Blessings Cooksville Family!
Below is the link to this week’s service:
As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.
And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.
And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.
Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – email@example.com
September 6, 2021
Sunday Worship Service
Prelude: Simple Gifts – Shaker melody, arr. Michael Hassell
Opening Video: a prayer for Labour Day
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn: “As Those Of Old Their Firstfruits Brough”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
James 2:1-10, 14-17 New International Version
2:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Solo: Then shall the eyes of the blind; He shall feed His flock text
from Isaiah 35 and 40; music from “Messiah”, by Handell
Behind The Cover
Dodie Gadient – a schoolteacher for thirteen years – decided to travel across the country during her summer vacation and see some of the sights she had taught about. Traveling alone in a truck with camper in tow – she headed out.
One afternoon – while rounding a curve on the highway near a major city – the fan belt snapped on her truck. She was tired – exasperated – scared – and alone. In spite of the traffic jam she caused – no one stopped to ask if she needed some help. Leaning up against the trailer – she prayed – Please God – send me an angel – preferably one who knows how to fix a fan belt. .
Within a few minutes – an enormous man sporting long – black hair – a beard and tattooed arms – riding on a tricked-out Harley pulled over. With an incredible air of confidence – he jumped off his bike – and without even glancing at Dodie – went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes – he flagged down a large truck – attached a tow chain – and whisked the whole pick-up and camper off the highway onto a side street – where he calmly continued to work on the engine. .
The schoolteacher was a little intimidated and too dumbfounded to talk. Especially when she saw the distinctive patch on the back of his leather jacket – Hell’s Angels. .
As he finished with the engine – and it came roaring back to life – she finally got up the courage to say – Thanks so much – and was able to carry on a brief conversation. .
Noticing her surprise at the whole ordeal – he looked her straight in the eye and mumbled – Don’t judge a book by its cover. You may not know who you’re talking to. With that – he smiled – straddled his Harley – and with a subtle nod – he was gone as fast as he had appeared. .
Looks can be deceiving. Dodie prayed for an – Angel – to rescue her – and that’s what she got – a member of the notorious biker gang – the Hell’s Angels. As he said – You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. .
You see me here every week – In the summer – nice pants – nice shirt. In the cooler months – I’m in my robes – black with a stole and button up shirt with a clerical collar – dress shoes. But I typically dress like that only for services – most of the time I’m much more casual – and I mean – MUCH – more casual. .
I’ve always been that way. Even years ago – when I worked in the computer industry – daily work attire was suit and tie – but after work – faded jeans – sandals – and a t-shirt..
And the difference in the way I would be treated – depending on how I was dressed – would really make you stop and think. If I stopped at a store – or maybe a nice restaurant – on my way home from work – the staff would be falling over each other trying to serve me..
You could tell what they were thinking – that’s a really nice suit – this guy’s got money – he has to be a big spender. But if I went to the same places on the weekend – or after I’d gone home to change – salespeople and servers would ignore me. They’d be thinking – he can’t afford to buy anything here..
The thing is – they’d all be wrong. I was – in no way – a – BIG – spender. But I could usually afford to buy in the places I’d shop. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover..
Don’t judge too quickly – when you do – you might assume the worst – when the best is intended. This is one of the issues that James addresses in his book..
James 2:1 My brothers and sisters – believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism..
Don’t judge a person by what you see on the surface. In other words – don’t judge too quickly. Or don’t pre-judge – before you have a chance to really get to know someone below the surface..
A study by researchers at the University of Toronto and at James Madison University in Virginia – demonstrates our tendency to do just that – to judge people simply by what we see on the surface..
Jonah Lehrer – one of the researchers – says we all have what he calls – bias blind spots – no matter how smart we think we are. In fact – his research found that – a larger bias blind spot was identified in people with greater intelligence. That’s because there’s a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves..
He says – When considering the irrational choices of a stranger – we are forced to rely on what we see them doing – we see their actions from the outside – which allows us to see them as in the wrong..
However – when assessing our own bad choices – we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We study our motivations and search for relevant reasons..
For example – if we drive erratically through traffic – it’s because we have an important meeting – or we don’t do it that often – and we’re really careful – and so forth. But if someone else cuts us off in traffic – there’s one simple – observable explanation – he’s a jerk..
Lehrer concludes – our bias blind spots are largely unconscious – which means we don’t see them in ourselves. And being smarter – doesn’t make it any easier to see our bias faults. (quotes paraphrased).
I find that very interesting – because in our sophisticated society – people like to think that they have very little – or no – prejudice at all – when in fact – they may tend to prejudge people even more..
That’s the way of the world – but God calls Christians to – keep unstained from the world. (James 1:27). Unlike the world – Christians are called to demonstrate a different attitude. So don’t Judge the book by the cover – and don’t be a foolish critic..
Don’t be hasty in your evaluation of others. You see – when you judge too quickly – your judgment is usually wrong..
James 2:2-4 says – Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?.
That’s judging the poor man as being less worthy of your attention than the rich man – and it’s because you’ve taken each person at face value – and have evaluated them based solely on their outward appearance..
The word used for – poor man – in the original Greek could be translated as – someone who crouches and cowers like a beggar. It sure doesn’t describe someone who would look like knowing them would be an asset – at least not compared to the rich man dressed in the ancient equivalent of an expensive Armani suit with a gold Rolex watch..
That’s judgment based on a person’s outward appearance – and that’s how people usually – see – things. The Bible says – The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance – but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7). You see – God has a totally different assessment – because God looks below the surface to the heart of an individual..
And God sees that the poor are often rich in what really counts..
James 2:5-6 – Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor..
The real assets to the world – are the poor – who are rich in faith!.
This was demonstrated in May of 2017 – do you remember the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester – England. None of the tickets for that event were cheap – so you could argue that most of the people attending were reasonably well off. But – while many of those fairly wealthy concert goers were fleeing the arena – two homeless men stayed to help those who were hurt.
For Chris Parker – a 33-year-old homeless man – the arena’s entrance seemed like a good place to beg for money. And Stephen Jones – another homeless man – had found a spot nearby to sleep.
Chris was panhandling when the bomb exploded – according to local news reports the force of the blast knocked him to the floor – but he was unfazed. Rather than running for safety – he went to the aid of victims – comforting a girl who had lost her legs – wrapping her in a T-shirt – and cradling a dying woman in his arms.
Stephen – pulled shrapnel out of children’s arms and faces. Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart – he told a local news agency – I’d like to think someone would come and help me if I needed the help – he said – adding that he had been overcome by an – instinct – to pitch in.
The poor can be very sensitive to the needs of those around them. That’s why their – instinct – their heart – is to – pitch in – to help in whatever ways they can. That’s faith at work – and God sees that the poor are often rich in that kind of faith.
On the other hand – God also knows that the rich are often poor in what really counts. The wealthy are often lacking in things like faith and compassion.
James 2:6-7 Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
The church – over the years – has experienced more trouble from rich people than from poor people. It’s the rich who have tried to dominate and control the church. It’s the rich who have caused most of the church’s legal problems – and the rich who wind up being on the news demonstrating examples of how – not – to be a Christian.
They tend to be the ones who give Christianity a bad name – if not by their words – then certainly by their actions. Just think of those wealthy TV preachers – who live in mansions while taking money from the vulnerable of society.
The rich have caused far more trouble for the church than the poor ever have over the years. And yet – churches still work on appealing to the wealthy – and discouraging the poor.
A 2012 newspaper article asked the following question – Does money change you? The article said that most people are convinced that gaining a lot of money – wouldn’t change who they are as people. But studies show exactly the opposite.
A mounting body of research is showing that wealth can actually change how we think and behave – and not for the better. Rich people have a harder time connecting with others – showing less empathy – and are more likely to dehumanize those who are different from them.
Percentage wise – they are less charitable and generous – less likely to help someone in trouble – and they are more likely to defend an unfair status quo. Money – in other words – changes who you are.
Researchers from the University of California – based on a number of studies – have concluded that wealthier people tend to be less compassionate towards others in a bad situation than people from lower-class backgrounds.
Now – I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to say that all rich people are bad – or that all poor people are good. No – it’s just a reminder to look beyond the surface. Don’t judge people too quickly. Don’t take people at face value – and through that – become an uninformed judge.
Finally – by judging others based on initial appearances – you run the risk of becoming the one in the wrong.
James 2:8-10 says – If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Jesus summarized God’s law in two commands – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind – and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).
According to James – The law of love is the – royal law – the ultimate of all laws – and judging people too quickly breaks that law! When you don’t take the time to really know someone before you form an opinion of them – you violate the law of love.
In fact – according to James – Judging people based on appearances – breaks the entire law! James considers the law is a boundary line – like a border – and it doesn’t matter where you cross that line. If you cross it anywhere – at the point called murder – or adultery – or favouritism – it’s all the same – you’ve crossed the border. That’s how serious James thinks it is.
Judging people too quickly breaks the law of love. In fact – it breaks the entire law – so instead – learn to show mercy – not judgment. Demonstrate compassion – not a critical spirit.
Express the kind of love which goes below the surface and takes the time to really know someone. If you do – you will no longer see the need to judge.
That’s what faith in Christ is all about. When you truly trust Him – you will love others as He loved you – unconditionally and without judgment.
It’s countercultural – but that kind of love changed the world. In the middle of the 2nd Century – those who could afford to fled the Black Plague in ancient Rome by abandoning the city – leaving the poor – sick and dying behind. The Christians – on the other hand – remained behind at great risk to themselves.
When everybody else ran – they stayed to care for the sick and dying. They showed mercy – and their mercy triumphed over the judgement of others.
After decades of persecution – Christianity began to be accepted in the Roman Empire – so much so – that less than 150 years later the Roman emperor himself became a Christian and sought to Christianize the entire empire.
I’m going to finish by telling you something you might not know about me. I own and ride a motorcycle. It’s not a Harley – but it’s the same sort of cruiser – with the same sort of loud thumping engine noise – and it’s often mistaken for one.
When I ride it – I wear an older pair of jeans – some heavier boots – a motorcycle jacket – black leather gloves – and a helmet with a dark visor. Like a lot of motorcycle riders – I wear those things for protection. But it kind of makes us all look the same. Other than the fact that my jacket doesn’t have a big club patch on the back – I might look just like a gang member.
And if it’s a hot day – after wearing a heavy outfit like that for a couple of hours – well – let’s just say I don’t always get off the bike smelling like a bouquet of roses.
So – what I want to ask you is this – if I pulled up in front of the church – loudly revving the engine – dressed like that on my bike one Sunday morning – just parked right out front by the steps – got off – and walked in through the sanctuary doors before taking my helmet off.
How do you think I’d be judged? How would you judge me? Would I be led to a good seat – would I be asked to sit at the back or maybe even asked what I was doing there. And how would you feel after I took off my helmet and you realized it was me.
So don’t be quick to judge – instead – be quick to love – all people. Be quick to show mercy – as God has shown us mercy. Then watch that mercy triumph over judgement in our world.
Hymn: “In Christ There Is No East r West”
Hymn: “Sent Forth By God’s Blessing”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Fugue in G major – Bach Played by Lily Zhou