Good Religion is a Blueprint with Tools

Fr. Wade at the Piano
Years of Piano Playing for the Lord

 

Some have thought that RELIGION is just keeping a bunch of written rules like “Thou shalt not kill” or “Honor Thy Father and Mother”. So, what’s wrong with keeping those rules?

Actually, good religion can keep you doing the “right” thing even when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s like going to the gym when you don’t feel like going.
But really, GOOD religion is NOT just about rules and habits. It’s about self-discipline, commitment, and perseverance in holding fast to your faith and love as well as the outward actions.

You pray. There is a spiritual fight and sometimes you don’t feel like praying. But you’ve made a commitment to God and to yourself IN a love relationship.
GOOD Religion is the binding of oneself to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical values of honor, integrity, and purpose. It also binds you (or you bind yourself) – remember the song, “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds”? – to others in a greater community.

Some people say, “I don’t want to be bound to anything.” These people never enter into marriage, preferring to be FREE. But they are really just bound to their own selfishness. Have you read in Scripture about bondservants?
There is a big difference between GOOD Religion and BAD Religion. James 1:27 reads that there is a religion that God approves and calls “pure and undefiled”. Don’t throw out Scripture just to fit in with what everyone else is saying.

Bad religion is often Good Religion gone sour and stale. A yard stick, level, plumb lines, chalk lines and tape measures are great tools when used. They are not to be enshrined in glass. They have a purpose. They are the tools of the trade. Builders use these tools and follow blueprints. They follow the plan. They measure to make sure. If the blueprint is wrong or the tools are broken, you’ve got a mess.

The Lord has a plan and purpose and has given us tools. We respect the tools and the plan, but they are in vain unless with use them in cooperation with the Master Builder.

Good Religion is using the tools and following the plan that has been delivered by the Apostles and Prophets with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone. He is the stone that some builders have rejected. Please don’t reject Christ. Repent today and follow the Lord.

Love you much!

Fr. Wade+

Anyone Can Love the Lovely

If we love those who love us, is that deserving of a reward? No. The world loves those who love them. But if we love when we are hated, mistreated, misquoted, insulted, called a fraud, a phony – even by those who call themselves Christian, then there is a reason to rejoice because we have shared, in a very small way, the sufferings of Christ. This is another “seed” for an awakening. Bear sufferings and hardship with patience.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Wade+

Study to Show Yourself Approved

Study to Show Yourself Approved – 2 Timothy 2:15
Study to Show Yourself Approved – 2 Timothy 2:15

The Study of Holy Scripture

The first thing that you want to do before you read Holy Scripture (as well as the last thing) is to PRAY and ask for illumination and power to follow the teachings of Holy Scripture.

The second thing to accept is that ALL Scripture – Old and New Testament – must be interpreted through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and then John) Jesus Christ IS the WORD of GOD. Scripture points to Jesus. It doesn’t replace Jesus. There is no “Book” at the right-hand of the Father in Heaven.

The third thing to accept (which is for some, the most difficult) is that the Church is the pillar and ground of Truth. Starting from the beginning the Church followed the apostles’ teachings or doctrine, the pattern of worship, the prayers, the liturgy, the Eucharist, and fellowship. Scripture was interpreted while LIVING in the Community. If something was revealed, it was judged against apostolic oral tradition. If disputes arose, it was settled by a Church council. There have been seven ecumenical councils.

The fourth thing to do is to learn how to repent – how to change your mind from your interpretation and understanding – in favor of the interpretation of the Church. This is where people chose to become their own Pope and exalt their understanding over the Church. (Remember, there was basically only one church for the first thousand years. What did THAT Church teach?) This was before the “Great Schism” when the Roman Church and the other four Patriarchs split in 1054 A.D.

There are many things in Scripture that are pretty straightforward. There are some that are not. Then there are “scholars” who will argue their doctrine regardless of what the Ancient Church believed no matter what. Personally, I opt for reading the Church Fathers. You can also compare your study to the Nicene Creed. Does your interpretation contradict it? If so, then more prayer, study, and inquiry are needed.

Finally, learn how to obey the Word. Be obedient to the commandments of Christ. If we don’t obey, we deceive ourselves. Deception spreads and our understanding darkened. The Church calls people “saints” not just for their knowledge about Scripture and rightly dividing the Word of Truth, but those whose lives bear witness to the Truth of the Word.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Wade+

Another National Day of Prayer – Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day 2017 - A Call for National Prayer for Permanent Peace
Memorial Day 2017 – A Call for National Prayer for Permanent Peace

It’s actually amazing on how many times the United States of America has a National Proclamation by the President for National Prayer. Memoria Day is one of those days.

Here is a Prayer for Peace (edited) that I found from Bishop Gregory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church:

A Prayer for Peace

Lord Jesus Christ, our God, You said to Your disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

We come before You in humility and ask that Your peace which surpasses all understanding will descend upon all people around the world, especially those currently in conflict and at war.

Increase understanding and forgiveness between nations. Awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbor. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. Grant wisdom to civil authorities. Free those held captive, protect those in danger, and comfort those who are suffering and displaced. Implant in all of us reverence for You, and confirm us in love for one another.

Make us worthy to join with the angels in chanting: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” For You are the King of Peace and the Savior of our souls and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your most holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

and the Official Proclamation from the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

In honor and recognition of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2017, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance.

I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

Join me in prayer for permanent peace today.

Love in Christ!

Fr. Wade+

 

 

If My People Will Humble Themselves, Pray, Seek, and Turn

For as long as I can remember, the Scripture from II Chronicles 7:14 has been promoted as a foundational promise for the National Day of Prayer.

National Day of Prayer – "If My People..."
National Day of Prayer – “If My People…”

“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will be merciful to their sins and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

Yet, when I read this passage, I just shake my head thinking, “There is no way this is ever going to happen!” Then I must quickly remind myself that
with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! 

Without looking at “God’s people” or “the Church” and presume to throw stones of criticism, I will look at my own life. I can ask, “Am I following this Scripture promise? Do I really humble myself or do I still think my interpretation of Scripture and Doctrine is right as compared to Teaching of the Twelve and the Church Fathers? Am I praying “the Prayers” like the first Christians as recorded in Acts 2:42 or making up my own?

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Gr. the prayers).

All of this is about seeking God’s face and turning from my ways – my ways of self-fulfilling worship style, my systematic theology, my “Jesus” that I’ve created in my own understanding. I have to ask myself, “Do I even know what the Apostles’ Doctrine teaches in contrast to my 21st Century American Christianity?”

Action Plan: Learn Humility and Seek God’s Face. 

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

A Prayer for Today

As the deer pants for the water,
so my soul longs for You, O Lord.
I lift up my soul unto You, My God.

Is any thirsty?
Let them drink from the Rivers of Living Water.
Come, Holy Spirit, abide in me,
O Giver of Life and Treasurer of Good Things.
Please open to me the Gates of Repentance!

Create in me a clean heart and renew the right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence because of my foolish presumption,
but renew in me this presumption:
that I would love You, the One True God,
with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and
love my neighbor as You gave commandment.

Restore to me the Joy of Your Salvation
and let the bones which You have humbled, rejoice!
In Your presence, there is the fullness of Joy!

Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –
One God – now and ever, and unto the ages of ages! Amen!

Love you in Christ Jesus!

Fr. Wade+

 

A Recap of Prayer Around City Hall (part 2)

Fr. David Peoples of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church offers prayer
Fr. David Peoples of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers prayer

Prayer Around City Hall is about . . . Prayer

Have you ever attended a “Prayer Meeting” only to discover that the majority of the time was filled with stuff other than prayer? Really? I have, too. Prayer Around City Hall is totally about “Prayer.” Sometimes that seems to be too much for people to endure. So year after year, I’ve set up the keyboard and played some background “prayerful” music unto the Lord.

I believe it was St. Augustine who said, “He who sings, prays twice.” Sometimes during the various prayers, I would enter into a Chorus of “Give Thanks” or “Lord, have mercy”.

Pastor Bernie Hill leading in prayer at Prayer Around City Hall 2017
Pastor Bernie Hill leading in prayer at Prayer Around City Hall 2017

This year, we were blessed to have the following people lead in prayer. Some are pastors, others are community servants and businessmen.

Ed Kirkland praying for those in need.
Ed Kirkland praying for those in need.

Pastor E.T. Pickett III – Word Alive Ministries
Ed Kirkland – Harvest of Souls Ministry & Harvest Meat Markets
Pastor Jon Friedt – Believer’s Fellowship
Pastor Bernie Hill – Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church
Dr. Greg Morris – Leadership Dynamics
R. Stanley Parks – EPIC Church
Ray Allen – Southeastern University
James Joseph – United City
Dr. Richard Harris – Southeastern University
Pastor Eddie Lake – New Bethel AME Church
Bishop Judy Kahler – Saint Bridget’s Celtic Christian Church
Pastor James Collins – Bethany Christian Church
Fr. David Peoples – St. Stephen’s Episcopal
Pastor Brannen Padgett – Redemption Church

Dr. Richard Harris praying for racial harmony in Lakeland
Dr. Richard Harris praying for racial harmony in Lakeland

Claudia Jordan – Talbot House Ministries
Pastor Derek Kelly – Heart of the Father Ministry
Lew Frye – Integrity Business Referrals
Fr. Wade Fahnestock – St. Andrew Church

Prayers were offered for our governmental leaders – National, State, and Local – as well as those who serve in the medical profession, the first responders, the law enforcement officials. James Joseph of United City asked the group to join hands and to pray for the person next to them. Pastor Eddie Lake prayed for our governmental leaders as instruments of justice. Dr. Richard Harris prayed for racial harmony. Bishop Judy Kahler offered a Celtic prayer for blessing and protection. Fr. Wade ended the prayer event with a Prayer for our Enemies. We all prayed the Lord’s prayer together.
Standing in Prayer for Others in Need
Standing in Prayer for Others in Need

Central Florida Food Banks leaders Tony Allen and Donnie McClellan not only joined us in fervent prayer but provided water. Pastor Bernie Hill supplied the ice and coolers. Martha Zambrano (Fr. Wade’s wife) helped set up and coordinated the sign-in table. Claudia Jordan from Talbot house assisted with logistics. Dr. Greg Morris provided input on the format and names of our current governmental leaders. Pastor Derek Kelly from Heart of the Father Ministry lead in prayer and his team helped with the audio system. I’ll cover some more of these specifics in the days to come as well as provide a few follow-up interviews.

All of this was made possible by our sponsors Harvest Meat Markets, Central Florida Food Banks, and Keller Williams Realty. Additional support was provided by Steve and Stephanie Madden, James and Dory Joseph, and Lew and Marleen Frye of Integrity Builders, and facilitated by St. Andrew Church, Lakeland.

In our prayers!

Fr. Wade+
FriarWade
St. Andrew Church

Your contributions to help support prayer missions are tax-deductible.


A recap of Prayer Around City Hall 2017 (part 1)

The sidewalk, lawn, and steps of Lakeland’s City Hall were blessed on Thursday, May 4, 2017, as compassionate citizens and clergy gathered for the 66th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer. We picked up the torch from prior generations and assembled for Prayer Around City Hall.

Lakeland City Hall sign
Lakeland City Hall and Flowers

A Little History…
Calling the city to prayer was a desire placed in my heart back in 2006.  I was a Deacon at St. Thomas More Old Catholic Mission and serving in the music ministry at Lakeland’s First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). My first objective was to find out what had happened in the past, not wanting to supplant any revival fires already burning. I picked up the mantle and supplies from Janey Stratton and Janice Stringer and in 2006 with the help of my friends, organized the first “Reflections of Prayer” at Lake Mirror.

Reflections of Prayer continued the following year in 2007, however, I was away at a conference.

I had heard about the Global Day of Prayer being observed on the day of Pentecost, so in 2008, our task force began a season of prayer and community service. It was the first year I organized Prayer Around City Hall – an outdoor noon event, followed by Reflections of Prayer at Lake Mirror.

This year was different because for the next TEN DAYS we met at different Churches around the city for prayer. Then the day of Pentecost came where participating Churches prayed the Prayer for the World. Community Service followed with the “40 Days of Blessing” as we encouraged Lakelanders to volunteer their time by partnering with established ministries already serving the Lakeland area.

This year (2017), United City was organizing the evening event at Lake Mirror, but I felt that the Lord wanted me to again facilitate Prayer Around City Hall.

National Day of Prayer – "If My People..."
National Day of Prayer – “If My People…”

Stepping out in faith, I started making some phone calls to connect with people who may be interested. I want to mention Ed Kirkland and Harvest Meat Markets for stepping up to the plate and becoming the first sponsor. Otherwise, this event would not have taken place.

And They Sang a New Song…

And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Prayer Around City Hall 2017 • Lakeland, Florida
Prayer Around City Hall 2017 • Lakeland, Florida

Back in March of 2006,  I first shared my dream with others about transforming the landscape of prayer in Lakeland, Florida. I wrote in one email, “I really believe in my heart that the Lord has called me to orchestrate and promote a gathering of Bishops, Clergy, Laity, Ministries, Governmental Officials, Civic and Social Leaders of our community for a Day of Prayer. It is an opportunity to come together, recognize and embrace the diversity of traditions and culture, to petition God for ‘Holy Spirit empowerment’ with fervent love one toward another.

I do not see this as a stiff, stale ‘anglo-only’ assembly. I see it as a vibrant, heartfelt, animated time of fellowship and ministry – a time to humble ourselves as servants of one another, preferring one another and forgiving one another. It’s a time for bitterness and competition to give way to a unified purpose of asking God to forgive us and our land of our sin and wrongdoing. It’s a time of fasting from seeking our own plans and pursuits to becoming instruments of peace in helping the widows and orphans, the poor and the outcast.”

I know that I’m not alone in this vision. This vision is not for a single person or group, but for a city – a community. We might not be able to transform a nation, but we can transform our own life with humility as the Lord opens unto us the Gates of Repentance. Then, one by one, a community begins to heal.
(More to come)

Love in Christ Jesus!

Fr. Wade+
Lakeland, FL

Prayer Around City Hall 2017 • Lakeland, Florida • May 4, 2017
Prayer Around City Hall 2017 • Lakeland, Florida • May 4, 2017

Would you desire to help promote life-transforming prayer? A major way to help is to financially support our efforts. Your tax-deductible donation can be sent via PayPal at http://PayPal.me/LakelandPrayer

 

Prayer Around City Hall 2017

National Day of Prayer
PRAYER AROUND CITY HALL 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Noon – 1:00 PM
Lakeland City Hall
228 Mass. Avenue
(outdoor event)


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Prayer Around City Hall 2017 is held in observance of the 66th Annual National Day of Prayer. It is an outdoor gathering along the sidewalk and lawn in front of Lakeland City Hall. Clergy and civic leaders join with marketplace ministers, business owners, students, educators, and other interested citizens in prayer for each other and the challenges facing our community and nation.

Envisioned in 2007 by Fr. Wade Fahnestock (FriarWade) and with the help of a local task force, the first Prayer Around City Hall was held in 2008 along with Reflections of Prayer at Lake Mirror. This year, Fr. Wade is focusing only on the Noon event at City Hall.

This event is made possible through your participation and financial support. A very special “THANK YOU” goes out to Ed Kirkland of Harvest Meat Markets, Bruce Conner of The Central Florida Food Banks, and Chris McLaughlin of Keller Williams Realty for their initial financial support and sponsorship.


National Day of Prayer

“Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.” 

—Thomas Jefferson, 1808