Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for January, 2012

For Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sermon Title:    “Our Whole Heart”

Scripture:   Psalm 111

Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise.  It just doesn’t tell us to praise God, but tells us what it is about the Lord that makes God worthy of our praise.  We are reminded to come to God in conversation, in prayer, in community many times in a day as often as birds come to bird feeder.

Did you ever wonder why your parents taught you to say your prayers at mealtime and at bedtime and  not the rest of the day?  It seems that the rest of the day is much more important than just at mealtime and bedtime.  I normally don’t have any problems with mealtime or bedtime, it is the rest of the day that I need to be talking to God.  How about you?  Resource:  Scott J. Brown in Clergy Journal

If you would like to hear more about this, come join us for worship at 10:45AM.  We will also be having a time of healing n’ blessing during our service. 

Thought for the Week:  Hope doesn’t help us get out of our difficulties, but it does get us through.  – Peter Gomes

Let us pray:  God, we praise you for being with us as your divine plan unfolds in each of our lives and in the church.  We feel your presence in both ordinary and extraordinary moments.  Enter into our lives and change us according to your will that we might witness in all times and all seasons to your power and love.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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For Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sermon Title:    “The God of Second Chances”

Scripture:    Jonah 3:1-5

In this passage recorded in Jonah, we know that God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh which was a wicked city and proclaim the message of judgement.  But Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, the historic enemy of Israel.

When Jonah was first called by God to go, Jonah went in the opposite direction.  He was fleeing from God, he thought anyway, but found out that God is a universal God from whom there is no escape.  We can try to tune God out.  We can even try to ignore the voice that calls to us to serve Him.  But God will have the last word, just as God did with Jonah.

After being thrown overboard from the ship, being swallowed by a great fish, and being coughed up on dry land, when God calls a second time, you can believe that Jonah answered “yes” and went to Nineveh and preached like he had never before.

We all need second chances from time to time.  Jonah repented and we need to repent as well to receive God’s mercy and a second chance.  If you would like to hear more on this, come to worship at 10:45AM and learn what S-A-L-T means.  Resources:  Preaching Journal, Dynamic Preaching

Thought for the Week:     We are called to be witnesses, not judges!

Let us pray:   God of power and love, whose will it is that no bird should fall without your knowing, we pray for your guidance, and your wisdom for our lives.  Grant us forgiveness for those times when we turn away from you.  Mold us into the people you would have us be.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sermon Title:    “Called to Let Our Lights Shine”

Scripture:    I Samuel 3:1-10

On this 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, the text I chose for my sermon is recorded in the Old Testament book of I Samuel.  The story is about young Samuel at the age of 12 years, the son of Hannah who had placed him in the care of the priest Eli.

This was at a time when visions were rare and unexpected that the Lord calls to young Samuel.  At first, Samuel thought it was the priest Eli calling him,but by the fourth time, following Eli’s guidance, the young boy hears and listens to God speaking.

God called a young boy of 12 in I Samuel.  In the Gospel lesson in John, Jesus called disciples, ordinary people.   How about today?  Is God still choosing people who can’t speak well, who may be young or who may be old?  Is God calling you?  What gift do you have that God wants you to use for St. James U.C.C. in Allentown or for your church?   Just remember that no one is ever too young or too old or too rich or poor to serve God. 

If you like to read, then join the St. James U.C.C. Book Club.  We will be reading “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent during the month of February and then meeting on Saturday, February 25th at 1PM in the parlor for discussion and light refreshments.  Come and worship with us on Sunday. 

Thought for the week:   When no one is watching, live as if someone is.

Let us pray:   As God’s people made radiant by the light of Christ, let us pray for the church, for ourselves, for our families and for God’s creation…We lift our prayers in hope, entrusting all for whom we pray in Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.

For Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sermon Title:    “The True Meaning of Worship”

Scripture:   Matthew 2:1-12

In our church, we will be celebrating Epiphany, even though it was Friday, January 6th.  The title of my sermon for January 8th, is “The True Meaning of Worship”.  As we reflect on the passage recorded in Matthew, we see wisemen, magi who followed a star to Bethlehem and showed us the true meaning of worship.  Now of course, we know that first of all, that Herod called these wisemen to check out the star and go to Bethlehem.  And they did, but they also worshipped the newborn king.

They were a stunning example for us to follow in our worship.   They were filled with joy; they bowed in humility; they gazed in adoration; and they gave with generosity.  How do you worship?  Do you worship in your church in the true sense of the word?   – Preaching Journal

Sunday, January 8th at St. James, we will be installing and ordaining our consistory, sharing in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and observing Godparents Sunday.  We hope you can join us for this special service.  And then stay for our spaghetti dinner beginning at 12 to 2PM.   Come and worship with us.

Thought for the week:    Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.   –  Mohandas Gandhi

Let us pray:   Shine on us, O God, in splendor and in glory.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.   In this new year, make us light and bright, like you.  Amen.