Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teen Talks 2013

With the new year upon us, I'd like to gather our dedicated Orthodox teens together for Great Vespers, discussion sessions, and dinner. We will meet at St George Orthodox Church on Saturday evenings at 5:00p for our "Teen Talks" and then worship together during Great Vespers at 6:30p, followed by a Dinner Outing.

Please invite your friends and family to join us for these SOYO activities during the next few months. Restaurant suggestions are greatly appreciated.

January 19 - Teen Talk theme: "Making Disciples of All Nations: An Orthodox Mission in America." We will discuss the history of Orthodoxy in America; our Orthodox presence in American society today and how it relates to our Faith at home and school.

January 26 - Teen Talk theme: "Science & Religion: An Orthodox Perspective." We will discuss our God as Creator and how to use what we learn in classes that deal with Science to strengthen our faith in our Creator.

February 23 - Teen Talk theme: "A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness: St John the Baptist." Prior to the Feastday of the 1st & 2nd Finding of the Honorable Head of St John the Baptist (February 24), we will discuss the importance of St John the Baptist in the History of Salvation focusing on his Life and example for us as Orthodox Christians.

March 9 - Teen Talk theme: "Praying at Home: How Can I Find the Time?" We will discuss the importance of praying to our Lord, and building a personal relationship with our Savior, especially at home.

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Orthodox Young Adult Book Club continues in 2013

Young Adult Ministries of Greater Houston is hosting its 3rd installment of our Orthodox Young Adult Book Club. Join us on Wednesday evenings (beginning January 23) at St George Antiochian Orthodox Church at 7:00p (Daily Vespers at 6:30p).

We will set up a "hosting" schedule at our first gathering for the remainder of our sessions. The book selection is The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer by Archimandrite Irenei. You can read his Bio HERE. This work is available in our St George Bookstore for $12.00 per copy. Please confirm with Paul Fuller of your participation, so we know how many books we need for the group.

Below is the book description from the backcover:

"The beginnings of prayer arise from the longing of the heart to know God, to rest in Him Who showed His love upon the precious Cross, to abide in the fullness of communion with Him. In the present book - a primer on prayer - Archimandrite Irenei first prepares the ground by helping us to count the cost (Luke 14:28) of our lives as Christians, to take stock of the spiritual struggle we must undertake if we are to ascend toward God in prayer. Then, based on a sober appraisal of our lowly condition and of the worldly and demonic influences that assail us, he helps us to adorn our inward beings as temples of prayer.

With an eye ever on the practical application of Orthodox Christian teaching to the spiritual life, the author raises our minds and hearts to a greater awareness of the holiness and majesty of God, and at the same time of the potential for us - unworthy though we are - to enter into intimate communion with Him. This awareness inspires us to explore with the author the depths of prayer, and to strive more fervently toward eternal life in Christ - the end for which we have been created."

Book Club Discussion Schedule (Wednesday evenings at 7p):

*January 23:  Introduction & The Call of Christ toward Self-Examination [pp. 7-19]
*January 30:  Attending to our Struggles [pp. 20-35]
*February 6:   Attending to our Struggles (continue) & The Transformative
Power of the Attentive Heart [pp. 35-54]
February 13:  The Beginnings of Prayer [pp. 57-70]

*February 20:  A Century of Prayer & Watchfulness [pp. 71-92]   
*February 27:  Second Century on Prayer – On the Preparation of the
Mind & Heart [pp. 93-109]
*March 6:  A Second Century on Prayer & A Postscript – Prayer & the Cross [pp. 109-122]

For more information, please contact Paul Fuller, Youth & Young Adult Director of St George (paulf518@yahoo.com) and visit our Facebook Group: "Young Adult Ministries in Houston TX."

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Friend of the Bridegroom: St John the Baptist

In the Life of the Church, it is customary on the day following Great Feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, to remember those saints who participated directly in the sacred event. So, on the day following the Theophany of the Lord, the Church honors the one who participated directly in the Baptism of Christ, placing his own hand upon the head of the Savior.

Baptism of our Lord
St John, the holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, whom the Lord called the greatest of the prophets, concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens the era of the New Testament. The holy Prophet John bore witness to the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnate in the flesh. St John was accounted worthy to baptize Him in the waters of the Jordan, and he was a witness of the Theophany of the Most-Holy Trinity on the day of the Savior's Baptism.

"He must increase, but I must decrease": the words of St John the Baptist as quoted in Gospels (John 3:30) is a beautifully stated and essential reminder for all Christians. He is explaining to his followers the fulfillment of his ministry in proclaiming the good news of the coming of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ into the world.

Forerunner & Baptist, John
St John calls himself the "friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. "Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled" (John 3:29). What a remarkable example of the love of God and understanding of one's purpose in life!

Our Lord says of John, "For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he" (Luke 7:28).

I am currently reading for the second time an amazing book reflecting on the life and purpose of St John the Baptist entitled The Friend of the Bridegroom: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Forerunner by Sergius Bulgakov. I strongly encourage you to read it as well.

Through the prayers of the Forerunner, O Lord our God, have mercy upon us!

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director