Tag Archives: James 1

Making Great Decisions

This is Ortberg on the 8th June 2014, transcript is here.

We make 70 decisions a day, 25,000 a year and 1.7million in a life time.  Decisions and the wisdom to make them are one of the most vital things in our life.

Begins with the story of Solomon, and wisdom being the thing that we ask for the most.

I really loved the use of James 1:5 – if any of you lacks wisdom then ask God – that God is in the business of not resolving circumstances with easy answers, of sending us postcards, of creating unthinking clones; God is not in the circumstance generating business as much as he is in the character generating business.

Uses the story of Elijah in 1 Kings to talk about the dangers of making decisions when you are fatigued (although not sure that quite fits with the passage, as Elijah doesn’t make any decisions, and doesn’t do what God ends up asking him).

Continue reading

You don’t know the truth about you

On looking at our blind spots and coming to terms with who we really are.

9th March 2014 and transcript is here: http://www.mppc.org/sites/default/files/transcripts/140309_jortberg.pdf

Talks about David and Bathsheba and our infinite capacity for self deception:

Talks about the scriptures and also brilliant picture of Eustace from CS Lewis, and how he is painfully transformed.

Plunge into the pool of grace which stings and smarts and makes us better.



I want my life back : Reclaim your marriage

John Ortberg with Rick Blackmon talking about marriage.

What is the hardest thing about marriage?

Difference.  Without a doubt.  We become more different the longer we are married.  The time we are least different is when we start out, but we become more different as time goes on.  Difference is gender, background, personality and values.

As difference happens, then so does conflict.  And Rick’s job is about repair.  If someone wants to avoid conflict, he tells them they have come to the wrong place, but if they want to repair, if they want to do good quality repair, then he can help.

Ortberg then talks about the presence of sin in a relationship.

Blackmon uses the acronym CRAFT to talk about relationships.  He says that the difference and learning to live with it is the biggest factor in a relationship.  You cannot have a relationship without difference, and possibly the time we are least different is when we get married, and we become more different as we get older.  In such times, difference will lead to conflict, and conflict can lead to good quality repair.

C – Conversation mode, stay out of the bird brain (the reactive core) and get into the cortex.  This often requires calming down and taking space.  These are the Proverbs references

R – Remember, remember the times of conflict and remember that you will not remember them in the same way.

A- Is about accepting difference, the Hilary Clinton thing I think is in here

F – Forgiveness – two kinds of sorry, Oops and Genuine sorry, good set of things here about things that we have to say sorry for because of bad intention (round about 23 minutes).

Then says we are good at saying sorry but not so good at forgiving.  Gets people to say “I forgive you to each other”

T – Transformation – that this is part of how we change



Boastful, slanderous, proud, not lovers of the good – being sinful is about loving the wrong stuff Wholeness


Unforgiving – talks about Christian women who refuse to forgive each other and cannot even begin to pray to ask God to take them on the journey of forgiveness.


Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst – Paul did not, John Stott writes, make a careful inventory of every sinner, but rather what he did was to become so vividly aware of his own sin that he could not conceive of anyone being a sinner like him (1 Timothy 1:15)


The talks about Peter urging us to stay clear of these things which make war against our soul (1 Peter 2:11) – soul language often seems soft for us (for the “granola crunchers”) but really it is about war.


Soul is what integrates, what connects, and so the Psalmist says to God, Bless the Lord Oh my Soul (Psalm 103)


The use of “Double minded” in James 1:8 and James 4:8 is really a criticism of those with a double soul.


What are the desires that wage war against our soul:


The desire to put ourselves where God belongs –

References “The Honest truth about dishonesty: How we lie to everyone  – especially ourselves”, and talks about the way that dishonesty grips us.


There are things there like for example the way that grandmothers are in danger at the time that their grandchildren face exam deadlines, or the way that we blame the traffice.


He cites one remarkable example were students were asked to memorise the ten commandments and this caused their behaviour to change, even though they didn’t’ believe in it.


The law of the law is perfect – reviving the soul (Psalm 19)


And then there is the “What the hell effect” – when we just give up on lying and just go for the lie, and the interesting use of language here, that this is spoken of as hell.


This is the route that we go down if we do not look after our souls, we end up being destroyed, instead we need to ask for help in looking after our souls.

All In: Healing

November 13, 2011, PDF is here:


Looks at the categories of healing in the Jesus story.  There are the sick, there are the healthy and there is the doctor.

Looks at the way that Jesus heals in Matthew, and how the conversion of Matthew is surrounded by a whole group of healing stories, suggesting that Matthew’s conversion is also a healing story.

Then looks at sin as the thing which we need above all to he healed from. There are three dimensions to sin which we need to be aware of. Continue reading

What Is Up And What Is Down

2 mins What would you do if someone gave you a script of a child’s life just after it was born. You read on that script that the child would experience a reading difficulty in primary school, in secondary school one it’s close friends would die, in the later life it would loose a fabulous job and loose a limb in a car accident.

What if you were given the opportunity to edit the script at the start of the child’s life. Which parts would you edit out.

We belong to the generation of what is called “Helicopter parents”, who like to swoop in and fix everything whenever a child of yours is having a difficult time, who like to steer away our children from difficulty. Talks about the example of a mother who appeared at the door, collecting sweets because their own child found it too wet to do trick or treat.

Lines in the Bible about suffering seem almost insulting by comparison:

Consider it pure joy when you suffer James 1:2

Momentary Troubles – 2 Cor 4:17

6 mins Start to tell the story of Joseph, that he grows up in a difficult and hostile family dynamic and is slow to cotton on. He has the dreams, and you want him to have the social intelligence to keep quiet, but he keeps telling the family “I had a great dream.”

Then Joseph is sold into slavery and all the dreams are shattered.

11-13 Most of us live in an illusion called normal life, and we believe that jobs, popularity, health are the things which make us secure, and then something happens which takes those things away.

15 mins We could ask the question “Why me?” or “Why not me?” or “Whose fault” – Joseph would have had many people that he could have blamed.

18 mins 40 When he lost everything, God was with Joseph.

Various stories of pain and suffering.

The people in these situations would trade all the growth, for the source of the pain to be gone, or for the pain undergone by their children, they would trade all of that. But they do grow.

Joseph – was he a thinker of a feeler – talks about all the weeping that he does. Talk about Jesus weeping.

25 mins If Joseph had been a helicopter Dad he would not have let any of this happen to Joseph.

30 mins We have a God who weeps, and there is nothing else like this in other major world religions.

When someone starts out as a psychotherapist they are told to have a packet of tissues around their office. This is so that when someone starts to talk and the emotion becomes overwhelming, they can be passed these to wipe away their tears. A psychotherapist would always allow a person to wipe away their own tears. To wipe someone’s tears for them is something very intimate, we would only be able to do this for a very few people.

In Revelation 21 however we read that Christ will wipe away the tears from everybody’s eyes. This incredibly intimate moment is what awaits us in the New Heaven.