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As we conclude our James series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 5:13-18.  We’ve been in James since early September.  If, over the course of this series, you’ve felt a little chastened and a lot encouraged, if you better understand the Christian life, feel more equipped to live it, and are practicing your faith in ways you didn’t when we began,…

The Best Laid Plans

We’re continuing our James’ series this morning.  It’s called This Is the Life.  When a loved one falls into some kind of life-destroying addiction, family members may arrange an intervention.  This is a kind of in-your-face, come-to-Jesus attempt to get the addicted loved one to face reality and seek help.  As we’ve tracked through James, it feels kind of like an…

A Prescription for I-Disease

As we continue our James series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 4:1-10. Well, I think it’s worked.  Long about the end of the 70s, American culture fell in love with self-esteem.  The self-esteem cult creeped into education, advertising, and sports.  This is the … “You’re special” quit keeping score everybody gets a trophy feelings are…

Taming the Wildest Beast of All

We’ve been tracking through James this fall.  We call the series This Is the Life because James sketches out what the Christian life looks like.  This is no remedial course.  Nor does James coat it with cinnamon and sugar.  It feels more like a nasty-tasting dose of medicine that makes you screw up your face in disgust.  And you’re sure not licking the spoon.  It doesn’t…

Faith Does

As we continue our James series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 2:14-26. Did you see this obituary in the paper this week? Faux Faith died Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at the age of 68.  Faux was stillborn on September 15, 1949, during a fall revival service at First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas.  According to his testimony, “It was an…

Enlarge Your Circle

As we continue our James series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 2:1-13.  I suspect there’s not a pastor anywhere who hasn’t had at least one person say to him after a sermon, “Pastor, you’ve quit preaching and gone to meddling.”  Haven’t you wanted to say that to James?  James doesn’t dance around the edges of life.  He elbows his way right…

Just Do It

As we continue our James series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 1:19-27.  James is not a Bible book that must be kept on the top shelf, a book full of lofty ideas accessible only to the Summa Cum Laudes and the Phi Beta Kappas among us.  James is a low-shelf book.  Read James and what bothers you about the book are not the things you don’t…

Relentless

As we continue our series, This Is the Life, I invite you to open your Bible to James 1:13-18. Temptation is relentless.  Here we are at church in worship on the Lord’s Day, and how many temptations have we faced already?  In the few short hours you’ve been up and about today … Some of you have said or done something you regret—a harsh word, an angry glare, maybe you’ve…

Happy Trials to You

You may not have felt it often, but you’ve felt it some.  You’re in your happy place: Wading along the shore of the beach as gentle waves lap against your ankles. Or maybe it’s camping in the mountains, breathing that clean, crisp air. Or maybe it’s rocking your just asleep newborn in the middle of a quiet night. Or maybe it’s sitting in the deer stand as the sun comes…

Dangerous Plunge

During one of my high school summers I worked the night shift at Ken’s Pizza in Branson.  We closed around 11:00.  It was close to midnight before we got things cleaned up for the next day.  The night manager, David, had a boat.  So several times that summer, some of us would leave the pizza place, drive out to Table Rock Lake, take his boat to an island, camp there, and…

A Word for Kyle

And that story has brought us to this day.  I invite you to open your Bible to Acts 1:6-8. It was time to say goodbye.  Jesus gathered his followers together outside Jerusalem.  A lot had happened in the last 42 days.  The Romans executed Jesus on the cross.  A handful of Jesus’ friends buried him.  And on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead.  Jesus hung around…

And the Wall Came Tumbling Down

I had planned to go a different direction today as we prepare to come to the Lord’s Table.  But in light of Charlottesville, the event that happened in our own city yesterday, and a couple of prayer meetings I attended on Saturday morning, the Lord changed my direction.  I invite you to open your Bible this morning to Ephesians 2:11-22. Grace Thomas grew up in Birmingham,…