May 9, 2021
James Part 7: Bless / Curse
Series: James

Shouldn't we know how to use our words in ways that bless people, encourage people, and show people the love of Christ, rather than tearing people down, and discouraging them.  James is being very clear here this morning... if we can't talk in a way that encourages others and blesses our God... then we don't necessarily have a talking issue... we have a faith issue.  

Mother Teresa says this, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Nathaniel Hawthorne said this, “Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”  Today our main point is this... the things you say tell us who you really are.  The tongue will let us now if you are a person who blesses others... or a person who curses others.  Let's look at the passage today and see six different illustrations and three different ways we can see how the tongue tells us who you really are. 

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  • May 9, 2021James Part 7: Bless / Curse
    May 9, 2021
    James Part 7: Bless / Curse
    Series: James

    Shouldn't we know how to use our words in ways that bless people, encourage people, and show people the love of Christ, rather than tearing people down, and discouraging them.  James is being very clear here this morning... if we can't talk in a way that encourages others and blesses our God... then we don't necessarily have a talking issue... we have a faith issue.  

    Mother Teresa says this, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”  Nathaniel Hawthorne said this, “Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”  Today our main point is this... the things you say tell us who you really are.  The tongue will let us now if you are a person who blesses others... or a person who curses others.  Let's look at the passage today and see six different illustrations and three different ways we can see how the tongue tells us who you really are. 

  • May 2, 2021James Part 6: Faith / Works
    May 2, 2021
    James Part 6: Faith / Works
    Series: James
    If i were to ask a first responder, how do you determine if someone is alive if they are unresponsive, I'm sure they would tell me to check their pulse, their breathing, or perhaps to shine a light in their eyes.  If this is how we determine whether a body is alive... if the heart, lungs, eyes are working... why then is it not okay to determine whether a faith is alive by whether their trust, obedience, and love are working?  James tells us in chapter 2 verse 26: "for as the body apart from the spirit is dead... so faith apart from works is dead.  
  • Apr 25, 2021James Part 5: Judgment / Mercy
    Apr 25, 2021
    James Part 5: Judgment / Mercy
    Series: James

    James wants to help us practice God's Word, so he gives us a simple test.  He sent two visitors to a church service, one who is obviously doing well for himself, and one who is not doing so well, and he watched to see how they were treated.  If we don't get anything else this morning we must get this... The way we treat people is a reflection of what we really believe about God.  We mustn't separate human relationship and divine fellowship.  1 John 4:20 makes it clear... if we say we love God but hate our brother we are liars.  If we truly believe that Jesus is God, that God's Grace is good, that the Word of God is true, and that the judgement of God is coming then that will be made clear through the way we accept, care for, and love people of all walks of life.  James makes it clear we cannot claim to be Christians and play favorites, show partiality, or discriminate.

  • Apr 18, 2021James Part 4: Hearers / Doers
    Apr 18, 2021
    James Part 4: Hearers / Doers
    Series: James
    If we refuse to hear we can't be changed, if we refuse to do we aren't changed, if we refuse to go they won't be changed.   We must hear the Word of God and allow it to change us to the point where we intuitvely do what it tells us to do.  In this way we recognize that our faith is real.  Are you a hearer and not a doer?  Are you a doer and not a hearer?  Are you a hearer and a doer, but not a goer?    
  • Apr 11, 2021Transitions & Testimonies w/ Rena DeAndrea & Al Smith
    Apr 11, 2021
    Transitions & Testimonies w/ Rena DeAndrea & Al Smith
    Series: Stand Alone
    Rena DeAndrea from Transition Pregnancy Solutions shares her ministry and how we can continue to partner with them and Al & Becky Smith share the testimony of how God brought Al through the valley of the shadow of death with Covid last year. 
     
  • Apr 4, 2021Easter 2021: You Can’t Have Easter Without A Cross
    Apr 4, 2021
    Easter 2021: You Can’t Have Easter Without A Cross
    Series: Stand Alone

    The greatest day the Earth has ever known is the day that Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life... but that day cannot come without Good Friday, the prize cannot come without a price... and that price is the cross.

  • Mar 28, 2021James Part 3: Temptation / Truth
    Mar 28, 2021
    James Part 3: Temptation / Truth
    Series: James

    For those of you who have struggled with sin only to shrug it off as someone else's fault... sin just got a lot more serious didn't it. If you can't pin it on someone else, if you can't blame it on God or Satan... well now you have to deal with it... and dealing with sin is not easy. Sin is deception... so how exactly do we move from temptation into truth? How do we overcome the temptation to sin in our lives? Well, it's hard to bait a full fish. In other words... When we feast on the blessings of God we lose our appetite for the base temptations of the flesh. Feast on the goodness of God and you will no longer be attracted to sinful things. No matter what... you can't escape temptations... but you can beat them. How? By knowing the true nature of sin. Deception leads to desire which leads to disobedience... which culminates in DEATH. The better you know what sin is and how it manifests itself in our lives, the easier it is to defeat. And by knowing the truth of God's goodness... which is ultimately salvation in Christ. If we trust in Christ to take away our sin and the lure of sin forever... if we feast on his goodness... we won't have any room for sinfulness. 

  • Mar 21, 2021James Part 2: Trials / Triumph
    Mar 21, 2021
    James Part 2: Trials / Triumph
    Series: James

    Faith is messy. It's not a “if we go through trials.” It's a “when we go through trials.” Like, if you aren't in one right now... you will be in one soon. We will all experience trials and storms and suffering. It's not a maybe... its a guarantee. But in the midst of our trials we have a promise that they aren't all bad... in fact they are good. I don't know about you... but thats messy.

     What about divorce? Well, I love that James just lumps every trial into the word “various.” Divorce would fit in various. What about a kid who is just off the rails? Various. What about loosing a loved one? Yep. What about financial trouble? Various. All of them. If you fear it and if it tries your faith... its a trial.

    And so every trial that we fear to go through is a test of our faith meant to lead us to a triumphant finish. Our trials have a purpose and a plan... and so we don't need to be afraid of them. In fact we are called to embrace them. We are called to consider them all Joy!

  • Mar 14, 2021James Part 1: Big / Small
    Mar 14, 2021
    James Part 1: Big / Small
    Series: James

    James a servant of God has been impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to share with the church a letter which really speaks to a myriad of issues and themes but at the center of it is this... God is big and we are small and yet God cares about the big and the small. I want you to think about this... the God of the universe who governs all there is; how hot the stars burn, how far the planets travel in orbit, the speed of light, the depth of the oceans, the amount of food needed to feed China today, and the amount of rain needed to grow that food, the same God that governs all of that Big stuff... is the same God who cares about you. To quote Bill Paxton's character in one of my favorite movies, Tombstone; he says, “look at all the stars. You look up and you think, God made all of this and He remembered to make a little speck like me. It's kind of flattering, really.” It's more than a little flattering... it's downright scandalous. The Big God of Big things... who runs all that Big stuff... so Big we can't even comprehend... cares for us specks. It doesn't make a lick of sense. For example Luke 12:7 tells us that even the hairs of our heads are numbered.  Psalm 139:16 tells us that God knew us before we were formed and wrote down every one of our days. He put together your personality, your humor, your IQ, EQ, ADHD, and IBS. He knit you together and made you alive, a unique, a specific awesome individual! He cares about the Big stuff and the Small stuff! The universe and your hair!

    But why? Why does God care about your hair? Why does he care about you intimately and specifically? So he can lead you to walk in the fullness of Joy while at the same time bringing him the most glory possible.  He wants to see your faith work.  This is the story of James. 

  • Mar 7, 2021Resist The Exist 8: Finish Strong
    Mar 7, 2021
    Resist The Exist 8: Finish Strong
    The regret that comes with having given up on the things that matter the most is often a pill too hard to swallow. Yes, it is very easy to quit something that is difficult. And yes, it is hard to continue a course that is painful and punishing. But if that course is for something greater than you or me, something greater than the trivial pursuits of pleasure and prestige... then perhaps they are worth it.
     
    For us as Christians this goes so much further. We know for a fact that there is nothing more important to pursue than the mission of Christ glorified through the salvation of sinful people. If we know that life and death hang in the balance... If we know that eternal life and the supreme glory of our God are on the line, then nothing should be able to stop us; no pain, no agony, no adversary, no obstacle. We simply cannot quit. Why? Simple. Because... nothing will ever be tougher than living with the regret of having given up on Christ.

    Resisting the Exist is not just for today or tomorrow. Resisting the Exist is for the rest of your life until you cross the finish line. We don't know when that day will be do we... but we do know we are not promised our next breath and that we could finish our race any day now. So with that in mind... we should live every single day like it's the final leg, the final stretch and we should finish strong!