My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
- James 5:19-20
Now, that is a win-win! All of us have the potential to stray from Christ and pursue a “way” (lit. road) that is heading for disaster. Yet any of us can help influence another to come back and avoid all the downsides of a wayward lifestyle. We can be lifesavers in each other’s lives! James wants us to know just how fantastic that experience can be — for all concerned!
You might recall the old Chinese proverb, “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” Right now we are encouraging one another to check out groups@grace. In September, you could find yourself meeting some new friends, encountering the Bible is dynamic ways, and finding momentum for your journey with Christ. Check out groups@grace on our website, or drop by the Marketplace in the Café this Sunday.
It is great to be on the road with you — and how blessed I have been by so many of you who have helped turn me back through your prayers, acts of kindnesses, and straight from the heart counsel! Let’s keep heading the right direction together.
P.S. We have a couple of simple ways you can support Mountain View Elementary that I would like to make you aware of:
* You can purchase gourmet cookie dough, which is their major PTA fundraiser, through THIS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. Here is a link to the cookie dough options. After looking at them, you can make your order by emailing Eric Myers.
* If you shop for groceries at Food City, you can ask the cashier at Food City to align your Value Card with Mountain View Elementary, which will allow you to help MV receive a cash donation at the end of the school year.
* Which-Wich will be hosting a fundraiser night for MV’s PTA on Tuesday, September 10th. Which-Wich will be donating 10% of all purchases from GFC or MV-supporting customers between 5-8pm. You can have a sandwich for dinner, and benefit Mountain View Elementary.
These are just three of several simple ways that all of us can participate in our We Love Mountain View ministry. You can pick up a sheet at Information Central that gives more ongoing ways to support the ministry at Mountain View.
Grace and peace,
"Stalled? get moving again: Shame" James 5:14-16
Shame is debilitating. It stalls us out and takes us away from any meaningful connection with others. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Really. Taking God at His word and acting upon it is up to us. The truths and principles found in James 5:14-16 can literally save your life! (also see 5:19-20) Don’t let this moment pass you by!
THINKING IT THROUGH
The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.
God never comes through the door that I hold open for Him, but always knocks at the one place I have walled up with concrete.
When your desperation level exceeds your embarrassment level, you become a candidate for the grace of God.
The most devastating effect of sin is that by it we are blinded to it.
LIVING IT OUT
1. In what ways has this message given you hope? Why? Or why not?
2. How can/will you take responsibility for your next steps toward “healing”?
3. Take time to begin to put into words your beliefs, attitudes or actions that may be causing your “weakness.” Start using a journal-like notebook.
"New Life in Christ" 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” That statement from U2’s song of the same title rings true for many of us. Sometimes, even as believers in Jesus Christ, we may find ourselves feeling the same way. We’re still searching. We’re still looking for and wanting more. Is it possible that the realities of this life inform our beliefs more than our beliefs inform the realities of this life? Paul speaks to this in our text for this week.
LOOKING IT UP
1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. If this is a familiar passage to you, try to read it with a fresh perspective. Perhaps read it in a translation you don’t normally read from.
2. What do you think Paul is referring to in verse 16 when he talks about the way he HAD perceived Christ as opposed to the way he views Him NOW?
3. Think back to the moment that you first put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. What emotions does this memory stir in you? Do you remember feeling like you were starting a new life or on a new adventure? What freedoms come with knowing that your old life is gone? (v.17)
4. Why do you suppose Paul brings together both our own reconciliation to God along with the task we have to reconcile others to Him? (vs. 18, 19)
5. What responsibilities come with the title of “Christ’s ambassador?” (v.20)
6. What thoughts and emotions come to mind as you meditate on Paul’s words in verse 21?
7. Who has God put you in proximity with that you have the opportunity to be “Christ’s ambassador,” and reconcile them to God? Take time this week to pray for them by name.
Posted on Tue, August 27, 2013
by Tom Oyler