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Showing posts from October, 2016

Sermon, "Thankful People: Gifted and Talented," Matthew 25:14-30

Sermon 10/30/16 Matthew 25:14-30 Thankful People: Gifted and Talented             Two weeks from today, we’ll celebrate Consecration Sunday, and have a Celebration Dinner afterwards, as we gave thanks for all that God has given us, as we offer a commitment of giving for the year ahead out of the abundance which God has given us. You’ve heard Lauren last Sunday, and today Vicky and Steve talk about giving, and thinking about how we give, not because of what the church needs, but because of what our generous God inspires in us. We give as an act of faith, an act of thanksgiving, as a spiritual discipline. For the next few weeks, we’ll be thinking together not so much about budgets and spending plans, as we’ll be thinking together about our generous God, about what God is up to here in Gouverneur and how we can be part of that, and about how we can grow spiritually as we cultivate thankful hearts and lives. Our gospel lesson today is a parable, one of the stories Jesus uses

Sermon, "James: Prayer and Healing," James 5:13-20

Sermon 10/23/16 James 5:13-20 James: Prayer and Healing             Some of you know that I own my own home in Liverpool. It served me well while I was pastoring in the Syracuse area at a church without a parsonage, but now I find myself in a different situation, and I’ve been looking at my home with an eye toward selling. Thanks to a thoughtful parishioner here, I have some folks from Gouverneur, actually, renting from me for a while, and in the meantime, it is giving me time to slowly begin making repairs. I have to admit, that when I look around at the house, I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with the things I think need fixing up before it’s ready to sell. I need a new front door. Some landscaping. The porch needs to be painted. There’s that spot where my brother Todd tried to hang a rack for pots and pans, but did it wrong, and tried again a couple of time before getting it right. The pet door we installed that never closed quite completely. And everything I try to r

Sermon, "James: Taming the Tongue," James 3:1-12

Sermon 10/16/16 James 3:1-12 James: Taming the Tongue             Once upon a time I was a little girl going up front for Children’s Time at my little country church in Westernville, NY. I can’t tell you that all the message and lessons stuck with me. But I still remember one very well – the pastor was asking us to guess what the strongest muscle in our body was. We all tried to guess, but were surprised when the pastor told us that the tongue was actually the strongest muscle. So strong, he said, you have to be careful, thoughtful, about the words you say, about how you speak. That message has stuck with me. Now, eventually, I researched a little to figure out – is it really the strongest muscle? It isn’t. It was a bit of a hyperbole. But the gist is true. It’s a small part of us with incredible power – power to build up, to heal, to strengthen, and power to hurt, and tear down, and destroy. How do you use your words? How do use the muscle, the power that you have in the

Sermon, "James: Faith and Works," Jame 2:14-26

Sermon 10/9/16 James 2:14-26                                                                                                       James: Faith and Works                         Have you ever listened to a person talking on the phone? You can hear only one-half of the conversation. Sometimes, you can tell exactly what the person is talking about. From just one-half of the story, you can figure out the whole. Other times, you might realize that you have no clue what the conversation is about. You know you are missing too much to get it – the part of the conversation you can hear leaves you too little to go on. The worst, I think, is when you’re hearing only part of a conversation, and you are convinced you can understand everything from what you’ve heard, but you’re completely wrong about the conclusions you’re drawing. The part of the conversation you can’t hear holds crucial information, and without it, you jump to all the wrong conclusions.             I think that’s t

Sermon for World Communion Sunday, "Church Can Happen Anywhere: Church Happens ... When We Gather at the Table," 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33-34

Sermon 10/2/16 1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33-34 Church Happens … When We Gather at the Table             Today we’re concluding our worship theme “Church Can Happen Anywhere.” We’ve been studying 1 Corinthians, both in worship and in Bible Study (which, by the way, will continue, and we’d still love to have you join us in it!), and learning some lessons from Paul and the early church. We started by talking about how we are all important parts of the body of Christ – and though we are many, we are one in Christ Jesus. We were reminded that church isn’t something we can do alone. It can happen anywhere – but only together, only with each other, only when we remember that we need each other. We talked about the passion that Paul had for sharing the good news of Jesus, a passion that let him cross boundaries and borders, getting to really know people, in order to better offer them the gift in Jesus that he’d experienced. Paul called the Corinthians – and calls us – to pour our