Faith Working Through Healing * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:12-16 * 4/8/18

1.) Healing comes from the LORD

  • Exodus 15:26 "I am the Lord who heals you."
  • Acts 10:38 "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil."

2.) Healing comes to the DESPERATE

  • Hosea 5:15 "In their misery (trouble, desperation) they will earnestly seek me."
  • 2 Kings 20:5 "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you."
  • Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

3.) Healing comes for the Lord's GLORY

  • Philippians 1:20 "Now as always, Christ will be exalted (glorified, magnified, honored) in my body, whether by life or by death."
  • John 11:4 "It is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
  • Psalm 69:29-30 "I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with giving thanks."

4.) Healing comes in God's WAY

  • James 5:15-16 "If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."
  • Psalm 41:4 "Have mercy on me, Lord; heal me, for I have sinned against you."
  • Luke 22:42 "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
  • Matthew 9:12 "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (James 5:14)
  • 1 Peter 5:9 "Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
  • Psalm 103:2-3 "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits (may I never forget the good things he does for me), who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases." (James 5:13 " Let him sing songs of praise.")
  • Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful (joyful, merry) heart is good medicine."

5.) Healing comes in God's TIMING

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose (activity) under heaven...(time to be born, to die, to heal)."
  • James 5:8 "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
  • Hebrews 10:35-38 "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded."
  • Philippians 3:20-21 "Our citizenship is in heaven...The Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
  • Revelation 21:4 "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain."
  • Romans 8:23 "We wait eagerly for...the redemption of our bodies."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 5:12-16

(1.) When have you experienced God's healing power?

(2.) Why do we often wait until we are desperate to seek the Lord?

(3.) How can God be glorified in your life?

(4-5) What are some of the various ways that God heals?

Faith Through Waiting * Pastor Bill Sy * James 5:7-11 * 4/1/18 * Resurrection Day!

1.) WAIT for signs of hope

  • James 5:7 "The farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains." (1 Kings 18:41-44 "a small cloud")
  • Mark 16:3 "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb?"
  • Matthew 28:2 " An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it."
  • Luke 24:5 "Why do you look for the living among the dead?"
  • Luke 24:6-8 "He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' Then they remembered his words."

2.) ASK for strength to persevere

  • James 5:8 "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
  • Mark 9:24 "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
  • Romans 8:11 "The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you."
  • Ephesians 1:19-20 "His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as...when he raised Christ from the dead."
  • Ephesians 3:16 "I pray that...he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (Psalm 119:25 "Preserve, revive me according to your word.")
  • 1 John 2:14 "You are strong, and the word of God lives in you."
  • Colossians 1:9, 11, 12 "We ask God to fill you...with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks."

3.) INVITE others to wait with you

  • James 5:9 "Don't grumble against each other."
  • James 5:10 "As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord."
  • John 20:19 "The disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear; Jesus came."

4.) TRUST the Lord for a blessed outcome

  • James 5:11 "We consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
  • John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live."
  • Job 19:25-27 "I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And...I will see God...How my heart yearns within me!"
  • Job 42:10, 12 "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before...The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 5:7-11

(1.) What signs of hope could the disciples have seen? What are some signs of hope in your situation?

(2.) When and how has God given you strength to persevere?

(3.) Who has been with you in your waiting? How has that helped?

(4.) When have you been blessed with a better outcome than you expected?

Faith Through Surrender * Pastor Bill Sy * James 4:1-5:6 * 3/25/18 * Palm Sunday

John 12:13 "They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'"

Jesus is King! (Zechariah9:9; Revelation 17:14; John 18:36-37)

James 4:7 "Submit (be subject to, yield to, surrender) yourselves, then, to God."

1.) We surrender our FAILURES (James 4:1-12)

  • James 4:1 "Your desires that battle within you"
  • James 4:2 "You do not have, because you do not ask God."
  • James 4:6 "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
  • James 4:7 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee."
  • James 4:8-10 "Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

2.) We surrender our FUTURES (James 4:13-17)

  • James 4:13-15 "You who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead...say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will do this or that.'" (A. 18:21 "I will come back if it is God's will.") DV/Deo Volente
  • Psalm 39:4 "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be."

3.) We surrender our FINANCES (James 5:1-6)

  • Luke 12:19-21 "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."
  • James 5:1-3 "You rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded in the last days."
  • Proverbs 22:4 "Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, and honor, and life."
  • Proverbs 30:8-9 "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord.' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
  • Leviticus 27:30 "A tithe (10%) of everything...belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord."
  • Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house...and see if I will not throw open the floodgates (windows) of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 4:1-5:6

(1.) What does it mean for Jesus to be our King?

(2.) What parts of your future do you need to surrender?

(3.) How are you doing in surrendering your finances to King Jesus?

Faith Working Through Living Wisely * Pastor Bill Sy * James 3:13-18 * 3/18/18

James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Ephesians 5:15 "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise."

1.) The Lord gives me wisdom to live PURELY

  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure."
  • James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (see website www.pluggedin.com)
  • Psalm 101:2b-3 "I will walk in my house with a blameless heart (I will live a pure life). I will set before my eyes no vile thing (I refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.)"
  • 1 John 2:28; 3:3 "Dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming...All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 "Since we have these promises, dear friends. let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting (becoming mature and complete in) holiness out of reverence for God."
  • Psalm 119:9-11 "How can a young person keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
  • James 4:8 "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

2.) The Lord gives me wisdom to live PEACEFULLY

  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving."
  • James 3:18 "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."
  • Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
  • Titus 3:2 "Be peaceable and considerate, and always gentle toward everyone."
  • Romans 12:18 "As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

3.)The Lord gives me wisdom to live PRODUCTIVELY

  • James 3:13 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."
  • James 3:17 "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit..."
  • Psalm 92:14 "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 3:13-18

(1.) How does James describe the differences of heavenly and earthly wisdom? What struggles do you have with purity? What helps you live purely?

(2.) What steps have you taken to be at peace with others?

(3.) Describe the fruit of heavenly wisdom. How can you be productive for Jesus?

 

Faith Working Through My Words * Pastor Bill Sy * James 3:1-12 * 3/11/18

1.) My words can hurt or HEAL

  • Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless (rash, thoughtless) words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
  • Job 19:2 "How long will you torment me and crush me (in pieces) with words?"
  • Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death."
  • James 1:26 "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."
  • James 3:1 "Not many of you should presume to be teachers."
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1 "We all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know."
  • Proverbs 12:23 "The prudent (wise) keep their knowledge to themselves."
  • James 3:2 "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault for what he says, he is a perfect (mature) man, able to keep his whole body in check."
  • Proverbs 21:23 "Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity (troubles)."

2.) My words can curse or PRAISE

  • James 3:9-10 "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing...this should not be."
  • Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit (give grace to) those who listen."
  • Isaiah 50:4 "The Lord God has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."
  • Hebrews 13:15 "Through Jesus, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise."

3.) My words can be untamed or under God's GUIDANCE

  • James 3:8 "No one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison."
  • James 3:3-6 "We put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us...Ships are so large...they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire."
  • Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the meditation (inner thoughts) of my heart be acceptable (pleasing) in your sight, O Lord."
  • Psalm 39:1 "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth."
  • Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of y lips."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 3:1-12

(1.) How have words hurt you? Or helped you? When have you regretted your words?

(2.) Why do people curse? How can you practice more praising?

(3.) Explain the pictures that James uses to describe the tongue. How can you experience victory in this area of your life?

 

Faith Working Through Actions * Pastor Bill Sy * James 2:14-26 * 3/4/18

James 2:14 "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" (such faith, this faith, that kind of faith)

1.) INTELLECTUAL faith fails to commit

  • James 1:26 "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."
  • Titus 1:16 "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him."
  • John 3:2-10 "You are a teacher who has come from God...You must be born again."
  • Luke 4:33-34 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!"
  • Luke 8:28,31 "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?...They (the demons) begged Jesus not to order them to go into the Abyss."

2.) EMOTIONAL faith fades quickly

  • James 2: 19 "Even the demons believe that - and shudder (tremble, shake)."
  • Mark 4:16-17 "Seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time."
  • Romans 10:2-3 "They are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge."

3.) DEAD faith produces no fruit

  • Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruit."
  • James 2:17 "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
  • James 2:26 "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds (actions, works, fruit) is dead."

4.) LIVING faith brings maturity

  • Revelation 2:4-5 "You have forsaken the love you had at first (your first love). Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first."
  • Revelation 3:1-3 "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent."
  • James 2:22 "His faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete (mature) by what he did."
  • Titus 2:13-14 "Our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager (zealous, enthusiastic) to do what is good."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 2:14-26

(1.) Think of someone who has only intellectual faith. What is missing?

(2.) Why is emotional faith dangerous? What is missing?

(3.) What would be some red flags that may indicate a dead faith?

(4.) How can we have a living faith? What will help us to mature spiritually? What are some things God has given you an eagerness to do?

Faith Working Through Love! * Pastor Bill Sy * James 2:1-13 * 2/25/18

1.) Love by FAITH, not by face (James 2:1-7)

  • James 2:1 "My brothers, as believers in (as you hold the faith of) our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism."
  • James 2:4 "Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
  • Acts 10:34 "God does not show favoritism."
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

2.) Love for what can BECOME, not for what was done (James 2:8-11)

  • John 1:12 "To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right (the power) to become children of God."
  • 1 John 3:2 "Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."
  • Philippians 2:13 "It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him)."
  • Philippians 3:10 "I want to know Christ...becoming like him."
  • James 2:5 "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 "Not many of you were influential...God chose the weak things ...the lowly things...so that no one may boast before him...boast in the Lord."

3.) Love with MERCY, not with judgment (James 2:12-13)

  • James 2:13 "Mercy triumphs over judgment."
  • Matthew 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
  • James 2:8 "Keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
  • James 2:10 "Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
  • Galatians 5:6 "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
  • Romans 5:5 "God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
  • Hebrews 12:2-3 "Looking to (fixing, keeping our eyes on) Jesus...Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners (think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people), so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
  • Romans 15:7 "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
  • Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
  • Acts 7:60 "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 2:1-13

(1.) How so we sometimes show favoritism? How has Jesus changed your attitude toward others?

(2.) Who are examples of changed lives in the Bible? How does that give you hope that God is at work in you to become all he wants you to be?

(3.) Who needs your mercy? Ask God daily to love through you!

Our Vision and Our Church Community! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers * Luke 9:51 * 2/11/18

Memory Verse of the Week:  Luke 9:51

"As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."

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Luke 9:52-56

And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.

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Luke 9:57-58

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

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Luke 9:59-60

He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

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Luke 9:61-62

Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family." Jesus Replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

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Faith Working Through True Religion * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:26-27 * 2/4/2018

Religion is the outward expression of the inward working of God in my heart

  • Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven."

1.) My faith shows in how I SPEAK

  • James 1:26 "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."
  • James 1:19 "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
  • Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it  may benefit (give grace to) those who listen."
  • Psalm 39:1 "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue form sin; I will put a muzzle (bridle) on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked (ungodly)."
  • Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."

2.) My faith shows in how I CARE

  • James 1:27 "Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."
  • 1 Timothy 5:4 "Children or grandchildren should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
  • Psalm 68:5 "A father to the fatherless (orphans), a defender (protector, advocate) of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."
  • Jeremiah 49:11 "Your fatherless children (orphans) I will keep them alive. Your widows too can depend on (trust in) me."
  • 1 Timothy 5:5 "The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts all her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help."

3.) My faith shows in how I LIVE

  • James 1:27 "And to keep oneself form being polluted (stained) by the world."
  • Revelation 7:14 "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb."
  • Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
  • Galatians 2:20; 6:14 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me...May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

Dig Deeper:  Read James 1:26-27

(1.) How would most people define religion? When have you seen true faith lived out in others? What does God want to change about how you speak?

(2.) Why the emphasis on orphans and widows? Who have you cared for?

(3.) How can we keep from being stained by the world?

Faith Working Through God's Word * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:19-25 * 1/28/2018

1.) LISTEN to the Word

  • James 1:19 "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry"
  • James 1:20 "Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires"
  • Romans 10:17 "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." ("Faith comes from hearing the word of God")
  • James 1:18 "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth"
  • Job 6:10 "My joy in unrelenting pain - that I had not denied (rejected) the words of the Holy Ones"
  • Jeremiah 15:16 "When your words came (were found), I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight"
  • Job 23:12 "I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread"
  • Psalm 119:161 "My heart trembles (stands in awe) at your word"
  • 1 Samuel 3:9 "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening"
  • Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law (word)"

2.) ACCEPT the Word

  • James 1:21 "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept (receive) the word planted in you, which can save (restore) you"
  • Mark 1:15 "Repent, and believe the gospel"
  • Jeremiah 4:3 " Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns"
  • Colossians 3:8 "Rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips"
  • Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom"
  • Mark 4:20 "Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept (receive, welcome) it and produce a crop"

3.) DO the Word

  • James 1:22 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says"
  • James 1:23-24 "Anyone who listens to the word and does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like"
  • James 1:25 "The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does"

Dig Deeper: Read James 1:19-25

(1.) Discuss James 1:19-20. What do we think anger will accomplish? What does God's word do for us? What should be our attitude to the word?

(2.) What needs to happen for us to receive the word?

(3.) If we aren't growing spiritually, what may be our problem? How does the word free us?

Trials and Temptations * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:9-18 * 1/21/18

1.) Trials come despite our CIRCUMSTANCES

  • James 1:9-11 "The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business"
  • Luke 12:20 "This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"
  • Matthew 7:25 "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

2.) Temptations come from sin's INFLUENCE

  • James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him"
  • James 1:13-15 "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death"
  • Luke 8:11 "The seed is the word of God" (Choice: seed of the world or the word!)
  • James 1:18 "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth"
  • James 1:16 "Don't be deceived my dear brothers"
  • Proverbs 19:3 "A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord"

3.) Blessings come through God's LOVE

  • James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows"
  • Psalm 16:2 "You are my Lord; every good thing I have comes from you"
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (everything you have is from God)"
  • James 1:18 "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created"

Dig Deeper:

(1.) What do most people assume about trials? Why does God allow trials to come to all of us? When were you surprised by a trial in your life? How did God help you through it?

(2.) What is the difference between trials and temptations? What is the seed we need to receive? How has the word helped you endure? How are people deceived? What lies do they believe?

(3.) What are some of the blessings that God has given you? What firstfruits are you offering to the Lord?

Faith Working Through Wisdom! * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:5-8 * 1/14/18

From last week:

  • James 1:2 "Consider (count) it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds"
  • James 1:3 "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance"
  • James 1:4 "Perseverance (endurance, patience, steadfastness) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything"
  • James 1:5-8 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him"

I need wisdom so I can consider it joy when I face trials:

1.) I need wisdom to see that trials can help me MATURE in Christ

  • James 1:4 "So that you may be mature (grown up) and complete"
  • Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it"
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak"
  • 2 Corinthians 12:10 "I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong"
  • Romans 8:28-29 "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose...to be conformed to the image of his Son"

2.) I need wisdom to see that trials can help me MINISTER to others

  • 2 Corinthians 1:4 "God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God"
  • 2 Corinthians 12:27, 25, 26 "You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it...its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it"

3.) I need wisdom to see that trials can help me FOCUS on God's word

  • Psalm 119:97 "How I love your law! I meditate on it all day long"
  • Psalm 119:71 "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn (pay attention to) your decrees"
  • Psalm 119:67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey (keep, hold onto) your word"
  • Psalm 119:68 "You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees"
  • Joshua 1:8 "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth (speak and recite it); meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything that is written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful"

Dig Deeper:

(1) When have you needed wisdom? How does wisdom help you do James 1:2? What would it look like to grow more mature in Christ? How do trials help that?

(2.) How has God used someone else to minister to you? Who can you help?

(3.) Define biblical meditation. How have your trials caused you to rely more on God and his word? What are some key scriptures that help you?

 

Faith at Work: Faith Working Through Joy * Pastor Bill Sy * James 1:1-4 * 1/7/2018

1.) Joy in SERVING for the Lord

  • James 1:1a "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"
  • Matthew 13:55-56 "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon...Aren't all his sisters with us?
  • John 7:5 "Even his own brothers did not believe in him"
  • 1 Corinthians 15:7 "He appeared to James, then to all the apostles"
  • Acts 1:14 "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers"
  • Galatians 1:19 "I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother"
  • Acts 15:6,13 "James spoke up: 'Brothers, listen to me'" (Acts 12:17; 21:18)
  • James 1:1a "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ"

2.) Joy in SCATTERING for the Lord

  • James 1:1b "To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations" (1 Peter 1:1)
  • Acts 8:1b "On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea an Samaria" (Acts 1:8 "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria")
  • Acts 8:3 "Saul began to destroy the church...and put them in prison"
  • Acts 8:4 "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went"
  • Matthew 10:23 "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another"
  • Acts 11:19-20 "Those who had been scattered by the persecution...began to speak the good news about the Lord Jesus"
  • Acts 11:21 "The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord"

3,) Joy in STRUGGLING for the Lord

  • James 1:2 "Consider (count) it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (Romans 6:11 "Count yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ")
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We take captive every though to make it obedient to Christ"
  • James 1:3 "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance"
  • James 1:4 "Perseverance (endurance, patience, steadfastness) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything"
  • Hebrews 12:2,4 "Keeping our eyes on Jesus...who for the joy set before him, endured the cross...Consider him...in your struggle against sin"

Dig Deeper:

(1.) What do we know about James? How does that encourage you about some people in your life who need the Lord? What does James call himself? How are some ways that God is challenging you to be his servant?

(2.) What does it mean to be scattered? When has God put you somewhere so you could share the gospel?

(3.) How can we find joy in trials? What does God produce from our trials? What struggle are you facing now that needs our prayer?

 

Joy Through the Rest of Time! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers * Philippians 1:12-26 * 12/31/17

1.) Philippians 1:12-14

"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."

2.) Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

3.) Philippians 1:15 - 18a

"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense for the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether form false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

4.) Philippians 4:8

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

5.) Philippians 1:18b-26

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet, what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

The Perfect Christmas Gift! * Pastor Bill Sy * Luke 2:1-7 * 12/24/17

1.) Jesus comes as a GIFT

  • Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given"
  • John 3:16 "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son"
  • 2 Corinthians. 9:15 "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
  • Ephesians. 2:8 "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"

2.) The gift must be RECEIVED

  • John 1:10 "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him"
  • John 1:11 "He came to his own, and his own did not receive him"
  • Luke 2:7 "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
  • John 1:12 "To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
  • Colossians 2:6 "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him"

3.) When the gift is received, joy comes in the TELLING

  • Luke 2:17 "When the shepherds had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child"
  • Luke 2:28, 36-38 "Simeon took him in his arms and praised God...Anna...was eighty-four...she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all"
  • Acts 4:20 "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard"

Dig Deeper:

(1) Why is it important to understand Jesus as a gift?

(2) When or how did you receive the gift of God?

(3) Who could you tell?

The Perfect Christmas Visitor! * Pastor Bill Sy * Isaiah 9:6 * 12/17/17

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

1.) Jesus comes as our Wonderful COUNSELOR

  • Psalm 139:1-3, 6 "O Lord, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you understand my thoughts from afar...my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways...Such knowledge is too wonderful for me"
  • Isaiah 11:2 "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power (might)"
  • Isaiah 28:29 "All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom"
  • Romans 11:34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
  • Mark 7:37 "They were overwhelmed with amazement: 'He has done everything well'"
  • Psalm 73:23-24 "You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel"
  • Isaiah 48:17 "I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you (to succeed, to profit), who directs you in the way you should go"

2.) Jesus comes as our Mighty GOD

  • Psalm 24:8 "Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle"
  • Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you (in the midst of you), he is mighty to save (a victorious warrior). He will take great delight in you...he will rejoice over you with singing"
  • Matthew 28:18 "All authority (power) in heaven and on earth has been given to me"
  • John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands"
  • Colossians 1:17 "In him all things hold together"

3.) Jesus comes as our Everlasting FATHER

  • John 10:30 "I and the Father are one"
  • John 17:21 "Father, you are in me and I am in you"
  • 2 Corinthians 6:18 "I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters"

4.) Jesus comes as our Prince of PEACE

  • Isaiah 9:7 "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end"
  • Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (with whom he is pleased)"
  • Ephesians 2:13-14 "You who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace" (Micah 5:5 "He will be their peace')
  • Isaiah 55:12 "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Dig Deeper:

Share how you have experienced Jesus in each of the Isaiah 9:6 titles. Pray for those who need to know him in any of these ways!

The Perfect Christmas Exchange! * Pastor Bill Sy * Luke 2:8-10 * 12/10/17

1.) Exchanging my shame for His GLORY

  • Luke 2:8 "There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night"
  • Luke 2:9 "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified"
  • 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 "God chose the foolish...the weak...the lowly... and the despised"
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6 "God...made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ"
  • Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (no shadow of shame will darken their faces)"
  • Luke 2:20 "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen"
  • Psalm 115:1 "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness"
  • Psalm 86:12 "I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever"

2.) Exchanging my fear for His JOY

  • Luke 2:10 "But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people"
  • Psalm 112:7 "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast (secure, fixed), trusting in the Lord"
  • Psalm 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid"
  • John 15:11 "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you"
  • John 17:13 "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them"

3.) Exchanging my sins for His SALVATION

  • Luke 2:11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord"
  • Luke 1:46-47 "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"
  • Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins"
  • Luke 1:77 "Give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins"
  • Luke 2:16 "They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby"
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 "Now is the day of salvation"

Dig Deeper:

(1) Why do we feel shame? How does the glory of God change us? How can we bring glory to God?

(2) Why does joy come from the good news? How does praise help us deal with fear?

(3) What keeps people from receiving salvation? Who can you pray for that needs to know of salvation through Jesus?

The Perfect Christmas Place! * Pastor Bill Sy * Micah 5:2-5 * 12/3/17

1.) God chooses Bethlehem though it is INSIGNIFICANT.

  • Micah 5:2a "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah"
  • Colossians 1:27-28 "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things."
  • Luke 1:46-48 "He has been mindful of the humble (lowly) state of his servant"

2.) God uses Bethlehem to fulfill his PURPOSE.

  • Micah 5:2b "Out of you (Bethlehem) will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times"
  • Philippians 2:13 "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to fulfill his good purpose"
  • Psalm 57:2 "I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me"

3.) God gives Bethlehem peace as they await his ARRIVAL.

  • Micah 5:3 "Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth"
  • Galatians 4:4a "When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman"
  • John 7:42 "Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David's descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived? (Luke 2:1-4)
  • Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope"
  • Micah 5:4-5 "He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace"
  • Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart"
  • Micah 7:18-19 "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression...You will again have compassion on us and hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea"

Dig Deeper:

(1) What about Bethlehem can you relate to? When have you felt like the words of 1 Corinthians 1:27-28? Why is God drawn to the lowly?

(2) What was God's purpose for Bethlehem? How has God given you a sense of purpose?

(3) How long did Israel wait for the Messiah? When have you waited for God? What helps us as we wait? Read Hebrews 10:35-39. How is the Lord giving you peace as you wait? Pray for Jesus to bring peace to those who are waiting.

Ther Perfect Christmas Tree * Pastor Bill Sy * 11/26/17

The first week of Advent:  HOPE

1.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that stays ALIVE

  • Isaiah 11:1a "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse (father of King David)."
  • Job 14:7 "There is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail."
  • Isaiah 53:2 "He grew up...like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground"
  • Revelation 22:16 "I, Jesus...am the Root and the Offspring of David."

2.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that bears FRUIT

  • Isaiah 11:1b "From his roots a Branch will bear fruit."
  • Matthew 2:23 "He went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene."
  • Matthew 3:10 "The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down." (Matthew 3:8 "Produce fruit with repentance.")
  • John 15:2 "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
  • Psalm 92:12-13 "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green."

3.) Jesus is the perfect Christmas tree that draws OTHERS

  • Isaiah 11:10 "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him."
  • John 12:32-33 "'When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."
  • Romans 15:2 "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope."

Dig Deeper: 

(1) What do you know about your family tree? How is Jesus like a tree?

(2) What fruit did Jesus bear? What is the Lord doing in your life now to make you more fruitful?

(3) How does Jesus draw people to himself? Pray for Jesus to draw others to himself through the Lighthouse!

A Thank You Goes a Long Ways! * Pastor Jordan Rodgers * 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 * 11/19/17

Memory Verse of the Week:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1.) Psalm 100:1-5

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

2.) Genesis 1:1-2

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3.) Colossians 1:15-17

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

4.) 1 Corinthians 3:16

"Don't you  know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?