Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for July, 2011

For Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sermon Title:     “What Matters is the Giving”

Scripture:   Matthew 14:13-21

This is the story of the feeding the Five Thousand.  The disciples and thousands of people followed Jesus to a deserted place and as evening began to fall, Jesus had compassion for them.  He cured the sick and asked the disciples to feed them.  Their reply was “all we have is five loaves and two fish “.   Jesus took them and blessed them and amazingly there was enough food for everyone.

How did this happen?  We are not sure.  But if you would like to hear more reflection, come and worship with us at St. James UCC, Sunday morning at 9:30AM in the Fellowship Hall.  We will also have a time of healing n’ blessing during our worship.

Christmas in August:  Bethlehem Star Fundraiser – we will begin taking orders for these beautiful stars on Sunday thru Sunday, August 28th.   A small star is (7 1.2″) for $25.00 and the large one (14″) is $50.00.   If paying by check, make payable to St. James UCC.  Check must accompany order.   Consider buying one for yourself and for a loved one at Christmas.

From the sermon on July 24, 2011  –  When someone is talking to you, do you ever nodd and act like you are listening but really aren’t?   When Jesus was talking to the disciples about God’s reign in the world, the disciples politely nodded like they understood, but they really didn’t.   I often wonder if we understand any better in 2011.

One point that I gleaned out of this passage was the fact that Jesus wants us to view the world in a different light – to change our perspective.  It doesn’t have to happen in big revolutions that change us and the world, but little revolutions that begin with the hearts and minds of every human being in the world.

Did you know that as a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ, through our baptism, we are all filled with the Holy Spirit and can change someone else’s eternity?  We are called to bless others in need.  How are you fulfilling this responsibility?

Thought for the Week:    “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God” by Karl Barth.

Let us pray:  May this sacred place, St. James UCC, and each of as individuals be a place where the treasure of Christ is easily seen and encountered.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

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For Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sermon Title:    “Unexpected Treasure”

Scripture:   Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

   In this passage, Jesus says the  kingdom of God was like a mustard seed, like yeast, like treasure hidden in a field, like fine pearls, or like a net tossed out to sea where the good catch is sorted from the bad afterward.   The disciples weren’t sure if they understood it, do we? 

    Jesus was inviting his disciples, and us, to view the world in a different way – to change our perspective.   If you would like to change your perspective, then come and worship, come and hear!  Don’t forget worship is 9:30AM in the Fellowship Hall.   We will be dedicating our Bethany Home Special Offering.  See you there!

     From the sermon on July 17, 2011 – Jesus tells us to leave the weeds among the wheat, to let the good and the evil mix.  He says, “we are not wise enough to know the difference between what’s good and what’s evil.”  What we call weeds, God may call wheat – for God is the only one who can judge anyone or anything in our world. 

   Let’s consider good weed – pot, dope, it goes by many names.  Most of us think of it as bad, but there are some medicinal uses for illnesses and it can even be used to power our cars.  And how about seagrass – it may not be beautiful to us, but those who can make baskets, it can be transformed into something beautiful. 

   And there are not just weeds in the world, but what about the weeds in our own hearts like:  vengeance, pride, envy, cheating, stealing, lying, and anger to name a few.  They are all within us, the bad among the good thoughts.  So let us not be so eager to rip out the bad weeds, but trust that God has a plan.  Let us trust God and allow God to create something beautiful in our lives.

Thought for the Week:   We say we understand Jesus’ commands to us, but do   our actions prove it?

Let us pray:  Almighty God, may our hearts and minds be open to your Spirit as you are always open to hear our prayers.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Wheat in Disguise”

Scripture:  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

We often get excited when we hear this parable.  There are weeds in the wheat.  We are certain we can tell the difference between the two.  Jesus said, “leave the weeds among the wheat – let the good and the evil mix.”  What we call weeds, God may call wheat  – so what do we do?    COME AND HEAR!    This Sunday is our summer communion – come and receive the sacred elements by intinction!

Thought for the Week:  BFF – Be Forever Faithful

Let us pray:   All encompassing God, we come before you with hearts full of thanks and praise.  We give you thanks for this day, for this community of faith and for the people in our lives who bless us and receive blessings from us.  Give us the strength we need this day and every day.  Amen

Jigsaw Puzzles

   First jigsaw puzzle I finished in a long time.  Finally over vacation, I made a space in the spare bedroom where I can keep the puzzle up no matter how long it takes me.  I really missed putting puzzles together because they are so relaxing and with each piece, you eventually come to see the whole picture. 

    Recently I even finished reading a book entitled, “The Pattern in the Carpet” by Margaret Drabble.  It is a personal history with jigsaws especially going into how they came to be, when and where.  Drabble also goes into some history of games.  It truly was interesting and it certainly peaked my interest again in putting jigsaw puzzles together.  I have many in my home that I glued and then framed.  The one I just finished today is a picture of 85 cats that my granddaughter gave me two Christmases ago.  So you can see how long I pushed aside something I truly love to do.   A perfect way to end my vacation – one more day and then back to church and work. 

    Even though I spent most of my days at home, doing this or that, I truly did enjoy every minute I had, catching up on things that went by the wayside.  I am soon ready to come back to the real world and be involved in ministry at St. James.   May God grant to everyone a time of renewing and relaxation this summer.

FREEDOM

  This July 4th weekend, as we attend parties and picnics, let us not forget the real reason we celebrate – our FREEDOM!   Much has changed in our country since 9/11 and I believe now more than ever it is important to show patriotism.  So fly your flags and remember the Pledge of Allegiance:

         I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American, and to the Republic for which it stands:  one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

  A Patriotric Prayer                                                                                                                   

      Long may our country’s flag  Proudly wave Over our nation So strong and brave.   Long may our hearts beat With trust and pride As we ask God, the Father To be our loving guide.                      Written by Dorothy Heibel