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There is an amusing story from General Stonewall Jackson's famous valley campaign. Jackson's army found itself on one side of a river when it really needed to be on the other side. After telling his engineers to plan and build a bridge so the army could cross, Jackson called in his wagon master telling him that it was urgent that the wagon train cross the river as soon as possible. After leaving the generals quarters the wagon master started gathering all of the logs, rocks, and fence rails that he could find and imediately
built a bridge across the river.

Long before daylight, General Jackson was shocked to receive word that his wagon master had the entire wagon train and artillery on the other side of the river. They had all crossed over. General Jackson asked where the engineers were and what they were doing. The wagon master's only reply was that they were still in their tent drawing up plans for a bridge.

The old saying comes to mind: "When all is said and done . . . there is more said than done." Just as only talking about a problem or an obstacle does not resolve it, neither does only talking about faith change or resolve anything. We need to see action.

Throughout scripture, it appears the Lord expects us to put our faith into action. The book of James is this kind of book —a Christian handbook if you will—describing how our faith becomes evident to the world through our actions. We are going to spend the summer looking closely at this amazing book during our Sunday morning sermons.

Jesus warns against those who would simply say, "Go and be blessed," while not supplying the person's present physical need. He asked, "What good does that kind of faith accomplish?" People around us should know that we are followers of Christ not just because we tell them we are, but by our consistent demonstration of God's love for others through our everyday actions. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Most of us are aware of the phrase, “You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” Now, do not get me wrong here, words are incredibly important. Never underestimate the power of words:
-A judge speaks and a man is either released or condemned.
-A physician speaks and a person either undergoes surgery or goes home.
-A government official speaks and millions of dollars are spent or withheld.
-A preacher speaks and an individual can move from death to life.

Words are powerful. Words can bless us and words can hurt us. At times words can even cut us in half. However, there is another old saying we know well, “Actions speak louder than words.” Another way to say it is, do something besides just talk about it. That comes pretty close to summing up the book of James.

Starting in June, we will be looking at this book verse by verse. There was much to teach the new followers of Jesus 2,000 years ago and there is still a great deal for us to learn today. Talk is Cheap.
Actions speak louder than words. You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk. Buckle up, we are about to put our money where our mouth is.

[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church Preaching Minister]


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