The Pursuit of Holiness

 Talk given at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church family retreat, Baitho. 


full service Okay. Good morning. So the theme for the weekend is and I talked about for today. Give me really tired of just think about this part because we're going to try to break down for us. But sometimes we may think it looks like and why sometimes mixed up we miss an option. Okay. So the first question is I have that we don't want to close to everybody together is you know just turned over a cheating with you know, when you're in school is always that one person who like has to get a hundred on everything. Are you going to be that guy or maybe you were like, I don't know the word talk to you make your adopted out great smoke a hookah. Come on. Now. We don't have to do all these things in general. Where what comes to my look when that's when that question is asked you but do you personally believe that you should be a holy person? Is that for you? Is that something that belongs to you? Is that natural? Is that normal? You don't even know if you don't want to speak directly. All right, cuz you were so early in the conference PDF. Okay, this is a good thing. It's not like it's a bad thing. Grown up in the church. I didn't always think that Holiness is a desirable thing for me. I thought I like God God is cool. But Holiness we tell you you can call but I'll tell you what three things here. This wasn't for me is because first of all, I thought God doesn't like funny things. God is Not So are you saying also there's this picture of her? That you've known you heard of you Googled I think of an actual person. Referring to that person who thought up is wearing shorts. Is that person a woman? Repeat is that person not flirting? Is there nothing there? The reason I say that is because sometimes even our perception of Holiness that was part of the barrier is I thought like a beard is essential to be a hold of guy right? I thought maybe something about you can personality. it's a really really before there's a big difference between Do we know kind of at least the cartoon of old cartoon with a door or what? It would look like on the outside. To be home today. I don't know. I don't know what the other things that have kind of been misconceptions for us. Are there any misconceptions about what it means to be truly? Holy for you or me for other people. or no Yeah, I agree 1% We had our our previous previous Pope quote phone. People's tell him before he passed. You say you know, it's not you laugh a lot. But we had this thing where he like Google's answer to all this stuff. And there's a lot of things I can't do but one of them is the church. is misconception about humor really the cord so we can get into it as we get into the session the core of it is Is Rue God wants me to be like the holy version of that is why really? It's not me trying to be somebody else. This is our first kind of goal is dropping the cartoon drop the Pretend There's as versus Saint Paul says about having a form of godliness, but denying its power. One of the great things that we have in the Orthodox Church is that we do form really well and lose the power. Then you lose the most important thing so you don't want to get caught up in the form and lose the power. The ideal thing is have the form of godliness and have the power to this point. I just think for me and oftentimes even if you take it a step further for a lot of young people This barrier of first viewing that it's not for me or it's not the norm for us. Is what makes us not able to really even have the conversational. How do I become? Holy was it look like if I was to tell you another another way to phrase this is is your natural goal to be a saint. For there to be an icon of you when when we call it a day for there to be a fitting about you and the prayers 200 years ago. It feels weird and it feels like well, there should be something about if God is saying the will of God is in the will of God is for us to be holy in him. The nurse should be so how do I become the holiest version of Gotham Academy? Okay. One little piece like when we think about Holiness one thing that sometimes you think you know, what is for me? I agree. We should want it. You should desire it. We should do it. How do you become home? How do we do? Sometimes a first-look thought. Don't do the bad things. You think of that when you think of being holy is it more about doing stuff or about not doing stuff? Which one is it? You think he's not doing stuff? And then I said about not doing the things that sings. Does that make you horny? No, I'm going to tell you guys so here, you know a little baby baby song. Oh be careful little eyes. Be careful little little little none with left shoulder and be careful with adults or trying to be grown now and go map. It's like this idea say Paul says in Hebrew and Hebrews 6 Elementary things. I'm just laying down the foundations of our Doctrine and then understanding, you know, this and that and you know speaker was speaking. We were like friends and I was like milk is too much. And I think one of the challenges that we got to be able to embrace as young people is look for milky milk part is good. Don't do the things. I don't want to tell you what the legend of Oliver is Oliver is a person who has never stolen ever never lie. Celibate, okay. I literally don't even good as far as I can tell. This is as close to senlis Nestucca. I can lose you. Does that make Oliver holy? again, similar question So, this is Oliver. Maybe someone a biscuit here in Yakima. I don't trust my good friends dog. so the fact that he didn't do bad things doesn't get just make them cute and fluffy. Okay. We talked about the first one is a mental barrier. Hopefully we got over that we say no not we agree. No way Holiness is for all of us to 100% It's kind of like sometimes I would think about holding you again similar to school like if it's great on a bell curve. roar like a B minus what's cool. Maybe the back of the church, you know the books you figured out and recognized you in the end, but you don't have to like go crazy and get a hundred on every liturgical thing. Resonates with us, but we know that's not the way it should be. But at least for this morning want to say we don't we don't have that there is no curve. Every single Orthodox person in the history of mankind has the same eligibility criteria can get to the same level with God as everybody else. Nobody has you no special privilege Antonio's what I wanted to mention it sometimes other barriers, but we have like really bad anxiety and we can't we don't know how to deal with that or we want to be holding it really bad. think about it as a potential barrier that can be overcome and then we used to mission trip in Egypt for monks. And and clergy and as well as regular non-smoking people who are struggling with mental health stuff. Do we all believe that? So now we get to the good stuff. This is now the real moving from common to consecrated. Think about a term. What is the word holiness mean from the Old Testament Deuteronomy? It means to be set apart for a special purpose, but we know this we've heard that means set apart. Just like Unholy, we're like bad, but it's come. you know, like when we set up for liturgical things there are some things that we will not use for anything else but liturgical but our spoons Unholy, but this one's that you eat cereal with Are they like? Bad Suns We Orthodox Christians were not made to be, we were not too late to be regular since we were made to be Sanctified from the ones that give you the blood of Christ the ones that are made for one special person. And here's the good news as well if you can see the third bullet. He said St. John says you have an anointing from the Holy One me if you were waiting for the time to become wholly or waiting for the time to become constipated again. Right now are you constipated? Are you are you a person? About to what have what was that thing about ISM his baptism and then there's Christmas tree. The Holy Spirit and I think the right of the ritual is probably the same and there's an anointing oil with signifies. Now the indwelling of the Holy Spirit like I was going to wedding yesterday for the reason why I was late. I'll be waiting for you in this crazy place. That's not a Coptic church. And the bishop was asking. Hey, did you bring the thing that concentrates, you know the place to make you constipated? and they were. Make a place like right now even the conference room. We were in church. Maybe next week to have a wedding there, too. But if we can make it into a consecrated place we can make it into a place that you use now for a special purpose by the presence of God and the church and whatever and blessing. Again, when we ask each other are you consecrated? What do you think of what comes to your mind? You think if you bring a baptism then you're right. If you don't think about doesn't mean you think of I can't be concentrated. I'm just me like I'm in college like I'm just or I'm just a person with children are. Yoda saying we forget to link sometimes maybe sometimes cuz we were young and like baby and stuff. We miss all what happened in baptism. And what happened in chrismation really special prison was anointing from the Holy One. It's as if I'm putting it this way. It's a different way to consecrated. You know when somebody becomes a priest right or enough or whatever there's a whole thing for them because now they are consecrated and now they are like ordained for a purpose, right? Can you imagine somebody to come in and then they do that? It will be up to y'all because they were ordained for a purpose but we sometimes miss this for us. You were not any less ordained for a purpose than people who are formally working with the church. You find out to be true. Is that something that's prevalent for the Forefront of our minds, but it's a reality. It's a really really really. Emphasizes for us because it makes a big difference. It makes a big difference for me and you before going to school or if we're going to work and we're going there as As someone who like I have books movie for this way for us to pick you up on Sunday and then he still work on Monday. So if you're a priest and it's one piece, I know that's a position. So on Monday seeing patients, but he's also a priest. How do I see patients as a priest and you can't separate that's not like you going to do non priest things on Monday if you still a priest What's easier for them sometimes maybe because they have to be at them physically look different. Before us the point that I'm making is if you were to think of yourself as if I'm a consecrated Christian has been Anointed with the only one the only one I have the invoice in the Holy Spirit and now I'm there. It's like on this church and we can't turn our church into like a basketball court in play ball in the author because the consecrated picture on purpose. Make sense of what we want to move from, to consecrated. That's our goal for this morning session. this week Hope you have a great day. I love that. I think it's a hundred. Let's has really dig into that for a second. You know how some people have this cuz that's actually the truth and then there is the not so truth that we sometimes feel. There's like secular work. and spiritual maybe you feel so maybe you don't if you are like what kind of jobs people have just nurse pharmacist future Engineers if you're an engineer, so you go to work and you go to engineering work. sometimes it's a little bit more. It's a little difficult arguably come in and say God has Sanctified me once work and I will be assigned to find presents for this place. In the same way, like if you were to have the bishop maybe have an engineering background fill in for you for a day. Do they have a holy presence the way you speak with people will be holding. The challenge for us see this little switch to put it this way is that like God needs us to be disliked. Holy infiltration. In society, we need somebody. Holy in engineering it somebody holding pop culture. I have a friend who works at Facebook Facebook. Show Facebook live on the roof. That's exactly the point but because we miss it, but if you really grasp this point the impact on our society. Yes, absolutely. And I believed to be honest. I'm not saying that we don't I think part of it is we want to try to integrate this. We want to try to fight for me how I try. I gave a lecture to the residence last week on the importance of the spiritual life in Psychiatry because I'm I'm looking for trying to see how can we get rid how to make sure that God is present in the exam room, you know at 4 shrinks. It takes a little bit of creativity. You know, what does it look like for a young adult? I don't know. I don't know. A mindset has first. Okay. I'm consecrate Step 1 Step 2. I've been sent you know how I always think about sex anymore for us and Thomas for you guys. I think like me and you guys are so cool that cuz of them for all here. News flash for me and you we are sent to where we are. We are sent we're not here because like wherever is University or in whatever work. I believe that I was sent the South Bronx, New York City. and I'm not sense because Whatever. I'm set because God is working on his place. but if you don't think that a few things like accident again, I say more country than we like what we do here. I guess find a place to crash. Find a good food good food in this place. This recognition of my consecration is credible and should be like staple are forehead. What is it that she look like so I don't know what it looks like exactly for everything. Okay, and I want to share with you three quick ones of these holy people in plain sight the first and third maybe not. Let me start the furniture. If you didn't this guy and this is a great book if you were looking for a book to read like during the season written by one of our Bishop about a man named hubby is an Egyptian guy. Who lives in Egypt news and gossip? And a time in our church in pop culture in the college I know each other but I'll be honest with you. There's a time for us not so long ago were there was such little education that nobody people look around the church. There was no Sunday school. There was no education you go to somebody that education really was was the Liturgy of the Liturgy scripture Doctrine. Raymond Habib How do I know when you and I are in the church and you look around you find something. You don't like. What are off? I'm on the noob Fix-It Man Steve. Most people in his era were like professional complaint because complainers are a dime. what this man did and he was out of Bishop. This guy was a regular guy. Something in the church is not okay, and it's not somebody else's problem. It's my problem. I'm going to do something about. teachers Educators example of a teacher in the church I will create a system of Sonics. I don't know how you guys do teaching but I don't know what the issue was in church us. This was literally the point of no teaching and then the system of Sunday school where people were learning and flourishing to the point where that begin to get old. Celine exist before him and he was recently canonized but it's a good look like you struggle to in church and you say yourself I'm a member of this church. This is my home and I want to make it better. Sometimes there's going to be so sometimes he was going hard and the reason why I see him as an inspiration and he was 19. Wasn't a thing for several things and I try to think of them as eyepiece. Each one of us has a personality got a specially gifted you with the personality that he hasn't everyone. I am very shocked if I try to use my shyness on a Kinect You know I'm saying or if it's not a personality thing fits a personal experience all of us have formative experiences in life, right these personal experiences. Sometimes the most difficult experience that we have. Can become something with the church really needs who's going to be able to talk to us on what it's like to have a friend of mine who lost both parents growing up. My parents are so with me. I don't know what that's like the count somebody else as much as he has other friends went through a terrible divorce, but she looks at it as you know what she was faithful in the whole thing. She wasn't her fault. And she's like I think God brought me to this incredibly difficult season because to be with other people are struggling with the Bible verse right? God Comforts us. Don't waste your personal experience sometime. It's a good experience as a bad experience. But I'm staying at least evaluate your personal experience and say how can God use my thing. Give me my thing is like an ability like personality power personal experience power. I believe that God has given given me a power of position with this deal done and every single one of us has given power or position we whatever field or have a friend of mine has been there. He loves it because he's able to spend an extended. Of time with people as they do we have any is always like just chatting with him. Hey don't hey, how's your marriage going? How's everything like confession but longer and you can Biltmore it through the thinking about these pieces power. The personality is personal experience. These are the world phenomenon kind of event. Yeah, please work these where I put the icon really cool icon as well as the picture just so we can remember that they were like real people to this is obviously intended for evil, but God meant it for good. He was saying this about his brother's this is the same thing winter intended to scare the Christian Community. and one of the reasons why I thought these are inspiring it because again, They were not any particular. They're not like super Peach DS super special super whatever it was as much a regular dudes and in their work. Gordon was put a family in somewhere different and when they were challenge obviously almost challenge. I had a friend once I'm a look at Mentor who's tell me. At work if you're not a new job. Well, please don't tell nobody lyrics. Please don't make it look bad at first at work at school at wherever we're at. The first thing really is a faithfulness of what we bring cuz that's because we were who is your boss at work? Who is your boss at University? Is give me the work just giving you the engineering stuff for the PT stuff with education stuff for the kids that you teach for the patient that you see is the first marker of what it can look like to be holy to be consecrated. Let me tell you my favorite Church by the story of all time. Cemeteries is his last name is the great great great great. Great Great Britain. What is or is not about him? The story behind us a couple times online the kid is not uncommon, you know about the desert praying typical kind of Miracle working really closely. I feel like there's nobody, you know the chase to get closer to you to chase somebody else. And I told them I got you cemeteries. He sends him to to us to the city. He didn't send him to another Bishop didn't send it to another person who was also like older longer beard maybe in like blacker cloth to see these two women who were married women. We had children. Turn on the outside lights on the outside. Like if there was a cop shows have like a lineup of the perpetrators to put these two women in a lineup. Nobody would say all we should make them things. There's something about God cuz if you need to write something in the Bible, it says God sees the heart doesn't see the external appearance. God is looking for us and hear all up in here. Not just curious Deez to women. You have not begun to attain their home. And it's not towards the end of temperature when he's like. What feels like fluid but he's just walking around like Hummer. Of course in the in the church, we talk about empowering women to be saying Sports we do about these other crates. Sometimes but even waiting I was at yesterday. The priest was giving the sermon sometimes I don't know if is a thing in your spiritual. Does that happen to you guys to riches us? Maybe know if it doesn't happen? It's whatever God is giving the reason I love the story is because again on the outside nothing look fancy about these people these two women, who were they married Brothers they had children and when they were swings him because he said we just dedicated ourselves prayer. to loving our children into loving one another loving our spouses and raising things. That's it was like I was waiting for the day. Super me part of the the takeaway is what we're talkin about our own consecration our own holding us our own recognition of phones. Does it have to be flashy? You have to be real it has to be safe to ask to be I'm given to God God is a real dude or is it just real God is real authentic way possible. The last thing I want to see this icon here. Okay, we want to have this morning session is I will consecrate myself to God by Maybe a part of it is of things that I will not do some of these things. Because like you said before to be really consecrated like the older vessels, you can't sometimes you just a real and sometimes used for the body of Christ in this mixture is not exactly what we going to do. So we don't want to mix it. Holiness is home. is home what else would we be? When God Says be holy cuz I'm only saying something weird. He's not being tell me to feed the nerdy overachiever in the whole you are from the holy is probably a similar thing. God is saying I'm ready Musical. I'm ready to hold it by you like right now. For us we must receive the best home. Is it natural? and when my favorite verse in Colossians 3 verse 8 ball says you died. And your life is hidden with Christ in God everybody in our society want to tell you tell me tell us. Who are supposed to be? You know. Any famous person will tell you how you should be like me to be on my Instagram and be like me. Not to sing. This may be throughout your whole life. So far. You live life based on whatever may be based on other external factors, but there's a real you. not real you is the holy you the holy me and you is the real one that's hidden with Christ in God. We got to go find. Because anything that's not whole he's not really mean and is a part of us that feels that you know when you sent if you have or no. You just feel like this is not home. This is not me, but we do it but it doesn't feel like it should be me. And there's a part maybe a moment in the fridge maybe a moment in the special group. Will you feel connected to God and you should deals home, right? This is it. I'm home. I'm where I need to be. The more we can cultivate this hidden life with Christ and off. The more likely we can understand. What is the natural disposition? I like to say this. How do I defeat? I agree 100% understand the fact that I think it's really special that the god encourages us to be unique. You know how if you can picture for second to make this comparison of like good parenting and make fun of us as parents. A bad parent will try to make their kid a copy of them, but you should be like me in every possible way. I did this because he doesn't want us who wants to be copies of his health in only the fact that we're holy, but he's equipped us with this unique personnel and the other cool part when the Bible says we're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. You know, you know when you go in the church and I do this to you may be heard and it looks like we have this ain't see yourself at any of those guys. That's something that I've done. It really made a difference for me and I thought because part of our model stuff just now got in the Revelation and this is how you become a Christian. but if you can say hey, you know, what for me one of the things I love is like Adventure went here did that and it was like exploring a new Pioneer. I love that. I want to be like that guy. The classic example of St. Mary looking John the Baptist. Is any of them like same here than the other different things didn't just go event. And if it was to really manage our unique uniqueness is not just fostered by God but by our church family. Both hear the Victoria's wanted to trouble, you know to be at fault and then we get to the next that's why I put insert like on here. That's who identify yourself with others that are not consent for that death is what? That the meaning of that supposed to begin part of the journey. And you done cuz the new perfect. I was lecturing. And one person comes up is the new one flesh. They become now one is one will one decision making Well, that's kind of the idea. Right the idea. Is this the recycling is very important. The death is like me me me me about me and about. No because because that's how you discover your real self only if you lose yourself Vine. Should you try to hold on to this is me. I never even know who you want. And God, maybe would I would love to share with you who you are? 2 The next to us and we are going to do about the fire because we are not going to be holding. I think that's obviously holding is at the end of the day is like a gift that God gives us is not something that we say. I'm going to be tomorrow. with prayer like when you ask him, he's just so willing to give it just a matter of we need to talk about like the ways we encounter this and the ways we make it out first the ways we make it our goal on different group, but I'm just tell you this since you're here. or identify So the way I think about it is it's linked, please let me tell you what it's not. It'll tell you don't think about elephants. Don't think it'll help. So who is not just I know you didn't start. to God they have to kind of go together. It can't just be like repentance part of the way. We understand because of turning of mine or change of Direction. yeah, we're sorry we're going to Her Direction, and I want to stop I have right now. I'm doing things that are that are filling up my time or my ability or my whatever with things are not good. I can just empty and leave it as a vacuum. I got an empty and fill it with good stuff. . Angry or are you just using this word because just want to express something. But it's very difficult. How do you get it is so in the Psalms? Like we pray for God's will likely Duster. And I think actually I'm done broke. So I believe this is one of the fundamental ways that we mess up repented Church. If we believe that God the holy spirit is the one who else us to repent. Why do we sometimes think we're going to talk about stuff? And we'd to the way we approach them sometime this like behavior-based stop doing the things. Stop smoking. It's because the way we change is because it's Christ enables us to change. Any Order of Things stopping to do bad things for the pursuing God? I think it's really important to know how to spell pursue gone and God make it stop doing the things. as opposed to this is like the analogy of saying we always possibly think you know when someone is like a sinner and doing bad things outside the church, do you stop doing bad things and then go to church you going to church and church you received the resource the hospital and then and now enables you to not it's like if you're sick, you're sick. Stop being sick. Then you go to the hospital. Go to hospital because you have this mixed up. It's actually really fundamental for us personally as well as the people around us. We don't stop disease before we get people off. Our main goal is to connect me to the dock and for us individually to when I see that I'm sick, man. I can't keep off and then he will begin simple, but we actually have a perfectly back. perfect course and we add to that because we're like very Pious and like There's nothing else nothing else I can stop one is at Merrifield number two, is that the solution to things must begin by first coming to the person of Christ? Who is Hannibal Heelys will then we'll use it. And I think I've stopped.