Justification: How We Find Peace (Rom. 1:16-17)

As a young man, Martin Luther was haunted by the idea of God’s righteousness. He saw it as a terrifying reminder of the justice of a holy God who wouldn’t tolerate sin. But as he looked deeper into scripture, he saw another way to understand God’s righteousness. With that new understanding came a rediscovery of…

All Hands on Deck (Jas. 5:19-20)

The Christian life is filled with dangers. We’re all just a few bad decisions away from finding ourselves spiritually adrift. But the good news is that God has mobilized a rescue team to bring us back when we wander. That rescue team is the church, and in the church we have the security of being…

The Spiritual Discipline of Eating

After returning recently from a visit to some ministry partners in Italy, I’ve been asked multiple times about the highlights of my trip. And although there are plenty of great things I could share, what has consistently been my number one answer is this: the meals. If you’re a fan of Italian food, you might…

5 Questions about Patriotism

For the past couple weeks, I’ve had an article in the works about the great kneeling debate that has been swirling around the sports world. But then this weekend happened and everyone went bananas, so I scratched that article and decided to go in a different direction altogether. Yesterday as NFL players protested and the…

Tough Questions about Sickness and Healing (Jas. 5:13-18)

If you’re physically weary and burdened by sickness, this passage toward the end of James should be an incredible encouragement to you. It shows you that God cares about your physical well-being, and he is able to intervene to restore you to health. But in a passage like this that speaks directly about the promise…

The Long View (Jas. 5:7-12)

When life is hard and difficulties mount, how can we persevere in our faith without losing heart? James calls us to take the “long view”—a perspective that sees beyond the here-and-now. This requires us to be patient and trust in a sovereign God who will ultimately visit our suffering in love and justice, rather than…

#MonthlyMusic: Ladies in the Lead (Folk Edition)

For the August installment of #MonthlyMusic (which I’m just barely sneaking in here before the month ends), I want to spotlight the contribution of women who lend their stellar songwriting and velvety vocals to the wonderful world of contemporary indie folk music. (In a future installment, we’ll enjoy some songs featuring girl power from other…

A Word to the Wealthy (Jas. 5:1-6)

Wealth is incredibly dangerous. Although it’s not inherently evil, it certainly opens the door to a number of grave and serious sins. In this passage, James warns us about three such sins: hoarding, oppression, and indulgence. We’ll look at each of these sins and consider what makes them so destructive for those who commit them….

Doing Church without God

What comes to your mind when you think of the church? Are there any images or analogies that you tend to gravitate toward? In his book A Light to the Nations, Michael Goheen suggests a few ways that the average Christian might think of the church in our current cultural climate. Perhaps you can relate to…

You’re Not in Control (Jas. 4:13-17)

The illusion of control is something that we all suffer from. We tend to think of ourselves as the masters of our own fate. But James helps us see that we’re not nearly as in control of our lives as we think we are. We may plan and dream of great things, but none of…

Lose the Gavel (Jas. 4:11-12)

We pride ourselves on being a post-judgmental society. We’re open-minded and tolerant. We live and let live. But as much as we may think we’ve moved beyond the need to be instructed about judgmentalism, we haven’t. We’re still haunted by our need to criticize and condemn. And so we need the instruction of James as…

Friends and Enemies (Jas. 4:4-10)

Most Christians would like to think of themselves as friends of God. But James challenges us with the possibility that we might actually be God’s enemies. Not because of open hostility or direct confrontation, but because of our tendency to get too friendly with the world. In this sermon, we’ll consider the accusation that James…