August 3, 2018
“Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone.” Cotton Mather
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
I have just returned from my working holidays. As you have probably noticed the nature of my role as Bishop and the needs of parishes and clergy in the diocese make it almost impossible for me to have a holiday without interruption sometimes almost every day. Having said that I’m grateful to the Lord for the rest despite the interruptions because our labor and sacrifice for God’s gospel and God’s people are not in vain. To him be glory for ever!
I hope many of you have taken your holidays. If you haven’t I ask you to ensure you take your holidays before the year ends. This is mandatory for clergy.
Let me begin my message by reminding you that you are deeply loved by God. The Bible tells us that we are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved..”(Colossians 3:12). We are the beloved of God! More often than not we find it difficult to believe and understand the reality of his love for us which is why the apostle Paul prays for believers in Ephesus and for us as well. Here is Paul: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19). The Lord wants us to comprehend the breadth and height and length and depth of his love for us. God’s love for you is infinitely wide, long, high and deep. So no matter what is going on in your life the Lord wants you to know that he loves you and wants to fill you with the fullness of his love, grace, and acceptance through Christ. He expresses his love to us in electing, justifying, sanctifying and glorifying us. He expresses his love to us by giving us His Word and His Spirit. He shows us his love by giving us eternal life and forgiving us whenever we turn to him in repentance. He expresses his love by providing for us and delivering us from Satan’s wiley ways. He loves you and I pray that by his Spirit you will be able to comprehend the greatness of this love through believing his Word.
As Fall season comes around I want to place before you our Diocesan priorities enunciated during our Synod. Here they are:
1) Making and maturing disciples – here is our Mission Statement:
“We are a fellowship of Christian believers whose mission is to make disciples of all nations by preaching the Biblical Gospel, teaching God’s Word faithfully, and supporting one another in this mission and ministry of the Church to the glory of God alone.”
2) Strengthening marriages and families;
3) Ministering to Youth and Young Adults at the parish, Archdeaconry, and Diocesan levels;
4) Encouraging and enabling Clergy and Lay leadership education, professional development, character formation, accountability, and discipline;
5)Committing to unity and partnership in our Gospel ministry via monthly financial giving and in godly brotherly love that rejects all forms of racism and tribalism in the Diocese. Diocesan parishes will no longer be permitted to retain or use tribal names, as such are contrary to the multicultural and multiethnic nature of the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ, and contrary to the policy of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion); and
6). Praying at all times for one another. Paul writes, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”(Colossians 4:2-4). A year ago I asked all members of our diocese to fast and pray once a month for yourself, your ministry, your diocese etc. This is a reminder to put it back on your calendar if you’ve forgotten. If our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles prayed and fasted in order to be effective in ministry it makes no sense for us to believe that we can do well without prayer and fasting. Please make time to seek the face of God in prayer and fasting for us all.
Finally, it is my pleasure to bring to your attention our new Diocesan logo.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Felix Orji, OSB
Bishop | Anglican Diocese of CANA West
St. Francis Cathedral Church
“We are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. True faith always yields the fruit of obedience to one degree or another.” Dr. R. C. Sproul