Tuesday, August 13, 2013

James 4:1-10

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 15
Kingdom Kids = 37
KinderKingdom = 15

This Week = $14.07
This Month = $38.40

Monday, August 5, 2013

James 3:13-18

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 5
Kingdom Kids = 35
KinderKingdom = 14

This Week = $24.33
This Month = $24.33
Last Month = $25.90

Monday, July 29, 2013

James 3:1-12

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 6
Kingdom Kids = 33
KinderKingdom = 12

This Week = $14.30
This Month = $25.90

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26)

If we were stranded on a deserted island like Phineas, we would need many things to survive. We would need water. We would need food. We would need fire. We would need clothing. We would need shelter.

As we learned in our study of the book of Daniel this Spring, we are exiles living in a foreign land. This is not our true home, at least not in the state it is right now. So how are we to survive as a stranger to this world? James lists four survival skills. Can you name them?

a.    Perseverance is trusting in God’s work.
b.    Wisdom is trusting in God’s way.
c.    Faith is trusting in God’s word.
d.    Humility is trusting in God’s worth.

Today, we will read a little more about faith. What is faith? [Allow time for kids to respond.] When are some times we need faith? [Respond.] Does it matter who or what we put our faith in? [Respond]

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

Let me ask you that question James asked his audience. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if a man says he has faith, but doesn’t do what he says? Can such faith save him? [Allow time for response.

In case you had a hard time understanding the question, James gives an example. [Call up 3 volunteers. Whisper the scenario in their ears. One enters the room pretending to be cold and hungry.  He approaches the other person (carrying a Bible, and munching on food) who says in as sincere a voice as he can muster, “Go, I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed.” The cold, hungry person just looks at him and walks off.]

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

What do you think this person really believed about helping others?
[Replay the scenario with the third volunteer showing his faith with actions.]
What do you think this person really believed about helping others?

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

What is different about the faith demons have and the faith Christians have? [Allow time for responses.] The deeds of demons are very different from the deeds of Christians. So faith must mean more than believing something to be true. It means acting a certain way based on this belief.

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

James gives the example of Abraham. Do you know the story of Abraham? The Lord asked Abraham to leave his country and go to a new land where he would be made into a great nation. Abraham obeyed and went. Years passed and Abraham did not have a child. God told Abraham, “I am your shield, your very great reward.” Abraham asked, “What can you give me since I remain childless.” God said, “You will have a son. Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

From the very beginning, the Bible makes it clear that righteousness comes by faith. Did Abraham’s faith lead to action? Abraham and Sarah had a baby, Isaac, the long awaited son. It was this promised child that God asked Abraham to sacrifice. This was a key moment in Abraham’s life. Did he really believe that God wanted what was good? Did he believe that God was capable of raising Isaac from the dead? Did Abraham trust God even when it didn’t make sense to him? Yes, yes, and yes. Abraham’s faith was made complete by what he did.

Did Phineas have faith in the video diary clip we watched? What challenge did he have to overcome to show his faith? Is it easy to say, “I believe?” Is it easy to believe?

One of my favorites songs is called “Faith to Be Strong.” It says, “Give us faith to be strong; give us strength to be faithful.” I think that’s a good prayer. Let’s pray and ask God to help us show faith.

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 12 
Kingdom Kids =  27
Kinder-Kingdom = 14

This Week: $5.75
This Month: $11.60

Kid Quote: "Did you know there are things inside you that you can't even see with an x-ray?" (Maxson)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Picking Favorites (James 2:1-13)


[Show a box of crayons.]

Look at these crayons. They are all different sizes and colors. Some are sharp and some are dull. But even though these crayons are different, they all have one thing in common. They are all crayon.

Can you imagine always having to color in gray?

[Show a picture of everything colored in gray.]

Pretty boring, huh?

But we don't have just one color. There are many, and the variety in colors adds for a more exciting picture.

[Show a picture of everything in bright colors.]

Don't these colors add such beauty to this picture? And look, the sharp crayons help me get in tight places like these. The duller crayons are better for coloring large areas. The old crayons work just as good as the new ones, and it doesn't matter if the wrapper is a bit torn. They still have these beautiful colors on the inside.

This reminds me of the Church. The people that make up the Church come in all sizes and colors. Some are old and some are young. Some are pretty sharp and some may be a little dull. Some are dressed in fancy clothes, others in plain ones. But we all have one thing in common. We are all human. We are all created and loved by God.

1. Created and Loved by God

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: 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? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

Let's play a game called "Pick your Favorite." I am going to name two items. If you like the first item better, stand up. If you like the second item better, remain sitting.

- Chocolate or Vanilla
- Superman or Spiderman
- The Pool or The Ocean
- Basketball or Soccer
- Board Game or Video Game
- Book or Movie
- Plain M&M's or Peanut M&M's
-Dill Pickles or Sweet Pickles
- Bath or Shower
- Tennis Shoes or Flip Flops
- Jonah or Caleb

I saw that you hesitated to answer that last one. When is it okay to have favorites? When is it not okay to have favorites? Why is it okay to have favorites with things but not with people?

[Bring out two presents, one nicely wrapped with nothing on the inside, and the other taped together with newspaper but containing a great treasure.]

If we were to just look at the outward appearance and make our choice based on what these gifts look like, which present would you pick?

[Open up the two packages to reveal what's inside.]

It's what's on the inside that counts.

Remember the story of Samuel choosing a king to rule over God's people? God told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse. When Jesse's family arrived, Samuel saw Eliab, the oldest, and thought, "Surely this is the king God has chosen." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." God chose the youngest son, David, to rule over Israel.

Remember Peter's vision of the animals on the sheet? He saw heaven open and a large sheet came down to earth. On the sheet were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. A voice told Peter to get up and eat, but Peter refused, "Surely not! I have never eaten anything unclean." The voice said, "Don't call anything unclean that God has made clean." Peter would come to realize that his dream wasn't really about animals or food. It was about people. Through Jesus, God made all men clean, even the Gentiles. And if God says they're clean. They are clean. Peter said, "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right."

God does not show favoritism, and neither should we, his children.

How can we make sure we don't show favoritism? By treating everyone as we would like to be treated.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 

When you walk into a new place, how would you like to be treated? When you make a mistake, how would you like people to treat you?

2. Lawbreakers

We are all humans, created and loved by God. And we are all lawbreakers. James writes,

But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not commit murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Paul agrees with James when he writes in Romans 3:22-23, "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." There is no place for boasting in the body of Christ. We are all lawbreakers.

3. Mercy is offered to all

But the verse does not stop there. It continues, "...[all] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." We are lawbreakers, but we are offered a new identity. It doesn't matter if you are a Jew, a Greek, slave or free, male or female. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

God is merciful to us. We don't deserve his goodness, but he lavishes it on us anyway. God has shown mercy to you, so be merciful to all. After all, you are becoming more like your heavenly Father every day.

1st Service Kingdom Kids = 5
Kingdom Kids = 30
Kinder-Kingdom = 16

This Week: $5.85
Monthly Total: $5.85

Monday, June 17, 2013

James Memory Verse Challenge

Yesterday, I challenged our students to collectively memorize 200 verses from the book of James this summer. If we meet our goal, we will have a pizza and pool party (the kind of pool with water, not with a cue stick, as Barrett wanted to clarify :) Here are the verses they can memorize:

James 1:2-3 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:4 - Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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.

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 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:19 - My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

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.

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?

James 2:10 - For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

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?

James 2:15-16 - Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, If one of you says to him, "Go I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

James 2:26 - As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James 3:5-6 - Likewise 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, a world of evil among the parts of the body.

James 3:7-8 - All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

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. My brothers, this should not be.

James 3:13 - Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:16 - For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 3:17 - But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

James 4:1 - What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

James 4:2 - You do not have, because you do not ask God.

James 4:7-8 - Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:10 - Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:12 - There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:17 - Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

James 5:7 - Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

James 5:8 - You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.

James 5:9 - Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:11 - The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

James 5:12 - Above all, my brothers, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and you "No," no, or you will be condemned.

James 5:13 - Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

James 5:14 - Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5:15 - And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.