Happenings at an inner city church in Allentown

Archive for February, 2012

For Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

Sermon Title:   “Ready for Anything”

Scripture:    Mark 1:9-15

In this story of preparation for Jesus for his public ministry, after his baptism by John, (even though he did not have any sins to be forgiven), he is thrust into the wilderness.  He was tempted by Satan, tormented by hunger, and alone with the wild beasts.  This was preparation, so he could be ready for anything.

Just like Jesus was driven out into the wilderness by the Spirit, we too can end up in the wilderness even though we don’t choose it.  It can happen at any time, at the end of a relationship, loss of job or home, or illness. 

What we need to remember is that the God who was with Jesus in wilderness, is also with us through it all.  We need to prepare ourselves by having a right relationship with God by getting ready.  Through repentance and receiving Christ in our hearts.   Resources from Annual Manual.

Join us at St. James UCC for this 1st Sunday in Lent with sharing in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and a service of healing n’ blessing.

Thought for the Week:   You are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light.  Ephesians 5:8.

Let us pray:   We give you thanks God, for our freedom to choose where and whom we will worship.  We give you thanks for our ancestors in the faith, the sacrifices they made and the troubles they endured.  May we too pave the way for those who follow us.  Touch all those who need to healed by your graces.   We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

For Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22nd.

Sermon Title:    “Now Is The Time”

Scripture:    2 Corinthians 5b-6:10

We begin the very sacred season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday Service held February 22nd at 7:00PM.  We will be celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Altar railing and offering the Imposition of Ashes. 

Lent is like Advent in being a season of preparation.  In Advent, we prepare for the coming of Jesus and Lent prepares us to remember Jesus’ sacrifice that we might have life. 

Paul in 2 Corinthians tells us “Now is the Time”, don’t put off what you should be doing today in regards to your faith or in your life.  He doesn’t beat us over the head with judgement, he just says calmly, “Now is the Time”.  Now is the time to reflect on your relationship with God. 

Lent is about more than that, it is about penitence, reflection, self-examination, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and forgiveness.  Now is the time to search your own heart.  How is your relationship with the Lord?  In what ways are you far from God?  Is there someone from whom you need to seek forgiveness?  Who do you need to forgive? 

Take time during this Lenten season, to look at your own soul.  Make this time count.  Try something new or renew some spiritual discipline that you haven’t practiced for a while.  Just give to God – five minutes a day.  Start somewhere and make these weeks count.  Come and worship with us!

Resources from Annual Manual.

Thought for the Week:   Now is the time; do not put off being reconciled to God and neighbor.

Let us pray:     O Lord, as we enter this sacred season of Lent, we prepare to walk the way of the cross with you.  Make us mindful, open our eyes and help us to find ways to meet others needs.  Make us peaceful people in our own homes, families and in the world.  We pray.  Amen.

Pastor Lorraine

For Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sermon Title:   “Unexpected Heroes and Simple Solutions”

Scripture:   2 Kings 5:1-14

    In the Old Testament lesson in 2 Kings, we read the story of Naaman, an officer, a commander who reaped the benefits of his role, not only earning the respect of his fellow soldiers, but was also wealthy.  His curse was that he had leprosy, a terrible disease that made him an outcast.

In that day and time, it was unusal for a king, even a commander to listen to anyone beneath them, especially a woman.  When raiders captured a young girl, she was given to Naaman’s wife as a slave.  She told her mistress, that “Naaman should go to see the prophet in Samaria because he could cure him of his leprosy.”

There is much to this story, including what King Aram tells him to do, how he finds the prophet in Samaria and the very simple solution Elisha gives him to do to be healed. 

A simple story of unexpected heroes and simple solutions.  I ask who are the overlooked voices of reason in your lives today in 2012?  Who do you listen to?  Whose voices do we ignore when instead they may very well be God’s way of communicating with us? 

The true lesson is that because Naaman humbled himself to accept the advice of those the world would say are unworthy, God heals him, both inside and out.  God heard Naamans prayer and God hears our prayers as well.  May we all be as humble as Naaman and listen for the voice of God.  Resources from Annual Manual.

Join us for our Moravian Love Feast which we celebrate during our worship service beginning at 10:45AM.  Then stay for our Valentine Sweetheart Dinner from 12 to 2PM.  All are invited. 

Thought for the Week:    Healing seeks to restore persons to God-intended wholeness.   – Annual Manual

Let us pray:   Lord God, you reached out and touched the untouchable, you give voice to unxpected heroes.  Empower us, Lord, to reach out to those among us who are in need, to restore faith and fellowship.  Teach us to live and love as you lived and loved.  We pray.  Amen.  – Annual Manual

For Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sermon Title:    “Recharging Our Batteries”

Scripture:   Mark 1:29-39

In the passage recorded in the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus healing the sick and those possessed with demons.  This happens after he was baptized, tempted and called his disciples. 

After they had left the synagogue, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home where Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with fever.  Jesus took her hand and helped her up.  Scripture reads the fever never came back.   And that is where people were brought to be touched by Jesus’ healing graces.

If you are reading in your Bible the scripture passage, do you see what Jesus does early the very next morning – he goes to a solitary place to pray.  In essence he was recharing his batteries.  How often do we do that?  He needed to know and feel the presence of God was with him as he went about his work.

Do you feel God’s presence with you in your work?  Do you seek Him in prayer before you begin your day?  If you would like to hear more on this, come to worship Sunday, February 5th at 10:45AM at St. James UCC in Allentown.  As we conclude our collections of soup, we will also have soup n’ sandwiches after worship for $5.00 each person.  Money collected along with the soup will go to the Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank.  YOU are welcome!

Thought for the Week:   Beautiful thoughts build a beautiful soul.  – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer from “The Power of Intention”

Let us pray:   Lord Jesus, we come to you in prayer this moment.  We pray for all those who need to be touched by your healing graces in body, mind and soul.  May your presence, strength, healing and love be felt by all.   This we pray in your name.  Amen. 

Pastor Lorraine