August 6, 2017
James Part 9 - Too many of us are living our lives as if we will exist forever. We aren’t simply planning, we are assuming that when we put something in our calendars, it will happen. We all know the hard truth though - no one is promised tomorrow. How do we navigate the tension of needing to plan and create schedules, and also live with the fact that we may not accomplish our goals? How do we keep ourselves from becoming so focused on tomorrow, that we miss out on what’s happening today? Discover the way to plan your life, and not lose yourself in the process.
July 30, 2017
James Part 8 -Conflict is a normal part of life. It's unavoidable. How we handle conflict, however, is a choice. The normal response is to win; to make sure you come out on top. Unfortunately this can lead to some messy relationships. Why do we act this way? Today we discover that the amazing grace of God enables us to genuinely love others, even when they have what we don't have. We don't need to be fueled by jealousy! We can have thriving relationships. Horizontal alignment is vertically dependent.
July 23, 2017
James Part 7- Smart people make unwise decisions all the time. Have you seen a pattern in your life of choices that lead to chaos? Relationships, purchases, life decisions - the rhythm of your day is filled with options. Wouldn't it be great if you knew how to be wise in those moments? Today we discover the two types of wisdom available to us, and the hope that every person can in fact be wise!
July 16, 2017
James Part 6 - Biting your tongue requires a heart transplant. If we are honest, each of us would love to be able to control our tongue. Christian or not, being able to refrain from a silly comment, entering into verbal arguments, or saying things we know we will later regret would bring more health to our relationships. But is that possible? James uses many images to show how powerful and destructive our words are. He says that "No one can tame the tongue." But is our tongue the problem? Or is there a deeper issue? Discover the remedy to your twisted tongue problem.
July 9, 2017
James Part 5 - Believing something and claiming something is great. But we all know a belief that isn't lived out isn't real. Saying you believe in something, but not doing something about it is silly and pointless. How different would your life be if you could KNOW "This is what it looks like to have faith in Jesus. This is how I know what I believe is real." James was concered about the Christians he knew. He wanted them to know how to make faith work. Really work.
- Consider: What visible evidence is there that your faith isn’t simply “I’ll pray for you” or “I know that”?
- Reflect: Do you have a more confident conscious or a more tender one? Are you reflecting by focusing on your failures or successes?
- Read: Genesis 22 and Judges 2. Abraham and Rahab each demonstrated visible faith by acting.
- Do: Can you put yourself on a regular schedule of volunteering with some ministry or charity? Tutoring each week? Staffing a soup kitchen each month? Doing a work day once a quarter? Don’t just think about doing these things. Plan something and do it.
- Pray: Thank God that all people are invited to know Him and can have their sins forgiven through Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop a faith that works in your life.
July 2, 2017
James Part 4 - Favoritism exists in culture. Everyday people are vicitmized by someone judging their appearances and discriminating against them. James, the younger brother of Jesus, saw the church in his day using the same attitude in their gatherings. They were following the Roman law instead of the Royal law: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Today we discovered that mercy triumphs over judgment. The only way to unfavorite favoritism is to remember mercy!
June 25, 2017
James Part 3 - There is a desire in each one of us to live free. To do what we were created to do. To fulfill our passions and dreams. Society tells us that the best way live free is to remove restrictions and rules. To write our own code. Unfortunately, that path doesnt lead to freedom, but chaos. God has a different path for us. He says, "To live free, obey me." Today we discovered that the perfect law sets us free. How? Because Jesus, our perfect law keeper, is our substitute.
- Reflect: How do you define religion? Do you think religion is a good thing? How does James define religion in James 1:26-27?
- Write: How have you experienced obedience leading to blessing and freedom in your own life?
- Read: Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus taught on what James wrote about. He told the crowds that a wise person will hear and do what the law says. Is your foundation a rock or sand?
- Do: James said genuine religion is controlling your speech, caring for those in need, and following God’s standards, not cultures. Practice genuine religion today. Speak kindly to someone. Provide for them. Live differently so others will want to know God’s love!
- Pray: Pray about “soul corruption” this week. Ask God to show you ways you might be getting “corrupted” by the world.
June 18, 2017
James Part 2 - In any area of temptation, the tempting is coming from in us. Could you agree that we are all tempted? And that our normal response to temptation is to blame what/who is around us? Could you imagine how amazing it would be if we could say this powerful word "NO!" to temptation when it comes. How free would you be? How different would you be? James, the younger brother of Jesus, believed it was possible, and he wrote about it! He makes a case that the reason why we give in to temptation is because we forget: How BAD we are; How GOOD God is!
June 11, 2017
James Part 1 - Everyone of us has trouble. We all experience pain, trials, and heartache. The trouble with trouble is that it's usually unexpected. While we can't develop action plans specific to our trouble, we believe we can address one thing that is usually the same, our response! In the book of James, we discover a new point of view on how to think about our troubles and how we can consider responding with joy during these times.
June 4, 2017
We can easily convince ourselves that because we are really bad, we can't know God. Or, because we are really good, we don't need God. Jesus told a story to demonstrate that all people need the Father to graciously act to bring us into a close relationship with Him. The only way we are brought close to God, is by Jesus losing everything. He is the older brother that we all need.
- Reflect: Do you identify more with the younger son, or the older son in Jesus’ story?
- Write: Evaluate your daily rhythms. Write down your tasks. Why do you do what you do? We don’t just repent of our wrong actions, but also the reasons why we do good things, if the motive is to gain gifts from God.
- Read: Luke 15:11-32. One son was really, really bad. The other was really, really good. Both needed the father’s grace to bring them in.
- Do: Genuine love is costly. It cost Jesus everything in order for you to know God. This week, give up something for someone else. Show them real love.
- Pray: Adore God for sending Jesus to this world to bring you into His kingdom. Admit that it is easy to look at other people and label them as younger sons, in order to feel better about yourself. Aspire to live humbly, thankful for the saving grace of God.