Our Gifts

Today we celebrate Epiphany regarding the Magi or Wise Men coming to see Jesus, seen in Matt 2:1-12.

Who do you see God to be and what do you believe He has really done for you?

Gods in the ancient world were not the object of enthusiastic pursuit. People sought the gods for protection and assistance, not relationship.

Thinking of the wise men’s gifts to Jesus, let us consider ways we can be givers, stewards, of time, talent, and treasure.

There are groups of people. Some are givers, asking if I don’t give who else will give; takers, who ask if I don’t take care of me who else will; and matchers, who want to feel fair, and give some back to feel even.

The wise men gave intentionally, traveling a distance, to give in a deliberate intended way.

The wise men gave extravagantly, not bringing left overs or non precious things. These were special not routine gifts. May we do this also, as God calls us. There ought to be things we should like to do but cannot because our giving excludes them.

The wise men gave together, as a group. Multiple givers make us able to do more. Many hands make light work.

They also gave joyfully, which may be hard for us to connect with. God loves a cheerful giver.

Here is the bulletin for this week.

Let Earth Receive Her King

God wants His people to be at peace. What does that look like; how do we define peace? Is it more than the absence of conflict? Truth is, Godly peace can be lived and seen in the midst of conflict.

How does our mood or attitude impact our ability to really hear from God, listen to His word, or be His disciple?

What can we do to find Christ’s peace in our lives?

  1. Wake up starting the day off with some prayer and ask Jesus to help set your mood.
  2. Be intensely curious about who Jesus is; don’t go on auto pilot, but rather think about who He is and what Scripture has to say about Him.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude; don’t forget about the meaningful gifts that He has given us, especially life, both physical and eternal.
  4. Worship Jesus among your problems, in the brokenness, in trials.
  5. Finally, spread the Word, His Word, to others. Let others see Him in us.

Here is today’s bulletin.

If You Love Him

Let us consider Matt 1:18-25 where an angel appears to Joseph to direct him after he sees Mary is pregnant and is going to divorce her quietly. Joseph obeyed the angel’s direction. Obedience is a form of love.

God’s job isn’t to meet our objectives or to make us happy or comfortable. If we are Christian we should not be viewing the world or life from a how does it benefit me, myself, and I perspective.

If we love God we will allow God to lead us and interrupt our lives. We will want to obey His commandments, to follow Him.

Greatness in the kingdom of God is measured in terms of both obedience and love.

Here is the bulletin for this week.

Oppression Patience and Prayer

In this message, Brian briefly reviewed James 1-4, so we could get to chapter 5 and show some of the repeated themes. The book repetitively talks about some issues like the rich and misused wealth for example.

The condemnation isn’t just about wealth but its misuse. See also 1 Tim 6.

Money’s relief is temporary; let us focus on eternal things.

Let us be patient, looking toward the end of the race. Job is the ultimate example of this; he was rewarded.

We should pray with each other, as long as it isn’t done for our glory.

Do we see sick as more than just physical ailment?

Are we willing to confess our sins to one another, praying for each other?

Here is the bulletin for the week.

In The World Not Of It

The message today was on James 4. Noah Daniels preached to us about self-centeredness, our words, and planning our lives.

A main we we sin is to not have God at the top of out love list, loving ourselves more than Him.

Do we desire the things of the world or the things of God?

Do we judge others with our words?

Do we treat God like an add-on in our lives, like a vending machine we can ask things to get what we want?

Do we make plans without God, or with Him as a side, rather than as our focus?

He provides our daily bread.

Here is the bulletin.

Mind Your Words

Words can have a powerful impact.

Words can create a chain reaction in us and in people around us.

Here are some ways to use our tongues well.

  1. Our words need to be rooted in Christ.
  2. Be intentional about seeing God in others.
  3. Practice saying the right things; we need to be a people that speak words of blessing into the hearts of humanity.

Take Action

Today’s passage is James 2:14-26.

Do we believe Jesus has saved us, really?  If we really believe Christ has saved us, our lives need to change as a result.

Loving Jesus is not always an easy thing; why is that?

Four ways to be a people of action:

  1. You must know the Word in order to do the Word.
  2. Surround yourself with people who will stretch your faith.
  3. Continually examine your life for areas that are uncommitted.
  4. In both action and word, commit your self to Christ.

Are we fully committed to Him, in all areas of our lives? See also Revelation 3:14-18. Are we lukewarm?

Here is the bulletin for this week.

The Great Inversion

Reverend Jeremy Peugh preached on James 1:27-2:13 today.

God has no favorites, because God loves everybody equally; that means everyone is of equal worth.

Our behavior reveals what we actually believe.

We are not just to have faith IN Jesus; rather we are to have the faith OF Jesus. Consider the mind of Christ, seeing the world as He does. Love the way He did and does.

Ways to live out our faith:

  1. Think of others before ourselves.
  2. Live with the mindset of a missionary.
  3. Give sacrificially.
  4. Take notice of the hurt around us and do something.

Taking It easy

Here is the bulletin for this week’s message by Pastor Jeremy Peugh; the passage is James 1:19-27.

Be slow to speak.

Be quick to listen.

Be slow to anger.

Be obedient doers of the Word; do what God says.

Practice not interrupting, taking in what is being said, without queing up a response or interrupting.

Those of his who speak much, why is that? Are they Christ focused reasons or self focused?

Jesus asked a few hundred questions in Scripture; why? He taught by asking questions; can we ask questions and listen?

No Pain No Gain

Today’s passage is James 1:1-18. Here is today’s bulletin.

How do we get through things it seems like we cannot get through?

James’ epistle has something to say about trials.

  • Trials reveal our true character.
  • Trials make us stronger.
  • Trials draw us closer to Jesus.
  • Trials don’t have to have the last word.

How to continue to stand:

  • Worry less about the now, keeping our eyes on the finish line.
  • While undergoing trials, trust God, that He is up to something greater.
  • Remember that this life’s sufferings are temporary.

Our First Love

In this message Bryant Dougharty preached on Ephesians, primarily focused on chapter 5.

Christ loves us so we should submit to Him.

Is God number one in our lives?

For those of us who are married, are our spouses number two? Do we put spouses or children in front of God on our priority lists, or make the other mistake and not love them enough?

Here are some challenge questions:

  1. How is the church acting as the bride of Christ? Is God first for us? Do we disciple others?
  2. How can the church move more into this identity? Is grace both offered and received? Do we sometimes make ourselves the first priority?