09-02-18 – “Faith That Works: Just Do it!”

09/02/18

“Faith That Works: Just Do it!”

Rev. Kevin Hay

James 1:17-27

1:17 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.

1:18 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.

1:19 You must understand this, my beloved: 

let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;

1:20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.

1:21 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.

1:22 But be doers of the word, 

and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

1:23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, 

they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror;

1:24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, 

immediately forget what they were like.

1:25 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.

1:26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues 

but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.

1:27 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.

 

 

Just Do It!

be doers of the word, 

and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

Just Do It!

during the fitness craze of the 1980’s

as Reebok was making huge strides in capturing the athletic shoe market

in response to people getting excited about Fitness and Aerobics classes

and buying home exercise machines…

Nike wanted to move beyond being a niche athletic shoe company

providing specialized shoes for a small group of specialized athletes

marathon runners and track athletes…

and instead, compete with Reebok for the developing market of people 

wanting to wear athletic shoes for their personal fitness activities

or simply as fashion statements…

and so in a marketing meeting with an advertising agency

the catch phrase for Nike

was born…

Just Do it!

and Nike began a mass-media campaign

of tv commercials, magazine ads, billboards, and more

with celebrity athletes like…

Bo Jackson, John McEnroe, and Michael Jordan

all saying

Just Do it!

all decked out in their Nike gear with the signature swoosh…

Nike cross training shoes

shirts, shorts, socks…

working out and training for their respective sports…

Just Do it!

as Nike launched a campaign to build a brand

that would appeal to the masses…

whether you were an intense marathon runner or aerobics junkie

someone just starting to think about personal fitness

or you just wanted to look cool…

Nike launched a campaign to appeal to everyone

regardless of your age, gender, or physical-fitness level

and it worked…

everyone wanted to wear Nike

to workouts at the gym

aerobics classes

running in the neighborhood

pickup basketball games…

or simply to school or social events…

Nike created a brand that said

“Just do it!”

and everyone wanted to be a part…

much like Under Armour has become the brand all the kids are wearing today…

Just start getting into fitness, and athletic apparel…

regardless of your age, gender, or physical-fitness level…

quit talking about it, or thinking about it… and…

Just do it!

and that’s kinda what James wants to say to the early Christians…

and perhaps to us today…

James is known for taking a no-nonsense approach to the life of faith…

getting to the heart of the matter…

so as the early church was just beginning to develop

as the word was growing about Jesus

overcoming sin and death in the resurrection

and offering us the gift of God’s love and grace…

as the early christians were beginning to spread this good news

to tell one another about God’s love and grace…

as excitement for the movement was beginning to grow

on the cusp of blowing up into something huge…

James wants everyone to get to the heart of the matter

and to
Just Do it!

to.. be doers of the word, 

and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

as the church was on the cusp of blowing up into something huge…

James wanted the early christians

a grass-roots movement of small groups gathering in their homes…

and re-telling the stories of Jesus

to quit talking about it, or thinking about it… and…

Just do it!

Just go out there and be the Church

live out the good news that you experience in Jesus Christ

the gift of God’s love and grace…

and I think there’s more parallels to this message from James 

to be doers of the word

and the marketing campaign from Nike

than just a catchy slogan…

How many times have we said to ourselves…
I’m gonna get back to taking better care of myself…

whether we make a New Year’s resolution 

or we get motivated after a birthday

or we’re trying to get in shape for a reunion 

or family wedding…

or getting in shape for summer bathing suit season…

or even coming off a scary health situation…

or just a Dr.’s visit where they really get onto you…

I’m gonna start going to the gym more

or walking or running

or trying to eat healthier…

and it seems like the fitness craze of the 80’s

has had a bit of a resurgence today

with people tracking their steps with fitbits

and counting calories

and more gyms like Crossfit and the Wellness center popping up…

but as much as we say it to ourselves…

it’s like we need a kick in the pants

to really get us moving…

for someone to tell us to

Just do it!

and sometimes, we do the same thing in living out our faith…

how many times have we said to ourselves…

I keep meaning to…

I keep meaning…

to go help out w/ the Senior Food Box ministry

I keep meaning…

to go help out w/ the Backpack program

I keep meaning…

to get involved with revitalizing the community

or volunteering with a ministry that is meaningful to me…

or sometimes it’s more personal acts of faith…

I keep meaning…

to check in on that person that’s been going through a tough time

I keep meaning

to take my neighbor something for dinner one night

I keep meaning…

to call someone that I haven’t seen at church in a while

I keep meaning…

to visit someone that was in the hospital recently

or send them a card, or give them a call…

I keep meaning to…

or sometimes

it’s things we always talk about at church

in worship, Sunday School, Bible Studies, youth group

Session and committee meetings…

we have all these great ideas for what the church ought to be doing…

we talk a big game…

about how to reach new people

or serve the needs of our local community 

or, as we begin a new year in the life of the church…

I keep meaning to

start singing in the choir

or offer my musical gifts in some other way

I keep meaning to

start coming to Sunday School or Bible Study

or teaching Sunday School

I keep meaning to

volunteer to help with Youth Group

I keep meaning to

get involved with a committee in the church

where I can use my gifts…

I keep meaning to

start a small group or dinner group at the church

but as much as we say it to ourselves…

I keep meaning to…

or 

I think we ought to…

it’s like we need a kick in the pants

to really get us moving…

like we’re waiting for someone to tell us to

Just do it!

even in the Interim period, during this time of transition…

sometimes it’s as if we’re

waiting on the new pastor to come in 

and tell us how to be the Church…

but the thing is…

just like Nike knew

that anyone can get involved in the fitness craze of the 80’s and 90’s

anyone can wear their running shoes or training gear…

regardless of your age, gender, or fitness-level…

whether you’re a marathon runner or aerobics junkie

or someone just starting to think about personal fitness

or you just want to look cool…

anyone can wear Nike shoes and clothing…

the same is true in the Church

as the early church was just starting to figure out what it meant 

to share the good news of God’s love and grace…

and as we still keep trying to figure out how what it means today

to share the good news of Gods love and grace…

anyone can be the Church

anyone can…

Just do it!

we don’t have to have any special skills…

we don’t have to have the most beautiful voice

or be a dynamic teacher

we don’t have to be the most engaging leader or speaker

or be the most inspiring community organizer…

we don’t have to be be the most social and outgoing person

or the world’s greatest cook…

more than anything else, all we need…

is to quit talking about it, or thinking about it… and…

Just do it!

Just go out there and be the Church

live out the good news that you experience in Jesus Christ

the gift of God’s love and grace…

Just do it!

Just be the Church…

it seems so simple…

when Nike came out with that campaign…

they redefined the athletic shoe and apparel industry…

from 1988 to 1998

Nike’s share of the shoe industry grew rapidly from

18% of the market to 43% of the market

from $877 million dollars in sales

to $9.2 billion dollars in sales in 10 years’ time…

Nike capitalized on the growing interest in fitness

by simply encourage all people

regardless of their age, gender, or fitness-level

to Just Do it!

and maybe if we follow the words of James

the church can do the same thing…

as James says…

1:25 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.

so having received God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ

let’s be doers of the word

so that in our doing, we might be blessed…

let’s quit talking about it, or thinking about it 

or waiting for someone to arrive to tell us how…

and let’s… Just do it!

Just be the Church… 

AMEN

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