Acting In Times Of Crisis

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
James 2:19-20 (NLT)
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

A story about a crisis in Holland. Many Christians believed that Sunday was like the Sabbath and that it is wrong to work, play or do anything but worship and rest. Much of Holland is below sea level but the Dutch reclaimed the land by construction an ingenious system of dykes and canals to hold back the seawater. On one particular Sunday, storms raised the water level to a dangerous height and the water threatened to overflow the dikes and flood a particular city, ruining the crops. Many residents went to the dikes to add sandbags but there were too few workers to stop the rising tide. The local constable appealed to the local Dutch Reform Church for help. He knew there were hundreds of able-bodied men who could make the difference. He went to the church to persuade the members to come and help. The leaders quickly met and decided it would be sinful to break the Sabbath rules by working on Sunday. The pastor appealed to the leaders to change their minds and help with the work. He referred them to this passage where Jesus broke the Sabbath rules of His day for the good of others. The reply of the chief church elder leader is classic. He said, “I have always had a hard time accepting what Jesus did on the Sabbath, too!” It would be funny if it were not so tragic. The town flooded and most of the crops were ruined—but many of the Christians felt pious because they hadn’t desecrated the Sabbath Day.

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

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Don’t Tell Me About Your Faith, Show It To Me!

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 2:18 (NLT)

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you dont have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

The way this works out in each of our lives is going to be different. You may not be a boxing fan, but you’ve got to admire George Foreman, the former heavyweight boxing champion. A few years ago, at the age of 42, he came out of retirement for one last fight. Was it for the glory? Not according to Foreman. Was it for the fame? No again. Was it because of the Lord? As amazing as it may seem the answer is yes. You see he’s a preacher who works with troubled young boys. He gets them off the streets and tells them about Jesus. Few boxing experts thought he would last more than 3 rounds against 28 year old Evander Holyfield. George Foreman didn’t win the fight, but he lasted all 12 rounds and he got paid for the fight which was what he wanted all along. I don’t know what God’s got for you to do, it may be as strange as what He had for George Foreman, or it may be as expected as sharing your faith with your neighbor, but I do know He wants you to believe Him & then put your faith into action.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Racism Is A Sin

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 2:8-9 (NLT)
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[a] 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.

In light of the recent events in our country, I wanted to share a story with you. A first grader went on her first day to a newly integrated school at the height of the segregation storm. An anxious mother met her at the door to inquire, “How did everything go, honey?” “Oh, Mother! You know what? A little black girl sat next to me!” In fear and trepidation, the mother expected trauma, but tried to ask calmly: “And what happened?” “We were both so scared that we held hands all day.” Racism doesn’t come naturally, it is a learned behavior. James is clear that looking down on someone based on the color of their skin, their ethnic heritage, or how much money they have is a sin. If you have displayed that sort of attitude toward someone then you need to repent. Regardless of who you are or what color your skin is we are all in this together! The truth is we all need Jesus!

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

The Lord Looks At The Heart

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 2:1 (NLT)
1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?

A number of years ago, when we were Pastoring in Yellville, AR, there was a tiny, but famous town just down the road from us called Zinc, AR. So what was Zinc’s claim to fame? It was the home of the Grand Wizard of the KKK. This man wondered down to our local cafe for lunch one day and made the statement, “if there are any “(expletive)” in heaven then I don’t want to go!” Since that day, it has always been my contention, that unless he repents of his attitude God might just take him up on his offer! With all the racial unrest going on in our country these days the church should be leading the fight for racial reconciliation. It’s time to stop looking at what people are on the outside and start looking at what they are on the inside. As the Lord said to the prophet Samuel, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

 

Read The Instructions

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 1:22-24 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

Several years ago, when Melissa and Daniel were babies, we bought a new bookcase for our living room. It was one of those one that come in a box and you have to take out all the parts and put it together. It comes with this handy document called instructions. Now being the red-blooded, American male that I am, I decided I could figure this out with out any stinking directions. You can probably see where this story is headed! As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. It ended with me putting it together wrong, and Tina told me I was never allowed to put stuff like that together anymore. There is a spiritual side to this story. We have been given instructions for life called the Bible. God gave them to us to tell us about His salvation and how to live in this life. Just like me and the instructions for the bookcase, we too often decided we don’t need God’s instructions. The results are also much like my ignoring the bookcase instructions, and we make a mess of our lives because we refuse to read the Bible. However, we can’t just read God’s instructions and not follow them. Once we read them we have to do what it says. Are you reading God’s instructions? Are you putting them to practice in your life?

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

Two Ears One Mouth

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 1:19 (NLT)

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Waiting to be interviewed for a job as a wireless operator, a group of applicants paid little attention to the sound of the dots and dashes which began coming over a loudspeaker. Suddenly one of them rushed into the employer’s office. Soon he returned smiling. “I got it!” he exclaimed. “How did you get ahead of us?” they asked.

“You might have been considered if you hadn’t been so busy talking that you didn’t hear the manager’s coded message,” he replied. “It said, ‘The man I need must always be on the alert. The first one who interprets this and comes directly into my private office will be hired.’” (www.sermons.org, “Hearing & Listening, opportunity, paying attention”).

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Dealing With Temptation

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
James 1:12 (NLT)
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

A number of years ago, the Douglas Aircraft company was competing with Boeing to sell Eastern Airlines its first big jets. War hero Eddie Rickenbacker, the head of Eastern Airlines, reportedly told Donald Douglas that the specifications and claims made by Douglas’s company for the DC-8 were close to Boeing’s on everything except noise suppression. Rickenbacker then gave Douglas one last chance to out-promise Boeing on this feature. After consulting with his engineers, Douglas reported that he didn’t feel he could make that promise. Rickenbacker replied, “I know you can’t, I just wanted to see if you were still honest.” (Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, 22). Eddie Rickenbacker claimed holiness in his hour of temptation. You know the feeling too. It may be the temptation to cheat on your tax return by not identifying all your income so that you get a bigger refund check; it may be to make promises about your product (that are false) to induced someone to buy it; it may be to watch a program or commercial on T.V. that is morally indecent; or it may be to stare at a woman that is provocatively dressed. By the way, the intent of women’s clothes designers is to entice you through their product to look–lust! The truth is that temptation is a part of our everyday Christian life. Christ was not exempt; neither are you. You will be tempted and always will be tempted. Holiness of character depends upon your resisting these temptations.

In Christ,
Pastor Mark