16 Weeks – 12/09/2013 to 4/4/2014
Many people actually think that the Bible doesn’t deal with “real life issues” that we all face in 2014. You can’t read the New Testament book of James and hold that opinion. We deal with a number of those issues in this series called, “Real Life Christianity”. What are they? Chapter one alone deals with facing trials, temptations, and tribulations of all kinds. It goes on to talk about anger in your life and mine. We are all victims of someone’s anger and we are victimizers to one degree or another. Truth be known, we are both! (This message holds the record of being the most requested message given in 30 years!) Chapters 2 and 3 deal with showing favoritism, demonstrating genuine faith, taming the tongue, and living out a life that impacts others. Chapters 4 and 5 speak to what causes quarrels and arguments among us, slander (speech that injures), and boasting about the future. It ends with some thoughts on praying to the God who responds. Personally, this entire book is about “real life”. Yours and mine!
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 16 – 03/31/14
The final words of a letter or email can be very revealing or surprising. Perhaps you’ve read the post script of a note, letter, or email and thought that those words were actually the real reason the person wrote to you. This week we study the last two verses of the book of James, where he warns about people “wandering away from the truth”. He ends by talking about what bringing someone back to the truth does, physically and spiritually.
Monday – Part One – Many temptations in life come disguised as “no big deal”, yet turn out to be devastating to our lives, marriages, and families. What we sometimes dismiss as nothing turns out to be the very thing that pulls us away from the Lord. That’s what we read in James 5:19-20.
Tuesday – Part Two – What does it mean to “wander from the truth?” If we believe that truth is ultimately embodied in the person of Christ, to wander from the truth is to wander away from Christ. That is no small thing. It is very serious business!
Wednesday – Part Three – How are to react to those who have “wandered from the truth”? First, we are to act, but to act humbly, lest we are tempted to be filled with pride. Secondly, we are to pray specifically, interceding on people’s behalf to the Father. Intercessory prayer is the most important thing we do for others.
Thursday – Part Four – The third thing we are to do when working with those who have wandered from the truth is to love intentionally. To love intentionally is to love people we may not even like, but because of Christ in your life, you’re able to love them through the capacity God gives you to love. He gives the power to love; it’s not generated from within.
Friday – Part Five – We close with a powerful story of a man who described himself as someone who “kicked God in the face every day of his life for 60 years.” Yet the day came when thinking he was near death, he called upon God in a desperate prayer, having never prayed in his life! He had the sense that God heard him. Utterly amazed, he responded to the Lord’s grace and mercy. Have you?
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 15 – 03/24/14
A Picture of the Church
We use the word “picture” not only to talk about a physical photograph or an electronic image on a computer or phone. We use the term figuratively when we ask someone to picture a person or image in their mind. This week we use the term to depict in words and phrases what the early church looked like. We’ll share five descriptions from James 5: 13-18,
Monday – Part One – This message was given on a Mother’s Day, so we begin with a story about a mother’s impact on her son’s life in a way she never imagined. A mother’s influence is immeasurable even ten, twenty, and thirty years out. Think about your own life, and your impact on other people in ways you don’t even recognize.
Tuesday – Part Two – First, the early church was a “praying church”. Prayer is not be my last resort in any problem or difficulty; it is to be my first response. For most people, that is simply not the case. Praying for another person is called “intercession”, going to the Lord on behalf of someone else. Perhaps the highest office in the body of Christ is to be an intercessor!
Wednesday – Part Three – Secondly, the early church was a “praising” church. James says we should “sing a song” of praise. Tell me what you talk about all the time and I’ll tell you the song that you sing. Everybody sings a song about something or someone. Thirdly, the early church was a “healing” church, meaning they pray for both physical and spiritual healing in people’s lives.
Thursday – Part Four – Fourthly, the early church was a “confessing” church. They confessed their sins to one another, not to condemn but to affirm the forgiveness of Christ! We all need people in our lives who remind us that there is forgiveness, and it comes through what Christ accomplished on the cross. Fifthly, the early church was an “encouraging” church; they came along side each other to counsel and comfort.
Friday – Part Five – We conclude the message with a story told by two brothers, now retired from the ministry and how their mutual encouragement meant so much to their lives. The book of Hebrews says that we are to encourage one another daily. That’s not a suggestion, but a command! When we are in heaven for all eternity, who will refer to you as an encourager on his earth?
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 14 – 03/17/14
Patience in Real Life
Most people will admit to a lack of patience in their lives. The dictionary definition of patience is “to endure without complaint”. Easier said than done, right? Most of the impatience in your life and mine has a name attached to it. We are not just impatient with circumstances, we are impatient with people. James 5:7-12 is our text.
Monday – Part One – We begin with a true story of a woman from Bristol, Virginia who was blind from age 6 until she was 80! She never saw the faces of her husband, children, and grandchildren until the latter part of her life. It’s safe to say, she had to learn patience in her life: patience with circumstances and patience with people.
Tuesday – Part Two – Today we deal with a parenthetical thought of James that says, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” What does that mean? We are not to invoke the name of God casually in our conversations. Do you know people who routinely say, “I swear to God, it’s true!” Most of the time that can be a misuse of the name of God. It really is!
Wednesday – Part Three – Today we explore the biblical definition of patience. We talk about people who “lose heart” in any and every situation. That’s your temptation. We all face the temptation to give up with a problem and lose heart. A second issue to be considered is “perseverance”, to keep on keeping on in life. The third dimension of patience is being slow to anger and slow to seek revenge. Find out how.
Thursday – Part Four – One of the most dramatic moments Randy ever experienced in the ministry was hearing a woman express the negative impact her husband had on her life. What made it particularly dramatic was where it happened; at her husband’s gravesite as he was about to be buried! What she said may speak to you today about patience and impatience in your life.
Friday – Part Five – We conclude the message talking about the relationship we either have or don’t have with the Living God. What would have to happen in your life to seek a relationship with the God that James describes as “full of compassion and mercy”? Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with God the Father, through God the Son. That changes everything!
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 13 – 03/10/14
3 Myths about Money
Money is the most sensitive area of people’s lives. Watch how facial expression and conversation changes when the subject of money enters the discussion. The book of James speaks frankly about our relationship with money and dispels three commonly held myths about that which we call money! This week, we study James 5:1-6.
Monday – Part One – James tells his readers that they had withheld earned wages from the people that worked for them, and accused them of “murdering innocent men”. We talk about the work system then that consisted of “day labor” where one would work for a day and then be paid at the end of the day. When people didn’t get paid, they didn’t eat, nor did their families. Perhaps that was what James was referring to, people not getting to feed their families because of delayed wages.
Tuesday – Part Two – The first myth we debunk is this: “We aren’t accountable for what we do with our money.” That is not true! We are responsible for what we do with every dollar that we have been given. Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If the entire earth belongs to Him, then that makes us accountable for our small piece of that earth.
Wednesday – Part three – The second myth we confront is: “Money and the things that money can buy are permanent”. Nothing on his earth is permanent, unless it’s connected to Jesus Christ. The only things we will take to heaven are our relationship to the Lord and with people. The third myth about money is: “Money doesn’t affect relationships”. Money impacts our relationships with people and sometimes with the Lord God almighty!
Thursday – Part Four – We quote a marriage counselor who says that a woman can tell when her husband is looking at another woman, just by looking at his eyes. God knows what has our eye. He knows what our eyes are fixed upon. If our eyes are fixed on money or the things money can buy, the Lord knows that! He knows what we are focused upon in this life.
Friday – Part Five – We close the message talking about a major myth about life and death. It’s the myth that says we can earn heaven by what we do and don’t do. God doesn’t judge us by our resume, our education, or our accomplishments. We are judged by our acceptance or refusal to accept what Christ accomplished on the cross! It’s all about Him and what HE did for us.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 12 – 03/03/14
Thinking About Tomorrow?
What plans do you have for your life? Many people plan their lives as if there is no God. That’s your temptation and mine. This week we look at the sin of “presumptuous planning”, from James 4:13-17. It’s a passage that couldn’t be more applicable to people’s lives in 2014!
Monday – Part One – People talk about short range planning (1-2 years), long range planning (5-10 years), and strategic planning that means looking ahead 25 years or more. James says we don’t even know if we will be here tomorrow, let alone 25 years from now. Planning without the Lord factored in the equation is presumptuous thinking, whether we realize or not. James calls it boasting and bragging!
Tuesday – Part Two – We begin by talking about “tomorrow thinking”, meaning those who talk about everything they’re going to do….tomorrow. Sound familiar? That may describe someone we know, or it may describe us. We share a powerful story about some parents praying with their graduating seniors, only to begin weeping over “tomorrow thinking” that perhaps occupied their lives.
Wednesday – Part three – James says our lives are like a “mist”. We talk about that word and its implications. We get the English word “atomizer” from the Greek word that James uses. Think perfume bottle- bulb that you squeeze; you see the mist for just a second. That’s our life in terms of eternity!
Thursday – Part Four – James says that instead of presumptuous planning, we should say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or do that.” It’s more than just a phrase; it’s a reflection of humility in our lives. It’s a humility that acknowledges God as God!
Friday – Part Five – We close the message with four take home statements. The first is “It’s not wrong to plan; it’s wrong to plan as if there were no God.” Do people really do that? Every day, men, women, and young people plan as if there is no God! We are to live with the attitude that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, for anyone. Tomorrow is a gift that you and I haven’t received yet.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 11 – 02/24/14
A New Look at Slander
Most people think of the word slander as strictly a legal term that deals with the verbal defamation of a person’s character. It certainly involves that in our culture today. However biblically, slander has a spiritual definition: slander is speech that injures. That gives a whole new way of looking at slander in our lives.
Monday – Part One – How do you tell if you’re a self-centered person? According to a psychologist one of the ways is to note if you are highly critical of everyone else, but never yourself. Today we look at a passage in James 4:11, where it says that the slander (speech that injures) of another person is an offense toward the living God! James says, “But you, who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Tuesday – Part Two – Most people assume that slander means “spreading lies” about someone. Sometimes, “spreading the truth” can be a form of slander. The Bible says to “speak the truth in love”. Many times, we speak the truth in hate, in revenge, or in anger! We give a humorous example of speaking the truth as a means of hurting someone.
Wednesday – Part Three – Psalms 101:5 talks about the Lord putting to silence those who slander people in their hearts! God knows when we slander people even in our thoughts. We tell a story of a man who obsessed over people being divorced, as if there was nothing worse in life! The Lord put him to silence by something that happened in his family.
Thursday – Part Four – We quote one of the most beautiful prayers ever written in history by Francis of Assisi: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”. People who routinely slander others are anything but instruments of peace. They are instruments of conflict and strife!
Friday – Part Five – We close with a powerful illustration of slander from William Barclay. It dramatically illustrates how our words are like “arrows loosed from a bow”, meaning they’re irretrievable. Once we slander someone, we can’t take our words back. Words have the power of life and death according to the word of God!
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 10 – 02/17/14
Cause and Cure
Have you ever wondered what causes quarrels, fighting, and disputes between people in life? That includes quarrels in your family, at work, and even among friends. The book of James not only identifies some causes, but some remedies. James is a book about real life issues and problems. That’s what we look at all this week on CrossHope in James the fourth chapter!
Monday – Part One – Author Doris Gregg tells the story of a family gathering at the death of the father. Initially the four grown children embrace and weep on each other shoulders with their children present as well. Within four hours, they “hated” one another. Why? They were arguing and debating loudly in front of their children about the estate. James 4:1 says that arguments come from the desires that battle within us!
Tuesday – Part Two- Think about the arguments that you’ve had in the last 30 days. Chances are somebody didn’t get what they wanted, people weren’t doing what we insisted they do, or the situation was not in our control. What happens? We get angry. People are willing to kill relationships over disagreements!
Wednesday – Part Three – Be careful when you pray, that you do so with the right motives. Why? God looks not only at what we do, but why we do something. James says that we are either a friend of the world system or a friend of God. God is a jealous God, jealous of that which is His. We are His twice; He made us and He bought us with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Thursday – Part Four – Today we talk about the verse in our text that says to, “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” What evil have you resisted in your own life this week, this month, this year? The word resist means to confront. We confront Satan with scripture, just like Jesus did when He was tempted face to face by Satan. We are to confront evil in our marriages, our families, and in the world in general.
Friday – Part Five – Verse 10 says to “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up”. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell me to humble other people, or take them down a notch or two. People brag about their humbling of others, and yet my task is to humble myself before the Lord. What happens when we do that? The Lord lifts us up!
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 9 – 02/10/14
Two Kinds of Wisdom
Most people have their own definition of wisdom. Some call it intelligence, others call it common sense, and still others say it is knowledge of life. The book of James says that there are two kinds of wisdom: earthly or worldly wisdom, and the godly wisdom that comes from above or from the Lord. James explains the difference! What a difference there is, found in chapter 3, beginning at verse 13.
Monday – Part One – We begin with one expert’s opinion of the seven types of intelligence. There is the intelligence that has to do with logic and mathematics. Another form deals with linguistics or language. There are two forms that deal with relationships with people, one that deals with music, and one that is a big part of athletics. We can possess all seven, and yet still lack what James calls “godly wisdom”!
Tuesday – Part Two – Wisdom is the one thing that God says that He will give to anyone who asks, without looking for a reason to deny the request! Isn’t that remarkable? Worldly wisdom is often defined by intelligence, common sense, and skill. Godly wisdom is defined by who we are and what we do as believers. Godly wisdom is marked by what you are as a man or woman!
Wednesday – Part Three – Two topics covered today are “bitter envy” and “selfish ambition”. Bitter envy can mean wanting someone to lose what they have; selfish ambition means being willing to lie, cheat, or steal to get something. Many things that are considered bad in your life probably involve bitter envy or selfish ambition on the part of someone you know or even ourselves.
Thursday – Part Four – Godly wisdom involves being a peace maker, believe it or not! People who possess a wisdom that comes from the Lord are interested in bringing two people at odds with each other, together. Would you consider yourself a peace maker? We all know and work with people who might be considered “strife makers”. James says that “peacemakers that sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” Meaning what? There is a ripple effect of our efforts as a peace maker.
Friday – Part Five – Who are the people in your life that are in conflict with others? God could use you to be the bringer of peace to that situation, in a way that has an impact for future generations. Most people don’t think of themselves as possible peace makers, probably because of all the conflict that they deal with on a daily basis. Godly wisdom involves our positive and healing ministry of the relationships of those in our circle of influence.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 8 – 02 / 03 /2014
The Power of Words
Who are the people that have been written out of your life because of something they said? Words have power in our lives! We have made decisions about the people around us simply by what they have said. People have made judgments about us because of what we have said to them. This week we look at James 3 where he talks about the power of the tongue: power to bless, and power to curse!
Monday – Part One – James says the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it makes great boasts. Meaning what? The tongue can have tremendous power to damage, destroy, and discourage. Think back to the words of others that have impacted you in a powerful way. What have your words done to others?
Tuesday – Part Two – We begin with a quote of a newspaper writer discussing the destructive power of gossip. We look at how the Bible speaks of the tongue in explicit language with over a dozen examples. Which term used in scripture describes you and me? In biblical times, people believed that words had a life of their own. Do your words encourage people or do they tear others down?
Wednesday – Part Three – A story of Jack Hayford tells us the power of the words of a 19 year old young man, addressing a drunk driver coming toward him in an automobile. What he said humbled Jack, and may speak to you and me. Words have the power to affirm and the power to condemn. We can condemn others without profanity or obscenity!
Thursday – Part Four – If you think words are unimportant, you need to hear the true story told on today’s program. It’s about a young girl telling her brother in anger, “I wish you were dead”. Thirty minutes later, he was. She was impacted for years by what she said in haste and anger. Words we have said can impact the speaker!
Friday – Part Five – We close the message with a challenge to follow the admonition of scripture to say nothing evil or hurtful. What would happen in your marriage or family if you really tried to honor that command? What grief could be prevented? What blessings could result?
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 7 – 01/27/14
A Talker or a Doer?
We’re all familiar with the term “yes man”. Someone who says yes to anything asked of them, but one who rarely delivers. That may be fine in the world, but not with the Lord God almighty. This week we deal with a famous passage of James where James says, “Faith without deeds is dead!” He uses the analogy of a body without the spirit is lifeless, so a faith that doesn’t manifest action is lifeless. Christianity is more than talk; it’s lived out in real life.
Monday – Part One – We begin with a Dr. Richard Kirshner’s “Six Types of Difficult People”. He believes that almost everyone works with one or more of these people in the workplace. The last one is the “yes person”, someone who agrees to anything, but one who rarely follows through. James says that does not work in the Kingdom of God!
Tuesday – Part Two – We read the text in James 2:14-26. James says simply believing in God is not enough. His proof that he gives? The demons believe in God, and even tremble. Their belief in a supreme being doesn’t cut it! God looks at what our faith does.
Wednesday – Part Three – We are not saved by our works, we are saved by grace though faith in Christ. However, the Lord is aware of what we do as a manifestation of that faith. Our deeds or works are how our faith is fleshed out in everyday life. Why? Faith without works is simply dead, according to James.
Thursday – Part Four – Today a great story on “CrossHope” about a medical doctor who was the only physician in a large area of Labrador in Canada. He believed that a person’s Christianity could be measured by what it enabled that person to do. What has your faith in Christ enabled you to do that you couldn’t do on your own?
Friday – Part Five – Verse 24 of James 2 says “you see that a person is justified by what he does”. Doesn’t the Bible say that we are justified by faith? It does indeed. But James was making the point that our faith is to be accompanied by deeds produced by that faith. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2 that we were “created to do good works in Christ”, not to earn salvation, but to demonstrate it!
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 6 – 01/20/2014
Good News, Bad News
Have you ever had someone in conversation say, “What do you want first, the good news or the bad news”? Sure you have. This week in the book of James 2:10-13, James tells us that if we break God’s law in just one area, we are guilty of breaking all of the law! That’s the bad news. The good news is that God claims to be merciful, and says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment! Simply translated that means, “mercy trumps judgment!”
Monday – Part One – We begin with the story told by John Guest, who really struggled with his hatred and animosity toward another person. What made the situation worse was that John was a youth pastor, and the person he struggled with hating was in the youth group! We all struggle with those feelings and need to let God’s word speak to us from James. This passage can honestly change someone’s life!
Tuesday – Part Two – Most of us are a mixture of sinner and sinned against. Today we talk about what that means. We have all been hurt and wounded by others, but if we’re honest, we have hurt and wounded others. Sometimes we will brag about what we haven’t done, yet still face judgment from God for what has been done in our lives.
Wednesday – Part Three – Today we discuss one of the most frightening if not the most frightening verses in all of the Bible, James 2:13: “Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful! My forgiveness is linked to how forgiving I have been! Now that’s frightening, as it should be to all of us.
Thursday – Part Four – One way we experience grace, mercy, and forgiveness in our own lives is to demonstrate all three in the lives of others. That’s easier said than done. We tell a powerful story of a hard hearted woman who finally experienced forgiveness in her own life, when she showed it! Don’t miss this true story!
Friday – Part Five – We take other people’s sins and glue them to their past! Would it bother you if someone did that with you? We close with a powerful story of a father who glued his children to their past mistakes. The Lord will never glue you to your past sin that is “under the blood of Christ”! When we forgive, we are acting in a Christ like manner, whether we realize it or not.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 5 – 01/13/2014
The Sin of Favoritism, Really?
Most people would not identify showing partiality or favoritism as a sin. We see it all the time in our culture today. We see it at work, in schools, and yes, even in families. Believe it or not, James in chapter two says, “If we show favoritism (in the church) based on money or wealth, we sin and are lawbreakers!” That may be a new thought to some, including you and me.
Monday – Part One – We begin with an imaginary story of a black limousine pulling up to the front door of a church, and a wealthy man and his entourage arriving for worship. What would you think if the church’s pastor asks people at the front to move to the back, so the wealthy man and his party can have the choice seats? In the early church, that was a real scenario! We’ll talk about it.
Tuesday – Part Two – James begins by talking to people he calls, “believers”. What does it mean to be a believer? It means you and I believe everything Jesus said about Himself, about life, and about eternity. What we believe or don’t believe about Jesus impacts everything we are and everything we do.
Wednesday – Part Three – We talk about how money impacts relationships in our lives. Sometimes it produces “new friends”, but it also can produce “new enemies”. Even Christians can practice discrimination on the basis of money or the lack thereof. Discrimination over money is sin, plain and simple, according to James.
Thursday – Part Four – A psychiatrist is quoted who believes that sometimes the poorest people have the best view of life from a spiritual standpoint. They see things about life and death that wealthier people don’t. Does that say anything to you or me? Today we talk about it from James 2:1-12.
Friday – Part Five – We end this message quoting an actual prayer found on the body of a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. It actually tracks with the passage we study in James 2. Heaven isn’t determined by what we own or don’t own. Heaven is something we receive based on what Christ accomplished on the Cross! Favoritism is a sin that requires the forgiveness of Christ, just like any other sin in my life.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 4 – 1/06/2014
Anger: A Most Destructive Emotion (Part 2)
This week we continue the passage in James 1:19-26 regarding the destructive emotion in your life and mine called anger. Last week, the key thought was right from the text where it says, “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.” It does just the opposite: it produces the unrighteous life that Satan desires! This week’s thesis is that anger has a spiritual and moral dimension that most Christians don’t want to acknowledge. Anger is not just an “emotional or psychological” thing, it has spiritual implications in my life.
Monday – Part One – Aside from scripture, the most profound, and insightful thought on the subject of anger comes from a man by the name of Clarence McCartney from Pittsburgh. This sentence says it all to me: “More than any other sin, ungodly anger destroys friendships, destroys peace and concord in the home, incites crime and violence, and turns love and affection into hatred!” Let’s talk about that.
Tuesday – Part Two – After telling us that anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires, he says “Therefore…..” Therefore is a word referencing what has just been said and saying in consequence of that or as a result of that, here’s what we need to do. “Get rid of all moral filth and malice in our lives.” We’ll discuss that.
Wednesday – Part Three – The last time you lost your temper, it just wasn’t in the presence of your spouse, parent, child, or co-worker: it was in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That changes the picture a little, doesn’t it? Jesus would say, “By our words we will be acquitted or condemned.” Words have power!
Thursday – Part Four – We read about child abuse, spousal abuse, and even elder abuse. What about “anger abuse”? Anger abuse abounds at the work place, in homes, and even in churches! All of us can remember being on the receiving end of anger abuse, but we have amnesia when it comes to remembering what we have done.
Friday – Part Five – Some of the best letters or emails that have ever been written by you or me, have never been sent! Be careful what you put in print. When we write a letter or even a simple email, we have just created a legal document that people can refer to years from now. Anger has to ultimately be “tamed” by the Lord, which means to come under His authority.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 3 – 12/30/03/13
Anger: A Most Destructive Emotion (Part 1)
For whatever reason, this is the most requested message I have ever given over 30 years on the radio. So many people asked for copies of this very message that I asked a Christian psychologist why he thought that was the case. His answer was, “we are all the victims of someone else’s anger, or we are victimizers- or we are both!” The first chapter of the book of James says more about this subject that any other single passage of scripture.
Monday – Part One – We begin by talking about some “myths” of anger. The most common is that somehow it’s helpful emotionally for people to vent. But is it really? A psychologist by the name of Carol Tavris says that often, the venting of anger just produces more anger. Verse 20 says, “Man’s anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires.”
Tuesday – Part Two – We define what some people call “righteous indignation”. It may not be what you always thought. Jesus got angry at the temple money changers on behalf of His heavenly Father. Most of the anger in your life and mine is self-centered.
Wednesday – Part Three – If my anger does not bring about or produce the righteous life that God desires, then what does it produce? By default, it produces the “unrighteous life” that Satan desires. Now that is a scary thought! We use our anger to justify our bad behavior.
Thursday – Part Four – Today we talk about the physiological effects of anger on your life, then look at a group of Proverbs that talk about the spiritual consequences of anger. We are impacted physically and spiritually by anger in our lives, whether we admit it or not!
Friday – Part Five – We close with a story about anger from Germany, the Berlin Wall in particular. It’s a gripping story about people expressing their hostility to others in a dramatic way at the wall. Their anger is met with the love of Christ. What happens may surprise you! It provides a lesson in that what we have to give to others flows out of either our hostility or love.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 2 – 12/16/2013
Putting the Blame on God?
What or whom do you blame for temptation in your life? Maybe you blame others, maybe you blame circumstances. Some blame Satan or even God. James explains the origin and cycle of sin in our lives. It starts with a desire that turns to lust, and then it gives birth to sin. The end of sin in one word: death!
Monday – Part One – We begin with a humorous story about the authorship of the book of James. There are six different men in the New Testament identified as James, and scholars disagree about whom the writer was. We introduce the message by reading our text from James 1:12-17.
Tuesday – Part Two – Even though there is such a thing as “false”, “misplaced” or even “irrational” guilt, we all deal with guilt. Guilt is a function of the Holy Spirit. Only the Lord can deal with the guilt in our lives.
Wednesday – Part Three – God’s goal for my life is not to make me happy, but to make me mature and complete in his Son, Jesus Christ. When tempted, whom do you blame? We talk about the root of temptations in our lives.
Thursday – Part Four – Satan always promises life; he always delivers death! We talk about the five works of Satan from scripture. They may surprise you! They involve every part of our lives: physically, morally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Friday – Part Five – We close with a story of a cancer specialist who faces his own death with cancer. What he wants to hear from the hospital chaplain is not psychological jargon, but hope from the Word of God! That’s what you and I need.
REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY
Week 1 – 12/09/2013
Hard to Believe
James is a book written to Jewish believers, people of Jewish background who came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. No small thing! James writes a general letter to these Christians all over the world. He writes about every day struggles, everyday problems that will speak to of all of us.
Monday – Part One – We begin with a story of a man who said “Christianity sounds good on paper, but doesn’t’ play out in real life.” Many people think that. Maybe you have! We talk about that today by reading from the first chapter.
Tuesday – Part Two – We discuss the problems that people face in their lives in real everyday life. No one is immune! Life equals struggles and problems. We’re not promised a problem free life by the Lord, we are promised His presence.
Wednesday – Part Three – Today, we talk about a couple whose marriage had become a “hell on earth”. Relief didn’t come, until in their words, “we came to the end of ourselves, and came to the Lord”. What would have to happen to you for you to come to the end of yourself?
Thursday – Part Four – Wisdom is looking at life from God’s point of view. What would happen if you really believed that? Would you look at your career, your marriage, or your family any differently?
Friday – Part Five – Football hero Johnny Unitas said, “Talk is cheap, let’s play football”. What if we lived by a similar motto, “talk is cheap, let’s live the life Christ wants us to live!” The power to face life’s struggles comes from the life giver, His name is Jesus.