Faith Works: Mind Your Tongue – Sermon on James 3:1-12

September 16, 2018

My mom used to say, “Watch your tongue, young lady; if you aren’t careful, you might cut your lip on it.” She understood, even if I didn’t, how much damage the words coming out of our mouths can cause. And she knew, even if I didn’t, that the person most damaged by my sharp tongue might be … me.

I knew that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was a lie. I’d walked to school listening to a classmate chant, “Your daddy’s in jail, your daddy’s in jail” from across the street for four long blocks, and I’d heard that same chant on the way home for those same four long blocks. I’d suffered through my third grade teacher holding my paper up in front of the class to tell everyone in the room how not to do their math homework. I knew how much words could hurt.

In today’s passage from the book of James, he dives a little deeper into the idea we heard a couple of weeks ago: “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) When we let our tongues run ahead of us, it can cause a lot of trouble. Continue reading

FaithWorks: Who’s Your Favorite? Sermon on James 2:1-13

September 6, 2018

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to make a decision, and you just couldn’t decide? You’d looked at all the options, and there didn’t seem to be one right answer, one perfect solution. So you asked for some help. You talked to someone you trusted to get their opinion. And after they listened to all those options, they just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Do whatever you think is best. You’ll just have to make a judgment call.”

We see it all the time in sports. The referee makes a call on a play that isn’t really clear from the sidelines, so they review it. And as the commentators in the booth discuss the slow motion video of the play from all possible angles, they can’t decide which way it should go, either. But the game has to go on. Everyone depends on the ref’s best judgment to make the final call.

We make judgments all the time. We make choices based on the best information we can gather. Sometimes those choices are good ones, and sometimes we make poor choices, Either way, every choice we make is a judgment call.

But there’s a difference between judging and being judgmental. Continue reading

FaithWorks: Hear AND Do – sermon on James 1:17-27

September 2, 2018

Last week, we talked about being the church instead of just going to church. We learned from the Psalms that we can only thrive when we are firmly planted in the house of the Lord. That kind of planting requires an all-in commitment, and it involves getting our roots connected to each other as well as to God.

But how do you do that? How do you become a disciple of Jesus Christ who thrives, whose faith grows exponentially? How do you apply the principles Jesus laid out for his disciples more than 2,000 years ago to life in our 21st century culture? How does working your faith develop a faith that works? Continue reading

Stop Going to Church – sermon on Psalm 92:12-15

August 26, 2018

One day, Pastor Craig ran into a guy named Matt at the grocery store. Matt was buying groceries with his wife and their two sons, and when they saw pastor Craig, they were really excited. “Pastor Craig, we go to your church!” Pastor Craig said, “I’m glad you go to our church!” “Yeah, we go to your church! We go to your church!” They kept saying it again, and again, and again.

But then Matt pulled pastor Craig aside, and he said, “would you mind praying for me?” Usually when somebody asks me that, they have one prayer request. Matt had a whole laundry list Continue reading

Exponential: Eternal Reward – Sermon on Romans 14:7-12 and Matthew 25:14-30

August 19, 2018
Watch a video of this sermon here.

How would our lives change if we lived like everything belongs to God?

I grew up in cattle country. Whenever we would drive anywhere, we could see cattle grazing. And if those cows happened to be grazing on a hillside, my mother would invariably break into song. Do you remember the little chorus, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills?”[1] Great song. But do we really believe it? And do we live as though we believed it? Continue reading

Exponential: Right Place, Right Time – Sermon on Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

August 12, 2018

Have you ever found yourself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? Maybe you think that’s the kind of good luck that only happens to other people. But have you ever pulled into the parking lot just as a space was opening up near the door? Or have you ever arrived in the produce aisle just as the clerk was restocking the lettuce? Those are little wins, aren’t they? You happen to be in the right place at the right time.

And sometimes there are bigger wins. A few years ago there was an ad on television that showed a young man on his way to an important job interview. As he was hurrying to catch the bus, he noticed a man struggling to change a flat tire. He looks at his watch, he looks at the bus, and he looks at the older man wrestling with the lug wrench, and he makes a choice. He takes off his jacket, rolls up his shirtsleeves, and grabs the lug wrench. Continue reading

Exponential: A Seed of Faith – sermon on Mark 4:1-9

August 5, 2018

We’re starting a message series today called Exponential. When it comes to faith, when it comes to life, when it comes to God’s blessings, we tend to think addition. We want God to add to our lives. But our God thinks multiplication. And God’s version of multiplication is always exponential. When God multiplies, it’s to the “Nth” degree.

Think all the way back to the Garden of Eden. What did God say to Adam and Eve? God said, be fruitful and … multiply. He didn’t say be fruitful and add. He said be fruitful and multiply. Continue reading