Christ United Methodist Church
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Called & Empowered by Christ to Love, Serve, Witness
(920) 261-0736 ♦ email@example.com
Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
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*Sundays: 8:00 a.m.
Informal with guitar by the river - approx. Mid-May to Mid-October
In the sanctuary - approx. Mid-October to Mid-May
*Sundays: 10:00 a.m.
Traditional service with organ and bell choir
*Sundays: 8:45 a.m.
Sunday School for children youth and adults- September 1 to May 30
*Tuesdays: 10:30 a.m.
Highland Village Bible Study
*Wednesdays: 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.
Confirmation Class for all students in Grades 7 and 8 (approx. Sept. thru May)
September 20, 2015
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Have you ever thought about how you'd like to be remembered? If we collected a list from members of the congregation, I could imagine phrases like: "A good mom", "A true friend", "a faithful believer", "a nice person", "honest", "loving", maybe even "funny". What may be missing from the list is "a wise person". Why? Well, folks often think, "I am not that smart", "that sounds arrogant" or "nobody likes a wise guy". James, however, is all for wisdom - "the wisdom from above".
Wisdom is defined as, "having the knowledge and understanding to recognize the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it." This definition reminds us that being wise is not about amount of knowledge or following the the rules. That is being smart or being correct. Remember, Jesus spoke in words that common people got and he condemned the hypocrisy of those religious leaders who observed the law in its strict, literal sense, but violated its spirit.
Wisdom, it seems to me, is like the wind. You can't actually see it, but you do recognize it by its effects. And James, in our text for this Sunday, provides a clue to "true wisdom" by listing some of the effects of one way or the other. First, its source is from God. There is a difference between "worldly", and God's, wisdom. James tells us, "If in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don't sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom". You might be able to cleverly navigate the world to get what you want, but that's not wisdom.
True wisdom is reflected by peace, gentleness, friendliness, compassion and good deeds free from prejudice and hypocrisy with a harvest of goodness. Those words describe actions which are unselfish. What "wisdom from above" is, then, is what we find most difficult to do. James bluntly states in verse 7, "submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil ...". Humanity has, does, and unfortunately will continue to struggle with our "me, myself and mine" attitude. If anything qualifies as original sin, this has got to be it.
Our addiction to 24/7 communications at the expense of personal relationships and our "gimme, gimme, gimme" relationship to God gets in the way of our ability to embrace the wisdom God offers through the Holy Spirit. The problem is that when we do get what we want, we only want more. When, however, we give out of generosity, we fill enriched and at peace. Wisdom, remember, is recognizing the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it. Acting out of this type of wisdom makes the world a better place.
James, ultimately, is writing about motives - what lies behind that which we desire and the means we are willing to employ to get those desires. When our motives are at the world's level, they eventually get us into trouble. But, when we shoot high, with the sky as the limit, God can and does work in our lives for the better. Consider Jesus' words of wisdom to "love your enemy." This makes no sense form the point of view of the world. Enemies should be hated or, at least feared. But they should not be loved. However, from God's point of view, loving an enemy provides yet another chance to reduce selfishness and, instead, to bring peace into a world which desperately needs it.
Think about it. Our minds allow us to seek, find, and apply wisdom in our lives. The wisdom of the world is pressing in on us from all sides, but it only leads us deeper into the misery and despair. God's wisdom may fly in the face of common sense; but, time and time again, God's "way" leads to a deeper, longer lasting and more meaningful existence. What is required is to follow Jesus and pay attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
Grace & peace,
Pastor Ron Kral
What's Happening Now?
*Adult Sunday School
For September and October, the Adult Sunday school class will read, ponder and discuss the Bible texts for the next week's service with Pastor Ron. As a group, we will begin to prepare for the upcoming service and sermon. Pastor Ron is looking forward to input for his sermon and you will have a chance to get additional background on these passages. Plan to come and bring your Bible. The class meets o Sunday mornings at 8:45 beginning September 13.
The texts and the dates we will be studying are:
*Sunday, Sept. 13: James 3:13-4:3, 7-8
*Sunday, Sept. 20: James 5:13-20
*Sunday Sept. 27: Job 1:1; 2:1-10
*Sunday, Oct. 4: Job 23:1-9, 16-17
*Sunday, Oct. 11: TBA
*Sunday, Oct. 18: Job 42:1-6, 10-17
*Book Discussion Group
The next book discussion is scheduled for Tuesday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. here at the church. The book, a novel, is titled "Conversations with Saint Bernard" by Jim Kraus, about a 120 pound dog.
George, a 68-year old widower, and Lewis, the dog, travel across the United States in an RV. Lewis has been the companion of an eight year old boy who must give him up for health reasons.
The discussion will include death, health problems, loneliness, even thoughts of suicide and all the people we will meet.
Books are available at the church office at the cost of $13.
*Perennial Plants Needed
We are in the process of re-doing the flower garden along the river behind the church. We are in need of perennial plants to add. If you have perennials that you are considering dividing or removing from your gardens and would be willing to donate some to ours, please contact Joe Wall at 920-988-1229.
We are especially looking for perennials that are shade to part shade tolerant. Some great possibilities would be: Anemone (Wind Flower), Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Astilbe (False Spirea), Brunnera (Heartleaf Alkanet), Pulsatilla (Pasque Flower), Geranium (Cranesbill), Astrantia (Great Masterwort). There are many more possibilities, as well.
We prefer plants that will bloom at different times during the year, so we can enjoy flowers during the season we are able to worship outdoors. We also prefer to avoid most ground cover/creeping perennials, as they are not as easily seen and can take over. We will also be looking for some sun/part sun plants in the near future. Thank you.