Posts from January 2021

James: Prescription for Worldliness

In this section of this epistle, James performs a spiritual check-up on his readers. After having taught his readers how to discern between good and bad teachers (good teachers produce good things in their students by drawing upon heavenly wisdom already evident in their own lives), James leaves off speaking about teachers and does a spiritual check-up of his readers. After reviewing their symptoms and diagnosing their illness, he gives not only a prognosis for the future for those exhibiting…

Where Does Sunday School Come From?

From 1702-1801 the population of England doubled. As more people moved to the cities to find work, the traditional ties to church and community were severed. As a result, several generations of children grew up without religious instruction and this led to a serious social breakdown at the time. Child workers with Sundays off would create a tremendous disturbance in the town where they lived. Robert Raikes, a newspaper publisher, pondered the fate of these youngsters without schooling or religious…

Peak of the Week: Persist – Part 4 of 4

How We Persist & Persevere Hebrews 12:11-13 NKJV Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Tennis great Bjorn Borg said: “My greatest point is my…

Why Wait For Eternal Life

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. – John 17:3 Note that in this passage Jesus says this is eternal life, meaning that this phenomena called eternal life is not just something reserved for the future, but something that was available to the people of the first century – in the first century. We think eternal life is the “good life” transported to another place and…

James: Teaching Teachers’ Tongues

In this lesson, James reviews both the qualifications and results that Christian teachers should aspire to. In his letter, James is describing the Christian lifestyle and what type of attitude and conduct believers should have in various situations. Therefore, you have profited from this book so far if, as a Christian: You have faced recent trials with patience and joy knowing that God is maturing your faith through these. You have faced and responded to temptation with Christian action that…

Peak of the Week: Persist – Part 3 of 4

Four Attributes We Must Cultivate Persist definition: “continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action despite difficulty, opposition, or failure.” “I wouldn’t want to live without ambition. Actually, I wouldn’t be able to live without it. Ambition is what keeps us at it. It rouses us from slumber, pushes us out the door, gets us reaching beyond ourselves. It calls us to sacrifice and risk-taking. Ambition is what keeps us in the fight or in the…

Out of Season

Enough cowering! Enough hiding out and social distancing from getting things done because of the virus! Paul said that there would be “in season” and “out of season” times for preaching the gospel (II Timothy 4:2) and for growing the kingdom. He did not mean that sometimes we work and serve, and at other times we should stop because it is inconvenient or dangerous. I believe he was exhorting the church to stay busy even when it was inconvenient and/or…

The Preacher’s Wife

She is not appointed but expected to serve, rarely mentioned but ever present. I speak, of course, of the minister’s wife. In normal circumstances the congregation usually sees her as an adjunct to her husband’s ministry – but preachers’ wives provide elements not usually seen or understood by those who have not been there themselves: 1. She Bears Burdens All of us should bear each others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2) and the preacher usually has a greater share because of his…

James: Michael Jackson and James

Michael Jackson’s old song, “Black or White” reflects the attitude that James says Christians should have towards other people. In Michael Jackson’s 1991 album, Dangerous, he sings a song entitled Black or White. In it he repeats the words, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white,” promoting the idea that he did not want to judge or be judged based on skin color. These lyrics capture the spirit of what James is saying in the section of his epistle which we…

Peak of the Week: Persist – Part 2 of 4

Danger of Drifting The book of Hebrews, although originally written to Christians who were Jewish, and were in danger of leaving Christ to return to their previous faith, is also for Christians who: Are being drawn back into the world. Are growing weak in their faith. Have experienced tragedy or loss, Have lost their first love – Christ Have sacrificed to become & live as Christians. Have traded the good news for ritual, Have stopped growing & become desensitized to…

James: The Bottom Line

This section in the Book of James defines the type of thinking and behavior that constitutes the “bottom line” in what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. There has always been debate over various issues in the religious world. Our brotherhood is no different. Our journals and books are filled with passionate arguments over topics such as proper elements of worship, methods of evangelism and approaches to biblical interpretation. The early church was not free from this…

Rock Throwing

The Old Testament law stated that in capital offenses, the primary witness was to cast the first stone at the point of execution. (Deut. 17:7) In the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) Jesus refers to this point of law when addressing the woman’s accusers, however He reverses the rules for this occasion. In verse 7, He says, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” In…

Peak of the Week: Persist – Part 1 of 4

Galatians 6:9 NKJV And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Today, I want us to think about this question: What kind of a person would knock a hole in someone else’s roof? In Mark 2 and Luke 5, we find some guys that not only would but did! Luke 5:20-26 NKJV When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven…

Who’s Your Person?

As Christians, we are our brother’s keeper whether we realize it or not. How we care for each other in society, family or the church is a true measure of our moral health. Of course there is a higher expectation for us in the church because how we care for each other is not only a measure of our spiritual health but away of witnessing the sincerity of our faith. Our concern for each other’s well being therefore is not…

James: Dealing with the Dragon

Sin is everybody’s problem and in this lesson Mike reviews the true tested method that James provides to successfully deal with the everyday temptations to sin. The book of James was written to Christian Jews in order to help them learn how to live the Christian life. The lessons here are easily transported to our lives today in helping us learn the Christian lifestyle as well. In the previous chapter I said that one of the features of the Christian…