Posts Tagged with "let's do this"

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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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Stable and Unstable Faith

James says, that when we doubt God, we are unstable. The writer of Hebrews says that it’s impossible to please God if you doubt him. (Heb 11:6). This doesn’t mean that we can never ask questions or struggle with disbelief something in scripture. James is not asking us to check our brains at the door before we try to worship God, but rather he is telling us it’s we wi...

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Rock Tumblers and Results

James says.. “let steadfastness have it’s full effect” This is an exhortation to trust and submit to God’s work in through you. Our heavenly father, wants us to the see the full-effect of what these trials are producing....

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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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North Valley Honey, Hot Wax and Holiness

James says holiness is a process. The phrase “testing of your faith” literally means a refinement process. It’s a rare phrase that is used only once in the NT (I Pet 1:7) and twice in the OT.(Ps 12:6, Prv 27:21). The idea is that holiness is a refinement process....

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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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Trials are Like the Potholes in Arkansas

James tells us to expect trials. He doesn’t tell us to go looking for them, but tells how to think and respond in the midst of them. The phrase “when you meet” literally can translated as “when you fall into trials.” ...

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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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Mountain Top Thinking of Joy

To “Count it all Joy” I think we must take this to mean we need perspective. We need to not simply see the present pain and trial, but we must see our circumstances from a supernatural perspective, and eternal perspective. ...

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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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Re-thinking Joy

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, - James 1:2, ESV When I first read this passage, I was perplexed. I was wondering how could I do this? I’ve discovered in my studies that If I understand joy simply as a feeling, I will not be able to find the joy that James speaks of; but James here in the text doesn’t command me to feel a certai...

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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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