Friday, September 15, 2017

James 1:5-8; 3:13-18: Ask for Jesus' Wisdom + September 9, 2017

Book cover for Luke Timothy Johnson's Brother of Jesus, Friend of God

Bible Passages | James 1:5-83:13-18

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 139:14-18; Proverbs 3:3-8

Previous sermons and liturgies in James

James 1:1-4, 12-18: Count It All Joy

God’s wisdom in Proverbs and James is the biblical statement that everything – ants, spouses, overeating, curiosity, poverty, generosity, what you say, what you do, every detail of life – is of infinite, eternal importance. The factory and work is as high on the agenda as the church pew and giving. Family life is discussed with the same seriousness as the life of God. The words of men are arranged along with the words of God for examination and contemplation. The way we speak to a friend, the disruptions of family life, the loss of meaning and purpose in our work and confused goals in our vocations, our feelings of inadequacy or depression, our personal doubts and struggles, our favoritism and and our mercy. In Proverbs, “Wisdom cries aloud in the street.” She is not hidden away in a prestigious university, or for the few lucky. She cries aloud in the streets, the same streets we walk, drive, go to school, speed. Jesus expressed the dominant theme of Proverbs and James when He said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). All we need to do is ask for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously (James 1:5).” + Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

James has already said that the tongue is a fire set aflame by hell in Chapter 3; now (verse 15) he says that there is a wisdom that comes from the world of demons. It may give some appearance of wisdom. Cynicism often does. Well, you wouldn’t expect a demonic mindset to identify itself too obviously, would you? The challenge is for people who follow Jesus to be able to tell the truth about the way the world is, and about the way wicked people behave (including us), without turning into a perpetual grumble, and without becoming someone whose appearance of “wisdom” consists in being able to find a cutting word to say about everyone and everything. Those who follow Jesus ought not to be cursing God’s earth, but celebrating and contributing to it. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. + N.T. Wright, James for Everyone

James doesn’t tell us to become wise, but to manifest good works that are wisdom. It’s not simply cognitive, but behavioral. A wise person is the one who creates godly, loving peace in the community. We receive proclamation and performance when we ask for and receive wisdom from God. When we are severely tested (as James’ dispersed community was by unjust economic sanctions), the need for wisdom is the need to see through persecution and to find harmony with our just and merciful God. + Scot McKnight, The Letter of James

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Prayer of Confession and Assurance

Leader: Jesus calls His Church to follow Him, standing by those who suffer and are in need, so that justice may roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Let us confess the ways in which we do not follow God’s call.

One: You support the downtrodden and give to and protect the stranger.
All: Forgive us when we do not follow You.
One: You block evildoers and help orphans and widows.
All: Forgive us when we do not follow You.
One: You condemn those who seek their own interests, controlling and harming others.
All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.
One: You bring about justice and true peace among people.
All: God, forgive us when we do not follow You. Grant us Your grace. Embolden us that, as Your people, we may stand where You stand.

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

Leader: God’s life-giving Word and Spirit enable us to live in a new obedience, opening new possibilities of life for society and the world. Thanks be to God for the Good News:
All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

This Glorious Grace
By Austin Stone Worship
2013 A.D.

God, I need You, 
I need You, I need You,
With every breath, 
every pulse of my heart.
Christ have mercy, have mercy, 
Let mercy abound,
I need You, I need You now.  

God, pour out Your grace
Glorious grace
That we would be held b
Your perfect embrace!
We are undeserving, 
You are high and worthy,
All of our praise 
For this glorious grace! 

God we're longing, 
We're longing to see You,
In Your presence 
All darkness will fade.
Shine Your glory, Your glory
Let glory surround,
We're longing to see You now.

God, Your grace 
Like rising seas 
Has swallowed death 
And sin in me!
Glory to our God who saves, 
Jesus Christ, our glorious grace!

God we worship, we worship,
We worship You
For Your glory, our all in all.
You are worthy, You’re worthy,
You’re worthy,
We worship, we worship You.
God we need You,
We need You now.

Great Are You Lord
By All Sons and Daughters
2013 A.D.

You give life, You are love,
You bring light to the darkness.
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken.
Great are YouLord.

It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise,
We pour out our praise.
It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise to You only.

All the earth will shout Your praise,
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing,
Great are YouLord!”

By PhillipsCraig, and Dean
2009 A.D.

Worthy is the
Lamb who was slain,
Holy, Holy, is He.
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come!
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder;
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King!

Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name.
Jesus, Your Name is Power,
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery!

Nothing I Hold Onto
By United Pursuit Band
2010 A.D.

I lean not on 
My own understanding,
My life is in the hands
Of the Maker of Heaven.

I give it all to You, God
Trusting that You'll make
Something beautiful out of me!

I will climb this mountain 
With my hands wide open,
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open!

There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to!

By William Cowper
1779 A.D.

Heal us, Emmanuel, here we are.
We long to feel Thy touch.
Deep wounded souls to Thee we fly.
O Savior hear our cry!

Our faith is feeble, we confess.
We faintly trust Thy word.
But will You pity us the less?
Be that far from You, LORD!

Remember him who once applied
With trembling for relief.
“Lord, I believe,” with tears he cried
“O help my unbelief!" 

She, too, who touched You in the press
And healing virtue stole
Was answered, “Daughter, go in peace
Thy faith has made thee whole.”

Like her, with hopes and fears we come
To touch You if we may.
O send us not despairing home,
Send none unhealed away.

Be Thou My Vision
St. Dall├ín Forgaill 
th Century

Be Thou my Vision,
O Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me,
Save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought,
By day or by night
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom,
And Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and
Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father,
I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling,
And I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not,
Nor man’s empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance,
Now and always!
Thou and Thou only,
First in my heart,
High King of Heaven,
My Treasure Thou art!
High King of Heaven,
My victory won!
May I reach Heaven’s joys,
O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart,
Whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision,
O Ruler of all!

Q. What is our only hope in life and in death?
A. That we are not our own,
but belong, body and soul, 
both in life and death
to God and to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.3


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. + 2 Corinthians 13:14

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