Sermon: James 5:13-20

James 5:13-20

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Newsletter Article, October 2018

Dear Peace Church Family,

On Monday nights, about 15 of our members have been gathering to examine passages from Luke’s gospel that particularly speak to Jesus’ call and mission for his disciples. At the beginning of October, we will be in Luke 10:25-37, examining and mining the parable of the Good Samaritan for instruction from Jesus about what it means to be a neighbor and who we should consider our neighbors. In the parable, if you remember, a man, beaten and robbed, is dying on the roadside, and both a Priest and a Levite (Jewish religious leaders) passed by, but carefully avoided the man and continued on their way. It was a Samaritan who stopped and invested his own time and resources in helping the man to safety and healing.

The Priest and the Levite, no doubt, had reasons for passing the man by–reasons that had to do with their roles as religious leaders and their adherence to purity laws. It wasn’t that they completely lacked compassion in general, perhaps, but that they were more concerned about keeping the law and remaining pure than they were about a fellow human’s life. By sharp contrast, the Samaritan not only stopped to check on the man along the roadside, but he willingly scrapped his own plans for the day, carried the man to safety, and paid for his care.

At the end of his parable, Jesus asks, “Which of these three was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (v. 36) The lawyer questioning Jesus had to answer this way: “The one who showed mercy.”

In the past week or two, we have had a lot of folks who acted like neighbors, as people reached out to folks affected by the storm. Some of these neighbors came from out of state before Florence made landfall and stood at the ready to respond as soon as they were needed and could get to work. Some were folks who volunteered at shelters and offered spare rooms to folks who had to evacuate. Some made phone calls and visits to check on people in their neighborhoods. Some passed out bottles of water. All were neighbors who gave of their own time and resources for the sake of someone else.

This month is a good month to pay attention to the folks around you–those affected by the flooding and the storm and those who have always been there, in need. Who can you act as a neighbor toward? Who is need of your time and your resources? How can you show mercy?

Grace and Peace, Pastor Becky

P.S. We have room for you at Bible Study on Monday nights! Join us from 6-7:15 in the fellowship hall.

Sermon: James 3:1-12

 

I’ve been waiting for awhile to preach this sermon. Peace canceled the worship service and related ministries last Sunday, September 16, due to Hurricane Florence.

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,* for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature,* and is itself set on fire by hell.* For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,* this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,* yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Sermon James 2:1-17

James 2:1-17

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

 You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement.

 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

 But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.

September Newsletter Article

Dear Peace Church Family,

The September newsletter is a certain sign that summer is coming to an end. Praise God for what was hopefully a season of rest, family reunions, vacation or staycation, or the warmth of sunshine.  

As we turn the page on our calendars, it’s a good time to consider our own quest to be disciples of Jesus and lifelong learners of scripture. Just as Jesus called the first disciples to follow him, drawing them away from fishing boats and tax tables and their daily routines, Christ also calls you and I to follow him, intending to impact and restructure our own daily routines.

Disciples are students first. Jesus, our rabbi, has called us to study his words and learn from teachings. Yes, we fulfill our call to be disciples by gathering to worship as a faith community on Sunday morning, hearing the Word of God read and proclaimed. But to grow deeply as students of Jesus, we will also need to engage in study of God’s word, reading it regularly, mining it for wisdom, and learning it well enough that we can engage in conversation about it. You can do this alone, of course, but scripture reminds us that “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17) and learning alongside other disciples is a great way to learn and grow.

Starting Monday, September 10, at 6pm, we will spend six weeks studying passages from Luke’s Gospel. The first night, we’ll look at Luke 5, and Jesus’ call to his disciples to follow him and fish for people. In the weeks that follow, we’ll journey with Jesus, asking questions like “who is my neighbor?” “How do we welcome new followers of Jesus?” and “what does it mean to be great in God’s Kingdom?”

These Bible Study sessions will take place in the church Fellowship Hall and will last about an hour and fifteen minutes. If you want to be a lifelong learner of scripture and student of Jesus, you’re invited! If you have a friend or neighbor who might be interested in Bible Study, invite him or her to join us!

I hope you’ll plan to join us on Mondays in September (and October), as we continue our pursuit to learn and grow as disciples of Christ.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Becky