A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 11, April 20, 2008

Part VIII “How To Control Your Mouth”

We are looking at what James says about managing your mouth. We love to talk. Everybody has something to say. The average Canadian has 30 conversations a day. You'll spend 1/5 of your life talking. In one year your conversations will fill 66 books of 800 pages a book. The average man speaks an average of 20,000 words a day, a woman speaks 30,000 words a day.

Nothing is opened more wrongly at the wrong time than our mouths. Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble.

James talks more about the tongue than anybody else in the New Testament. Every chapter of James says something about managing your mouth. James says, if you can control your mouth, you're perfect. He's not talking about sinless. "Perfection" in Greek literally means "mature, healthy".

When you go to the doctor and say, “I'm not feeling well,” the first thing he says is, "Stick out your tongue." Your tongue reveals what's going on inside of you, not just physically but spiritually.

I was tempted to title this sermon "Don't Let Your Tongue Lick You."

It's only words; I'm just kidding." Three reasons we have to learn to manage our mouth.

1. MY TONGUE DIRECTS WHERE I GO: Look at your conversation. What do you like to talk about the most? We shape our words and then our words shape us.

James says, “The tongue is small, it's tiny”. And because it's tiny we think it's insignificant. But it has tremendous power. v. 3 Consider a bit in a horse's mouth. You've got a 12 to 1500 pound horse and a 95 pound jockey on his back. The jockey can control the mighty horse by a little piece of metal stuck strategically over his tongue. Likewise your tongue controls the direction of your life wherever you want to go, and a little word or phrase can influence the total direction of your life.

Then he says, “Consider a ship”. The Queen Mary has 3 acres of recreational space. The anchor is equal to the weight of ten cars. Yet a relatively small rudder directs the huge ocean liner out in the middle of the waves and winds and seas. A little rudder keeps it on course. Our tongue is like that.

Our tongue is like a rudder that steers us. Ships: "... they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go."

If you don't like the way you're headed right now, change the way you talk. Many people think, if the tongue has such influence maybe it's best to say nothing. Not talk at all, be silent. (A guy joined the Trappist monastery. For three years he was given a probation period where he was not to speak at all, but at the end of each year he could say two words. The first year at the end he said, "Bed hard." At end of the second year he said, "Food cold." At the end of the third year he's about had it. He comes in and says, "I quit". The head priest says, "That doesn't surprise me. All you've done is complain since you got here.")

2. MY TONGUE CAN DESTROY WHAT I HAVE v. 5 James gives another illustration. Imagine a beautiful forest -- tall beautiful trees everywhere. Now imagine it in one minute up in smoke, completely destroyed instantly with a little tiny match. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. A careless camper can destroy an entire national forest overnight. A careless word can destroy a life overnight. Gossip is like fire. It spreads quickly and it wrecks havoc.

I wonder how many people because of a careless word have destroyed their marriage, or their career, or their reputation, or the reputation of another, or their church, or a friendship. The tongue not only has the power to direct where you go but also to destroy what you have if you don't learn to control it. Have you ever met a verbal arsonist? Their words are always inflammatory. You can burn people with what you say.

Fire and words under control can give tremendous warmth and light, but fire and words out of control can be devastating. Proverbs 18:20 (Good News) "You have to live with the consequences of everything you say."

Words can create a chain reaction. You can say something that you didn't mean to have any harm, but it can have devastating effects that are beyond your control. Just a few inflammatory statements set off a chain of events that we now look back on and call World War II.

A couple comes in for marriage counseling. "I said this and then she said that, then I said this..." Then what happened? "All hell broke loose". Our words can cause "all hell to break loose." James says you've got to learn to manage your mouth, not only because it can direct where you go but it can destroy what you have. You can loose your family, your kids, your career simply by what you say. It's like a fire.

Proverbs 21:23 "If you want to stay out of trouble be careful what you say!" James uses another illustration. “All kinds of animals ... have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." (vs.7-8) No man can tame the tongue, humanly speaking. He says it's restless. That means it's always liable to break out at any moment. You can assassinate somebody with your words.

It reveals my real character. It tells what's really inside of me. First James points out how inconsistent we are in our speech. v. 9 "The tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with the same tongue we curse men who've been made in God's likeness. From the same mouth come praise and curses. My brothers, this should not be."
Cursing here doesn't necessarily mean profanity. It means any kind of put down.

This really bothers me, how is it possible that we can be loving to people we love -- our kids, wives, husbands -- and the next moment be harsh, cold, mean to them? How is it possible in one minute to be talking in gentle, loving tones and the next minute be mean and hurtful?

My problem is not really my tongue. My problem is my heart. What's inside is what comes out. My mouth eventually betrays what is really on the inside of me. I can fool you and pretend but eventually my tongue is going to catch me. It's going to let you know what's really inside.

Have you heard someone say, "I don't know what got into me. It's not like me to say that. I don't know why I said that. It's totally out of character.”

James would say, “Yes, it is. It's just like you. You meant it. Quit kidding yourself. What's inside is going to come out. It's a natural law: what comes out of the well is what is inside of it.”

Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." My tongue directs where I go. It can destroy what I have. But most of all, it simply displays what I am. It reveals my character.

If you've got a problem with your tongue, it's more serious that you think. You have a heart problem.

A person with a harsh tongue has an angry heart.

A person with a negative tongue has a fearful heart.

A person with an overactive tongue has an unsettled heart.

A person with a boasting tongue has an insecure heart.

A person with a filthy tongue has an impure heart.

A person who is critical all the time has a bitter heart.

On the other hand, a person who is always encouraging has a happy heart. A person who speaks gently has a loving heart. A person who speaks truthfully has an honest heart.

Get a new heart
You've got to get a new heart, that's the problem.

Ezekiel 18:31 "Rid yourself of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit!"

Painting the outside of the pump doesn't make any difference if there is poison in the well. What I need is a fresh start. We need to pray like David prayed in Psalm 51 "Create in me a clean heart, O God" because what's in my heart is going to come out in my mouth.

Ask God for help every day.
You need supernatural power to control your tongue. You can't do it on your own.

Psalm 141:3 "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Great verse to memorize and quote every morning.

Think before you speak
Engage your mind before you put your mouth in gear.

James 1:19 "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." If you're quick to listen you will be slow to speak. If you're slow to speak, then you will be slow to become angry.
What does it reveal about you?
If we were to play back a tape of every conversation you've had in this past week, what would we learn about you? God hears it all.

Our tongues display who we are.
What direction is your tongue leading you?

Some people say, "I'm just sick all the time" or "I can never do anything", "Things are just getting tougher and tougher" - what direction are they headed? Folks lets start speaking things like … this is great but the best is yet to come!

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 10, March 30, 2008

Part VII “How To Have Real Faith”

James 2:14-26 “What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith and has no works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not the things they are in need of, how does that work? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Yes, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? See how faith wrought with his works and by works faith was made perfect. And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

The apostle Paul throughout the New Testament teaches that we are saved by faith alone. “By grace, through faith, we are saved.” Then James comes along and says, “It's not just faith, but faith and works.” Who is right, James or Paul?

Actually they are both right, because they are talking about different things.

Paul addresses legalism while James deals with carelessness saying “It doesn't matter what you do as long as you believe.”

When Paul uses the word “works” he's talking about Jewish laws. James on the other hand is talking about the lifestyle of a Christian.

Paul focuses on the root of salvation, what happens internally. James focuses on the fruit of salvation, what happens on the outside.

Paul is talking about “how to know you’re a Christian.” James is talking about “how to show you’re a Christian.”

Paul is talking about “how to become a believer”. James talks about “how to behave like a believer”.

I appreciate that James actually shows us five ways to tell if you’ve got real faith.

1. Real faith is not just something you say
Verse 14 “What good is it my brother if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such ‘faith’ save him?”

It doesn't say he actually has faith, he just claims to have it. He talks about it.

Real faith is more than just talk. Jesus said, “Not everybody who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ is going to enter into heaven.”

2. Real faith is not just something you feel It’s more than emotions. You can be emotionally moved and never act on it.

Verse 15 “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him ‘Go, I wish you well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

If, after church, you’re getting into you car and you happen to slam your fingers in your car door, and as you’re standing there in agony, bleeding on your shoes, I walk up and say, “Man, I really feel for you!” Does that help? Real faith is more than just sympathy, feelings and emotion. Real faith takes action.

Know that James is talking about Christians here. When you become a part of God’s family, you take on some family responsibilities. A true believer cares about other believers.

I John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

· Who can count on you in a crisis?
· How many Christians have the freedom to call you up in the middle of the night if they are in an emergency?

I John 3:14 says that one of the proofs of salvation is that we love other Christians.

Real faith, James says, must lead me to share with others.

Verse 17 “In the same way, faith by itself if it's not accompanied by actions is dead.” If I don't feel like helping other Christians, my faith isn’t sick, it’s dead.

James is laying it on the line. He says, your faith has to be more than just something you say or feel.

3. Real faith is not just something you think For some people, faith is an intellectual matter to be studied, debated, talked over and discussed.
James imagines someone saying, “You’re into faith, I’m into works”. “Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

Real faith is visible. If you are a Christian, people should be able to see it. James says, “Show me”. Somebody said, “Faith is like calories. You can't see them but you can sure see the results.”

If you claim to be a Christian, I’ve a right to ask you to prove it by looking at your lifestyle.

It doesn't matter what I say. What counts are my actions. Real faith is more than just something you think. You can point it out and see it in people’s lives.

II Corinthians 5:17 “Any time a person becomes a Christian he becomes a new person inside, the old things have passed away. All things become new.” Not necessarily overnight, but they start becoming new.

How can somebody as big as God enter your life and it not change you?

4. Real faith is not just something you believe “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that, and shudder.” The Greek word is actually ‘to bristle’ - meaning ‘their hair stands up on end’.

There are a lot of people who have strong beliefs in God, the Bible, about Christ. They recite creeds and catechisms. James says, “big deal”! Just saying you believe in God is not enough to get you to heaven. Even the devil believes.
A lot of folks are going to miss heaven by 18 inches. They’ve got it in their head but not their heart.

5. Real faith is something you do
Verse 20 “You foolish men. Do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. His faith and his actions were working together. His faith was made complete by what he did.”

You probably know the story. It was the ultimate test where God asked Abraham to give up his own son. He took his son up, cut the wood, built the altar and was ready to sacrifice his own son. But Abraham had said to his servant, “We will return”.

His works proved his faith. He held nothing back from God.

Our faith is not determined by
what we do or say,
it is demonstrated by what we do.

In a very real sense God is saying, talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is. Our faith is demonstrated by our actions. Actions speak louder than words.

An old boatman in Scotland had the job of taking passengers across a lake in his rowboat. One day, a passenger inquired concerning the oars the boatman was using. One oar had the word FAITH carved on it and the other WORKS. The old man said, “I’ll show you.” He put one oar into the water, the one marked FAITH and began to row. The boat just went in circles. Then he took the oar out and put in the one marked WORKS and began to row. The same thing happened only in the opposite direction. Then he picked up both oars, FAITH and WORKS placed them in the water and began to row. As he pulled these oars together, the boat began to move forward in a straight line. To the passenger who questioned the oars he said, “That is the same way in the Christian life - one is no good without the other.”James is not saying you work your way to heaven. Nor is he saying works bring salvation. But what he is saying is that works demonstrate our faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, for a life of good works God has already prepared for us to do.” He has a plan for your life.

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 09, March 16, 2008

Part VI “How To Treat People Right”

Read James 2:1-13

Your biggest problems and mine, are people problems - getting along with other people. To dwell above with those you love, that will be a glory. But to dwell below, with those we know, that's another story.

James gives us the principle, the problem and the application.
James 2:1 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.” Whenever James starts out with “my brothers” he's getting ready to nail you. Count on it!

Favoritism: prejudice, partiality.
The New English Bible calls it “snobbery”. “Never treat anybody in a different way according to their outward appearance.” (Good News Bible)

Common areas of discrimination
Appearance: We judge people on their appearance, how they look and dress. Even Christians get caught up in this dress for power, dress for success. People seemed to be concerned with what's in and what's out, what's hot and what's not.

Ancestry: We judge people according to their race, nationality and ethnic background. Church goers judge according to their denominations…..ouch!

Age: You're too young or too old.

Achievement: Society gushes over winners. Success and status are key.

Affluence: This is the area that James picks out above the others - Economic distinction.

James 2:2 “Suppose a man comes to your meeting wearing gold rings and fine clothes and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say ‘Here's a good seat for you’ but say to the poor man ‘You stand over there’ or ‘Sit on the floor at my feet’, have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
James doesn't criticize the guy for being wealthy; he criticizes the members for being partial to him. The usher takes the rich guy to the front row and seats him. “Here, take this nice place. We want everybody to know you're here. We want to take care of every one of your needs.” Then he says to the poor man, “You can stand over there in a corner or you can sit on the floor.”

Literally, in the Greek it's “under my footstool”. It's the ultimate putdown. He treats him carelessly.

James says there are three problems with favoritism.
1. Favoritism is unchristian
If you want to be like Jesus you can't play favorites. This word "favoritism" is used only three other times in the Bible. Each of those refers to God and it says, “God does not play favorites.” Romans 2:11
Jesus treated everybody with dignity.

Peter had to learn this lesson before he went to Cornelius. God loves everybody. If there is one place in the world where there shouldn't be any kind of discrimination, it ought to be in the church. There is discrimination everywhere else in the world, but there ought to be one place no matter who you are or what your background is, that you're welcome.

2. Favoritism is unreasonable
In James 2:5-7 he says it's illogical, it doesn't make sense. “Has not God chosen the poor to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom?”

He's not saying that it's good to be poor and bad to be rich. Nor is he saying that only the poor will be saved.
· Your salvation isn't based on your savings account?
· Wealth in itself does not deserve any special treatment.
· Your value is not based on your valuables.
· Don't confuse your net worth with your self-worth.
James says, why cater to the rich? “Are not the rich exploiting you?” In New Testament times it was the Roman nobility who were feeding the Christians to the lions. It was the upper crust (a bunch of crumbs held together by their own dough) that were persecuting the Christians, judging and insulting the Christians, throwing them to the lions.

3. Favoritism is unchristian
Showing favoritism is unchristian and unreasonable, however, James says the primary reason you shouldn't show favoritism is that it is unloving. “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’, you're doing right.”

How we relate to other people shows how much we really love God. I John 4:20 “If a man says he loves God and hates his brother he's lying. How can you love God whom you haven't seen if you don't love your brother whom you have seen?”

How I relate to you proves how much I love God.

“If you show favoritism you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

· How many laws do you have to break to be a lawbreaker?
· How many crimes do you have to commit to be a criminal?
· How many links do you have to break to break a chain?

You may think favoritism is just a small sin, but James says, if you break one part of God's rule, you’re guilty of breaking it all.

James 2:12 “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom because judgment without mercy will not be shown to anyone who has been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

· Love treats people with mercy.
· Love gives people what they need, not what they deserve.

How do you treat people?

THE PRESCRIPTION: Typically in analyzing reasons for growth in a church, the focus has been on such factors as pastoral leadership, attractiveness of facilities, location, liberal or conservative theology, evangelical fervor. But there is increasing evidence that none of these influences a church's growth or decline as significantly as how much love and acceptance people experience when they attend.

You love them into the kingdom of heaven.
How do you do that?

Three steps:
1. Accept everybody
There's a big difference between acceptance and approval. You can accept somebody without approving of his lifestyle. “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” Romans 15:7

That's a start - acceptance.

At the Gathering Place, we are trying to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. If you're perfect, you don't belong here.

This is a church where people are growing. This is a church for people who don't have it all together.

It doesn't matter where you've been, it matters where you are now.

This is a church that believes that Jesus really lived, that He really died on the cross and that He really rose again on the third day. We cannot and will not water down that message. But in the non-essentials we have liberty and in all things we have charity.

If we can't learn to get along together here on
the earth, what makes us think we'll get
along together in heaven?

2. Appreciate everybody
This goes further than acceptance.
Philippians 2:35 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interest of others.”

Appreciate everybody. Find something you can like, not just accept. Tell them so. With some people, this may require a little creativity. Maybe you just need to value their uniqueness.

3. Affirm everybody
Give everybody a lift whenever possible.
I Thessalonians 5:11 “Encourage one another and build each other up.”

When people stumble, don't criticize, sympathize. Be an encourager not a condemner. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Give a welcome handshake, a smile. The ministry of greeters in church is crucial. You only have one chance to make a first impression.

The church that accepts, appreciates and affirms people is the church that God blesses.

Absolutely nothing can stop the church that's filled with love. It doesn't happen accidentally. It requires an all out effort by each of us. Everybody needs to contribute.

Would people come back to this church
because of you?
Together we need to make a commitment that this church will receive people unconditionally.
· We don't expect people to act like believers until they are believers.
· Love draws outside people in.

I want our church to have a reputation for love.

I believe that God is just waiting for a church that will love people unconditionally. He can use that kind of church to spark a spiritual awakening in this valley that all the forces of hell can not stop. It would change the climate of this community for Christ. Nothing can stop a loving church.

It was said of the New Testament church, “See how they love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples that you love each other.”

A Christianity That Works

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 08, March 9, 2008

Part V “How To Be Blessed By The Bible”

Bibles are everywhere. They come in all sizes, shapes, translations, versions, leather bound, paperback. Last year there were 500 million Bibles published in the world in 18,000 different languages. We have the Word of God on the radio, TV, in books and magazines. It's everywhere! Yet millions of people still miss the blessing of the Bible. Why?

Because it's not automatic.
The Bible is a book of blessing, promising comfort, strength, hope, wisdom, joy, power, and purpose. But just because you have a Bible doesn't mean you're going to get its benefits.

James shows us a key to being blessed by the Bible. “The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

“Accept the word planted in you” verse 21. Circle the word
“accept”. This word in Greek is a hospitality term which literally means “to welcome”.

We must welcome the word into our lives.

James says we must receive the Word with the right attitude.

A careful attitude
“Be quick to listen…” verse 19. When I'm talking, I'm not listening. Many of our problems are caused because we're quick to speak rather than quick to listen. An article in Reader's Digest said when you listen, it actually lowers your blood pressure, whereas talking raises it.

A relaxed attitude increases receptivity. What is your emotional state when you come to church on Sunday morning? Do you come with a calm attitude? Sunday morning in many homes is pretty hectic. Then we come in our stirred up state expecting to hear a word from God.

There are several things we need to do in preparation to receive the Word.

Be Clean
“Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent…” verse 21. The word “filth” James uses, is actually the Greek word that means “earwax”.

This reminded me of a prayer I use to pray. “Please find me willing to hear what you have for me to learn. Heal me of my pre-conceived ideas and opinions. Remove the wax of worldly knowledge from my ears. Heal me of dull hearing and open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your word.”

Be Compliant
Teachable, yielded, humble, willing to be changed. He says “humbly accept the word of God.”

2. REFLECT ON THE WORD OF GOD “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself immediately goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." verse 23

James says God's word is like a mirror. The purpose of a mirror is to evaluate us. We look in a mirror to assess the damage from the night before. Then we do something about it. What good is a mirror if we don't do anything about what we see?
“To Hear the Word and Not Act upon it, robs us of
understanding and effectiveness!”

To reflect on the Word of God…
· Read it.
“The man who looks intently into the perfect law” verse 25. He's actually talking more about researching than reading.

There are two ways you look at a mirror. You gaze at it or you glance at it. All of us have done both. It's human nature that you can't walk by a mirror and not look at it. When you glance at it, you immediately walk away and forget what you've seen. It didn't do you any good. Many people try to have a devotional time that way.

· Review it
“...and continues to do so…” verse 25. That means over and over and over. The Bible calls this meditation.

If you know how to worry, you can meditate. Take a negative idea and think about it over and over, and it's called worry. Take God's Word and think about it over and over and it's called meditation.

Jesus said, “if you continue in My word, then you're truly My disciples.”

The Sword & Trowel I give you each week is so you can review it during the week.

· Remember it.
“...not forgetting what he has heard” verse 25.
Nothing will do more for your spiritual life than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

The United States Air Force did a study and found that we forget 95% of what we hear within 72 hours. I spend all week preparing a message to give you on Sunday. By Wednesday, you've forgotten 95% of what I've said unless you've written it down.

I must do something about it, act on it, live it, practice it. “Don’t merely listen to what the word says and so deceive yourselves” verse 22.

I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.

I need to practice it and apply it in my life. James said, “To him who knows to do good and doesn't do it, it's sin.”

Illustration: Let's say you all being concerned about your pastor's health, come to me saying, “Ed, as you move into the older years, we want to help you stay in shape, so we took up an offering and bought you Aaron Brouwer’s Fit To Save A Life Book. This book can change your life. It's fantastic. It has changed the lives of millions of people. Read this book. It will change you.”

I say “great” and I go away for 6 months and then come back and I'm the same. You say, “What happened? Didn't you read the book?” I tell you “I did and I loved it. I even underlined portions of it and memorized sections of it and even started a group study of the book.”

How often do we do that with the Word?

If you want to be blessed, you've got to “do” the Word of God, not just read it or hear it or even know it.

Each week I try to present it in a clear and “doable” way. I try to make it simple so we can put it into practice.

I heard about the guy who came to church late. He walked in just as the service was completing. He said to an usher, “Is the sermon done, yet?” The usher was wise and said, “The sermon has been preached, but it is yet to be done.”

I pray The Gathering Place will develop the reputation of being doers of the word.

James says, “The man who puts the law into practice wins true happiness.”

Three practical ways to practice the word:
· A controlled mouth “If any one considers himself religious and does not keep a tight reign on his tongue he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

· A caring heart “Religion that our God accepts as faultless is this....to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” .
· A clean mind “Keep from being polluted by the world.”

In order to do the word, find a place of ministry where you can get involved.

Impression without expression leads to depression: If you're always taking in, one study after another, and never get out in ministry, it's going to dry up your spiritual life.

James proves that the blessing of the Bible comes when we start living it.

Heavenly Father, You've told us to be doers of the Word. I ask for the courage to act on what we’ve heard today. Help us to do the right thing!