How to Live with a Controlled Tongue

Craig Carter The New Testament Letter of James is filled with practical advice to help us live as Christians. As a congregation we have been studying this letter in detail since early September. We have observed that James first introduces a wide range of subjects in the opening chapter and then addresses each topic in greater detail throughout the remainder of his letter. Today we are going to explore James’ statements in chapters one and three regarding how to live with a controlled tongue.  In chapter one, he says, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, …

How to Live by Faith

Mindy Clemons, Lynn Haven UMC Adult Discipleship Director As a church we have been reading through the Letter of James – a section each week – and exploring the letter’s How to Live instructions through Sunday’s teaching sermons and our mid-week Bible study. It is our hope that every member of our church is growing in faith by participating in this plan. We have learned that James, the half-brother of Jesus and a leader of the church in Jerusalem, was writing to an audience of Christian believers. It’s important to know whose mail we are reading for the passage we …

How to Live with Others (Part 2)

Pastor Craig Carter This fall, we are exploring the New Testament Letter of James. It begins with a claim that life is a series of tests consisting of trials and temptations. While Satan wants us to fail these tests so that we stumble and fall, God wants us to pass them all because they enable us to grow and develop as Christians. Given that life is a test, it shouldn’t surprise us there is one day going to be a final exam. Jesus suggested as much during His earthly ministry. And since the Lord hopes we pass with flying colors, …

How to Live with Others (Part 1)

Pastor Terry Tatum Many times in church world we go a mile wide, reaching all kinds of people, but we only go an inch deep as far as actual teaching. With our current sermon and study series, How to Live, our goal is to go a mile wide AND a mile deep, to help as many people as we can go deep into God’s word. How to Live is a church-wide study of the letter of James. The way this is set up will allow you to go deeper into God’s word by reading Scripture several days each week, hearing …

How to Live in Victory

Pastor Craig Carter Last week we looked at the opening verses of the letter of James where he writes… “My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy…” (James 1:2 NCV) The Greek word translated “troubles” literally means “trials, tests or temptations.” Another translation puts it this way: My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways. (James 1:2 GWT) While most students aren’t very fond of tests, they can and do serve a useful purpose: They assess where we are in our grasp of the subject …

How to Live with Patience

Pastor Craig Carter My wife Lee is an avid reader. But I long ago gave up buying books for her because I discovered we use radically different approaches in selecting a suitable book to read. I tend to be drawn to books with catchy titles or fancy artwork on the cover. Yes, I’m a very superficial person! But Lee chooses a book, not based on its cover, but by its initial contents. She loves the “look inside” feature on Amazon which allows her to read the first few pages of a book she’s considering. She says she knows right away …

How to Live: Series Introduction

Pastor Craig Carter It’s sometimes said, “You are what you eat” (so don’t become a cinnamon roll!). That’s true to a degree, but it’s more correct to say, “You are what you do.” It’s not an oversimplification to suggest that if you help, you’re a helper or that if you encourage, you’re an encourager. On the other hand, if you complain, you’re a complainer and if you lie, you are a liar. You are what you do so if you do good things, you’re a good person. But if you do bad things, well … you get the picture, right? …

Essential: Becoming

Pastor Craig Carter What do you want to be? Ask that question of children and you’d expect them to say things like, “I want to be a firefighter or an astronaut or a baseball player or a dancer.” Ask that same question to the kids’ parents and you’ll probably get a radically different response: “I want my child to be kind, honest, hard-working, fair, compassionate, loving…” Parents are more concerned about who their children become as a person than they are about what they do as a profession. That sentiment is shared by our Heavenly Father. God is more interested …

Essential: Believing

Pastor Terry Tatum Last week, Pastor Craig touched on a concept that guided the church world for generations. The concept was BELIEVE, BELONG, BECOME. Those words in that order represent a process for people to fully develop in Christ. For much of the last century this was the formula that guided many churches as they sought to spread the Good News of Jesus. While that formula was responsible for much of the great foundation today’s Christians enjoy, over the last 25 to 30 years it hasn’t been as effective as it once was. In recent years, many people have been …

Essential: Belonging

Pastor Craig Carter This spring when government officials issued “stay at home” orders there was a great deal of debate about what were considered essential services. Remember, you couldn’t go to stores selling clothing, jewelry, or sporting goods, but you could still buy lottery tickets, liquor, and firearms (all deemed essential). You could get your car serviced or your pool cleaned, but you couldn’t get a haircut, have your nails done, or go for routine dental visits. Sorry to bring up those painful memories and start the debate all over again. As a pastor, I was glad that Florida’s Gov. …