This weekend is Vision Sunday, when we mark 149 years of faithful gospel ministry as Ruggles Baptist Church. It is fitting that on this day we come to the conclusion of James' letter, where he paints a beautiful picture of God's supernatural, life-saving power working through the church. In these two little verses we see God's heart expressed through the loving, pursuing, and saving activity of God's people for one another. We'll see how the Lord works through his people to save, and how we can all get in on this.
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When you do pray, do you really expect an answer? In our passage on Sunday, James shows us how to pray with confidence--no matter how seemingly minor the matter, or how difficult the dilemma, or how convoluted the context and conditions. We'll see that practical faith is prayerful faith.
Are you a patient person? In our passage this Sunday, James urges us over and over again (three times!) to be patient. But if you're anything like me, this is easier said than done--especially in the midst of challenging circumstances. Fortunately, James gives us both the secret of Christian patience and examples of Christian patience to follow. This week we'll strive to grow in patience, since "we count as blessed those who have persevered" (v. 11).
In this week's passage, James encourages the churches by writing a harsh condemnation of their wealthy oppressors. Yet in his blunt judgment of non-Christians there is a warning for Christians then and now. Because how we steward our wealth reveals our spiritual health. Do we see ourselves in his description of the wicked wealthy? How should our faith change our view of our money?