Last week we finished looking at Pop Verses, some of the most popular verses in the in Bible by looking at Proverbs 3: 5- 6, a popular verse on trusting in God.
We all find ourselves in times of crisis, uncertainty and feeling stuck. These are times when we cry out to God for help - I hope so anyway. These are the times when we need a word from on high, wisdom that we don't have, and direction we lack. Proverbs 3: 5- 6 assures us that God will give us guidance and direction. But it doesn't tell us when or how quickly.
Often we are looking for a quick fix, or an easy way out. We don't want to stay where we are. What we fail to understand is how God may be working some things out in us through our circumstances. Whatever we are going through now may be preparing us for what God has for us in the future, good things even. In the midst of difficult times we are not alone, God is with us and will lead us as we trust. That gives me reassurance!
Today, however is Halloween and I am hunkered down in my family room with all the upstairs lights off. I feel a bit guilty not handing out candy but I have soooo much work to get done and Mr. Bray isn't home this evening to take over the candy duties. But Halloween got me to thinking......most people enjoy dressing up as someone else or something else once a year. But what are the masks we wear every day? You know, the "I'm fine" mask, the "I'm confident" mask, the "tough guy" costume? There are many personas we put on to avoid letting people know the "real" us. Sometimes it is scary to think that God knows us inside and out...behind the masks. The good news is that God knows and still loves us. For Christians to be able to be in relationship with one another and with those in our neighborhoods and communities we are going to have to become brave enough to take of the mask and become vulnerable with one another.
Have a safe and happy Halloween....See you this weekend.
This weekend we are starting a new Sermon Series called Pop Verses. We'll be taking a closer look at some of the Bible's most popular verses. They are popular for a reason. They are verses that give us encouragement, strength, and hope in difficult times. Over the next serveral weeks we will be looking at Philippians 4: 13, John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, and Proverbs 3: 5 - 6.
These are verses we find inscribed on coffee cups, posted on social media, on posters at sporting events and plaques on walls. I have some of these myself. It is comforting to have God's word around us reminding us of God's faithfulness and presence. There is a danger though with popular verses. Sometimes we pull them out of context, misuse them or trivialize them.
Don't worry, we aren't going to make you feel like throwing out your coffee mugs, plaques, or to stop posting encouraging verses on social media. But hopefully, we will gain a better understanding of our favorite verses so that they will become even more meaningful for us.
We believe the written word of God to be the only and sufficient rule both of Christian faith and practice... We believe Christ to be the eternal, supreme God...But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think.
John Wesley, The Character of a Methodist.
In 1742 John Wesley wrote a tract to answer some of the questions that were being raised about this sect called "Methodists." He wrote that it was time to address the "distinguishing marks of this sect, "which is everywhere spoken against." I remember studying this document in seminary and thinking "finally, I am going to get down to the bottom of this 'Methodist thing." I had been a Methodist for a while, and of course, I was studying to be an ordained UM clergy person, but I was still looking for that thing that really separated us from everyone else.
As I read I found myself thinking - that's what all Christians should be or be. When is he going to get that one point that is different from everyone else. I never found it. When I came close to the end of the document I read these words; These are the principles and practices of our sect; these are the marks of a true Methodist... If any man say, "Why, these are only the common fundamental principles of Christianity!" thou hast said; so I mean; this is the very truth; I know they are no other; and I would to God both thou and all men knew, that I, and all who follow my judgment, do vehemently refuse to be distinguished from other men, by any but the common principles of Christianity.
Wesley goes on to say that the marks of a Methodist are the fruits of a living faith. So if you have been thinking about attending Monday night study but are thinking - that sounds really dry, really Methodist - have faith! We are talking about the fruits of a vital, living faith. If you think that sounds more interesting than the marks of a Methodist come join us!.
By the way, these 5 things are the things that John Wesley say mark a Methodist. But remember, they are simply the fruits of an active and living faith.
A Methodist Loves God
A Methodist Rejoices in God
A Methodist Gives Thanks
A Methodist Prays Constantly
A Methodist Loves Others
Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity .
James 2:15 - 17
There was a popular heresy going around in Jame's day that taught that the body was so sinful and so irredeemable that what happened to our bodies was of little concern. The big concern was for the spirit and soul of the person. Unfortunately, this translated into a lack of interest for the poor and the needy. After all.... what really mattered was what happens to their soul.
While we don't often hear of the heresy of Gnosticism in our day we can see evidence of it in evangelistic efforts that are only concerned with what happens after we die and where we will be spending eternity. James, in his own way , is addressing this heresy by saying, what good is it to say "Go, in peace...be warm and full" while not helping to meet their physical needs?
Jesus showed that he cares a great deal about the whole of a person as he healed the sick in his earthly ministry. Salvation, as we have been learning is about wholeness of life. If we claim the name of Christ, and have been touched by his generous grace then we too, will walk after his example. Having faith in Christ, then we live in such a way that our faith produces fruit. If our faith doesn't produce fruit....what good is it James says.
This weekend we will be taking another look at this practical letter of what it looks like to put feet to our faith.
And don't forget we will be celebrating the return of Fall with our luncheon after the service.
Have a great weekend and as always...........
See you in Church!!!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.