By Pastor Monica McDougal
Scripture: James 5:13-20
As many of you know, I am a second-generation United Methodist Pastor. My mom retired this past June after 30+ years in ministry. Now, through those 30+ years of ministry, my mom was appointed six times and served 10 different churches. Most of those churches were small, rural churches. When you hear the words, “small, rural church” you probably picture a small wooden white building surrounded by fields like the ones you might happen across while out on a drive through the countryside. And that image you have in mind is exactly what Beagle United Methodist Church looks like. Yes, Beagle, like the dog.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
James 3: 13-18
I’m going to start my sermon this morning with an illustration that I hope doesn’t offend anyone with an overly energetic dog. You all know that Britt and I are big dog lovers.
I was actually sitting in my rocker in my home study this week, praying, thinking, reflecting on this sermon, and looking out the window. The windows in the parsonage study are perfect for “people watching.” A couple was walking down the street with two large-breed dogs… though I use the word “with” rather loosely. The dogs were out in front, the leads were long, but quite taut. One dog would give a little lunge periodically, yanking his person’s arm in a manner that made my shoulder hurt as I watched. Now, I’m sure these dogs were fond of their people. But it was pretty clear this was not a pack walk. Those leashes were nothing the dogs welcomed. It was a device that, just barely, restrained them from going off in their own thoughtless, live-in-the-moment direction… which could have involved running in front of a car, jumping into the dirty pond, barking at a neighbor or chasing a cat or squirrel up a tree.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: James 3: 1-12
Many of us, I imagine, grew up hearing the expression “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve observed through my years in ministry that words can easily carry as much – or even more – power than a fist. Words can inflict pain that results in long-term suffering; especially when those words come from individuals who have some authority over us: like parents or teachers or coaches or pastors. I’m confident all of us can remember occasions when people’s words blessed us and encouraged us AND that we can also remember occasions when people’s words wounded and discouraged us. They’re the words that come up when we’re sitting in the therapist’s office.
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On a lifelong journey of seeking to live out God's call on my life and to reflect His grace.
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