Nov 27, 2016
Developing Patience and Prayer
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A lot of your life is spent waiting. You need patience in every area of your life.  The book of James teaches us about patience. In chapter 5, St. James uses the word "patience" or "perseverance" six times, giving us three different illustrations to teach us when to be patient, why to be patient, and how to be patient. But what shall we do while we wait?  James concludes his epistle with clear instructions to pray in our challenges and to pray in our waiting.  Prayer allows us to wait with hope.  As we begin this season of Advent, that is just what we do ... wait with hope!
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  • Nov 27, 2016Developing Patience and Prayer
    Nov 27, 2016
    Developing Patience and Prayer
    2016-james-series-cropped2
    A lot of your life is spent waiting. You need patience in every area of your life.  The book of James teaches us about patience. In chapter 5, St. James uses the word "patience" or "perseverance" six times, giving us three different illustrations to teach us when to be patient, why to be patient, and how to be patient. But what shall we do while we wait?  James concludes his epistle with clear instructions to pray in our challenges and to pray in our waiting.  Prayer allows us to wait with hope.  As we begin this season of Advent, that is just what we do ... wait with hope!
  • Nov 20, 2016Being Wise with Your Wealth
    Nov 20, 2016
    Being Wise with Your Wealth
    Many people wrongly believe that the Bible teaches that it's wrong to be wealthy. They think that the Bible says that "Money is the root of all evil" It actually says "The love of money is the root of all evil."  (emphasis added.) God is not opposed to wealth, in fact, many good people in the Bible were extremely wealthy including Abraham, Job, David and Solomon in the Old Testament and Barnabas and Joseph of Arimathea in the New Testament.  So God is not opposed to wealth, simply for wealth's sake. But God is very much opposed to the misuse and abuse of wealth. He wants us to use our wealth wisely, no matter how much or how little we have.  Today we are going to look at both wrong and right uses of wealth - so that no matter how much money we have, we use it wisely.
  • Nov 6, 2016Facing Your Future
    Nov 6, 2016
    Facing Your Future
    2016-james-series-cropped2Wouldn't you like to be able to predict the future?  People try.  Some use tea leaves, fortune cookies, astrology, palm reading and more - all in an effort to get a grasp on the future.  We read books, subscribe to services that provide forecasts and economic predictions. We attend conferences and seminars on planning and goal setting, and on and on. But what is the Christian viewpoint toward the future? How are we to prepare for and react to the unknowns in our future?  St. James has something to say about that - including some mistakes to avoid.
     
  • Oct 30, 2016Not Trying to Play God
    Oct 30, 2016
    Not Trying to Play God
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    We tend to judge others.  We don't like to admit it, but we make judgments about other people.  We don't always speak those judgments out-loud, but we make them in our heart.  We do this with people we are close to, as well as people we've only observed briefly.  The truth is that what we judge in others is in fact often the very thing we dislike in ourselves.  Psychologists have known this for a long time - we tend to react to what we perceive as our own weaknesses.  This makes sense, because we are all guilty of breaking the same Law - God's Law.  The challenge for us, James points out, is that there is only one Lawgiver - and therefore only one Judge.  God. 
     
  • Oct 23, 2016Avoiding Arguments
    Oct 23, 2016
    Avoiding Arguments
    2016-james-series-cropped2 James doesn't beat around the bush. He gets right to the point. He doesn't waste any time. Long before modern psychology came along he had some profound insights on the cause of conflict: "What causes fights and quarrels among you. Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (4:1) James says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants we have conflict.  The question we discuss today, is how does the Christian respond when that happens?
  • Oct 16, 2016Relating Wisely to Others
    Oct 16, 2016
    Relating Wisely to Others
    (Sharefaith App Image)People are great, aren’t they?  Some of them, yes.  But some of them are irritating, intimidating and annoying to us - if we're honest. The fact is, a lot of the problems we have in life are because of personality conflicts. We don't get along with people.  James gives us some practical advice on dealing with other people - even those we don't really like. James 3:18 is a key verse,"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
    James teaches us that we need to be wise in the way we act toward people. Today we will learn how Christian wisdom differs from human wisdom.
  • Oct 9, 2016Managing Your Mouth
    Oct 9, 2016
    Managing Your Mouth
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    Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 
    "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." Jesus reveals in this verse that what comes out of our mouths displays what is in our hearts. Our words have an effect on the people around us, but perhaps more importantly they affect us. 
     Our words have the power to direct the course of our lives - toward good, or toward destruction.  And our mouths have the ability to praise God or praise self - to give witness to God's goodness and mercy, or to shout curses.  Such a little piece of anatomy; so much influence.
  • Sep 18, 2016Being Blessed by the Bible
    Sep 18, 2016
    Being Blessed by the Bible
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    You see someone starting to fall, and you reach out to steady them.  Someone sneezes and you say "God Bless You."  These are just some of the natural responses to situations that occur around us.  Something happens and we are compelled to act. The Apostle James tells us that this is what must happen when we read the Word of God.  We cannot just hear it and not be moved to response.  The Word of God changes us.  We are different because of hearing it.  We are convicted.  We are corrected.  And we are blessed.  Each person responds differently, but each person responds.  How do you respond to what you read in God's Word?
     
  • Sep 11, 2016Standing Against Temptation
    Sep 11, 2016
    Standing Against Temptation
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    The Bible talks about two different kinds of testing. One is called trials. The other is called temptation. They come from the same Greek word in the New Testament. However, sometimes translators choose "trials," and sometimes they choose "temptations" when translating to English. It doesn't much matter because often a situation can be both a trial and a temptation. But there is a way to distinguish them.  Trials are situations designed by God in order to help us grow. Temptations are situations designed by the devil in order to cause us to sin. We will learn from James how to mature in the face of both trials and temptations.
  • Sep 4, 2016Making Up Your Mind
    Sep 4, 2016
    Making Up Your Mind
    2016 James Series Banner
    Immediately after speaking about problems (vs. 2-4), James deals with the matter of decision-making.  In Greek, the word "double-minded" literally means "two-souled" -- pulled apart in different directions, divided loyalties, divided priorities. What the Apostle James references, we've all felt.  Life is full of decisions and basically is a series of choices we make every day. Failing to make a choice is a kind of choice itself.  How can the believer make wise decisions?  We'll learn from the Book of James...
     
  • Aug 28, 2016Profiting From Your Problems
    Aug 28, 2016
    Profiting From Your Problems
    Do you have any problems and challenges in your life right now?  If you are alive, chances are good that you do.  Problems are just a part of life!  One mistake that people make is believing that as Christians we should have fewer problems affecting us.  Not only is this just not true to what we experience, but it goes against the Bible.  Jesus Himself tells us, "In this world you will have trouble," (John 16:33).  What is different for believers is not how much trouble we experience, but how we respond to that trouble.  As Christians we can see God at work even in our problems.  So instead of asking God, "why me?" ... we can ask God, "what are you teaching me in this struggle, Lord?" God has an amazing way of using our problems for our good.
  • Aug 7, 2016The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
    Aug 7, 2016
    The Marks of Spiritual Maturity
    2016 James Series
    God's will for every person is that they grow. In Hebrews 6:1 we read: "Let us go on to maturity." In other words, God wants us to grow up.  In particular, He wants us to grow in the image and likeness of His Son Jesus.  And so He has given us His Word to reveal Christ to us, and to instruct us as followers of Him.  That's why one of the key areas of focus at of our church is “GROW."  It is our desire to help those we encounter to grow spiritually.  What does spiritual maturity look like?  God shows us in His Word.
     
  • Jul 31, 2016How To Pray Effectively
    Jul 31, 2016
    How To Pray Effectively
    Often people will say that they believe in "the power of prayer."  That's good; the Bible speaks frequently to the importance and effectiveness of prayer.  But when a person says that, do they really mean that they believe in the power of the pray-er ... meaning, the one who does the praying?  Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.  But when He did, He showed that the power is not in the one praying, but rather in the One being prayed to ... namely Our Father who art in heaven
    .  Jesus also taught His disciples that when we pray, it isn't "one and done."  We can't expect that just because we've prayed for something one time that the Lord will respond. Why not?  Of course, only God knows, but the Bible suggests that the process of praying does something in us as well.
     
  • Jul 24, 2016What to do when Life’s Unfair
    Jul 24, 2016
    What to do when Life’s Unfair
    We often complain that "Life's not fair!" But who ever said it should be?  Not God!  In fact, we really don't want God to be fair with us, do we?  If we got what we deserved, we would only receive God's wrath and punishment.  For the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, 
    "the wages of sin is death."  If you want to know what your works have earned you, the Bible tells you that your sin has earned you everlasting condemnation ... that is, death. This is bad news.  But, there is good news that follows.  Because you don't get what you have earned.  No!  You get better!  Romans 6:23 goes on to say, "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
     Life truly is unfair! You don't get what you deserve - Christ does, as He dies on the cross. Instead, you get what Christ deserves - eternal life!  Now, how shall you live your life in response to God's gracious gift? 
  • Jul 17, 2016Can Faith Move Mountains?
    Jul 17, 2016
    Can Faith Move Mountains?
    Bigger is better, right?  We often think that! But, not so with the Kingdom of God.  We've been learning from Jesus about how the Kingdom of Heaven is different than our ways of the world; one such way is the idea of mustard seed faith. (A mustard seed is very small, by the way.)  Often we think that our faith is too weak or too frail to make a difference. Jesus teaches however, that even the tiniest faith is able to do big things - like move mountains, He says!  Why?  Because it's not the faith that's accomplishing it, but rather the One the faith believes in.  Big faith in a little god is worthless... but little faith in our big God .. that's powerful!