Newsletter

The Beatitudes

01-20-2021Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

This week in my fellowship, Mike Peters had us watch a homily by Fr. John Riccardo, a wonderful homilist and Spirit filled priest whom I had never heard before. The topic was the “Beatitudes” of Matthew Chapter 5. A great subject for sure but not one that I usually run to for inspiration!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12, RSV-CE)

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Happy New Year!

01-01-2021Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

Welcome to 2021! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s break!

One of the traditions Pam and I have been practicing on New Year’s eve is to think of all the things we are grateful for. Good health, a relationship with Jesus, the gift of our family are all easy choices. But as I pondered the question, “What am I grateful for” I realized how generous the Father is to us, and how often we focus on material blessings instead of the gifts that profoundly represent His love for us. One thing I observed at Christmas this year with my grandkids was how much they enjoyed giving gifts they had made for each other and seeing the reactions of their cousins to the labor of love they had crafted. It beautifully took the focus off of “what did I get” and created an atmosphere of mutual blessing. The Father loves to give us gifts; His only begotten Son Jesus to save us, His Holy Spirit to sanctify us, the Blessed Mother to lead us to a relationship with her Son and the Saints to show us a heroic witness of the way of life God calls us to. And finally you, my brothers and sisters in City of the Lord; we are Gods’s gift to one another. We “represent” God’s love to each other—in other words we “Re-Present’ or present over and over the Love of God and the Gift He is to us! Let’s not forget this!

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Prepare!

12-07-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

I think its an understatement to say “2020 didn’t work out quite like I thought it would!”

A year ago, my letter to the community spoke about the “Humility of God”. The mystery of God becoming man and how God’s ways are not our ways- His thoughts not our thoughts! (Isaiah 55:8). I spoke about the mystery of John 3:16 and why does God so love the world that he sent his only Son to save us and restore us to relationship with Himself ? To begin to plumb the depths of that mystery, we have to understand that one of the grand principles of God’s nature is the He “moves towards’. God “moves toward” Himself in the Trinity. He initiates the incarnation with His great desire to “move toward” and dwell among His people. In the institution of marriage, He creates a desire for man and woman to “move toward” one other; the two becoming one flesh in marriage and consequently the family reflecting the life of the Trinity. In Luke 15 Jesus speaks of the three parables of God pursuing us and “moving toward” us so to speak. In the parables of the “Lost Sheep”, the “Lost Coin” and finally the “Lost Son” who the Father runs toward to greet and restore into relationship with himself.

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New Statutes Approved

11-16-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters

As I write this letter, I am preparing for our November 14, 2020 GLG (General Leaders Gathering) where the Senior Leadership Teams of all of our Branches come together (via zoom this year) to approve the final version of our new City of the Lord Governing Statutes (Constitution). While this may not sound like very interesting or exciting news, it is a milestone in our journey of refounding that our Community began several years ago. I also received a very nice letter from Bishop Olmsted yesterday approving our Statutes and encouraging us in our mission as a Community. He remarked that our new Statutes “are well done, with greater emphasis and clarity on the City of the Lord’s core mission and identity..”

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A Family of Families

11-02-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

As I write this, our 2020 AZ Branch Men’s retreat is almost a week behind us. What a wonderful time we had together! 39 men gathered at El Nathan retreat center in Flagstaff for three days of fellowship, worship and impartation of revelation that will lead us into the next season God is unfolding before us. A big thanks to all the brothers that shared, prepared talks, helped with meals and logistics. I think everyone that attended had some role of service that was indispensable.

One of the blessings of this Men’s retreat was the variety of ages that attended. From an 18 year old Pivonka to the 91 year old head of the Lebeau clan! One third of our attendees were young adults, and we had many guests, sons and brothers that attend our young adult bible study and participate in our life in other ways. I was reminded of the scripture:

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Do Not Lose Heart

10-16-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

A few days ago I was spending time with our youngest daughter Julie at our house and she asked me if I knew the scripture 2 Cor 4:16. I wish I could say I had committed it to memory, but it wasn’t ringing a bell. Here it is:

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, RSV-CE)

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Making Agreements with God

10-02-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters:

I asked the question last week in my letter to the Branch, whether we were open to the “surprises” of the Holy Spirit? As I write this, President and Mrs. Trump have just contracted the Covid 19 virus. What timing! Let us all join together in praying for their healing and speedy and complete recovery in Jesus name!

The Sunday Gospel has been on my heart from Mass a few weeks ago regarding Jesus’ parable of the Vineyard Owner and His need for workers to bring in the harvest from Matthew Chapter 20:

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Addemdum to September 11 Post

09-12-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

I would like to propose an addendum to my letter of last Friday, where I said- "It is easy to get bogged down amid the noise and confusion of our modern world and the variety of voices and opinions that scream for our attention. We need to avoid the temptation of reverting to self-reliance and human wisdom that is rooted in fear and control....Eternal perspective is what is needed at this moment in history."

With social media's influence on all of us and the ready access to conflicting news reports about topics such as Pope Francis and his orthodoxy, the pros and cons of a variety of political topics such as the coming of the end times, the proper response to the pandemic and restrictions such as mask-wearing, sheltering in place etc... I would urge all members to "Make love your aim" (1 Cor 14:1)

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Remembering September 11

09-11-2020Senior Coordinator LetterJeff Looker

Brothers and Sisters

I am writing this letter to you on September 11, 2020. As Americans, we all know the significance of that date. The world changed forever after the events in New York unfolded that morning when evil plans descended upon so many innocent victims at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and beyond. I remember where I was when I heard the news (as most of us did, I am sure). I was in the middle of spreading drywall mud on a wall in my office building that I had just purchased for my architectural practice a few weeks before. The contractor working with me asked if I had seen the news, and we quickly switched on the TV (no smartphones back then!). I had a large architectural practice at that time with many employees that depended on a good economy for us to keep busy, so an additional level of anxiety crept in as well. The world was stunned and asked what does this mean? Many of my clients shut down projects due to uncertainty. Somehow though, we managed our way through the chaos, the Lord provided, and we pulled together as Americans. I remember a great sense of unity in that moment and the days that followed. Of course, that unity was regrettably short-lived, as politics and division came in at an even bigger scale.

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