Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for August, 2011

For Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Love and Peace”

Scripture:   Romans 12:9-21

Paul writes about the marks of the true Christian in this passage recorded in Romans.  I believe the two key words are “love and peace.”  Really these two words should affect our life in the Christian community and the world.  Love and peace are God’s gifts to us and the world and we in return are supposed to “pay it forward” so to speak.  We are not supposed to just speak these words but act on them in our day-to-day living, not just with our sisters and brothers in Christ but with all people.

In verse 9, Paul says, “Let love be genuine”.  In other words, we should not be hypocritical.  God is not hypocritical, God means what God says and God does what God says – especially in Jesus Christ.  Do we mean what we say and do what we say?   Or is this an area we need to work on?

Included in our worship on Sunday, the 28th, we will have a time of healing and blessing.  It is also the deadline for ordering the Bethlehem Star.   Sunday, September 4th will be our last Sunday beginning at 9:30AM in the Fellowship Hall for the summer and will be installing our Sunday School teachers and Christian Education Committee / Birthday Sunday.  Sunday, September 11th, we will start Rally Day with breakfast at 8:30AM, Sunday School for all ages at 9:30AM and worship back in our sanctuary at 10:45AM.  The service on the 11th includes:  Remembrance of 9/11;  Grandparents Day; Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

From the sermon on August 21, 2011  –  We are called by God into a diverse community of believers, with different gifts and different functions.  That is the church.  No one should think of themselves better than another because all gifts are equally important in God’s eyes.  And we need all of you with your gifts to continue to be the church at 15th & Walnut Streets, in Allentown, PA.

Martin Luther King, Jr. got it right when he said, “You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree…You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.  And you can be that servant too.”  If we take this passage to heart – we should all pray to God:  “Here I am, O Lord, with all that I am.  Use what you wish.”

Thought for the Week:  There is never a right or wrong time to pray.  Each moment of our lives can be a prayer when we live from faith and act from love.

Let us pray:  O God, may our prayers be honest.  May our prayers be true.  And may we boldly share our love with you.  Amen.

For Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Called Into Community”

Scripture:    Romans 12:1-8

In this passage, Paul said, “we, (believers) are called into community by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  It will be a diverse group of believers and we all have different gifts and different functions.

Have you ever thought that the diversity of our gifts and our members were all part of God’s plan?  They are and we should be glad because they make for a healthy body (a healthy congregation).  I ask you, “what are your gifts?”   Don’t overlook your gift no matter how small or insignificant you may feel it is – because all gifts are equally important in God’s eyes.  And our church would certainly welcome your gift if you would like to share it with us.

Just a reminder that you may order the Bethlehem Star through Sunday, August 28th.  The profit from this fundraiser will be earmarked for our 100th Anniversary in 2013.  Call the church office (610-432-7677) if you interested and would like an order blank.

From the sermon on August 7, 2011  –  God is global!  In the passage from Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter.  At first, his response seems cold, but after her persistence, Jesus does heal her daughter and says to the woman, “Great is your faith”!  It didn’t matter that this mother was a foreigner, a Gentile and a woman.  What mattered is that her daughter was in great need and she turned to Jesus for help.

The lesson to learn from this passage is that even those who are our enemies, God is their God, too.  The grump that lives down the block, or the person acting like a jerk that we meet in the grocery store, remember God is their God, too.  God is their God, too.  God doesn’t write anyone off.  God shows love and mercy to all who call  upon God’s name.

Thought for the Week:   Prayer is a ladder leading up to God; for there is nothing more powerful than prayer.   –  Anonymous

Let us pray:   Gracious God, you know our needs before we even speak to you.  You are available to us even when we ignore you.  Nudge us to remember you.  Help us love you the way you love us, O God.   We pray.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

Summer Church Picnic – 8/7/11

Sunday, August 7th, we had our summer church picnic immediately following worship.   We began with eating some great food, followed by magician, Roy Huffort, then onto children’s games and Bingo.  We ended with eating some great ice cream sundaes.  Enjoy some of our pictures.

For Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sermon Title:   “God is also Global”

Scripture:    Matthew 15:10-28

Did you know that God is global?  So often we focus on our own lives and our little corner of the world and lose sight of the rest of the world.  We might even think that God cares more for us than those people far away.  But God doesn’t – God loves the world.

While Jesus was in Gentile territory, far from home, a Canaanite woman begs him to heal her daughter.  She is not a Jew so some people might say she has no right to ask Jesus for anything.  She cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.  His disciples want to send her away. ”  (Matthew 15:22-23).  Come to worship on Sunday to find out how Jesus responds to the woman’s plea.  Does he heal the woman’s daughter or doesn’t he?

From the sermon on August 7, 2011 – Who has your unquestioned trust?  Is it Jesus?   Peter started walking on the water towards Jesus and all was well until it seemed he noticed the wind, he became scared and began to doubt.  It’s like he took his focus off Jesus and then everything fell apart.  We too need to keep our focus on Jesus every day, and approach God with the faith of a child.

Thought for the Week:  Trust the past to the mercy of God, trust the present to the love of God, trust the future to the providence of God.

Let us pray:  O God, we seek your presence to be with us this day.  May we grow in love and appreciate the beauty of your world.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sermon Title:    “Faith Like a Child”

Scripture:   Matthew 14:22-33

This week the scripture in Matthew’s gospel speaks of yet another miracle:  the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter’s faithful response.  The miracle of Jesus walking on water happened just a few hours after last week’s miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.

I leave you with this:   The disciples saw Jesus walking and thought He was a ghost.  How do you see Jesus?  How do you see Him after witnessing His guidance in your own life during these past months and years?  If you would like to hear more about this miracle and reflections, come to worship on Sunday, at 9:30AM in the Fellowship Hall and then join us for our Summer Church Picnic immediately following our service.  Everyone is invited to come.  Just bring yourself, your family and a friend.

Also a reminder that the Bethlehem Star Fundraiser will be ongoing until the last Sunday in August.  There are samples on the table in the Fellowship Hall, and order sheets.  Payment must accompany order.  Checks to be made out to St. James UCC.

From the sermon on July 31, 2011   –   Did you ever consider the story of the feeding of the 5,000 as a large picnic; something like our old Church picnics of years gone by?   The only difference was it was not planned for and no one was asked to bring anything.   The disciples were ready to send the crowd away into the villages so they could get their own supper.   But Jesus said in so many words, “Work with what you’ve got.”

Five loaves and two fish are not much by any standard, but work with what you’ve got.  God says, “you provide what you’ve got, and let me take care of the miracle.  The thing to remember is that whatever you have to give, God will bless it and spread it to the glory of God’s kingdom.

Thought for the Week:    Remember the 3 R’s:  Respect for others, Respect for self, Responsibility for your actions.

Let us pray:   Loving God, we thank you from the depths of our heart that nothing can ever separate us from your love in Christ.   Amen.