Summer Sermon Series

Preview: September 10
Our TV screens and social media outlets have been filled this past week with inspiring videos and pictures of first responders to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. There is a particularly American (especially Texan!) spirit that propels us into danger to help our neighbors in need. But it’s a little different when it comes to self-inflicted suffering. We may be more than willing to wade into a river to help a drowning man, but we all tend to shrink back when a man is suffering because of his own sin. As James concludes his letter, however, he calls on us to turn toward the one caught up in his sin, to be his rescuer. This week, we’ll conclude our study in James by considering our own first-responder roles in the church.  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: September 3
For many Christians, prayer is the spiritual exercise they hate to love. That is, they know they should pray; they even want to pray; but the actual act is sometimes difficult and confusing, and may not result in any super spiritual experience. So, what’s a faithful Christian to do? In James 5:13-18, James uses two specific kinds of life situations to teach his scattered congregation an important lesson about prayer: Prayer isn’t a cathartic experience whose purpose is to make us feel better. Nor is prayer some kind of cosmic currency that we use to manipulate the deity. Prayer is a means of grace by which the presence of God is made manifest among us, even in times of suffering and sickness. This week, we’ll sit at the feet of James and learn from the Lord’s brother how we ought to pray.  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: August 27
As we near the end of James’s letter to the dispersed and persecuted church, we can see James returning to themes he first introduced at the beginning of his exhortation. This week, we return to the theme of perseverance and steadfastness with James’s command in 5:7, “be patient.” Patience, at least the way James describes it, is not an innate virtue. Rather, it is a fruit of endurance and perseverance in our Christian life. Patience, then, presupposes resistance. What kinds of resistance are you experiencing today? Are they leading to the fruit of patience or to the anti-fruit of grumbling and blasphemy? This week, we’ll learn how to cultivate a patient and joy-filled journey of discipleship as we all await the coming of the Lord.   ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: August 20
Imagine the annoying nasal British accent of Robin Leach taking you on a tour of obscene spectacles of wealth. Just as you round yet another corner of a massive mansion in the French Riviera you run into James solemnly proclaiming a message of judgment against the unrighteous rich. Any time the conversation at a church turns to money, people get uncomfortable—and this text from James 5 is certainly intended to make us feel uncomfortable! This Sunday, I want to explore those feelings of discomfort with you and seek wisdom from God’s Word on how we can honor God with our money.   ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: August 6
A spate of books has recently been published touting different options for Christians in America to follow if they want to remain faithful to Christ in a hostile culture. That challenge, however, isn’t unique to contemporary American Christians. It’s a challenge that James is also very interested in addressing. He does it in a slightly different way than we sometimes think about it. Instead of focusing on what Christians do or how they relate to their neighbors, James focuses on three personal characteristics that when understood correctly will help us embrace our identity as new creatures and citizens of the coming age. This week we turn to James 3 and 4 to see how we can turn the values of the world upside down and bear witness in our everyday life to King Jesus. ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: July 30
The average person spends 20% of his or her life talking. If all of our words were put into print, a single day’s words would fill a 50-page book. In a year’s time, the average person’s words would fill 132 books of 200 pages each! What would your books reveal about you? In the third chapter of his letter, James says that control of our bodies and our lives hinges on the mastery of the tongue. So, Christians should be known for their careful, controlled speech. Unfortunately, our speech is just as often controlled by our passions or the circumstances around us as any non-Christian. This Sunday, we turn to James 3:1-12 to understand the tongue’s disproportionate power, destructive potential, and divine purpose. ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: July 16
The world is filled with status seekers—those who latch on to someone who is more famous, more important, or more wealthy—all in an effort to gain favor. Sadly, this happens in the church, too. We’re enamored with those who benefit us in some way, but we are dismissive to those who offer nothing that would advance our status. As we continue our summer series in James, we turn to 2:1-13 and James’ condemnation of this kind of partiality. The problem, we’ll see, is that showing partiality is a form of judgment—and we are terrible judges! We’re not competent to judge nor are we qualified to judge. Only one man was: Jesus, and through him mercy triumphed over judgment. As those who have benefited from Jesus’ saving work, we are called to extend mercy to everyone, to stop living in the world (or in the church) as status-seekers, and to recognize the dignity and worth of everyone for whom the Lord of glory died. ~ Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: July 9
Lots of people like Jesus. He remains a popular figure even among those who don’t believe in Christianity. He remains popular, long after his life, in part because of what many people perceive to be the simple morals that he taught. In James 1, however, Jesus’ brother shows us that Jesus’ “pure religion” really isn’t so simple, and those basic morals are more life-encompassing than we might be prepared for. This Sunday, we take a second look at the simple religion of Jesus: the demands it makes and the Savior it promises.  ~ Pastor Eric Landry

Series Overview:
Many Bible reading programs include a chapter every day from the book of Proverbs. Believers throughout history have seen the value of the wisdom of Proverbs and by reading it every day they are weaving that wisdom down deep into their hearts. Is there a New Testament equivalent to the Old Testament book of Proverbs? Yes, the book of James! James was a leader of the early church and his book is filled with “wisdom from above” that you and I need if we are to live faithfully in Christ. This summer, we’ll work our way through James and discover practical principles for our daily walk of discipleship.  ~ Pastor Eric Landry