Woodlawn CC

Woodlawn CC

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mark 9:30-37 What Were You Arguing About on the Way? - Sunday September 23, 2018

Last Sunday we looked at the verses found in the Gospel of Mark 9:30-37.  Here we have Jesus foretelling of his death for the second time in Mark's Gospel and then immediately afterward we learn that the Disciples have been squabbling about who among them was the greatest.

As stunning as this seems to us following this most recent proclamation concerning Jesus ultimate fate, it's even more stunning when we realize that the 'Transfiguration' has just happened at the beginning of the 9th Chapter in Mark... it's difficult to believe how self-focused the Disciples are at this juncture.

We go from there to Jesus squelching their selfish thinking by highlighting an infant that is traveling with them.  The Greek here doesn't refer to just a young child, but to an infant... there is nothing an infant can do for anyone.  We are called to welcome into our hearts those that can do nothing for us, just as I point out in the sermon, that we ultimately can do nothing for God... yet He loves us and calls us to Him.

It's been an interesting week thus far, and a week where I've had to lean back upon these very verses... it's amazing how God does that...

Also, yesterday I gave a sermon at Opportunity Living and I shared a story from Gail's and my travels on our recent vacation.  I hadn't planned to use that story but decided to that morning when I woke up, they thanked me and told me how much it meant to them all considering somethings that are going on right now... I just said "God's like that".

Praise God that He gives us what we need when we need it the most.

Be a blessing to someone today!!!

In His Love & Grace,

Mark 9:30-37 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Who Is the Greatest?

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pastor's October Newsletter Article - Be a blessing to someone today!

Pastor's Ponderings – October 2018 Newsletter Article:

It's fast closing on the month of October, which is such a fun and beautiful month of the year.  It's a great time to enjoy the colors, sights, and scents of nature and towards that end, we've scheduled this year's “Hay-rack Ride” for October 21st.  We'll be leaving the Church at 2 pm on the hay-rack provided once again by Nick & Rita Burley. (Thank you, Nick & Rita!) Bring your jackets and a blanket or two, as it may well be chilly!  The annual hayrack ride is always a great time so please come on up and take part!  We'll have some hot-dogs and treats around the bonfire, there's not much better than hot-dogs cooked over a bonfire!  See you all there!

We also have the 2nd Annual “Baked Steak Dinner” coming up quickly.  This event will be Saturday, October 13th from 5-7 pm.  The meal includes a baked steak, a baked potato, veggies, a dinner roll, dessert, and a drink.  ALL OF THIS FOR JUST $10.00!!! What a deal!  I hope to see you all there!

Gail and I were away for a week this past month and had a great vacation, we truly appreciate all those who pitched in and helped, allowing us to get away and relax a bit.  Thank you to Bob Arnold who came in and preached for me and thank you to Bill Hungate for running the Thursday night service while I was traveling.  While we were traveling about in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa we saw a lot of beautiful country and met a lot of interesting people along the way.  We had one experience, in the small town of 'North Buena Vista, IA' though that really struck home to us and was a witness to both Gail and I about God's love and provision.  I'll let you hear the story from Gail first and then I'll comment a bit more:

This is the story as Gail told it on her FB page:
I want to share our experience today of God's grace and love, giving God all the glory for His blessings.
We stopped to look at a grotto in North Buena Vista, IA. When we started the car, it wouldn't go into gear. Roy walked down the road, a very small town, nothing there. We had no internet and no phone coverage. I sat and prayed for rescue. That God would provide help for us to get home. In only a few minutes, someone brought him back in their car. Turns out there was Sinclair station just a couple of blocks down. The guy did some jiggling and got it to go in reverse so Roy had to back down the road. The Sinclair station just happened to also be a car repair and the guy that picked up Roy was the owner and mechanic. He said it was just a cable connector that broke and he welded it together. The whole time I'm thinking we're going to have to replace the transmission or buy a new car to get home. He comes in from the shop saying it's done and only charges $25! Praise God. I didn't notice but Roy said the guy's car had a sticker that said: "pray the rosary every day."
Before we left the lot we said a prayer of thanks. I was so thankful, relieved and grateful I had to cry.
God is good, all the time.
The car seemed to be fine after that, but we're just a little anxious about tomorrow. I know we shouldn't be anxious, but we are a long way from home. So please pray a prayer of thanks for us tonight and continuing safe travel all the way home. 

As Gail said, we had traveled to North Buena Vista to see the little Grotto that they have there.  The Grotto was constructed in the late 30's and early 40's and one of my friends actually shared with me that his Grandfather had helped work on it when the Grandfather was still a young boy.  We parked on the hill slope leading into the Catholic Cemetery and I got out to take a few pictures and look around.  When we were ready to leave the car wouldn't go into gear.  My first response was to think 'great... we're here in the middle of no-where and the car is broken down'... (New Buena Vista is a town of 90 people!)  On top of that our cell phones were not picking up a signal, so I resorted back to doing things the old way and I told Gail I would hike back to the corner and see what I could find and to see if I could get a phone signal there.  Well, at the bottom of the hill I discovered a mechanics shop.  I walked up and talked to one of the guys and he yelled to another fellow who came over to talk to me.  I told him we were just passing through to see the Grotto and that we were having car trouble.  He said “let's go look at it”, and while walking up to his car I saw the bumper sticker that Gail mentioned, “Pray the Rosary every day”.  The gentleman was Al Breitbach, the owner of the garage and he was able to get the car into reverse, which was great... except that I had to back around the hill turn around (all the while in reverse) go back around the hill and then down the hill and back into the bay of the garage.  This was a time when my years of being a farm kid backing silage trucks across the field came in handy... at any rate... Al and his staff quickly figured out a way to get us back on the road by welding the piece that had broken and ultimately only charging us $25 for all their troubles.

The moral of the story is this... in life, there is going to trouble... God doesn't cause those troubles to happen, but what He can do (and most often will) is place us in a position where when those troubles arise that he has 'workers' there able and ready to rescue and assist us.  That part on our car was going to fail somewhere along the way... it could have happened at any time... but, where it finally failed, in that little town of 90 people was right where God had His servants waiting to come to our aid.

When things go wrong, when the wheels come off the bus so to say... we can be (and will be) frustrated that these events occur, but what we must do is to be aware that God will provide a way out of these difficulties... we just need to look and see where His servants are waiting to help us.  Often, perhaps always, these servants aren't even aware that they are there to serve.  But, God's people are everywhere... waiting to help... let us also be waiting to serve when God chooses to use us to be His Angels.

Be a blessing to someone today!!
In Christ, Pastor Roy

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thursday Night Service, Sept 20th, 2018 - James 3:13 to 4:8

Last night's Thursday Night Service found me preaching once again over the verses in James (as directed in the Lectionary).  Last week James warned us about the consuming fire of the human tongue and the week prior he warned about divisiveness... this week he deals with two kinds of wisdom and warns us to not be wrapped up in the evil that pervades this world.

James cautions us about 'envy'... that which seeks to destroy that which it focuses its malice upon.  True envy isn't a benign thing, it rather doesn't want you or anyone else to have anything which it perceives as better or more exalted than what it has... it's an evil emotion... It's sad to say all too come in the world today.  We have factions within our Christian faith that have fallen victim to this curse of envy, wanting to tear down others and to destroy.

The writings of James (who I do personally believe to be Christ's younger brother) need to be reapplied to our world... we simply must stop dividing... we need to stop attacking others with unsubstantiated attacks... we need to stop trying to destroy... we need to return to the teachings of the Gospel...

Be a blessing to someone today... love them without envy, without malice, with only grace and forgiveness...

In Christ,

James 3:13-4:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for[a] those who make peace.

Friendship with the World
4 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet[b] something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God[c] yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

“God opposes the proud,
    but gives grace to the humble.”

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

a) James 3:18 Or by
b) James 4:2 Or you murder and you covet
c) James 4:5 Gk He

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thursday Night Worship James 3:1-12 "Taming the Tongue"

Since I am going to be unavailable tomorrow night, I recorded the sermon for this Thursday night's worship last week.  We're once again in the little epistle of 'James' and this week we run into the verses discussing controlling or taming your tongue.

James warns us about letting our tongue lead us astray, and it certainly is capable of doing just that.  Combine the tongue with pride, ego, and good old stubborn headedness and you get the all too common condition of us making an error or an off colored remark and having to defend that position to the death... all because our ego can't admit that we've made a mistake.

There's a great saying out there that I just love (I don't know who the quote belongs to) that goes something like this: "do you know that point in the argument where you suddenly realize that you're wrong... I hate that point".  All too many of us at that point refuse to admit our error and hold to it doggedly... and there the flames that James talks about start burning.

I have to hurry off today so I'll just close with another old saying that I'm sure each of us remembers (but all too few apply): "Keep your words soft and sweet, from day to day you never know which ones you'll have to eat".

Be a blessing to someone today!  (speak kindly to them... speak kindly to everyone!)

In Christ,

James 3:1-12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,[a] for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And 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,[b] and is itself set on fire by hell.[c] 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters,[d] this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters,[e] yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

a) James 3:1 Gk brothers
b) James 3:6 Or wheel of birth
c) James 3:6 Gk Gehenna
d) James 3:10 Gk My brothers

e) James 3:12 Gk my brothers

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday - September 9, 2018 - Psalm 146 "Praise The Lord"

Psalm 146 is the beginning of the end if you will for the collection we know as the "Psalms".  This is the first of the last section of Psalms and the beginning of a series of 'Praise Psalms', with each beginning with and ending with "Praise the Lord".

Verses 1 & 2 in Psalm 146 lift up in words that we should live our lives as liturgy, continually praising our Lord and lifting up songs of celebration and praise.  We are called to praise our God with every fiber of our being, right down to our very soul.

Verses 3 & 4 warn us against placing our faith and trust in human beings.  We are reminded that all are merely mortals and all will pass away and the atoms of their bodies shall be returned to the Earth, all their plans, their desires, their unfinished works shall pass from this realm.

In verses 5, 6, & 7, the Psalmist turns the attention to where we need to divert our focus, and that is to God.  It is in God were our help is found, and where our true hope resides.  Our Lord brings justice to this world and cares for any and all.  The God who created all that we see... the heaven and the earth... this same God cares equally for each and every one of us.  We as Christians see a hint towards the coming and sacrifice of Christ in the ending of verse 7 "the Lord sets the prisoners free".  These words ring out to us how Christ would come into this world to redeem His lost people.

These words of encouragement and reassurance continue through verse 8 and through the first two lines of verse 9.  Verse 9 ends however with a warning to the wicked, for the wicked shall be brought to ruin, there is a dreadful price of some form to pay for failing to uphold the Lord.

Verse 10 brings us back to the beginning of the Psalm, and (just like all of the remaining Psalms in the Psalter) we end with "Praise the Lord".  And thus we are reminded once again that life is to be lived as a celebration to God, our lives are intended to sing praises to the Lord... our lives are to be liturgy for God.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In His Praise,

Psalm 146 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Praise for God’s Help
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7     who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord!

Friday, September 7, 2018

James 2:1-17 Sermon given at Thursday Night Worship on September 6th, 2018

The verses for the sermon in this week's Thursday night service came once again from the little book of 'James'.  This week we looked at James 2:1-17.  These verses contain the infamous words found in verse 17 "So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.".  I chose to focus the sermon, not upon this line but upon the directive found earlier in this scripture selection that concerned making distinctions, or in our modern way of speaking 'stereotyping' other people.

Making distinctions about people, pre-judging them if you will, stereotyping, or outright discriminating against others for any variety of reasons, is a very real and very difficult thing to deal with.  Today we hear all kinds of cries about discrimination from those who themselves are indeed very guilty of discriminating or pre-judging people in very real and tangible ways.  We just can't seem to shake this need, desire, or what-have-you to divide people up into groups, classes, cliques, etc...

Here James (who I believe to be the brother of Christ) chastizes us all for judging others because they are less affluent or impoverished.  He scolds us telling us that we must love our neighbor as ourselves and that if we show any partiality that we have sinned... he goes on to relay that any sin is as if we've committed all sins... these are hard and frankly frightening words...

So what are we to do?  Is this teaching too hard?  Well, it apparently is very hard, because even James himself couldn't live up to it... for immediately before authoring the passage I just quoted, he himself has pre-judged and discriminated against those who are wealthy.  Is judging, diminishing, discriminating against those who are affluent any better than judging, diminishing, discriminating against the poor?  NO!!!  So, what do we do... do we just give up and go ahead and divide...?

James' words and his own response to these words clearly illustrate the great difficulty that we humans have in resisting what is clearly (to me anyway) a trait which has literally been bred into us as a survival mechanism in our species ancient past.  But, we who are now called to be a reflection of God in this world, must try to abandon what was once a necessity upon the neolithic plains and try and embrace our brothers and sisters who are different from us in a multitude of ways.  We must understand that it is incredibly difficult and that we must forgive ourselves when we fall short, for even James within his writing about this... commits the very sin he warns about... we will all fall short... that's okay, we just need to daily brush ourselves off and try harder... but, never stop trying!

Be a blessing to someone today!!

In Christ,

James 2:1-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Warning against Partiality
2 My brothers and sisters,[a] do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?[b] 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,”[c] 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.[d] Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith without Works Is Dead
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[e] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

a) James 2:1 Gk My brothers
b) James 2:1 Or hold the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus 
c) Christ without acts of favoritism
d) James 2:3 Gk Sit under my footstool
e) James 2:5 Gk brothers

f) James 2:14 Gk brothers

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mark 7:1-23, We are called to be uniters and not dividers... September 2, 2018

This past Sunday I preached over the verses found in the Gospel of Mark 7:1-23, this proved to be the longest sermon that I've given here at Woodlawn to date. The sermon was a bit shy of 35 minutes in length and though I knew it was long, it certainly didn't seem like it was over a half hour in length.

Even though it was a long sermon, I received many, many compliments on the sermon. I was pleased that so many found value in these words and I was pleased that no one came to me complaining about the duration of the presentation.

I discussed the culture of 'works' that Jesus found himself contesting during his ministry.  That is the prominence of the importance of adherence to 'rules' and 'directives' rather than focusing upon the spirit of the commandments. Truly, this had to have been a point of aggravation to Jesus, but the main focus of the sermon had to do with the defilement that comes from what resides inside of us.

Of the things listed by Jesus, perhaps the worst of all is the word translated as "malice", "evil deeds", or as it is in the NRSV translated as "wickedness".  This is that thing that drives so many to stir up trouble and conflict.  There is far, far, far too much focus in our current world upon "drama", which is the result of this "malice", this desire to cause trouble for our neighbor and even sad to say for our own church.

Please take the time to listen to the sermon, it's long, but, again everyone seemed to enjoy the message.  I can only hope that perhaps you will as well...

Be a blessing to someone today!!! (and don't stir up trouble)

In Christ,

Mark 7:1-23 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

7 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands,[a] thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it;[b] and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.[c]) 5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live[d] according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
    teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

9 Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God[e])— 12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”[f]

17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

a) Mark 7:3 Meaning of Gk uncertain
b) Mark 7:4 Other ancient authorities read and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves
c) Mark 7:4 Other ancient authorities add and beds
d) Mark 7:5 Gk walk
e) Mark 7:11 Gk lacks to God
f) Mark 7:15 Other ancient authorities add verse 16, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen”

Monday, September 3, 2018

James 1:17-27, If we are not doers of the word... then our religion is worthless...

The sermon for last Thursday night's service was over the 1st Chapter of the book of James, in particular, the verses found from 1:17-27.  I've preached a sermon series over James since I've been here at Woodlawn and now the Lectionary is entering a period where we'll again be looking at selections from James.  The Epistle of James is a great book and I would encourage everyone to sit down and read through it (often).

We're called not just to 'talk the talk, but as James prods us in his letter, we must also be doers of the word.  The word is the life that we have had revealed to us through the teachings of Christ, and it's obvious that James (whoever he was) is a believer that Jesus came to us from God the Father. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

We, each of us, are the first fruits of God, that portion of the crop that is dedicated to God.  The Temple upon which this offering is to be laid is the 'New Temple' and as has been so often cited, that Temple is Jesus Himself.  We are each sacred to God, let us remember to behave as such and to do the bidding and perform the work of God in His creation.

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

Be a blessing to someone today!

In Christ!

James 1:17-27 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a] 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19 You must understand this, my beloved:[b] let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves[c] in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

a) James 1:17 Other ancient authorities read variation due to a shadow of turning
b) James 1:19 Gk my beloved brothers
c) James 1:23 Gk at the face of his birth