This week, our worship shifts a bit to the book of James. In August as we sent our kids back to school, we focused on wisdom, learning from Proverbs and Ephesians wise words for life. James is a great follow-up as he offers no-nonsense, practical and proverbial wisdom for how we are to live out our faith. James invites us to an outward faith, not a personal or privatized faith. He challenges us.

This may be a little hard for us to embrace. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been invited to a personal faith. Is Jesus in your heart? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? Do you have your own private devotion time separate from your family/friends/community?

As United Methodists, we stand with John Wesley and others after him who taught that we are called to “holiness of heart and life.” We are called to both the personal and the social holiness that we find in Scripture. We ask, “How is it with your soul?” – while also asking what we’ve done for one another. We know that faith cannot remain a private endeavor but we are created for community. We learn from one another and we challenge one another.

Join us this week, and in the next five weeks, as we hear the wisdom James shares with the church. Come look in a mirror, consider your tongue, and let James guide how you live out your faith.

I am also excited to begin a new late afternoon conversation group with Common Grounds and Family Ministries. Each week we will look a little more in-depth at the scripture from worship that morning. No test will be given over the morning’s sermon, so come even if you didn’t attend worship! It will be held at the same time as youth and preteen gatherings, so it’s a great time for the entire family to spend a Sunday afternoon. The informal conversations will be great to help us question James and learn from one another. Consider joining me if you’re in that stage of life!

Finally, I invite you to read through the book of James. In worship, we will read a portion of each chapter, but there’s so much in the book that I don’t want you to miss. I invite you to read one chapter each week. Read it daily. Read it more than once. Maybe read just one verse or a couple of verses each day. Let it really speak to you and ask the Holy Spirit what you need to learn from it. It’s a different way of reading the Bible than our usual fast read, and it can be a rich experience. I’d love to hear what you learn from this book.

See you soon.
Pastor Lynn

Three ways to access our pre-recorded service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.
  • The YouTube link will also be shared on Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson or use this link.

The service goes live at 9:45 a.m.