Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for November, 2011

For Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Restore Us, O God:  PEACE

Scripture:    Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

On this Second Sunday of Advent, the theme will be PEACE; the Peace that passes all understanding.  During the season of Advent, we light a candle on the Advent Wreath for different themes each week.  This past week it was for “Restoring our hope.  This week it is to restore our peace.  Dec. 11th it will be to restore our joy and Dec. 18th to retore our love. 

As we reflect on this season of Advent, we know that hope comes to us as a gift from God, so too does peace.  Another word I like to use for peace is “serenity” which reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…courage to change those things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”  At this time, I do not remember the author of this prayer, but I do give them credit.  I did not write this myself.

If you are interested in hearing more about this “peace”, join us in worship on Sunday at 10:45AM and be challenged to send a peace package this year to someone special.  We will be celebrating December birthdays, having a Christmas cookie sale and a time of fellowship.  All are welcome.

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

Let us pray:  Compassionate God, for those who feel weighed down by their holiday obligations, or who have lost sight of the promise essential in waiting, or who have lost the faith you have put in them: we pray that they might be inspired, to receive with joy the signs of your presence.  Receive the hope, the peace, the joy and the love.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

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For Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011

Sermon Title:   “Follow the Shepherd”

Scripture:   Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

You can see from this passage recorded in Ezekiel, that in the land and times of the Bible, sheep were important to people because many people owned them.  They were in the city streets, and even in people’s homes.  So you can imagine that they talked a lot about sheep and about how God was like a shepherd, taking care of his people as if we were a flock of sheep. 

Jesus himself talked about being the good shepherd.  I am sure we have heard many Bible stories about Jesus as the good shepherd.  On this Christ the King Sunday, we claim Christ as our shepherd as well as our ruler, the one who seeks us out, cares for us, helps us grow, to become faithful and bold followers of him. 

Remember that with Christ the King being on Sunday, this is the end of the Christian year.  Next Sunday, November 27th we will begin the new Christian year with the 1st Sunday of Advent, the Sacrament of Holy Communion and we will also hold our Annual Meeting within our worship service. 

Don’t forget to come to our Thanksgiving Eve Service on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00PM.  Come and worship with us, come and take a few moments to give God your thanks and praise for all the blessings he has given.  It will help make Thanksgiving Day even more special.

Thought for the Week:   Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want.  Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.   – by Max Lucado

Let us pray:    Shepherd of our souls, seek us.  Find us.  You are the true shepherd, and we are the sheep of your pasture, your people.  Inspire us to share your bounty with all people around the world.  This is your glory!  This is because you first loved us.  We pray.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011

Sermon Title:     “Abundant Possibilities”

Scripture:    Matthew 25:14-30

The Parable of the Talents, a familiar parable for this Stewardship Sunday.  This passage reveals a picture of responsibility.  Three men receive talents or abilities from their master.  One received five talents, one received two, and one received one.  These talents are essentially the gifts or abilities given to someone to do the job he or she has been asked to do.

As we all know, the parable focuses mostly on the one-talent man – this is the one the master called worthless not because he had only one talent, but because he refused to use what he had.  The man buried his one talent, because of his fear of his master.

What can we take from this parable to help us be good stewards of not only our money, but our gifts and talents that are God-given?   Come to worship on Sunday and hear about the “abundant possibilities”.  I will share one thought:   GIFTS, TALENTS, ABILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES not used are lost.

Let’s not lose ours.   And while you are here in worship, stay and join us for our Halupkie Dinner which begins at 12noon to 2PM.  The menu will consist of:  Halupkie casserole, mashed potatoes, applesauce, bread & butter and assorted desserts and beverages.  Ummmm, I am getting hungry already.  The cost is $7.50 in advance and $8.50 at the door for adults; children 6-12 are $3.50 and children under 6 years are FREE!

Our Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, November 27th during worship before our closing hymn.

From Sunday, November 6th:    All Saints’ Sunday is about remembering those who have blessed our lives, our faith, and our churches, giving God our thanks.  Remember “sainthood” is not our accomplishment, but it is God’s gift.  And just like all the saints before us, we will stumble and fall.  Because all saints are forgiven sinners, just like you and me.

Thought for the week:     The motivation for the Christian steward is to invest the talents that God has given into the world.  And if we truly want to be people of faith, we need to live and share our faith each and every day.

Let us pray:    Giver of all good things, we praise your name this day!  May we learn simplicity and the freedom that simple living brings.  Teach us stewardship of our earth, our money, our possessions, we pray, so that we might become open to a path closer to your heart.  Amen.               Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011

   How many of us believed that we would receive the snow that TV weather reporters were warning us about last Saturday?   So many did not, nor did we ever think thousands would be without power so many days afterward.   St. James UCC canceled worship last Sunday due to the power outage in the area.  I pray that all of you are with power, warm and safe by now. 

Sermon Title:    “Saints and Sinners”

Scripture:    Matthew 5:1-12

We will be celebrating All Saints’ Day, a universal Christian day that honors and remembers all Christian saints, known and unknown.   All of our members and for those who services that I as Pastor officiated at, will be listed in the bulletin.   There will be a rose for each person listed in the bulletin given to a family member.  

In the Matthew passage for this Sunday, we read the beatitudes where Jesus provides a unique description of those who are blessed with God’s favor.  We will learn what a “saint” is, and discover how the beautitudes could very well be Jesus’ definition of a saint.

These next few days, in preparation for Sunday, November 6th, I invite you to make a list of someone in your life, in your church or in heaven, who is or was important in your faith and why.  Keep this list near you these next few days, remembering and giving thanks for them. 

This coming Sunday is Bring-A-Friend Sunday –  so please bring a friend to Sunday School and/or church.  A special gift will be given to every visitor/friend that comes to our church.  There will also be a time of fellowship in the parlor after worship. 

Thought for the Week:    Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let us pray:     Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one body.  Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment.  We pray through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.   Amen.    Pastor Lorraine