JAMES 5: 7-11
MARK 9: 17-27

August 11, 2019


People of Jesus Christ … what’s next on your busy schedule?  What are you trying to squeeze in and who are you squeezing out because they are just in the way? Busy, busy, busy bees … we are so busy we actually end up stinging each other in many different ways.

How many times have you hoped that the Communion line would move faster or that the pastor’s sermon was abbreviated because you … YOU … had something you needed to get done?  How many times have we insisted that we can do something because we didn’t have the patience to allow someone else the opportunity to discover that they could complete the same task at their pace using their abilities and style?

Our journey in FAITH and ACTIONS is quickly reaching its closure but as I gaze out on those of you who chose church on a summer Sunday I again wonder where the 130 individuals we have said we are going to bring to church with us each week are?  Are we so busy with our lives that we are not able to pick up the phone, send a text, meet someone face-to-face, or send an e-mail, Instagram, or even mail a personal invite to the people we know.  People of this church paused enough to bring 85 different kids to Vacation Bible School for a week but will VBS be a distance memory when Sunday School begins … will we invite them again and their parents to be here?

I asked the other night at Red Bird whether people were willing to dance, run, sing, or even wiggle their toes for Jesus Christ … at Red Bird, secluded away from the busy factors of life almost everyone was but today friends … are you ready to put the brakes on your life to lift up the world and reality of Jesus Christ?

James comes out and says it again as if he was standing here preaching in 2019 … James as he addresses the early Christians and followers of our Savior Jesus Christ says SLOW DOWN EVERYONE and while you are slowing down STOP COMPLAINING about each other!!!  JUST PLAIN OLD STOP!   He continues that if you don’t stop … it’s you who will be judged by God.

I have done some very serious thinking this week down in Kentucky … I have not slowed down enough; I have my excuses but Kentucky was not a slow down time … I had a friend die on Friday another is dying and I still can’t figure out how this church packs them in for Vacation Bible School but we have so many empty seats on a Sunday when the Lord’s Supper is being served.  Dave’s mind is everywhere … Dave’s worries are continuous … Dave’s priorities … Dave’s issues …

And, then James spoke to me … “Be patient … you must be patient!  Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth.”  And then I remembered Paul’s words in Philippians, “Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”  And, then Jesus was there again … as we prepared to worship on Friday night I sort of vanished from everyone to a peaceful place to get some one-on-one Jesus time because I needed my Jesus.

Church, do you need your Jesus every so often?  Are you desperate for some Jesus time … some Jesus love?  Do you hold on to the words of Paul “I can endure all things through the power of Jesus Christ” who gives me strength?”

After having spent so many years living in this state, I really wonder whether patience is even an element in the DNA of New Jerseyans … we rush, we push …we want things done our way and now rather than allowing God’s Holy Spirit to breathe into us slowly and allowing us to exhale the Holy.

That’s truly what we need … we need to understand that by stepping back and discovering that not everything must be done yesterday by us and that there are others who join us in the walk with God … the journey of Jesus … that we might again find our focus and our call.  Church put on the armor of God … don’t allow the world to pull you in … if you aren’t patient … if you are too busy … if you don’t have the time and are constantly looking at your watch or your phone or the wall clock to see what minutes have passed since you last checked then how in the world will you ever allow yourselves to be strengthened by the Lord and God’s powerful strength?

Church put on the armor of God that allows you to put the brakes on life and brings focus back into the person you can be for Jesus Christ.  STAND with the BELT of TRUTH around your waist … not your truth; not you in command but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … WEAR JUSTICE as your breastplate … refusing to succumb to the chants and rushing crowds that diminish other people James again told us DON’T COMPLAIN about EACH OTHER and when we put on the breastplate of justice we will be the people pausing together as one family of God that truly love all of our neighbors establishing we are the people of Jesus Christ by our love

But … yea, I hate to say but … the truth as most of us here today know it as well as those watching on the internet … most of us have invested a significant amount of our time complaining about others … might be family members .. might be neighbors … might be church goers … might be co-workers … might be strangers in the land.  When  we commit the sin of complaint we will be judged … the Lord’s prayer that we recite from memory … ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive’ which puts all too many church going Lord’s Prayer reciters into a difficult positions because basically they are saying that since they don’t forgive then their prayer is that God doesn’t forgive them.  That’s what they are asking God to do isn’t it?

At the Friday night worship and Communion service at RED BIRD we talked about how this amazing group of church missionaries from at least 7 different states travelled to a mission camp and then went out to love and embrace and work for total strangers.  No one cared what the person we served looked like, sounded like, where they came from, whether their religious beliefs were different, whether they used drugs, whether they were kind or nice … we came together and each day the vans pulled out to various worksites where people of varying skills and abilities completed awesome tasks making the lives of others better.  We were not changing their homes into our homes but instead using love to make their homes a little bit better … our faith and our actions … some painting on the straight line while others hit the crooked nail but no one complaining that another worker for Christ wasn’t doing it right instead celebrating that we were doing it together as a team … not distracted by the world; unable to connect to the Internet … I wondered last night as we drove back what a television set was … we stepped away and into a world where patience is overriding and being in a rush is just not the way to do things down in the holler.

But this morning the mountains we awoke to aren’t the beautiful Appalachian Mountains … the mountains are the roadblocks we each create in our way but the sun coming over those ridges is the light of Jesus Christ.  God’s love … God’s truth … God’s reality and I ask with James do you have the patience to be washed in the Light of Christ … to allow God’s love to lift you up?  To have the patience to find a quiet place where God can speak to and direct you to take on your task … your faith in action moment while celebrating what the next person is doing.

My insert today has a blank side … that was an accident because I had prepared a list of questions before I left but the two didn’t get put together.  But I want you to take that insert with you today and fill in the blank side.   Write down how you need to change … how and why you need to slow down.  I want you to write down the names of any person you have complained about during the last week and then to pray to be forgiven and if you have complained out loud about some person either apologize to them or if you complained to others about the unknown other then give those who heard you a call and say I was wrong …

But, in our patience today is Communion … today is about Jesus Christ … today is about GOD … and if we are truly willing to experience God by learning to be patient this is about God’s Holy Spirit.  How many of you know who Jesus is?  How many of you know HE IS RISEN?  Can you sing with me the opening of this hymn of celebrating JOY TO THE WORLD THE LORD HAS COME LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING :||

Today is the most important Communion you have ever participated in because the yesterdays are gone and can’t be changed but all of our tomorrow’s are filled with possibilities … the possibility to do great work for God … to love others for Christ … to stand back from the world … to be patient.

One hundred and thirty is a possibility … A packed Sunday School can be our reality … the 2020 Red Bird Mission Trip can have three times as many going from our church but you and me … let today be the day you escape from the world around you to patiently find a place where Jesus speaks because then your world and the world you walk in will be changed forever.  Rejoice always in the Lord … again I say rejoice!




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