Prayers for Our Hurting Nation
Good morning, God. It’s been a difficult week here – a week filled with death, with anger, with tears, with fears. And so today, Lord, we grieve for our nation that is broken. We are tearing ourselves apart along lines of black and white, liberal and conservative, rich and poor, young and old, right and wrong, and we forget that we are called to be one in you. And so we grieve – for the fear that so many of our brothers and sisters feel in this world, for the sacrifices made by so many good people who have vowed to serve and protect, for those who are planning funerals now because they have lost someone they love. Pour out your healing Spirit upon us; take away our fears and open our eyes to the ways of your love; help us to understand one another as the brothers and sisters we are in you; convict us of the sin that is lodged in the deep, dark corners of our souls; use us as instruments of your peace in a world of conflict and violence. Cure our warring madness and grant us your peace so that all your children everywhere may know the unsurpassable love that is you. Start here and now with us as we come before you in prayer. Grant us joy and courage for the facing of this hour in the life of our nation so that we may be witnesses to you in all that we do. Amen.
Summer Book Club
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: James and the Giant Teaching (James 1-2)
The book of the week for our Summer Book Club is actually a letter - the Letter of James. In the early days of the church, many letters were written by church leaders to communities of believers far and wide - to encourage them, to instruct them, to answer questions, but especially to correct misunderstandings. One of the most misunderstood of teachings was on what was necessary for eternal life with God. The Apostle Paul wrote frequently on this topic and tried to boil it down simply: we are saved by faith alone - but even this simple statement led to confusion as new converts to the faith misunderstood this as license to live life as before (or worse). Since faith alone led to salvation, they thought, how they acted was of little consequence. James similarly wrote his letter to encourage the faithful - most likely Jewish Christians who understood the law - to live holy lives. We should be doers of God's word and not merely hearers, he writes to us. Saving faith is not simply an intellectual exercise of agreeing with certain statements about Jesus nor is it only an emotional matter of the heart in loving God. Faith - to James - is an activity of the whole body: mind, heart, hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth. How we live our lives is an essential part of our faith. As James goes on to write, faith without action is dead and lifeless. We must have faith and action in our lives if we want to follow Jesus. This does not mean that we earn our salvation by what we do, but it does mean that once we experience saving faith that that same faith is kept alive and indeed grows as we put it into action. Faith and the holy living it leads to cannot be divided. We do not get to choose whether we want to believe or to act. Faith is believing so deeply that we actually live what we believe to be true. If we believe in God's forgiveness, then true faith requires us to be forgiving. If we believe in God's grace, then true faith leads us to be merciful. May we live as those who truly believe!
This Sunday in Worship
We finish up our Summer Book Club this week by turning our attention to one of the shortest and least known books: the Letter to Philemon. Unlike other letters written to churches or to leaders of the church offer advice and correction, Paul's letter to Philemon is a personal one to simply ask a favor. Yet it opens up to us an understanding of how God works in our lives and wants us to respond. Join us this Sunday as we learn about "Paul's Favor" and the favor God asks of us!
Celebrating 100 Years of Worship!
Join us on July 24th as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of worship in our sanctuary! We will begin with a special worship service at 10 am, followed by a potluck dinner in the park, weather permitting. Please bring a dish from one of the recipes you submitted for the cookbook. You will be invited to fill out a card to put with your dish to include the dish name and page number in the cookbook. That way, we can all sample a lot of the recipes in our wonderful cookbook! Invite family, friends, and former members for this special day!
Your Stories of Faith Needed!
To help him in preparation for worship this coming year, Pastor Jim needs to hear your story! How did you come to faith in Jesus? How did you hear God's call to faith and/or service in your life? Whether it is a story of one amazing moment or an awareness that grew slowly over time, your story matters.
Please email or write your story to help Pastor Jim as he prepares for our worship.
Living in Community
Please pray for our Jurisdictional Conference
as delegates elect and assign new bishops for our annual conferences!
If you are interested in participating in a men's, women's, or couples' breakfast group,
please let Pastor Jim know.
Thank you to Meg, Chris, and Liz for serving communion in worship this week!
Thanks, Melissa, for putting together a wonderful VBS slideshow for us to enjoy!
This Week at Port Church
Tuesday, July 12
6 pm - Wednesday at the Port Planning Meeting
7 pm - Administrative Council Meeting
Wednesday, July 13
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
Thursday, July 14
9:30 am - 12 noon - Office Hours
Sunday, July 17
9:30 am - Worship: "Paul's Favor"
11:00 am - Sunday School
100th Anniversary Celebration of Sanctuary - July 24, 10 am
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!