When do we find ourselves surprised by Jesus? 

Jesus certainly surprised his disciples in many of his teachings, interactions, and expectations. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking more deeply into Job and Mark 10 exploring the teachings of Jesus and what they tell us about relationships, wealth and trying to get ahead. I always marvel and how the questions of 2000 years ago are still relevant today. The questions that we struggle with are often the same and what Jesus prescribes in how we journey through those times of struggles and disbelief carries us through today too. 

While we go through this series, we hope that you will look at the places in your life where you have found Jesus speaking to you in unexpected ways. Jesus works in ways that sometimes we do not understand and often ends up leading us to do better and to be better as we come through situations and circumstances of our own doing. I encourage you to look for the ways that Jesus is speaking to you through the scriptures and stories in the coming weeks. What are the unexpected stories of your own life and where do you find Jesus in them? 

Pastor Carrie Baylis

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16

This is the last text in our sermon series “Faith that Works”. It comes down to prayer in this last text, prayer that is life-giving, saving, healing, truth-telling, revealing.  James declares that “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” It made me wonder, how do we know that our prayer is powerful or effective?  It’s not that I don’t believe that to be true, it’s that I want to know how that manifests itself in our daily lives. Do we see the power of prayer in action through the way we behave, the way that we speak, the ways that we care for others?  In a faith that works, prayer is an essential piece of our relationship with God, it’s the piece that connects on a personal level that opens us up to express our brokenness and our joys in ways that reveal our deeper connectedness to a God whose faith works for us.

This text describes the prayer of faith as one that we both receive and one that we share.  When I read these verses, I have also come to understand that sickness is not just a physical ailment, but it perhaps how we can identify sin, that sin in and of itself is a sickness.  When we come before God to pray, we should know that this is our faith in action.  We need an active faith to save the sick and bring forgiveness to the broken, to the sinners. Forgiveness itself, not a free pass or solely an act of grace, but God’s mercy on us as we confess our sins. The author says, “confess your sins to one another,” and pray for one another.  It is in our confession, coupled with prayer that is our faith in action and brings us to the healing mercies of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Carrie Baylis

OWL’s COG Railway Update

The summit parking lot is being paved over the next few days, and those who planned to drive to the summit for our OWL’s trip tomorrow, will not be able to go past Devil’s Playground. This DOES NOT affect those who are riding on the railway! The visitor center will remain open for COG railway passengers and hikers. See you tomorrow!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
-James 4: 7

Whew.  Just those first few verses of this text have left me a little exasperated.  I have never given much thought to negativity being a direct connection to the devil.  Think about how easy it is to slip into negative thoughts which so often turn into negative words or actions.  It makes me wonder what can we do to negate that, how do we choose to keep Christ on our hearts, in our ears and from our mouths.  Some of it might just be some sense of awareness and self-reflection, to remind oneself that Christ would not talk this way or do these things.
I saw a meme recently that makes me chuckle, a subtle reminder of our life situation..

James offers us many reminders of the good that Christ intends for us and that we need to keep those at the forefront of all that we do.  It’s the last few verses of the text that bring us the good news.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Remember that to resist the devil is to embrace our identity as children of God, made in the image of God, and called to live like Christ.  If we humble ourselves surely the devil will be put on the run.

-Pastor Carrie

Pastor Travis Norton

“The tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.” 
James 3:6

I’m not fully sure I understand this verse from James, but it paints a vivid picture. What we say matters, and the words we use can cause immeasurable harm. How many of us still remember the sting of harsh words said to us by family or friends or teachers or bosses? Our words can linger in someone’s memory and shape their identity for decades and lifetimes. Now with social media our words typed in anger or thoughtlessness can hurt strangers around the world over and over again long after we’ve forgotten that we even said them. It’s no wonder James spent so much time urging us to tame our tongues and be self-controlled in our speech. Because the opposite is true of our words too. They can save lives and lift spirits and change the world for the better when used in concert with the Word of God. 

-Pastor Travis

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