The book of James is the first word of New Testament scripture given to the church, written in 45 A.D. It also contains some of the most practical truth to help us live out our faith found in all of scripture. Join us as we walk through the book of James.
Physical, mental, and emotional purity are vital for a growing relationship with our Lord. In this part of His sermon on the mountain, Jesus defines sexual purity and then tells us
how to pursue this important goal. Let’s live with purity for the glory of God!
Warning to Rich Oppressors
Have you answered God's call in your life? The question of life is not “has God called you? But rather have you answered God’s call.” In this study, using Jeremiah’s call we consider how God works in each persons life. The main points of the message are: God elects/chooses, God equips, God encircles, God entrusts, God empowers!
The Bible teaches that every single human being is created to live for eternity. And we will either be with God forever or separated from Him forever. In Jesus’ parable about a rich man and a poor and diseased man named Lazarus, we get a detailed and tough picture of what it will be like to be eternally separated from our awesome God. Let’s make sure we have received the best gift of all, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. And let’s invite everyone to receive and follow Christ – here on planet Earth and then forever in Heaven!
Don't Get Bitter, Get Better
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
No Christian receives immunity from the unforeseen difficult days and trials of life—a miscarriage, a destroyed home, cancer, divorce, or death of a loved one to name a few. It has been said, “We simply don’t know what difficulties God will allow us to endure, but we do know that God is the final arbiter of our time on earth. We have the hope of resurrection beyond death, and we have Jesus’ promises to strengthen us during those dark and difficult days we face until resurrection.” What to do when difficult days arise:
remember your position : grace
remember your possession: peace
remember your privilege: to praise God
remember your purpose: three purpose clauses in suffering “so that”…..
First, so that - we may be able to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from God!
A Classic Christmas | Andrew
This message is intended to bring a conclusion to our week of Ingathering while prompting the body to continue to live out what we have learned this week. We specifically look at the eighth day of the Feast of Ingathering in this message and what it means. It was on this eighth day, that Jesus made one of his many great proclamations declaring himself to be God in human flesh! In this message, we consider that great moment when Jesus stood on the temple mount, and said, “if any man is thirsty, let him come to me.”
Going back to go forward. at times all of us will find ourselves in a spiritual, emotional or even physical rut. Jacob was commanded by God to go back to Bethel with his family. For Jacob - Bethel was a place of remembrance, a place of renewal, and a place of recommitment. Sometimes in life’s journey when we find ourselves in a rut the best thing that can be done is to go back to the moment we first experienced a genuine relationship with God and in so doing find a new beginning!
All genuine Christ-followers are hungry to know God and to grow in our relationships with Him. This growth happens as we develop pure spiritual hearts for our Lord. Let's recognize and follow the powerful Christian purity process so that we can grow closer to Jesus here and become more and more like Him - now and forever!
The lesson of the widow's mite or the widow's offering is presented in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4), in which Jesus is teaching at the temple in Jerusalem. The Gospel of Mark specifies that two mites (Greek lepta) are together worth a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin. A lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in circulation in Judea. Materially she gave less than anyone else yet Jesus said spiritually she gave more than all of them combined! What was it that produced this response from Jesus? It was her great faith! She gave everything to God trusting that He would in fact take care of everything for her. In this message we consider how similar her faith was to the Widow is Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 who may have been her spiritual mentor!
Familiarity can sometimes lead us to take things for granted, including Christmas. Let’s be like the shepherds who heard the amazing story of Jesus from the angels. Let’s follow Christ right away, share Him with others without delay, and live in an amazing way as Jesus’ followers. Keep celebrating Jesus!
The battle of the wills is great, yet God wants us to achieve “the righteousness of God”. To do so, requires us to grow from infancy as Christians to maturity. Thus far, we have considered trials and temptations, and now come to where the rubber meets the road - the journey of life. And, the importance of behaving as we believe. Today, we will consider first, the preparation for the truth, which requires an open ear, a controlled tongue, a calm spirit, and a clean heart. Next, we must receive the truth. Having received the truth, we must now respond to the truth.
The parable of the prodigal son teaches us about how to have healthy relationships, beginning with God. When we have come spiritually home to be with God, we then have the spiritual power and resources to have strong, growing relationships with family and friends. Let’s minimize the “Me-Life” and maximize the Christ-life!
Building Relational Bridges
In his 7th Beatitude, Jesus invites all of His followers to be peacemakers. What does a peacemaker do? What are the various categories of peace that we should pursue as we go through life? When we are God’s peacemakers, we live as God’s children, and we will be incredibly blessed.
Psalm 34 says, "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together." We are called to offer words of praise that bring glory to God, encouragement to Christians, and seek to reach the lost. If you would like to share your testimony with us, you can do so at salemchurch.net/mystory.
The Power of the 2 Ounce Tongue
We have all heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the tongue and the words that it spews can bring great hurt, and harm that destroys, discourages, deflates, devours, and depresses to name only a few negative impacts. A wayward and worldly tongue is common to all men. Yet God, in His Word, shares ways to tame the tongue. The tongue like a horse, a ship, and fire must be controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit to train each, and every Christ follower to exalt the Lord, edify, encourage, and empower believers while also being used as a tool to evangelize the lost.
Does Meekness Reek of Weakness?
Meekness is not weakness; it can be a spiritual strength for every follower of Christ. The by-products of being spiritually meek are both strong and life-changing. And the rewards of spiritual meekness will be experienced in the here and now and for eternity.
Ways to Experience Spiritual Opposition
Multiple Scriptures remind us that faithful Christ-followers will face opposition and even persecution when we are obedient to God and do the right things. Let’s identify these strong categories of obedience, live them out consistently, and enjoy the blessings that God pours into our lives.
Habits of Spiritual Growth
We all have different habits. Some are good, like brushing your teeth, and some are not so good. In Galatians 5, Paul encourages and challenged the church to use their freedom in Christ for the glory of God. A calling to crucify their flesh, walk by the Spirit and serve one another. All habits of spiritual growth!
Standing Firm in the Detour
Ever had a moment where life didn’t go the way you expected? How did you react? Often times we face unexpected changes in our lives and respond with frustration, anxiety or bitterness. Joseph faced devastating loss but still chose to honor God and was a blessing to others. What about us?
The Christian who runs for the crown of life lives in certain hope. Such a man doesn’t give up or quit nor does he quiver or find himself living in a quandary but rather for the glory of God and gratitude of God’s faithfulness. The trials, tribulations, and temptations of life in the Christian refines our trust in God and increases our dependence upon him.
God’s Kingdom includes being “poor in spirit.” When I realize that without Christ I am spiritually bankrupt, I can choose to be 100% dependent on God. Then I can discover the amazing benefits of leaning totally on Jesus. Invite God to feed you spiritually and then open your spiritual hands to help and serve others!
Prayer is a vital part of the Christian life. However, we can always use some reminders and prompts to spur us on in this spiritual discipline. Listen as we are reminded to devote ourselves to prayer, to be watchful, and to be thankful.
Showing mercy is compassion in action. Mercy flows from the love of God that leads to forgiveness. When we experience the incredible mercy of God, we will be empowered to share His mercy with those in our world who have physical and spiritual needs. Let's care and share!
Throughout the Bible, there are two recurring themes: The Way to God and the Walk With God. In his writing, James explains how he came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and we can live these themes out in our lives. We don't want to just talk about the things of God, but we want to live them out. If our faith is genuine, then our walk must be authentic.
Chapter 1: A genuine faith, when stretched will not break, but will lead to deeds of authentic stability during times of trial and temptation.
Chapter 2: A genuine faith, when it is pressed it will not fail or falter but it will lead to deeds of authentic, Christ-like love that does not show partiality or prejudice, but rather puts faith into action by meeting other's needs.
Chapter 3-4: A genuine faith, when expressed in word and deed is not explosive toward others, but Lee
We could take days to talk about why Jesus is so awesome. In our four verse text in Matthew 5:17-20, we see how Jesus both teaches and models for us 3 life-changing principles for each of us to pursue. Let's be amazed by Jesus and follow His awesome example!
The Proof is in the Produce
This text has a very clear purpose and is the thesis of the book of James. In your life, your faith and testimony are proven by the fruit you produce. Let’s be clear, we are not saved by our works, but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. However, our faith in Jesus should bring about good works in our lives that produce fruit and testimony in keeping with the faith we profess. What kind of fruit are you producing?
Memorial Day is marked as a monument on our national calendar. A day to stop and look around! Memorial Day is a good day to take a long walk back and recognize that God always seeks the best for those he calls to follow him. Memorial Day is a good day to take a strong look around. God’s strength and power will always accomplish his will no matter the obstacles we face. Memorial Day is a good day to take a deeper look. Forgetfulness erodes the foundation of our relationship with God and leads us into thanklessness and we begin to pridefully trust in self. The 12 stones were meant for the people themselves, for their children and for other people to always remember and recognize God’s working in and through them.
It’s often easy for us to live our lives independent. We tend to be able to get much of anything we need at any moment. How does this translate to our faith? Are we truly dependent on the Lord and faithful to be obedient to him? Or have we allowed the temptations of the selfish nature rule over us? Paul shows us in Galatians 2 that we are to remind ourselves that we have been “crucified with Christ.” It’s no longer about our wants, it’s all about His glory!
In our culture, honesty and integrity are decreasing. Jesus prioritizes both of these qualities and gives us the by-products of honest integrity. And when we live with honest integrity, the blessings are life-changing for us and those with whom we interact. Let’s practice His presence every moment of every day!
From the Womb to the Tomb
In light of a landmark and historic decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling of Roe vs. Wade, what should we as Christians do next?
1. Remember and reaffirm your belief that human life is sacred. (Genesis 1)
2. React with praise to God for the blessing of your own life. (Psalm 139)
3. Respond by sharing the truth of God's Word unashamedly in action and truth. (1 John 3:18)
4. Recommit to faithfully living for Jesus by seeking to love every person with the purpose of seeing God's redemption and reconciliation in their life. (2 Corinthians 5)
5. Realize that opposition to God's Kingdom plans is an indicator that the glorious appearing of our great Savior is near. (2 Timothy 2:22-26, 3:1-5, 12-17; 4:1-5)
James was a practical person, therefore he wrote us a very practical letter. Today we will look at James 2:1-13 which simply states, there is no place in the body of Christ or in the Christian life for prejudice or partiality. James gives us three reasons why partiality and prejudice are wrong:
Theologically – God welcomes all. He loves us all.
Logical - Every man is a sinner. Christ died once and for all.
Authority of the Bible in our lives.
An introduction to the fall ingathering Revival. This message from Leviticus 23:33 is meant to prepare the people of God for the celebration of Sukkot, also known as the feast of tabernacles, and the feast of ingathering. The feast of ingathering was to be the most celebratory of all the feasts of the Lord. It was a time to rejoice. In this message, we will recognize that God requires of His followers, to celebrate the past, to celebrate the present, and to joyfully, look forward to celebrating the future.
Be A Disciple-Making Disciple
Paul and Barnabas model for us a powerful way to become growing followers of Jesus and effective disciple-makers of other believers. How do we become stronger disciples and disciple-makers? Serve Christ constantly. Be courageous when opposed by spiritual opposition. Serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. And let’s make sure that God always gets the praise and glory. What a mighty God we serve! Let’s live out these principles that Paul and Barnabas show us in Acts 14 and beyond!
Often it seems like we are bent on fighting and quarreling among humanity. You don’t have to look further than the news and this past election cycle. It often comes from our desires that battle within us: right motives vs. wrong motives and flesh vs. spirit. Our fleshly desires often get the best of us, but when we submit ourselves to Christ, we can see victory.
Am I still spiritually hungry? Spiritual hunger should continue every day of our lives. Let's stay spiritually hungry by being right with God, doing the right thing, and then being a champion for the right causes - God's eternal plan. As we feed this spiritual hunger, we will be filled with the blessings of God.
This may be one of the most quoted verses in the Bible as it relates to the family and parenting. Within Christian circles it has often been misinterpreted to mean “take your kid to church from the first day they’re born and teach them the Bible and expect them to go to Sunday school and church. Then plan for them to rebel when they get to college-age but trust that one day they’ll come back to the Lord and serve him.” The reality is this interpretation doesn’t hold water. Today’s study helps to rightly interpret the proverb. Three points: the charge, “train up”, the course – “in the way he should go,” and the conclusion quote "and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Join us and rightly divide this truth which will help every parent and grandparent to raise children in a manner in keeping with God’s plan for that child’s life!
James tells us to consider it all joy when we face trails of many kinds. Trials are meant to mold us and stretch us, bring about endurance and patience, and mature and develop us to be more like Jesus. Here are four points about trials: Trials are inevitable, innumerable, intentional, and invaluable. Let's seek to use the trials of life to become more like Jesus and encourage those around us.
No one is immune from the appeal of temptation. Temptation is that which entices us to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain. Four facts about temptation: there is the certainty of temptation, the source of temptation, the course of temptation and the correction of temptation. Victory comes ultimately through living the truth.
A Classic Christmas | John the Baptist
A Classic Christmas | The Shepherds
In the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin, we see the awesome heart of our seeking and saving God for all who have
spiritually strayed from Him. And all of us have strayed away from God and need Jesus. Let’s join God in loving those who
are spiritually disconnected by pursuing them with the Best News of Jesus Christ. The result will be indescribable joy for
Christ-followers here and for everyone in Heaven.
Every spring high schools, colleges and universities hold commencement ceremonies to celebrate students who have completed their studies and earned their degrees. After the students cross the stage, these graduates enter a world that will challenge them at every level. Just having academic knowledge won’t be enough for them to find Biblical success. The key to Biblical success in life is found in keeping God‘s command by living a life of love and faithfulness, trusting the Lord to guide and direct every step, and honoring the Lord with all that he entrusts.
Getting Relationships Right
When we experience the saving righteousness of Jesus Christ, we are given the power and resources to have healthy, growing relationships with others. In these first six verses of Matthew 5, Jesus teaches us how to get our relationships right and how to keep them right in the future. Let’s grow in all of our relationships!
Real Faith Results in Genuine Humility
God is radically pro-marriage because divorce hurts so many people. God’s marriage plan includes partnership priority, strong loyalty, and moving forward with purpose and unity. Let’s make a lifetime commitment to God and our spouse!
When Troubles Threaten to Overwhelm Us
In life, troubles come to every person, no one is exempt. When those troubles come we need to readily offer requests to God and ask for wisdom. Godly wisdom is knowing the will of God and applying it in your life. We need to recognize the resource of Wisdom, God. Then we can rejoice in the result.
Listen as our Honduras Mission Team shares stories and testimonies about how God moved on their recent trip.
Grief can be good when we are able to experience God’s strong presence and healing comfort. When that happens, we can grow spiritually and then can be used by God to help others deal with their grief and pain. Turn those tough times over to our Lord, and He will turn it around for His glory and your blessing!