Week 7 • October 15, 2017 • Glen Elliott
We want to plan our futures. We rely on good planning. But James cautions us about the attitude and assumptions we bring to our planning. The fact is that no one really can control tomorrow. Our lives are frail. And the saddest part is that we tend to neglect God and plan our lives as if he did not exist! James warns us to first and foremost consider the good that God wants for our lives now and in the near future. Our primary task is to understand the good that God wants to do through us and then focus on that and leave the results to God.
Week 6 • October 8, 2017 • Glen Elliott
There is something that is critical to having a real faith and meaningful relationship with God and others. Humility is foundational to being like Jesus and allowing us to experience true spirituality. And the opposite of humility is pride which is the source and root of all sin which robs of the life God wants for us. Pride causes us to put ourselves before both God and others. It is only in humility that we can allow God and others to speak into us to help us. We can’t or won’t listen without humility. And here’s a sobering truth that we learn in James – God will oppose us until we are humble. God can’t fully bless us in our pride for in our pride we think we know what’s best. None of us want God to oppose us.
In Our Words
Week 5 • October 1, 2017 • Glen Elliott
Words are powerful. They have the power to give life or destroy. But where do our words come from? They come from inside. And because our words come from inside, they give us a clear picture as to what our heart is made of. Words that hurt come from our human pride. Words that give life come from a place of humility. No one can control the tongue, but we can allow God to change our heart – the source of our words.
Week 4 • September 24, 2017 • Roger Blumenthal
Faith cannot stop at just believing something to be true. Faith must change us and motivate us to act in ways that serve and benefit others. Faith or belief about something is not real faith and in fact is pointless, useless and can even be dangerous. But real living faith always expresses itself in action.
In How We Respond
Week 3 • September 17, 2017 • Nick Farr
Wisdom teaches us how to respond well to difficult situations, whether they be a trial, test or temptation. We will respond to situations and to God out of either wisdom or foolishness. When things are difficult it is easy to assert our desire and respond in anger, but that will not get us to our goal of wisdom and holiness. And we all struggle with pride that seeks to pollute our soul and resist the way of wisdom. When facing challenges, wisdom seeks to first and foremost listen to God and then do or obey and follow his ways.
Week 2 • September 10, 2017 • Glen Elliott
We are tempted by our desire to engage in things that look so good and promise so much but end up at best leaving us empty and at worse, damaging and destroying us and those we love. In the face of temptation we have to ask this basic question – Is what God wants for us and gives us better than what the temptation promises? This is where faith gets real. It refuses to be deceived by the hollowness of the temptations and chooses the richness of God’s ways.
When The Heat Is On
Week 1 • September 3, 2017 • Glen Elliott
We will face tough times and trials. Our faith will be tested. Our natural response is to complain when difficulties come our way! We want to be happy and we are frustrated when it alludes us. We are even annoyed at God for not making us happy and protecting us from difficulties. But God allows trials and tests to come because they are essential to help us grow. God uses trials to help us identify and remove the impurities from our lives. God’s goal for us is not our happiness, but our holiness! Will we cooperate with the refining work of God or fight him?