Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for October, 2011

For Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011

Sermon Title:    “True Greatness”

Scripture:    Matthew 23:1-12

This is one of those Sundays that as a Pastor we get to choose which suggestion we follow for the day:  Do we talk about the Reformation or do we go with the lessons for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost?  This year I chose the scriptures for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, specifically in the gospel of Matthew.

We all know that Monday, October 31st  is Halloween.  If you have children or grandchildren, or maybe even yourself, thoughts might be on what kind of costume to wear, or at least what kind of mask to put on.  Well, Jesus was kind of thinking about the same thing, though he was not thinking of Halloween.  He was thinking about the costumes and masks that people put on in everyday life, especially the Pharisees. 

Matthew 23 begins:  Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:  “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.  But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach…everything they do is done for people to see.”

The truth is that the Pharisees do not practice what they preach.  Do you know someone like that?  It is so easy to preach to others, but so hard to actually follow your own advice.  Come and hear what Jesus has to say about “true greatness” and where it is found.”

From the sermon on October 23, 2011  –  When the lawyer asked Jesus:  “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  Jesus answered, “Love God above everything else.  Love neighbor as yourself.”  Simple words, but not so simple to follow because most times we would rather only love those who are like us, or who love us. 

In simple words, Jesus was teaching, “anyone who is in need, anyone who is alive, is our neighbor.”  That’s what it means to love God.  We are supposed to love people we don’t like.   We are even expected to love people who don’t like us.  We have to put ourselves in places where we are not comfortable. 

We all need to be reminded of the greatest commandment – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Our goal as a Chrisian and as a church is to touch people with the love of God. 

Thought for the Week:   God can turn obstacles into opportunities.

Let us pray:    O God, for the breath you give to all living things, for the good, for the sum of all things, for the assurance we have in things hoped for, for the strength of love, we give you our thanks and praise.  For these reminders that all things work for good for those who love God, we offer up our thanks and praise.  Amen.      Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011

Sermon Title:    “The Great Debate”

Scripture:   Matthew 22:34-46

This passage is a small piece of a larger conversation that we are listening to, kind of like listening to a family argument in a restaurant.  Or better yet, this morning, we heard about the debates between those who are trying to become the republican candidate for President.  The debates are already starting.

The passage recorded in Matthew reminds me of those debates.  The question that the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Jesus discussed back in verse 17, is a hot topic, “Which is the greatest commandment?”    The lawyer asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

Jesus told them, “Love God above everything else.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”  These are familiar answers I am sure to many of you, but what was Jesus truly saying?  Come to worship on Sunday at 10:45AM and hear more about Jesus’ answer.

Thought for the Week:    If you never thank God after every smile…Then why do you blame Him for every tear?   – This is a statement I saw on facebook from Travis Danner.  Not sure who the author is, but it really touched me.

Let us pray:    God is faithful and true.  God created the world and pronounced it “Good!”.  We give you thanks God, for the bounty of the earth.  We pledge to show respect for these wonderful gifts you have given us.  All thanksgiving and praise be yours for the wonderful blessings of your universe.  Amen.   Pastor Lorraine

Penny Party Fun

Here are some pictures from our recent “Penny Party” on October 8, 2011.  Some are of our members working in the kitchen, and various other areas; and some are just having fun!  Enjoy!  Pictures were taken by Marie Sincavage and myself. 

For Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Standing Firm Before a Watching World”

Scripture:   Philippians 4:1-9

In this passage Paul asks for unity among the people and for the congregation to support the women who are active in his ministry.  He then closes by advising them not to be anxious and to practice the Christian virtues listed. 

Verse 7 reads, “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  When I think about God’s love and His peace surrounding us, I imagine one thing that we can wrap around us, physically to feel this love and peace.  What is it?  And what does it mean to stand firm before a watching world?  Come to worship on Sunday, October 9th to discover the answers. 

From the sermon on October 2, 2011  (World Communion Sunday)   –  The Ten Commandments are divided into two sections that if we were to follow just those two things, we would be able to keep the commandments.  The first four commandments are about our responsibility and faithfulness to God.  The last six commandments are about living in community with others, recognizing that when we fail to treat others as people created in the image of God, we are failing God. 

Did you ever think about it like that, that when we fail to treat others as people created in the image of God, we are in fact, failing God.  The truth is that if we honor God, we will not cause the suffering of others created in God’s image.  The good news is that when we confess and repent of sinful activity that pulls us away from God, we take the first step needed to reconcile with God and with those whom we have harmed.   If you are interested in reading the Ten Commandments, look up Exodus, chapter 20 in the Bible. 

Thought for the Week:   Our light (our actions) should point people to the One who is the light…(Eph. 5:8).

Let us pray:  Gracious God, unite us all.  Empower us to be of the same mind in the Lord, so that through word and deed we might give faithful witness to you.  Comfort those who mourn, bring healing to those who are in pain and blessed hope to those who need to feel you close.  In grateful response to God’s endless bounty of grace, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.