monasteries” became centers of the evangelization of this remote region of the Roman world, and ever more so as the empire disintegrated. Early heroes and heroines leading such communities bore names that are still remembered and celebrated, names like Patrick, Brigit, David, Columba, Cuthbert, and Hilda. Haphazardly, and without a centralized hierarchy or authority, what emerged in Britain, by God’s grace, was a Church that saw herself, in each of her local manifestations, as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: culturally attuned and missionally adaptive, but ever committed to and always propagating “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1: 3).

Reform came in various waves, based more in the Roman systems of diocese and parish. At the end of the sixth century, Augustine, a Benedictine monk and first Archbishop of Canterbury, was sent out from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great with instructions that encouraged preservation of local customs when they did not conflict with universal practice. Dunstan, 25th Archbishop of Canterbury, great reformer of common worship, and Anselm, 36th Archbishop, early scholastic theologian, were among notable monastic successors of this far more hierarchical Roman mission. Closer connection to the continent and distance from the Patristic era also meant that from the seventh century onward, British faith and order were increasingly shaped by efforts to create a universal western patriarchate at Rome. The Norman Conquest of the 11th century also played a role in diminishing the distinguishing peculiarities of Ecclesia Anglicana. Liturgy also became increasingly complicated and clericalized.

All across Europe, the sixteenth century was marked by reform of the received tradition.  So great was this period of reevaluation, especially concerning the primacy of the Holy Scriptures, that the whole era is still known to us as The Reformation.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, 69th Archbishop of Canterbury, who was martyred at Oxford in 1556, led the English phase of this reform of Church life and Church worship. Undoubtedly Cranmer’s most enduring achievement was his replacement of the numerous books of the Latin Liturgy with a carefully compiled Book of Common Prayer. This was a Prayer Book in the vernacular, one which brilliantly maintained the traditional patterns of worship, yet which sought to purge away from worship all that was “contrary to Holy Scripture or to the ordering of the Primitive Church.” The Book of Common Prayer, from the first edition of 1549, became the hallmark of a Christian way of worship and believing that was both catholic and reformed, continuous yet always renewing. According to this pattern, communities of prayer – congregations and families rather than the monasteries of the earliest centuries – would be the centers of formation and of Christ-like service to the world.

For a century the Church of England matured and broadened as a tradition separated from the Church of Rome. Its pastoral, musical and ascetical life flourished: Jeremy Taylor, Lancelot Andrewes, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and George Herbert are but a few of the names associated with this flowering. Also begun were three centuries of colonial expansion that exported the Book of Common Prayerto countless cultures and people-groups the world over.

The English Civil War of the seventeenth century drove the Church of England and her liturgy underground. Nevertheless, with the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Book of Common Prayer, authorized by Parliament and Church in 1662, became Anglicanism’s sine qua non. Great Awakenings and the Methodist movement of the 18th century, as well as adaptations necessary for the first Anglicans independent of the British Crown, challenged and re-shaped Prayer Book worship, as would the East African revival, charismatic renewal and the dissolution of Empire in the 20th century. Similarly, the evangelical and anglo-catholic movements of the 19th century profoundly affected Anglican self-understanding and worship in different, often seemingly contradictory, ways: yet the Book of Common Prayer 1662 was common to every period of this development. For nearly five centuries Cranmer’s Prayer Book idea had endured to shape what emerged as a global Anglican Church that is missional and adaptive as in its earliest centuries, authoritatively Scriptural and creedal as in its greatest season of reform, and evangelical, catholic and charismatic in its apology and its worship as now globally manifest.

The liturgical movement of the 20th century and ecumenical rapproachment in the second half of that century had an immense impact on the Prayer Book tradition. The Book of Common Prayer 1979 in the United States and various Prayer Books that appeared in Anglican Provinces from South America to Kenya to South East Asia to New Zealand were often more revolutionary than evolutionary in character. Eucharistic prayers in particular were influenced by the re-discovery of patristic texts unknown at the Reformation, and often bore little resemblance to what had for centuries been the Anglican norm. Baptismal theology, especially in North America, was affected by radical revisions to the received Christian understanding, and came perilously close to proclaiming a gospel of individual affirmation rather than of personal transformation and sanctification.

At the beginning of the 21st century, global reassessment of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 as “the standard for doctrine, discipline and worship” shapes the present volume, now presented on the bedrock of its predecessors. Among the timeless treasures offered in this Prayer Book is the Coverdale Psalter of 1535 (employed with every Prayer Book from the mid-16th to the mid-20th centuries), renewed for contemporary use through efforts that included the labors of 20th century Anglicans T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis, and brought to final form here. The Book of Common Prayer (2019) is indisputably true to Cranmer’s originating vision of a form of prayers and praises that is thoroughly Biblical, catholic in the manner of the early centuries, highly participatory in delivery, peculiarly Anglican and English in its roots, culturally adaptive and missional in a most remarkable way, utterly accessible to the people and whose repetitions intended to form the faithful catechetically and to give them doxological voice.

The Book of Common Prayer 2019 is the product of the new era of reform and restoration that has created the Anglican Church in North America. The Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 located itself within the historic confines of what is authentically the Christian Faith and the Anglican patrimony, and sought to restore their fullness and beauty. The Book of Common Prayer 2019 is offered to the same end.

+Robert Duncan

Archbishop Emeritus

Anglican Church in North America

On behalf of all who shaped this Book

+ Foley Beach

Archbishop 

Anglican Church in North America

On behalf of the College of Bishops 

Preface, The Book of Common Prayer 2019

New Staff Announcement: Deacon Ryan Boettcher

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We're thrilled to announce an exciting new addition to our pastoral staff team! Deacon Ryan Boettcher, who visited Rez a few months ago with his wife Bliss, accepted the position of Assistant Clergy shortly after their visit. With Bliss preparing to deliver twins this summer, there were a few more details to work out regarding timing before our official announcement. Ryan will be serving on staff as Deacon overseeing and developing our pastoral care, worship services, and other operations. This is from Dcn Ryan,

“Hey friends! We’re so grateful for the opportunity to join you and the community at Rez-South Austin this August. We can’t wait to be there (all 5 of us)! Keep us in prayer as we pack, sell our house, have two more babies(!), and move down to be with you.”

For the stage-of-life of our parish, Ryan is a great catch at the right time. As we keep participating with God to welcome, shape, and send disciples in South Austin, we have needed to broaden and strengthen our staff support for key ministries that support our church family and engage our neighborhood. Our curate, Justin Davenport, has been a tremendous addition to this need, as will Ryan Boettcher. Look what God is doing as we continue to cast our nets into the deep trusting His leading for Rez! 

What is Holy Week? (A brief overview)

What is Holy Week? (A brief overview)

What is Holy Week?
A brief overview by Fr. Shawn

Holy week is one of the most sacred weeks of the Christian life. It is a pilgrimage of faith coming out of the wilderness of Lent and reliving the mystery of Christ's passion. We call it a "mystery" to emphasize our limited ability to grasp just how great this work of God through Christ really is, and we call it Christ's "passion" to refer to the whole of his life, suffering, and death. 

Confessing Our Way to the Good Life

A reflection on sacramental confession from Fr. Shawn

In some of the darkest days of their lives, the disciples were hiding, locked up in a home. They had seen Jesus die with their own eyes only three days ago. Suddenly there He was standing before them, showing them his wounds, alive and victorious. Apparently, all of humanity's sin and death had not overcome Him. The living Jesus had come to share his peace, breathing His Spirit on them, and authorizing them with the most disruptive power the world would come to know: the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. John’s Gospel lets us into that locked room when Jesus said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23) This is no benign religious power, no motivational talk or sentiment. No this was far more dangerous, think of it like nuclear material, passed along really, really, carefully from one set of fisherman's hands to another. Be careful with this stuff, it is the power of God’s Kingdom put in the hands of the apostles of Christ’s church. Yikes. Scripture shows us that the sacred and powerful work of peace-making begins with Christ, transforms us, and is extended through us for the sake of others. 

“...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us;...(2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

All Christians are invited to share in Christ's ministry of making things right in their own lives and in the world. Most of us have more of a heart to share in this peace-making work “out there” in the world, and less so in our inner life. If we continue like this, our campaigns for justice and reconciliation become a charade, a distraction, or a vain pursuit that conveniently overlooks the wounded condition of our soul. The journey to inward reconciliation goes hand-in-hand with the journey to outward reconciliation. This is, after all, how Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” 

This Lent, I’ve noticed in our community a prominent need to set some things right in our inner lives. How incredible, to see the Spirit of God sweeping through our lives with His healing power. As people ask me how they can cooperate with Lent's renovating work I’ve recommended a less practiced but incredibly powerful ministry of reconciliation in the Christian life: Confession. I remember the first time I did this with a priest it was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. It was as if the power of the Gospel poured into a new space in my real life, setting me free from old sin I’d been dragging around and accustomed to carrying. Travel light my friends, confess your sins and be welcomed by a God who is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). 

There is no mediator like Christ, who in His passion, drew together the expanse between our fallen lives and the holiness of God. There is no priest like Christ, who not only offers a sacrifice but is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice once for all (Hebrews 10). The ministry of reconciliation He imparts on his apostles and priests is a true Kingdom power to set captives free. It’s true what James 5:16 says “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

This kind of sacramental confession (called the Reconciliation of a Penitent in the BCP 447), is not required of anyone, because privately confessing your sins to God is a privilege all may enjoy. However, sometimes there is a need to take-up James’ guidance to confess to another who is entrusted with this ministry to heal and to receive a special blessing of priestly absolution in the Name of God. In my own life, private confession has done the heavy lifting that my soul often needs. I invite you to enjoy the same gift in confession.
 

How it works


The priest and penitent sit in chairs (though sometimes the one confessing kneels on a kneeler) usually next to a half-drawn curtain, or screen between the two. In the liturgy for confession on page 447 of the prayer book, there is a brief form for confession that takes less than 10 minutes (see below). In it, the penitent is led in confession, and the priest offers some brief pastoral guidance and/or spiritual direction, sometimes assigning scripture to be memorized, prayers to take-up, things to go make right, or thoughts to contemplate. His role is to help you cooperate with the reconciling work of Christ in your life. 


The Reconciliation of a Penitent

A typical confessional setup.

A typical confessional setup.


The Penitent begins
Bless me, for I have sinned.

The Priest says
The Lord be in your heart and upon your lips that you may
truly and humbly confess your sins: In the Name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Penitent
I confess to Almighty God, to his Church, and to you, that
I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed, in
things done and left undone; especially __________.  For these and all other sins which I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me. I firmly intend
amendment of life, and I humbly beg forgiveness of God and
his Church, and ask you for counsel, direction, and absolution.

Here the Priest may offer counsel, direction, and comfort.
The Priest then pronounces this absolution

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to
absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of
his great mercy forgive you all your offenses; and by his
authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit.  Amen.

The Priest adds
The Lord has put away all your sins.
Penitent      Thanks be to God.
The Priest concludes
Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner.


Isn't that beautiful! If this is new to you, as it was to me years ago, don’t be afraid. In a light-hearted way, give it a shot and be open to being surprised by the grace of God.

When I Can Confess


Through Lent I’ll be available to hear confessions on Sunday morning from 9:00-9:30 AM in the sanctuary. We are carving out space in the back of the church near the sacristy. Throughout the rest of the year, we will begin setting aside the first Sunday of the month for confession during those hours. You may also contact me over email (shawn@rezaustin.com) to set up a time to confess. 
 

Other FAQ About Confession

  • Isn’t it weird to confess your sins to someone? Maybe for the world, but not for Christians (James 5:16). 

  • But I know my priest personally, isn’t that weird? For me, this is not weird even with friends, but I can see how it might be for some who aren’t used to it at first.  Like a doctor who sees bodies all day and gets used to them, hearing people’s confession is not something I do as your friend but as your spiritual “doctor” or priest, and in a healthy way, we get used to it. Also, the confession space is sacred and put in a special place in my life that doesn’t change what I think of you or others but is kept in a holy confidence that I give to the Lord. For me, it occupies a different “headspace” than the rest of my life and interactions with you.

  • How safe is my confession? Every confession is kept in absolute moral and sacred confidence. Even in confession I would not bring up your past confessions or refer to them in any way. You may refer to them, but as far as confidentiality, we really do believe at absolution “the Lord has put away all your sins.” 

  • But won’t I be embarrassed to share my sins (they’re really bad)? Everyone thinks this, and you might be right. Your sins probably are terrible, but get over yourself, you’re not alone in the community of sinners that is the church. More importantly, be mindful of how shame empowers your secret sins and reject that temptation in the name of Christ. Your sins are not greater than the cross. Bring your sins to Him who is able and faithful to heal you. 

  • Do I really need to confess to someone, let alone a priest? No. But as your priest, you have a great wealth for spiritual direction, growth and freedom in Christ available to you. You have only one mediator and advocate in Christ, but your priest is one given a special role in the church to share in the ministry of reconciliation for your sake. All may confess to a priest, some should, but none must. It is a great gift, not a burden. 

  • Am I required to? Why would I? No, none are required. For a long time, Anglicans have said about confession, “All may; some should; none must.”  It is a special gift of grace to assist the people of God as they continue to unpack the Good Life they have in Christ. 

  • More questions? Email me at shawn@rezaustin.com

A Church "Put Out Into the Deep"

Last Sunday I preached about Jesus' call to (a very labored) Simon to give it another go and cast his nets into the deep. This time, the only difference was that the Lord had come close to the waters and commanded it. I believe Jesus still calls to his disciples (us!) this way, and even his apostles wave at us from their boat to come over and help with the catch of the Kingdom.

Personally, I was reminded of this in an unexpected way when we took time for healing prayer during our last service. The line of people coming forward was like a net overflowing with fish. A little over a month ago we communicated with you about catching up to our expenses, and again our nets were full of fish, finishing the year with a financial surplus. At our annual meeting, I cast the "nets" of our vision for 2019 "out into the deep" in response to what we sense God is doing. Once again, many of you were caught up with new vigor for ministry, for youth, for our growing community, for new catechists, and new Table Group leaders. Our women's book study group cast a "net" and had to start another group (another "boat") because so many women had been caught in this wonderful discussion and community. Our kid's classrooms are like nets about to bust so we're working to get more classrooms (boats). You get it, I could go on. 

Here's the point I want all of us to notice: what is unmistakably special about Rez is that, by God's gracious help, you are a people eager to hear the command of Jesus and cast our nets together. In fact, from the beginning, we've been a community willing to cast the net into deep waters when Jesus calls and look at how our lives have changed.

If you're not casting your nets with us, you're missing out on the adventure of a lifetime and I want to help you find your place on the boat. I'd love to sit down with each of you and imagine those areas of your life where you are still playing in the shallows, holding back, cautious of casting into the deep. (I'm serious, email me and I'll buy you a cup of coffee. shawn@rezaustin.com) For now, imagine with me for a minute we're sitting down for a visit, here's the tour I would want to take with you:
 

  1. Are you casting prayers into the deep? Do you pray often? Do you pray big, and with boldness, asking God for help and listening to his call? An easy way to begin is in the middle of your day to say, "Lord, I know you're here." Or pray the Lord's Prayer, and add your own thoughts. I dare you. Watch and pray. 

  2. Are you casting your wealth into the deep to serve the Kingdom? Money is the idol of the age. Resist it. Don't let worry and scarcity keep you from a trusting relationship with God. Instead, (seriously!) go ask God about it and then actually do what He says. Cast your financial nets for the Kingdom!

  3. Are you casting your needs and desires into the deep? Dallas Willard says "Fasting is feasting on God." Free up your will, heart, and hands from controlling how things will turn out. Instead of worrying, live on the timing and resources of the Kingdom. Look to participate with Him where He calls you to serve, where He calls you to meet the needs of others, and where He calls you to put those tyrannical cravings and lusts to death. And if you need a way to serve, I've got 20, just let me know. 


Rez, at the command of the Lord, let's put out into the deep. That's where we will find lifetogether in the goodness of God. Our church was born in the deep, that's where the church thrives, and that's where we will continue to grow in faith, love, and hope. May God disturb us to push off from familiar waters so that we might hear the Lord's command and "put out into the deep" together.  Let's go!

I leave you with a prayer by Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) that I think says it well,
 

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.


Amen!
Fr. Shawn

Rez Women's Study Group

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Please join us for a new Women's group! We meet every Wednesday evening at Kristie Hartwell’s home from 7:30 - 9:00 pm. All women are welcome - including nursing babies!  Hope to see you on Wed, Mar 27 for our next gathering.

We will discuss James K.A. Smith's book "You Are What You Love".  If you are interested in joining us, please email Kristie with the button below.

A New Class for Table Group Leaders

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Leading a Table Group
A 3-week class for TG leaders
beginning this Sunday, Feb 17 at 9 AM


Consider these thoughts from our Bishop, Todd Hunter:

"We all know that we are supposed to be hospitable. There is something radically important about hospitality in the Bible. But consider another angle on hospitality and not just having people over for dinner. I mean us being people of hospitality. Every week, for years, I have said this simple prayer: "God, make me a gracious, generous, hospitable, generative presence." As a bishop, a pastor, and even on social media, I want you to FEEL hospitality from me, not just that I'm a teacher with good information.

I think of it as being someone who creates space for other people rather than sucking all the oxygen out of the room. It's hospitality as a way of being. This might become one of your formative prayers toward hospitality: "Lord, help me to be a spacious person." Isn't that beautiful? I think that’s very different from being a Christian who assumes a hierarchical position over others or speaks condescendingly to them."


Table Groups are the heartbeat of our community life, and part of our discipleship in Christ as we become a hospitable people. When we come to the Lord's Table on Sunday, we are sent to other tables to extend his welcome. Since this is such a key part of our community and Christian witness, and as we kick off a new season of Table Groups, all current and potential leaders are required to participate in this 3-week course. If you're interested, please join us during our adult formation hour, 9:00 AM Sunday beginning Feb 17th.

Fill out our form below to sign up for the class.

A New Curacy for Justin Davenport

Meet our new curate for Table Groups and Liturgy, Justin Davenport!

Justin will oversee Table Group ministry and serve as the director of liturgy. He has previously served as a worship leader at a church in New Braunfels, TX and joined the Rez staff in 2019. We are excited to welcome He and Martha, and their 3 beautiful children (who were just baptized!). Curacies at Resurrection are a staff position to facilitate the discernment and formation of emerging missional leaders.

We are going to host an informal reception for the Davenports to hear their story and get to know them. Look for that in the upcoming newsletter. Let’s give them a big, warm welcome!

You can reach him at justin@rezaustin.com

Annual Church Report 2019

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At our annual meeting this year we celebrated the many things God has done in 2018 and heard stories from our members. Looking ahead at 2019 our ministry and mission is focused in three key areas:

  1. Welcoming by opening up space

  2. Shaping by engaging our own growth in Christ

  3. Sending by empowering our leaders

We also covered a financial overview of 2018 and our budget for 2019. You can find the annual report attached. If you have any questions or comments please email us.

Tim Kirchner, Treasurer - finance@rezaustin.com

Shawn McCain, Rector - shawn@rezaustin.com