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God Calls Christina to a Global Mission - Explore Being Part!

I felt God nudging me to lead and He used his people, other members in our church to confirm that He was calling me to serve as Mission Team Leader!...

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Believing God's Word

When you click a link to a news article, what tells you whether the reporting is accurate? If you think the organization that publishes the article is trustworthy, you will probably believe their news. In a similar way, if you read something you think is truth, it’s a point in favor of the author...

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Water and Blood

This might be a confusing passage to you. What did “coming by water and blood” mean to John? Even Bible experts disagree about what exactly John is talking about. This is an opportunity to “test the spirits,” as John instructed us earlier. As you think about these verses, remember that it must agree with what we believe about Jesus Christ...

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Rules and Regulations

The United States Code, the list of all the laws passed by the federal government, is 22 million words long. That doesn't include all of the state, county, and city laws that apply to you. You might also have professional standards, HOA regulations, and house or family rules to obey. Do you feel oppressed yet? That's a lot of rules! So many you couldn't possibly read them...

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Doers of the Word

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 5:1-2 Yesterday I wrote about what life can be like in a close, happy family. Not every family is like that, and to those with a pai...

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Family

Some of you visited family or friends last week for Thanksgiving. Maybe you met a new little baby who belongs to a loved one. Even if you had never met that baby before, you could probably say you loved him or her. How? The baby never did anything for you. You didn't know if you would get along with the child. But you love the parents, so you also love the child....

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Can’t let it go

I know a mother who, every year when her kids left for college, would give them a “mom talk,” reminding them to work hard, but more importantly to love God, love their churches, and obey God. Eventually her children started pre-empting her talk by giving themselves the “mom talk.” They knew it so well, they could recite it themselves....

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Love and Fear

Ultimately, John says love is what keeps us from fear. When we love God (shown by confessing Christ and obeying him) and love your neighbors, these are the signs that we abide in God and they give us confidence in our salvation....

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What are you afraid of?

Do you have lepidopterophobia? That’s fear of butterflies. Some people really are afraid of butterflies, but clearly butterflies aren’t objectively threatening or dangerous. For most people, fearing tiny colorful winged insects seems pretty ridiculous....

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Who we are and what we’ve seen

John summarizes the gospel here again in this verse. This time he emphasizes the idea of telling others - testifying. But who is “we”? John has previously referred to himself and the other apostles and disciples (the church leaders) as “we.” And that would makes sense here....

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What is Love?

You can use the word “love” for a lot of things. The way you feel about your family. Your tennis score. Your favorite food. An attraction to a crush. Even some harsh discipline might be “tough love.”...

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The Spirit of Truth

When a group of my old friends get together, we talk about things like “shimmy pops” and “the gator car.” Does that make any sense to you? I doubt it. We have our own shared language of inside jokes, phrases, and topics that remind us of the experiences we have had together. Maybe your friends or family have your own “secret language” that only makes sense to y...

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The Power of Children

We all know the saying “out of the mouths of babes”...

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The Gospel Standard, part 2

Yesterday we started to look at the standard John gives us for testing the spirits, that the Spirit of God “confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” The name Jesus Christ shows us that Jesus was both God and man. Now, what does it mean that He “has come in the flesh.”...

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The Gospel Standard, Part 1

Judges evaluate legal cases according to the law; editors evaluate writing according to a style book that sets out grammar and usage standards. These kinds of professionals have an objective standard to make sure they are making the right choices. They don’t have to depend on their own opinions or try to create their own rules....

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Test the Spirits

You hear about God every Sunday at church, but that’s not the only place you encounter teaching about spiritual things. You might hear a spiritual message from a friend or family member, or see an article posted on Facebook, or get a new book for devotions. Which ones are true? Can you tell?...

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Believing in Jesus and loving one another are two sides of the same coin. John can't stop writing about it! Think back to the beginning of the book. Everything John wrote about remembering the gospel is the “believing” half of the commandment. We can't believe in Jesus if we don't understand who He is, what He did, and how we can be saved....

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The Spirit, God’s Gift

When John writes about obeying God's commandment, it's easy to start to feel that salvation is earned through obedience. Like you'll only feel confident about your status with God if you can be “good enough.”...

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Love and Believe

John tells us the confidence we can have in our salvation comes from obeying God, and he specifically lists one commandment: to believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another....

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God Knows

As we saw yesterday, it’s easy...

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Confidence before God

Do you ever wonder if you are really a Christian? Or if you have really been forgiven? John’s readers wondered this too! As we have seen already, John sets the bar high for holiness. He has said that Christians must be as pure as God is (I John 3:3), that no one who knows God can keep on sinning (I John 3:6), and that we should lay down our lives for our fellow believers...

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Faith and Action

As believers who have been made righteous by Jesus’ death and resurrection, will we continue to sin before Jesus returns? The answer is clearly yes, as discussed back in chapter 1. ...

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Choosing Rebellion

John paints a clear picture that this particular kind of rebellion against God and knowing God is not a matter of degrees. It is not gray. One cannot rebel against God just a little. John stands firm on the fact that this is a black and white issue....

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Transformation Now and Later

In the beginning of chapter three, John introduces an eschatological perspective. Eschatology is the study of the end times. In the Christian scripture, the end times have a distinctly “already” but “not yet” paradox. That is, in Jesus, we already have access to the righteousness and eternal living that we will experience in heaven...

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Receiving the Gift

Have you ever felt very undeserving of a gift? Maybe you won a prize that you didn’t think you worked hard enough for. Maybe your sibling forgave you even though you probably didn’t deserve forgiveness. Maybe you missed the mark of perfection, but someone told you, “I love you anyway.”...

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Meeting God’s Standard

Have you ever heard the phrase “setting the bar high”? If you are trying to see who is the best basketball player in your group of friends, you might determine who makes the most points. ...

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Resting in the Truth

Do you ever feel like following God’s will is a bit confusing? It may even feel like you are wearing a blindfold sometimes, trying to maneuver the obstacles of life. And it sure doesn’t help when you have a crowd of voices yelling in your ear where to go. ...

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Stick with It

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”? It starts with one person whispering a phrase into a friend’s ear. And then that friend tries to whisper the same phrase into the next person’s ear. People keep passing on the phrase until the final player announces out loud what he or she heard. Sounds easy, right?...

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The Most Important Thing

What is the most important thing to put our faith in as Christians? The answer is a lot simpler than people often realize. The answer is one man: Jesus Christ. He is the key, the anchor, the most important piece of the Christian faith....

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Set Apart

Do you have a special spot for your favorite things? Maybe you put them on a shelf in your room or a secret box under your bed. Maybe you take them out to look at occasionally or like to show them to your friends....

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Separated from God’s people

Who is the antichrist? Have you ever heard this word before? Well, John’s original readers had. In Jewish writings, there was predicted to be a powerful figure called the antichrist who was against God, as well as several antichrists before this last one. Both the last powerful antichrist and all of the smaller antichrists before him had one goal: to deceive people about...

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Living on God

What are some things you need to survive? Do you need food, water, and shelter? What are some other things you desire for a healthy life? Maybe you desire friends, family, a good education, a car to get around? Is it wrong to desire these things? ...

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Dangerous Desires

What are some of your favorite things that God has created? Do you have a favorite mountain, type of animal, or even person? ...

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Opposites

Can you think of some of the most well known pairs of opposites in the world? For example, black and white, day and night, hot and cold. ...

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Growing in Truth

John desires to encourage ALL Christians by reminding them of these truths! They truly do know God because of the lessons of verses 12-14, which were taught by Jesus Christ himself. ...

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Certainty

Do you ever have times of uncertainty regarding your faith? Maybe you sometimes question if you will really go to heaven when you die. Maybe you get discouraged that God could really love and forgive you after all the times you have messed up....

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Love is of Light

Do you sometimes struggle to treat your brother, sister, or friend with love even though you really do love them? When are the times that are the most difficult to treat them with love? ...

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A God of Love

Yesterday we discussed the importance of obeying God’s commandments as revealed to us in Jesus Christ Himself, in order to really know who God is. In verses 7-11 John sheds light on one of the most significant ways we can show obedience to God. ...

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Commandments

In verses 3 through 6, John makes it pretty clear that “to know” God is related to keeping His commandments. What does this mean though? What does knowing God have to do with obeying His commandments?...

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Atoning Sacrifice

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I would take a bullet for you?” Have you ever had a friend or family member sacrifice something for you so that you would not be in danger? ...

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Advocate

Last week we discussed how God is so faithful and just to forgive our sins if we ask Him for this forgiveness. But once we realize this truth, a reasonable question to ask is, “Can I just keep sinning if God will forgive me anyway?” ...

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Grace Abounds

...the good news is that all we have to do is trust Jesus to forgive us and He will make us into a completely new creation! ...

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All People Sin

It is important to admit that we have all sinned and that our punishment for sinning is death. But the best news of all is that if we admit our need for help, then all we have to do is receive the medicine...

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Light is Truth

Have you ever heard the phrase, “She talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”? This means that someone’s actions aren’t lining up with what she claims to believe. This is very similar to how John refers to the illustration of light in vs. 7. ...

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Fellowship in Light

Have you ever been “it” for the pool game Marco Polo? Isn’t it odd to be so separated from everyone else who can see when you are supposed to tag them with your eyes closed? It can easily feel discouraging, like you will never be able find anyone else to tag. ...

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God is Light

Have you ever noticed how different light and darkness are from each other? At night when you lie down in the darkness to fall asleep, even the smallest of nightlights can seem bright!...

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Joy

Can you remember a time you got to hold a newborn baby in your arms? Can you remember or imagine the moment you will get to hold your very own baby in your arms for the first time? It might make you wonder what that precious new child will be like when they grow up or what all they will get to do in their lives. ...

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Fellowship

Yesterday we talked about the importance of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. What is John’s reason for sharing the good news? In verse 3, John explains that it is “so that you too may have fellowship with us.”...

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Response

Are there moments in your life that are just too amazing to keep to yourself? Maybe you find sunsets to be the most beautiful sight in the world! Maybe you think nothing is more precious than a newborn baby’s laugh. Maybe roller coasters give you the biggest thrill ever! ...

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The Author’s Authority

Has a friend ever told you a story that was so outrageous you questioned whether it could be true? Maybe before you believed the story you needed to ask, “Did you really see this with your own eyes?” This is probably how people felt about the gospel, or the good news, of Jesus Christ, which we talked about yesterday. This good news sounds too good to be true!...

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The Word of Life

Have you ever received news that was so good that you could feel excitement spread through your entire body? Maybe you were so happy that you wanted to jump up and down or do a somersault. It is especially easy to feel this kind of intense excitement if this good news affects not only the rest of your day or your week, but also your entire life into eternity! ...

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When The World Stops Turning

North Valley Church to Display Replica Ground Zero Cross in Phoenix. Two days after the September 11 attacks, a worker discovered two steel beams in the shape of a cross among the debris of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The Ground Zero Cross quickly became a symbol of faith and hope for first responders and the community at large. ...

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Dominican Republic Mission Trip

Video highlights from North Valley's mission trip to the Dominican Republic...

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Tim's Testimony: My Journey from Being Gay to Finding God's Grace

The following is a testimony referenced in Pastor Ryan's recent message on Sunday June 19, 2016 titled "A Biblical Response to The Orlando Massacre" Pastor Ryan knows Tim personally and has seen the fruit of his life and ministry. Tim's testimony can also be found in the Celebrate Recovery Bible. A Christ-centered, 12 step program for anyone with hurts, habits, or hang ...

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Those Who Wander Away

God loves it when we care for others. Especially those who are stumbling in sin. As God’s people we are called to be aware of the needs of others. This is what it means to be selfless. We are constantly thinking about others....

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God Answers Prayer

Do you sometimes find it hard to believe that prayer really works? Does God actually respond to what we ask of him?...

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Power in Prayer

The kind of prayer that God loves to hear is the prayer of the righteousness. This does not mean that you have to be perfectly righteous in order to pray. If that was the case you’d never get started in prayer! ...

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The Prayer of Faith

When was the last time you were really sick? Do you remember? It’s never fun to be sick. Most adults hate to be sick. Our lives have to be put on hold. On the other hand, sometimes kids like to be sick because they get to stay home from school! What do you think about that?...

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An Awareness of His Presence

Do you ever feel like your parents are all always watching? They are aware of your every move? Maybe if you are younger this is case, but as you get older this should feel different as they help you learn what true independence as an adult is really like. One day, we all move out of our parent’s house (hopefully) and learn to live on our own....

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Yes and No

Have you ever had someone not believe what you were telling them? Did you ever try and convince them that you were telling the trust by saying something like, “I swear!” or, “I swear on my mother’s grave!” or, “I promise you that I am not lying!”...

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Steadfast = Blessing

Have you ever competed in a competition that was very physically taxing? Have you ever been pushed to the limit of your ability? Have you every been in a contest that made you want to quit, but you finally endured to the end? How did that make you feel when you finished?...

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Grumbling Makes it Worse

One of the things that usually accompanies the stress of suffering is a willingness to be short, cross, or biting with the people around us. You’d think that when we were suffering it would be in our best interest to help each other and encourage one another, but sadly, this is often not the case....

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Established Hearts

What do you think James means by “establish your hearts”? One way to consider this this phrase would be “strengthen your hearts”. Does that help your understanding of what James might be trying to communicate? He is calling his people press into right living in the midst of trial....

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Farmers and Fruit

We have already talked a bit about farmers in one of our devotionals from a few days ago, but James brings up the subject again in our verse for today. Farming is challenging work for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that it demands a high degree of patience. How do you feel about patience?...

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They Do Not Resist

Sometimes poor people have no one to defend them. They might not have many friends or if they do have friends those friend are poor too. Usually those who are poor don’t have anyone on their side who is powerful, with the exception of God. He is as powerful as it gets....

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Treasures on Earth

There was once a man who had everything. All of his needs were met and much more beyond. He has 12 cars. A house in Montana and Florida (who want to live in Montana in the winter?) and his very own private jet so that we could fly all over the world anytime he wanted to. He had jewelry so that everyone would see how wealthy he was by just looking at what hung around his ne...

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Corruption and Oppression

Oftentimes in our world today, people with money mistreat those who don’t have as much money. It’s really a sad reality. But it happens all the time. As we have already seen, money and corrupt us with pride. We can be tempted to think that we are better than someone else because of our wealth. This is pure sin that James and rest of the Bible speak quite often about....

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Rotted and Moth-Eaten

Do you know what a hearse is? A hearse is a special type of car that is used to carry a dead body that rests in a coffin. A hearse is usually used to transport a body from a funeral home to a place of burial, like a cemetery. Now how odd would you think it would be to see a UHaul trailer being filled with all the dead person’s stuff being pulled by a hearse? Wouldn’...

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A Day of Reckoning

In our devotions for this week are we going to look at a section in the book of James where he speaks some hard words. His audience is a bit hard-hearted so oftentimes hard-hearted people hard words are necessary (think Jesus vs. the Pharisees)....

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Do the Right Thing

There are two main ways to think about sin. One is to think about sin as things we do. These are called sins of commission. We talk about “committing” a sin. You can hear the connection here with the word “commission”. To commit a sin is to do a sin of commission. For example, if you smack someone you would be committing the sin of disrespect. If you steal from som...

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Boasting and Arrogance

Do you know what the word “arrogant” means? Imagine someone who says, “I am the greatest! There is no one like me. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. No one can stop me because I am so powerful.”...

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If the Lord Wills

This simple phrase is great reminder. It reminds us that we are not sovereign. It reminds us that we are not in control. It reminds us that if things don’t work out as we planned that it’s ok. God must have had different ideas for us for our good. It reminds us that God’s will should be our focus no matter what we are planning....

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A Mist

Does it ever feel like your life is moving very slowly? Maybe the school year creeps along too slowly. Maybe you are on a long road trip and you just can’t get to the destination fast enough. Maybe you daydream about when you are older and can do things that adults do but it seems like you’ll never be there. Ever feel that way?...

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“What Are We Going To Do Today?”

We all love to make plans. “What are we going to do today?” “Where should we go on our trip?” “Where should we spend the weekend?” These would all be common questions in a family. It’s not wrong to make plans but James wants us to think about it a bit differently....

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Don’t Judge

There are many different roles that people play in our lives. Our teachers teach. Our police officers try to keep us safe from harm. Our government officials make laws to help society run smoothly. There are many different roles for people in our world and for that we should be thankful....

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Submit, Resist, Draw Near, and Humble Yourself

Do you want to feel close to God? Oftentimes we can feel like God is far away from us. Maybe we feel that he is not listening or that he doesn’t care. We wonder if there is anyone out there or if maybe God has abandoned us....

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A Recipe for Chaos

Can you think of a scary opponent that you would not like to face off against in a competition? Would you like to play basketball against Lebron James? How about trying to tackle Adrian Peterson in football? Do you think you could hit a pitch from the best major league pitcher? How about trying to win a footrace against Usain Bolt?...

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Worldly Asking

Imagine you are a parent. You kids love to ask you for things. In fact, they come to you over and over again to ask you for things they want. It’s like they are little, never ending “ask” machines as constant requests are always at on the tips of their tongues....

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The Reason Why We Fight

Have you ever been in a fight with your brothers or sisters? (If you don’t have any brothers or sisters, just imagine for a second.) What was it about? What happened? How was is resolved? In any family conflict is normal. The key thing to remember when it comes to conflict is not if but why. If we can identify why it is we are in conflict with one another, we might be th...

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A Harvest

Do you know how a farm works? For a farmer who has a large plot of land, he usually grows some type of food plant, like corn, beans, or wheat. The farmer hopes that there is much sun and rain during the summer so his plants can grow tall and strong. Once his plant produces the food it will be harvested. In our verse for today James talks about a harvest as well. It’s a h...

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Wisdom from Above

Godly wisdom is not just words. It looks like something concrete. It is revealed in a certain type of character. Notice again that all the things that James lists here are not about intelligence but rather, fruits of the Spirit. This type of wisdom has a source, a location. It must be given....

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A Recipe for Chaos

Do you know what chaos is? Most likely, your bedroom is in a constant state of chaos from clean to utter disaster. Chaos means lack of order. Everything is out of place. Everything is random. Everything is unstructured....

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Wisdom for Demons

Do you think it is possible to have a completely different understand of wisdom than someone else? Maybe you think it is wise to save money and your friend thinks that what is more wise is to spend money as soon as you get it. People might not always agree on what is most wise....

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Intelligence vs. Wisdom

What do you think of when it comes to those in your life who are wise? What does wisdom look like? Many people think of an old man with a long beard who sits silently in the corner and will speak once in awhile. When he does it is always profound and his words are chalked full of deep insight. But is the ability to speak a message of profound insight into any number of si...

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Speaking to the Likeness of God

Imagine you had the opportunity to visit the president of the United States at the White House. Wouldn’t that be exciting? How do you think you would speak to him? Would you be loud and mouthy? Would you be cracking jokes? Would you ask him to hook you up with a souvenir from the oval office?...

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Blessing and Cursing

Sometimes politicians get a bad wrap. They have a tough job. They know that if they can make a certain number of people happy they will get elected. But that can be very hard to do. Because of this they can be accused of “talking out both sides of their mouth.” What this means is that they say one thing to make a certain group of voters happy and then to a different gr...

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Deadly Poison

What do you think is the most devastating power known to man? A flood? A tornado? A forest fire? A hurricane? An avalanche? ...

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Big Things in Small Packages

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Big things come in small packages”? Oftentimes, it is true. Have you ever been to a dog park? In a big group of dogs it’s not always the biggest dog who is the toughest. Sometimes it’s the small dog who runs the show. Small dog but big influence and control....

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A Warning About Words

Words are a huge part of human existence. Can you imagine how dramatically your life would change if you couldn’t talk or couldn’t hear? Through words we build relationships, we learn from teachers, we run businesses, and encourage one another. Think of how hard your life would be without being able to communicate in words. ...

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Fulfilling the Law

This section of scripture is a bit hard to understand because it seems to say that opposite of what we are all taught as Christians. We are taught to believe that we are made right with God (justified) by his sheer grace and mercy alone. Our works don’t do anything to contribute to our justification. So what is the meaning of verse 24? ...

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True Faith, True Action

If you want to prove that you are right about something what do you have to do? Oftentimes, you have to produce what is called, “proof” or “evidence”....

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“I Believe!”

Did you know that Satan and his demons know the truth about God? That might sound like a horrible statement, but according to our verse for today it is most certainly true. How does that work?...

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Real Compassion

Do you know anyone who is poor or has ever been poor? Have you ever seen a poor person on the street or been approached by someone in dire need? Maybe your own family or someone in your extended family is currently in a situation like this or has been in the past....

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Good Trees and Good Fruit

What would you think of someone who said they loved you but they constantly made fun of you in front of other people? What would you think of someone who said they were passionate about caring for orphans but never gave their time or a single dollar towards the needs of orphans in the real world? ...

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Mercy Begets Mercy

Imagine you disobeyed your parents in way that deserved a just punishment. Let’s say you were very disrespectful to them in front of your friends. But instead of getting what you deserved they decided to bless you instead. Wouldn’t that be amazing? ...

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True Liberty

Do you know what the word “liberty” means? How would you define it? Sometimes it’s helpful to understand a word by considering it’s opposite. The opposite of liberty would be confinement. If you are confined to your house you are not at liberty to go anywhere else. So to be liberated or at liberty means that you are set free....

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Pass/Fail

When you take a test at school, how is it usually graded? 60-70% is a D, 70-80% is a C, 80-90% is a B, and 90-100% is an A. Our American schools usually operate on this type of system or a variation thereof....

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Fulfilling the Law

Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever felt singled out as weird? Have you ever felt like someone that you cared about was giving you the cold shoulder for some silly reason? Have you ever felt like the last to find out something important? Have you felt mistreated in these ways?...

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Treating People with Equality

Have you ever felt like people were treating you different than others? Have you ever felt like you were mistreated because of a belief that you had, or for the clothes you were wearing, or because of something you said?...

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Keep Oneself Unstained

Have you ever had a hard time keeping track of something like your phone, your books, maybe a wallet or keys? It’s really important that we keep track of things that matter the most. James says that we need to “keep ourselves unstained from the world.” ...

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Visiting Orphans

Have you ever been visited when you were in a hospital? Or visited someone when they were sick? Sometimes that is one of the most important things you can do for someone who is sick or hurting. Just being near them tells them that you care. ...

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God the Father

Have you heard your dad ask the rest of the family to help out around the house or to assist someone who was sick?...

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Undefiled Before God

Have you ever got your clothes really dirty? The only way to get them clean is to wash them. Did you know that God washes our sin away, through His Son, Jesus Christ? T...

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Orphans and Widows

Who do you think are the most needy people in your city? Single moms? Drug addicts? The unemployed? The homeless? In the world of the New Testament, the most needy people were widows and orphans. ...

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Restraining the Tongue

What would you think of a person like this: They sit in the front row at church every week and take notes when the sermon is preached. They serve at the local homeless shelter once a week. They always attend their mid-week small group and they never fail to give sacrificially to the church. Oh, and one more thing, ...

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Put Away and Receive

Do you know what a contrast is? A contrast is putting two different things side by side and by seeing them together it becomes clear how different they are....

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Hearers vs. Doers

It’s easy to forget things sometimes. You lose your keys. You lose your phone. You lose you coat. You lose that book that you read a long time ago. It’s easy to forget. But what if your forgetting became more serious. Sometimes this is called amnesia. ...

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Quick!

Being quick is a great attribute to have, especially in sports. In football, basketball, and soccer having athletic quickness will give you a great advantage. Quickness can get you to the ball first, it can help you make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage, it can help you cut off an advancing player...

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Word of Truth

Did you know that each Sunday when you go to church, the Word of Truth is being taught in our main services and in our kids’ classes? The Word of Truth is the Bible. It’s the life-giving message of Jesus! ...

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Desires Lead to Sin and Sin to Death

Desires and temptation are not necessarily bad. It’s acting on those desires and temptations that are truly sinful. We live in a fallen world. One day, for those are in Christ, we won’t even have sinful desires or temptations, for we’ll have completely different bodies and minds. We long for that day when Jesus returns, makes all things right, and gives us a new home...

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Temptation

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire (James 1:14). What do you desire? What do you truly want? What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about those questions?Our verse today says that our temptations reside in the area of our desires. There are things that we want and we want them badly. We feel like we have to have ...

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No Tempter

Sometimes in our lives our suffering is very great. It feels impossible to bear. We feel like we might explode or go crazy. In these times, for some people, we might want to blame God and accuse him of sending something into our lives to cause us to sin against him. ...

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God’s Promises

Do you know anyone who has ever backed out on a promise they made to you? How did that make you feel? What did you say to them? What happened in your relationship with them?...

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True Blessing

Oftentimes enduring a huge challenge provides a great reward. Consider a marathon runner. Finishing a 26.2 mile course in 4-5 hours is not easy....

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Firstfruits

Do you have a garden at your house? Or have you ever been to a farm? Gardeners and farmers often watch how their fruits and vegetables are growing in the middle of July. This is usually when the garden or farm plot begins to produce food to eat....

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Born Again

How did you become a Christian? Becoming a Christian involves hearing the truth of the Gospel, turning from sin, trusting in Jesus for salvation, and desired to follow him by faith. ...

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No Shifting Shadows

One of the greatest things about God is that he is immutable. That is a big, fancy bible word that means God never changes. His love for us will not change. His hatred of evil will not change. And his ability to control all things for our good will not change....

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Good Gifts That Don’t Always Feel Good

Have you ever been told to take your medicine? Cold medicine can taste really gross but you knew that it would help you feel much better. Sometimes people say “take your medicine!” as a way of saying that doing something hard now will help for things to be better in the future....

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Can’t Trust in Riches

Why do you think James would write that a lowly brother (meaning someone who is poor) is exalted and a rich brother is humiliated?...

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Strong and Stable

Do you know anyone who changes their mind all the time? They can never be nailed down on a decision. Maybe they are anxious because they fear the consequences of making the wrong choice. Do you ever feel that way?...

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A Wave of the Sea

Ever been on a boat? A big one or a small one? Have you even been in a boat when there was a strong wind or storm? Most people who spend significant time on the water know that when you are caught in a storm out at sea, it can be a very scary experience. The water is tossed around in violent crashes that can seem rather erratic and unstable. Does that sound fun to you?...

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Generous Wisdom

Do you love to give? Is giving gifts easy for you? Do you know anyone who you would consider a real giver? Someone who just loves to selflessly give of their time, talents, money, or resources?...

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God’s Goal for Us

Do you have goals for your life? What would some of those be? To get a good job when you grow up? Get good grades? Get really good at sports, music, or another hobby? Goals are great things to have because they help us focus on achievement in our lives. We should thank God for all that he enables us to do by his grace....

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Joy in Suffering

Try to remember a time in your life that was really hard. Do you have something in mind? Ok, now reflect upon your emotions during that time. How did you feel? Angry, sad, grumpy, distraught, or, violent?...

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James: The Servant of Jesus

I can imagine that as James penned his letter, he recalled his transformation from being the family’s biggest Jesus-skeptic to a super strong Jesus-believing preacher! He had to laugh a laugh of humility!...

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What is Servant Leadership?

At North Valley we define servant leadership as “taking the initiative for the benefit of others.” It’s a style of leadership that takes into account others' needs and interests first and foremost....

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What Was The Dispersion?

One of the themes of the book of James is that his audience was suffering persecution, and we know this because of the word Dispersion. ...

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James: The Skeptical Brother of Jesus

James was the brother of Jesus and the author of the Book of James. Historically, he has been called James the Just. He was also the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. But for now, I will share about him as a little brother, a skeptical brother at that....

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Servant of Who?

We talked about James being a servant. When a person is a servant that means he or she is serving someone. Do you remember what the text for today says about the person that James was serving?...

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Identity = Servant

If you were to introduce yourself to someone for the first time, how would you describe yourself? Would you say something like, “Hi there! My name is ______ and I am in ___ grade!” Or, “Hi there! My name is ______ and I am from ______.”...

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The Brother of Jesus

Do you have brothers and/or sisters? What would you think if one of them told you that they were the one and only Son or Daughter of God? Would you believe them?...

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The Point of the Book of James

Have you ever heard someone say, “Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.” If you haven’t, what do you think it might mean?...

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LET’S DO THIS - Introduction to a New Teaching Series

Introduction to a New Teaching Series LET’S DO THIS – is a verse by verse teaching series through the book of James designed to help cultivate a life of personal holiness that is Christ-centered in every regard! My hope is that in this teaching series to provide both quality audio and written resources that would aid your understanding of God’s word i...

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