In our Scripture for today James asks the question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” James was writing to brothers and sisters in Christ, to men and women who were followers of Jesus, and yet he asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” Nothing has changed from the day James sat down to pen his letter, almost 2000 years ago, to this day has it? We should still be asking the same question today, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” Let’s read our Scripture for this morning and then we’ll see if we can find the answer. Continue reading “What Causes Fights and Quarrels Among You?
A few weeks ago I pulled the rototiller out of the shed. Kellen and I began tilling up the ground that will soon be our summer garden. Connie and I have had a vegetable garden in our backyard for many years, until last summer. Truth is, I just got tired of fighting the good fight. The years long battle with bugs and weeds eventually wore me out. Every year, without fail, the bugs would sneak into my garden while I was away at work or asleep at night and gnaw on my vegetables without my permission. And then there’s the weeds. I was totally committed to tending to my garden, but I’m convinced there was someone else, someone even more committed to making sure the weeds took over. I just got tired of fighting the good fight. So, about this time last year I waved the white flag, told the little plot of ground in my backyard, “Peace out!” and walked away. Continue reading “Earthly or Heavenly Wisdom?
We are living in the information age. Knowledge about what seems to be an unlimited set of topics is available at our fingertips. We no longer have to travel to a library to learn about what interests us, we can simply Google it. Google can take us around the world to learn about other countries, cultures, and ancient civilizations. Google can lead us down the halls of philosophy, history, biology, the great classics of English literature, mathematics, and biblical studies. Because of Google we can even keep up with Kim Kardashian! Continue reading ““Who Is Wise?”
On December 4, 2017 a fire began in Southern California. The fire broke out in the foothills just above Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula and was quickly spread by 50 mph Santa Ana winds. The fire burned for a little more than a month as 2,800 firefighters from all over the country worked day and night to stop it from spreading even more. By the time the fire was contained it had burned more than 282,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. Continue reading “Teachers Wanted: Beware!
Words. They are so very interesting aren’t they? They’re made up of any combination of one or more of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, but their weight, power, and intensity far outweigh the sum total of their number. There are monosyllabic and multisyllabic words at our disposal for forming sentences, offering opinions, and making statements. You can study a language, including vocabulary, grammar, the sound of language, and how words evolve over time and that will make you a linguist. You can narrow your studies, focus solely on the topic of grammar, and master the knowledge of the structure of sentences, knowing where to place nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. You can possess an extensive vocabulary, master the study of grammar, and have at your command oratorical skills like Winston Churchill or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but you will never tame the tongue. Let’s turn to James 3:1-12 and read together. Continue reading “The Untamable Tongue
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson tells the story. The funeral was not long over when the brother of the deceased man came up to the minister and said, “He’s okay isn’t he? He’s okay?” The minister said, “Well, it depends on what you mean by ‘okay.’ What do you mean by okay?” The brother said, “He’s saved isn’t he?” The man the minister had just buried had not darkened a church door in many, many years. He’d not been known in the community as a Christian believer. He’d not given any signs that he was a follower of Jesus to any of those who knew him. The man said, “He’s okay. You know, once saved always saved, right?” The man reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He took out a crumpled piece of paper and written at the top were the words, “Decision Card.” He showed the minister where his brother had made a decision to follow Christ 35 years ago. “So, he’s okay isn’t he?” “Well,” the wise minister told him, “Why don’t we talk about that some time, but not today.” Continue reading “Faith That Works
You know them. Oh, you may not know them, but you know their names, you read about them, hear about them, and are aware of who they are. They are powerful. Their presence turns heads. They walk the red carpet, are profiled in Fortune and People magazines, and are the talk of those who envy their TMZ lifestyles. Their wealth is the envy of the everyday man or woman. Their good looks, power, and deep pockets garner favors from those who desire to have a relationship with them. They’re given the private dining rooms at the best restaurants and others pick up the tab. They share photos on Instagram and Facebook from exotic places around the world. They are known for their yachts, Aston Martins, $1,000 bottles of wine, and gourmet foods which have never been tasted by folks like you and me. Money opens doors, creates opportunities, and can convince the wealthy that they are somehow different from everyone else. It’s not always the case, but we all know stories of how this is true. Continue reading “Playing Favorites
As we go back to our study of James this morning it is important for us to always remember, as we study James’ letter, that although James was Jesus younger, half-brother, he never believed in Jesus before Jesus was resurrected from the grave. James thought his brother was crazy, that He had lost His mind. That is fascinating to me because as I spend time each week studying what James has written I hear echoes of Jesus at every turn. It has led me to the conclusion that though James didn’t believe Jesus’ claims, he was most definitely listening to what Jesus said. Our lesson today is a great example. Continue reading “True Religion
In John Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, the traveling companions, Christian, and his friend Faithful run into a man named Mr. Talkative. Faithful is wowed by Mr. Talkative. He’s got the gift of gab, a quick wit, and an impressive knowledge of a wide variety of topics. Christian listens as his friend Faithful and Mr. Talkative talk about theology, doctrine, and the Christian life. Faithful is impressed, deeply impressed by Mr. Talkative’s spiritual knowledge. Faithful told Christian how impressed he was and then Christian spoke up. He said, “This fellow, with his tongue, will mislead those who do not know him.” Faithful said, “Do you know him, then?” “Know him! Yes, better than he knows himself” Christian answered. Faithful asked, “Pray, tell me what kind of person he is?” Christian said, Continue reading “Do Not Merely Listen to The Word…
I will never forget the conversation. I was 29 years old and getting ready to move to Oklahoma City with my family to begin working here at Britton Christian Church. I had spent 5½ years working with Dr. Darnell at First Christian Church in Plano, TX. and David was passing on to me the things he had learned through years of serving the Lord. David didn’t hesitate in telling me that I must always keep teaching the Word of God as my first priority once I became a pastor. David’s advice to me was this: Don’t allow the demands of ministry to crowd out the time you spend with the Lord in His Word each day. To be able to teach the Word of God you must spend time with the Lord in His Word. Teaching and preaching are really nothing more than sharing with the people what God is teaching you. And then he said, “When you come to the Word of God humble yourself before the text and ask the Lord to teach you. Don’t come to the Word and read into it what you want it to say, but humble yourself before the text and allow the Lord to teach you.” Continue reading “Listen and Learn