Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting Back to the Letter of James

This Sunday, God willing, I will resume my verse-by-verse exposition of the Epistle of James. This past week was Prayer Emphasis Week here at Shiloh. And I have preached on prayer the past two Sundays. I am now heading back to James.

This Sunday’s message will be on James 2:1-13 – The Sin of Partiality. It will be the first of two sermons on James chapter 2, the second will be on verses 14-26.

Interestingly, it took me nine sermons to get through chapter 1. But I plan to get through chapter 2 in two sermons.

The two passages in chapter 2 are vital to the letter. They are also difficult passages to study and preach. For instance, verses 1-13 addresses again (cf. 1:9-11, 27) the matters of poverty and wealth. Specifically, it commands us not to show favoritism toward those who are wealthy in the church. And this matter of how you treat the rich and poor is an illustration of a larger principle. There is no place for partiality in the body of Christ.

The thought of the practical implications of this text is staggering.

Please pray for me as I work through this important text in preparation for Sunday. And pray that the Lord will help me to present the message of the text in a clearly, faithfully, and accurately.

May the Lord help my congregation – and all Christian congregations to live out the royal law to love our neighbor as ourselves to the glory of God in Christ.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Part of my devotional reading this morning was the following prayer on how to receive reproofs with a godly attitude. It was an "accident of providence" that my reading landing on this prayer this morning. May you find it to be as convicting and encouraging as i have.

When I hear of disagreeable things among Christians,
It brings an additional weight and burden on my spirit;
I come to thee in my distress and make lamentable complaint;
Teach me how to take reproofs from friends,
Even though I think I do not deserve them;
Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin, more jealous over myself,
More concerned to keep heart and life unblameable;
Cause them to help me
To reflect on my want of spirituality,
To abhor myself,
To look upon myself as unworthy,
And make them beneficial to my soul.

May all thy people know how little, mean, and vile I am,
That they may see I am nothing,
Less than nothing,
To be accounted nothing,
That so they may pray for me aright,
And have not the least dependence upon me.

It is sweet to be nothing and have nothing,
And to be fed with crumbs from thy hands.

Blessed be thy Name for anything that life brings.

How do poor souls live who have not thee,
Or when helpless have no God to go to,
Who feel not the constraining force of they love,
And the sweetness of communion?

O how admirably dost thou captivate the soul,
Making all desires and affections center on thee!
Give me such vivacity in religion,
That I may be able to take all reproofs from other men as from thy hands,
And glorify thee for them
From a sense of thy beneficent love
And of my need to have my pride destroyed.

The Valley of Vision, pp. 148-49

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Notes from Sunday - 1/2/11

We have a great day of worship at Shiloh on this first Sunday of the new year!

Grateful for all the guests who worshiped with us today.

Alice Martin, a longtime and faithful member of MSMBC in Los Angeles worshiped at Shiloh today. Crystal and I were shocked and happy to see her.

Our worship team was really on point today. Great job!

Special Note: This Sunday was the start of our new Partners In Prayer ministry, consisting of teams of intercessors who pray for the worship services during the services on Sunday. Thanks to West Wilson for his leadership and diligence. May this tribe of intercessors increase. In happens after prayer!

It is always a blessing to celebrate the Lord’s Table!

I preached a “devotion” message from Colossians 3:15-17 that I called “Three Priorities for a New Beginning.”

The three priorities I emphasized in the text were the peace of Christ (v. 15), the word of Christ (v. 16), and the name of Christ (v. 17).

I need not get hoarse preaching today. Good deal.

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church today.

Next week begins Prayer Emphasis Week at Shiloh. I plan to preach on prayer over the next two weeks. What a way to start the new year!

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles today 14-13.

The Jaguars were beat down by the Texans 17-34 and with the Colts win are out of the playoffs.

I wonder how many coaches will get the axe on Black Monday?

If there is anything better than the NFL regular season it is the NFL playoffs.