January 24th

IN-Person - One Service - 9:30AM

WATCH our Live Worship on any of these three platforms: Web YouTube or FB

Announcements and Upcoming Events

We are back to in-person worship with one service at 9:30am.
8:30AM    -  Adult Bible Study Lead by Galen Clark
9:30AM    -  Worship Service (masks required)
9:30AM    -  Mt. Olive Kids
10:30AM  -  Adult Bible Study Lead by Mike McDivitt (Gathering Area)
10:30AM  -  Godly Play
10:30AM  -  Mt. Olive Youth
10:30AM  -  Mt. Olive Kids Facebook Live
During the 9:30am worship service we will offer Mt. Olive Kids programming, temp check  & check-in at entrances 3 and 4 for preschool-5th grade. For the winter months at this time masks will be required. Nursery care will be offered by a reservation as needed for January.
At 10:30am 6th-12th grade students will meet upstairs in the youth space for Youth Sunday School.
Godly Play will be offered at 10:30am in the Godly Play Room for preschool-5th grade.
Evening Youth Group will begin January 17th from 6:30-8pm.

Sundays 9:30AM

Order of Worship
Worship Set
What a Friend
Way Maker
Day by Day

Prayers of the People
The Lord's Prayer

Scripture Reading 
James 1:2-4

Our Trials

Song of Sending

Benediction
Go in Peace

MESSAGE NOTES

James 1:2-4  (NRSV)

2 My brothers and sisters,[b] whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Book of James Reading Plan
WEEK 1

DAY 1
Salutation (1:1)
Faith and Wisdom (1:2–8)
James says to count it nothing but joy.  Note he does not say we musts feel this!  We cannot control our emotions we can only control our responses.  If a situation causes you distress containing to feel anxious is not a spiritual or moral failure.  However we can hold to hope!  We can trust that even in the bad God can work good for us and produce a more faithful life.  
  • What is a hardship you have grown from?  
  • Can you count it as joy?  
  • How can we do this with the really hard things?
This is not an easy teaching and feeling hurt or sadness over a situation is not wrong but we can still focus on the hope we have and find joy right along with the sorrow.  Remember Jesus was know as a man acquainted with many sorrows.  But even in the cross he found joy in offering it to the Father.
And remember in verse 5-8 we have a model for how to gain this sort of wisdom.
Pray for the wisdom to see God at work even in your hardships today!

Day 2
Poverty and Riches (1:9-11)
  • How are the lowly brought up in Christ?
  • Think about what the poor must depended upon to get by.  How does this impact their faith?
  • How are the rich brought low? 
  • Think about the faith of a rich person.  Is it tried as often as the poor?  
There are many people in the world who live on less than one American dollar a day!  How do you think that would impact your faith?
Pray for God to teach you how to in faith depend upon Him and the wealth of this world.  Consider how you might financially show God you trust Him over wealth.

Day 3
Trial and Temptation (1:12–18)
D Day in WW2 was all about establishing a foothold in Europe.  Once accomplished the tide of the war began to turned.  The beach was the easiest to defend and hardest to take.  Once the Allied Forces breached that defense it became increasingly harder to hold them back.  It is recorded in the history books that had a Panzer Division near by been given orders to move in the invasion would have been impossible and the fate of the war uncertain.  

Sin when it first tempts us is at its easiest to defeat.  An evil thought, a temptation to the eye.  Pushing the thought out with prayer and a turning of the head and our attention is easy enough.  But when we entertain the thought of the sin we give it a foothold in our hearts.  This is James's point in v14-16.  A desire awakes in us greed, pride, rage, lust, laziness, and so on.  At the desire stage we can reject it by giving it to God.  Cry out NO run away! But when we dwell upon it it grows in our heart like a corrupt child of sin.  This is the disturbing imagery James uses.  And the maturity of that sin is death.
  • How do you guard the peninsulas of your heart and mind?
  • What desire tempts you most?
  • How can you find ways to keep yourself from dwelling upon this sin child?
  • IF this sin where to come to full maturity what death would you experience? A relationship? Wise stewardship? Your integrity? Purity? what would die?  
But always remember God brought Jesus back from the dead to gain victory over death and sin for you. In those sin deaths of your life give them to God and He will bring Resurrection through Jesus!  This is powerful point of 17-18.  James does not leave us without hope!

Day 4
Hearing and Doing the Word (1:19–27)
  • What has the power to save our souls in this passage?
  • What action described in v19 and 20 hurt or help the work of God's righteousness?
  • What do you think it means to welcome with meekness the implanted word?
James is a book famous for imploring us to not just know and accept Jesus and his commands but to live them!  Martin Luther disliked James for this reason because he argued faith alone saves us.  And we do believes this but how can we say we really believe if we do not put into action what God commands?  
  • If you say you believe but never put God's word into action do your really believe?
Verse 26-27 gives a summary of Pure Religion.  
  • How does James summarize it and how are you living it?

WEEK 2
Day 1
Warning against Partiality (2:1–13)
So we may baulk at this blatant display favoritism.  Giving good seat to the rich.  But ask yourself this...in the positions of your heart who do you allow to sit close to you?  Do they all look, think, and sit in the same basic income bracket as yourself?  Often our social circles reflect less the Kingdom of God and more our personal social and economic position.
  • What difference would there bein the church if social circles expanded or we engaged with those who looked, believed, and loved differently than ourselves.  If we sat with them for awhile?
  • Would Sunday morning remain the most segregated hour in America?
  • Would we maybe understand the cries of our neighbors more?
  • Would they know us better?
  • Would it bring healing to communities if God's people where committed to sitting next to each other no matter our differences?
Today ask God to help you connect with those outside your social circles.  Maybe even pray for people who would stretch you a bit!
P.S.
2:13 is a powerful passage.  Take time to reflect on its impact.  What is it to show mercy?  And where is it needed most in your own life?  
Ask God to show you the mercy you need and to show you the mercy you need to offer.

Day 2
Faith and Works (2:14–26)
Now we come to the great debate!  Faith or works?  James leans on works.  ITs hard to argue with Scripture but some scripture argues with itself!  What do we do in moments like this?  

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
James 2:20 ESV
Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
Romans 3:28 ESV
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law
James 1:22 ESV  
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Galatians 2:16 ESV
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Titus 3:5 ESV
He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

How do we make sense of this?
Is one set wrong and another correct?  OR is something deeper going on here?
If I say I trust you I put my faith in you.  But if then I do not show this with my actions do I really trust?  If I say I believe in Jesus but never putting his teachings into practice is that trust?  You may genuinely believe Jesus is Lord but belief and trust are two different things.  I believe much that I do not build my life around.  Could this be James's point?  We can say all we want that we have faith but if we do not put that faith in to action or works as James says do we truly trust?

Consider today how you can show your faith.  What step is God calling you to live out in your works that you have not stepped into?  Pray for God to show you how to put your faith into works.

Day 3
The Tongue (3:1–12)
Ahh perhaps what James is best know for the rebuke of the human tongue!  
First there is a caution not to take on positions that draw judgment.  I (Pastor Rob) used to think this meant a harsher judgement from God for those who teach, preach etc.  After nearly 20 years in ministry I realize what James is saying, when you take a leadership position people will judge you.  And after all people aren’t perfect and to be in leadership means to have flaws revealed and perhaps judged.  Please when you think of your pastor remember James 2:13!  So there is this caution for us who would lead.  But a good word for a Pastor, teacher, leader or anyone is to realize as our mouth goes so we go!

Like the rudder of a ship moves a giant vessel so the tongue can take us in directions for good or bad.
In verse 5 and on James elaborates on this theme comparing the tongue to a flame.  Consider how a poorly timed word or a bit of gossip or judgment can harm.  Not only this but as the metaphors ends in discussion of fresh or brackish water our tongue pollutes the good in our words when we mix it with evil.  To have evil talk discredits much that is good.
Is there a place your tongue needs to exercise more caution?
How can you use your words as a blessing today?

Day 4
The Wisdom from Above (3:13–18)
James says that gentleness is born of wisdom.  Why does wisdom bring about gentleness?
When we discern our own flaws we are more likely to show kindness to others.  When we fully understand how much mercy God has given us we are not quick to judge or condemn others but in sympathy extend our mercies.
When unwise we think better of ourselves then we ought to and then as James shares certain undesirable qualities assert themselves: envy, selfish ambition, disorder, and wickedness.  When we see these creeping in we’ve lost the wisdom of God.  
The wisdom of God brings peace and a willingness to yield, to give mercy, and to produce good fruits.  Good fruits being a rightness of heart and actions in our lives.   Then develops Righteousness in us.  And all of it begins with humility, which is gained from knowing God’s mercies in your life.
Pray today that God will reveal the many mercies he has shown you through Jesus.
Pray that this will humble your heart and give you deep mercy and gentleness towards others in their faults.

WEEK 3
Day 1
Friendship with the World (4:1–10)
James takes us to task in this passage!  But notice the source of this strictness.  God is jealous for us!  It is out of love that we are rebuked.  As the Scripture says, God disciplines His children.  James is urging us to not be of two minds.  It is a theme throughout James.  We are not to just have faith but we put that faith into action (2:14–26).  We aren’t meant to just hear scripture but we to go and live it (1:19-25)!  We should not only say we believe but we show it by living at peace with those around as far as it is under our control.  And that we choose the things of God over the riches of this world.
What do you think it means when James says, Do not be a friend of the world?
James calls the friend of the world who claims to be of faith ‘double minded.’  Are there double minded aspects to your faith you need to repent of?
Again James gives the command to be humble.  In humility we are exalt.  As you meditate on this why do you believe humility leads to being exalt?  Who in the Bible can you think of that humbled themselves and it lead to being exalted?

Day 3
Judging a Brother (4:11–10)
We are not to judge.  James cannot make it anymore clear.  When we judge who does James imply we are taking the role of?
Yes, it is the judge and who is the Judge of the Law?
This is a strong warning and a heavy accusation of what we accomplish when we judge.  Treat each other with humility and gentleness.  This will help you avoid the great sin of placing yourself in the Judge’s seat and as 2:13 reminders us...as we judge we receive no mercy but as we give mercy so we receive it!

CONT. Warning against Boasting (4:13–17)
Again James gives us reason to be humble.
Two great themes run through out James:
Not being double minded: hear and act on scripture, have faith and live it out, have mercy but also give mercy
Humility: the above is accomplished through humility.  Humility is found in recognizing our need for God and avoiding judgment of others.

Day 4
Warning to the Rich (5:1–6)
This warning is for those who exploit their wealth or influence.  Be careful wealth is a subjective thing.  It isn’t always about cash flow.  Perhaps you have influence over others how are you using it?  Maybe people trust you are you being a good steward of that trust?  If not we must be careful for in the end all our actions will be judged.
Patience and Prayer (5:7–20)
If there is a third theme to James it would be living peaceably with one another.  James and many of the early Christian leaders were concerned with divisions in the church of many sorts.  They wished for the church to be one.  It is not a new concept that we might be divided in our thinking.  But all of us are unity in Christ.  This is a big take away from James.  Humility will allow us to leave at peace with one another and to continue to accomplish the work of the Gospel.

V 13 and following is another golden passage from James.  A call to pray for one another.  Have you prayed for your church today?  For those who suffer?  If so bless you!  If not please take time to pray for your church and those you live in community with today!

DISCIPLE'S PATH
Disciple: 
A follower of Jesus whose life is centering on loving God and loving others.
Discipleship Path: 
A structured means by which we grow as disciples.
Mount Olive: 
a place of transformation helping us on our journey of faith.

Defining a Relationship: a means to measure your growth as a disciple
  • Exploring: (acquaintances) I believe in God, but I question if I can know God in a  personally way. 
  • Growing: (Friends) I believe in Jesus and I am working on what it means to get to know him.
  • Close: (Good Friends) I feel really close to Jesus and depend on him daily for guidance. 
  • Centered: (Intimate Friends) My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life.  It guides everything I do.

Spiritual Growth Markers: 
indicators that growth is occurring in your journey
  1. Better Choices
  2. Greater Determination
  3. Improved Empathy
  4. Deepening Desire
  5. Growing Influence
  6. Improved Relationships
  7. Increased Shalom (intimacy with God, others, self, creation)

Faith Obstacles : 
Number one obstacle: Its not a Priority.
Number two: Not having or ignoring your church's discipleship path process

Ways to Grow: 
tools that encourage growth in your Spiritual Growth Markers
Two major types: Devotional Life & Life of Service
The United Methodist Book of Worship summarizes both types with these five words:
(Devotional) Prayers - Presence - (Service) Service - Gifts - Witness
NOTE: There is no hard line as to what is solely devotional or solely service.  Prayer can certainly be service and gifts can certainly be an act of devotion. 
Family Connect 
We are excited to share about an opportunity for each of your families to help us connect with others in our community! Our Mt. Olive Family Ministry is hosting a community Facebook group called Family Connect . This is a place for anyone who is investing in the next generation as a parent, grandparent, extended family member, guardian or caretaker to receive support, resources for encouragement and prayer. This group will be updated weekly beginning January 20th. Help us share this with others by joining the group and inviting friends and others in our community who we can support. All are welcome!