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Showing posts from 2013

Boasting About Tomorrow

Rain-checks abound in the human agenda. There is never a future appointment that we can secure as humans living in a sin-cursed and fallen world. Although this is true, many of us have so grown accustomed to scheduled events, alarm clocks, planners, and watches that we often go to the extreme of believing our future plans are as certain as the rising sun. When we become so convinced in our daily agendas that we fail to express our utter dependence upon God for everything, this is when we are miserably arrogant in our boasting. So does this mean that all planning is ‘of the devil’? No, for why would Paul develop plans to visit churches and preach the gospel in Spain and other places? So what does James mean when he tells us this in James 4:13-17:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little …

Sermon Notes on James 4:13-18

Once again my recording device malfunctioned and I could not record the audio from this sermon, but here are my notes from it:
7/28/13- James 4:13-17- Boasting About Tomorrow
Intro: Pilot who was originally scheduled to fly plane that crash landed on 9/11 and was switched with other pilot night before. He realized he was living on borrowed time.
Context: Starting in verse 13 and going through 5:6, James begins targeting the wealthy that refuse to honor God with the way they spend wealth. In the first few verses of this section, we’re going to see how Christians ought not boast about the future but should depend fully on God throughout the days of their short lives.  
How we relate to this: We’ve all put a period or an exclamation mark in our planner where we ought to have a question mark. Although we should not presume to be certain about our future, we have all walked forward when God has called us to stop and pray. How many times have we all gotten up and gone about the day only to…

6/23/13- The Power of the Tongue- James 3:1-12

Sadly, this sermon was not recorded properly and so I do not have the audio for it. Below, however, I have included my sermon notes for those interested.
6/23/13- James 3:1-12- “The Power of the Tongue”
Intro: We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, but all of us have at some time or another experienced just the opposite. By show of hands, how many of us can remember something harsh said to us during childhood? Mine was three words uttered by one close to me about something I did… “that was stupid”. Proverbs 12:18 states, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” The power of the tongue can be seen in the way one unlikely German won the support of his entire nation to attempt to extinguish a whole race of people. He was not a good public speaker, so he hired a man to help him become one…this man was none other than Adolph Hitler.
Context: James warns these Christians abou…

A Fruitless Faith is a Rootless Faith- James 2:14-26

It is common knowledge that if you pull up a plant from the soil so that it's roots cannot grow, that plant will die. It is only the plant that has its roots deep in the soil that will be able to produce full, delectable, and savory fruit. Yet even as all this is common knowledge, there are multitudes of people whose spiritual experience only goes so deep as a prayer they prayed when they were ten or an aisle they walked during VBS long ago while there has never been any visible fruit of a change of direction in their lives. Jesus said that not only would these people exist on the fringes of the church, but they would be convinced of their salvation apart from actually having a saving experience and that they would be eternally condemned for a failure to have ever known Christ. In James 2:14-26, the half-brother of Jesus confronts the issue of the evidence of true saving faith in our lives and tells us that such faith will produce works or it is no faith at all.
"What good i…

The Sin of Partiality- James 2:1-13

We've all been there. A hot summer day when you're a kid and all your neighborhood friends gather together outside to play a nice game of football or kickball. God seems to always bless a group of friends with one particular leader of the group…usually the loud-mouthed and arrogant one, but kids are kids. The leader steps up and lays out the ground rules, then chooses you to be the other team's leader. As you and he choose from your group of friends who will be on your team, you don't even make eye contact with the short, skinny kid with glasses. It never crosses your mind to pick the chubby kid with frequent asthma attacks. You go for the tall, stronger ones and then work your way down the totem pole. Then, there's always the last kid who you're stuck choosing because he evens out the teams. Scripture tells us that God chooses the opposite way and calls us not to show favoritism or partiality toward others in return.
As James teaches us from his letter to the…

Responding Reveals Receiving- James 1:19-27

Most people in America would identify themselves as Christian, but when it comes to how their beliefs about God have affected their daily lives, it becomes very apparent that their Christianity is name only and many individuals think this is completely okay according to God's Word. James has to say something about this mindset that is so prevalent in our day and was beginning to play a part the churches to which he ministered. James writes, 
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in the mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once …

The Testing of Our Faith- James 1:12-18

The two words every student in all the history of student-hood absolutely loathes is final exam. In one of my language classes in school, our teacher encouraged all the students not to worry if we miserably fail a test here or there in the semester because the final exam was the most important. The flip-side to this "good news" was that if we failed the final exam, it didn't matter how may other tests in the class we aced, we'd be back next semester! In the book of James, the half-brother of Jesus teaches us a similar concept related to our spiritual lives. The believers James wrote to knew about tests of faith and were in the middle of them on a regular basis, so James challenges them to have the proper perspective as they encounter these tests and not to become confused about who God is because of the difficulty of these tests. James also reminds these believers that life is full of tests, but the most important test is the one that spans from our conversion until…

Boast in Spiritual Riches- James 1:9-11

Have you ever had "more month at the end of your paycheck than paycheck at the end of your month", as one brother in Christ has worded it to me? It's not a good feeling when the money runs out and you've got half the month's groceries and gas still needing to be bought. Can you imagine living paycheck to paycheck for years on end? Perhaps you don't have to imagine at all. Maybe you're on your last P, B, & J and your about to try a ritz cracker, ketchup and mustard sandwich…you perhaps can teach me a thing or two about financial trials. Whether you're sipping a 'vente' frappuccino from Starbucks in your leather recliner using your iPhone or at the local library with sweat down your back from walking 3 miles there because your car has no gas, James has this message for you: financial stability is no way to measure the status of your life, but only the riches that you will carry with you beyond the grave.
In James 1:9-11, we read, "Let …

Pray in Faith- James 1:5-8

We've all been there as children…asking our parents for a toy we know they probably won't give us because of the hefty price tag. The good news is that God is more like a grandparent in this regard than a parent. What am I talking about? God wants to shower us with gifts that we don't deserve, but He will only do so if we ask in faith. Even though we don't deserve a single nanosecond of God's attention because of our sin, He promises to give us all that we need to live for Him so long as we pray without doubting. James writes, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (1:5-8).
Like a warehouse that is is never out of sto…

Counting it All Joy- James 1:1-4

How would you fill in the blank of this statement: Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you _______________? Perhaps you would insert something about your favorite sports team winning the championship or something about the birth of a child or grandchild. James the Just, the half-brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church tells us in this early Christian letter that we should count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds. If you've ever read through the book of James you'd know that this apostle probably would not have won the award for 'Most Sentimental Person' in the New Testament church. However, what James has to say to us is meant to shake us up a bit and get us thinking. James tells us that being joyful about positive things is too easy and goes right along with the way the world thinks. It is a deep and abiding joy that sees everything in life, even the hardest trials of Leukemia and a multitude of miscarriages, as being reasons to b…

Jesus is Risen!.....Now What?

I could not help but think lately about how I love hearing a good Easter sermon, but now that I'm the one standing in the pulpit and preaching it, the joy is doubled as I love giving one. The only thing is, I feel like preaching the resurrection one Sunday and leaving it all behind us is kind of ironic. We love celebrating once a year the fact that Jesus got up out of the tomb, unlike any other religious leader or human for that matter in all history, but we seldom enjoy hearing what God calls us to as a result. So Jesus is alive, but now what? Are we to go about our lives as though His resurrection were the end? As though we know He's in heaven and is coming back one day but that's all there is to it? I fear this is a sad reality for a multitude of church-goers, including myself at times. Did Jesus say anything to us that would clue us in on what we're supposed to do with this amazing news the rest of the uncertain length of time until He returns? We find just such a…