The Foundation

series: Streams of Living Water

teacher(s): Dawn Bender & Chris Hooten

date: March 22, 2018

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Below are links to .PDF documents 

Below is a link to the Examen Prayer that we practiced.

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James 5:13-20

series: Practice

title: James 5:13-20

teacher: Jacob Bender

Don't ever give up on people!!!

James ends his epistle by saying: 

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. 

And I think that it is so significant that, like we have said the whole series, James is wisdom literature. It is practical stuff that shows us THIS IS WHAT YOUR LIFE LOOKS LIKE. and in Christian communities, we always are to gently, and lovingly restore one another when people get off track… but if there was no wisdom literature…

if there was no practical sense of how we apply the the gospel to our lives… then there would be no gage as to how people are even on or off course… 

and so I think that it is so significant, that James lays out throughout the entire epistle what it means to PRACTICE living a life that has been transformed by Jesus… and he ends by telling us “sometimes people are going to stray from this… and when that happens… there is nothing of more value than you and I walking alongside of them, and helping bring them back.” 


James 4:13-17

series: Practice

title: James 4:13-17

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: Thursday, November 16, 2017

I recently saw an episode of the humans of New York video series (the video is on this page under resources) they were interviewing this lady and what she said really struck me… it stayed in my head a long time

She was saying that when she was younger, she was raised to believe that life was going to be a rose garden... she was a good kid, did good in school, listened to her parents, and from the sounds of it, was basically told that because of all of that…

because she did what she was told,

that life was hers... but then she said:

“But it wasn’t a rose garden. And it isn’t for anyone… and that is too much for some people to handle…”

The implication was that when people grow up, and life does not go the way that they are lead to believe that it will when they were younger, that reality has the power to break people, and it destroyed some of the people she knew… 



they didn’t know how to handle a life that didn’t end up the way they felt they were promised that it would.

Then she continues and speaks a question into the camera:

“how do I handle it?”

then she said: 

“I remember that I was told that, by people who loved me... and who really wanted that for me.”

When the words of the people returned void, the heart behind them kept her out of the path of bitterness… which is an easy road to travel down when things aren't going your way, or the way that someone else made you believe that they would. 

And as I read this passage over and over this week… her story kept coming to my mind. Those last words kept repeating…

“They really wanted that for me.”


Great intentions that lead to disappointment

And I want us to understand that going into this… in chapter 3, James talks about the power of the tongue… your words create worlds… they create realities for people, and they can create delusions for people… which is why we, especially as leaders, need to be so careful with how we speak the words that we speak to others… we need to watch the promises that we make, while at the same time inspire people to do the work of the ministry.

Not because of where we are all going... but because we are called to go there, wherever it is, together.  


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CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast  by Pastor Peter Haas that was referenced in this message.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast by Pastor Peter Haas that was referenced in this message.

Below is the commercial for the episode of Humans of New York that was referenced at the beginning of this teaching. 

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Below are other messages about the power of our words. 

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Though this EQUIP session is hard on "vision"because of the way that it can be used to manipulate people - we are a church that believes in vision, and in working toward what God puts on our hearts. The following teachings are Courage Church vision messages, and are provided here as a way to add balance to your study.. 


Addiction (the church's response)

title: Drug & Alcohol Addiction: The Church's Response

date: October 31, 2017

teacher: Jeff Bonzelaar


Pastor Jeff Bonzelaar, the Metro Section Presbyter spent a Tuesday morning with us teaching about how drug and alcohol addiction and ways that the church can respond to this typically unspoken issue that exists in all of our neighborhoods, and likely in most of our churches. 

Make sure that you also check out the Q&A session that we did at the end, where Pastor Jeff answered some of difficult questions about this epidemic. 

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The following resources were recommended by Pastor Jeff if you want to study this topic further. 


James 3:1-12

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series: Practice

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: October 19, 2017

scriptures: James 3:1-12, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 26:17-26

“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
-Charles Finney
James is concerned to point out ‘the responsibility of teachers and the dangerous character of the instrument they have to use’.
— J.H. Ropes
There is no good preacher who is not moved almost to the point of tears at the end of every sermon at how poor was the message he just delivered.
— Charles Spurgeon

I have seen the way that my words have been an instrument for good… an avenue for salvation and hope…

and I have used my words as weapons…

wrecking havoc where I go, and causing people more hurt and more problems than I ever imagined I was capable of. 

Proverbs (12:18) says that “Reckless words pierce like sword.”

- in other words, words absolutely are weapons and they can be used to cause more destruction than you can ever even imagine… 

So learning how to use that instrument… that is crucial.

Especially if you are teaching. 

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James 1:1-4


series: Practice

title: James 1:1-4

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: September 14, 2017

scriptures: James 1:1-4


We aren’t given the luxury of hindsight when it comes to our dreams, unless we are living in the past. 

a lot of us still dream about the way things used to be, because it was good… and God was in it… 

but sometimes we miss what God is doing NOW,

because it doesn’t look like what he was doing, THEN. 

Jesus says (Matthew 9:17):

you can’t put old wine into new wineskins. 

He says that when you do that, the skins burst, and the wine spills… 

and just this morning, as I thought about this verse… I realized something so simple about it... its not profound at all, but it shook me a little, because I have a lot of great stories... I have had a LOT of fun over the years...  and a lot of times I look back wondering how do I create something “like that” again? 

but Jesus says that if you put new wine into old wine skins, the skins burst, AND the wine spills. 

which would mean that BOTH ARE WASTED.

both are ruined… both are useless. 

You see, if you live in the past, you are destroying it… you are actually damaging those memories and you are destroying its power… because it wasn’t meant to be relived over and over, the Bible says that “God is doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) - and if you spend your whole life trying to relive what was, missing out on what is… I would argue that it in many instances it would have been better had you NEVER HAD THAT ORIGINAL EXPERIENCE in the first place… it is debilitating to always look backwards. It robs you of your future when you long for the past

and when you do that, you aren’t honoring the past, you are letting it distort your hope for a future. 

if the past doesn’t spring board you into what is next, then I DARE SAY THAT those moments can be counted as lost. 

So here is to a future that is shining its own light, no matter how bright the light of our past used to be. 

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Brad Reed - Discipleship

July 2017

Pastors Brad and Stella Reed are the lead Pastors of the New York Dream Center, and are pastors/overseers to Pastors Jacob & Dawn here at Courage. They joined us in Detroit the last week of July (2017) where Pastor Brad did two teachings (Sunday Morning, midweek service for the 4 days mission trip) and Brad and Stella did a private Q&A with us that is all included here. 

a note from Pastor Jacob: 

I was absolutely thrilled that we had the opportunity to have Pastor Brad here in Detroit with us teaching about discipleship... because I learned just about everything that I know about Discipleship from Brad Reed. His life is dedicated to this one subject... it is who he is, he is a disciple maker. There are countless stories of lives who have been changed through his ministry, and I believe that He will raise up more pastors and world changers than he will ever be able to count or even give himself credit for.