Next Level: James

It was a time of explosive growth. And with that growth came challenges, questions, problems… and opportunities! I’m talking about the Church in its earliest days in Jerusalem.

The Bible tells us that God prepares people in advance (Colossians 2:10) to do the works that He has equipped them to do. Into this environment of rapid growth and previously unheard of opportunities stepped a man named James. His leadership and wisdom were just what the church needed then.

And his leadership and wisdom are just what the church needs now.

That’s why I’m leading our Next Level study group into an in-depth look at the book James wrote. The wisdom that is found in the Book of James has been called “the proverbs of the New Testament,” and we’ll be learning how to apply those proverbs to our lives and our church.

Please join me for this fascinating and informative study at 5pm each Sunday afternoon.

Thursdays With Oswald—Two Dangerous Extremes

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Two Dangerous Extremes 

     Possibly the best illustration we can use is that of a lamp. A lamp unlighted will illustrate individuality; a lighted lamp will illustrate personality. The lighted lamp takes up no more room, but the light permeates far and wide; so the influence of personality goes beyond that of individuality. “You are the light of the world” said our Lord. Individually we do not take up much room, but our influence is far beyond our calculation…. 

     Individuality, then, is a smaller term than personality. Personality means that peculiar, incalculable being that is meant when you speak of “you” as distinct from everybody else. People say, “Oh, I cannot understand myself”; of course you can’t! “Nobody can understand me”; of course they don’t! There is only one Being Who understand us, and that is our Creator…. 

     There are possibilities below the threshold of our lives which no one but God knows…. God makes a man know that He is searching him…. 

     Introspection without God leads to insanity. …The people with no tendency to introspect are those described in the New Testament as “dead in trespasses and sins,” they are quite happy, quite contented, quite moral, all they want is easily within their grasp, everything is all right with them; but they are dead to the world to which Jesus Christ belongs, and it takes His voice and His Spirt to awaken them….

     The path of peace is for us to hand ourselves over to God and ask Him to search us, not what we think we are, or what other people think we are, or what we persuade ourselves we are or would like to be, but, “Search me out, O God, explore me as I really am in Thy sight.” 

From Biblical Psychology (emphasis mine)

There are two dangerous extremes: Never looking within ourselves, and looking within ourselves without God’s help.

If you want your personality to shine far and wide, you must pray regularly as David did: “O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. Now search me again, and reveal to me anything that is offensive or displeasing to You, and then help me to change those things.”

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