Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do You Test Well?

On Tuesday morning I shared that I had yet to lock in on a topic for Sunday's message. Well, I'm happy to announce that I will be starting a series through the book of James that may be called, "The Life You Were Meant To Live".

Today I spent quite a bit of time just reading and re-reading the first part of chapter one. I heard about one preacher that refused to start writing his sermon until he had read the passage some 30 to 40 times. Though I don't go that far, I do enjoy "moving in" on a text. It's amazing what finally pops off the page after the fourth or fifth reading. I also enjoy reading from a variety of translations just to change things up a bit.

And I must say, I've taught this passage before, but today I as I read this familiar passage, it felt more alive and more real then ever before. For those unfamiliar with the opening verses of James 1. It reads, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

I found interesting the authors word choice. He said "when" trials come, not "if". Life happens and trials come. Sometimes it's a lump in your oatmeal. Other times, God forbid, it's a lump on your breast. As Christ followers, I think it matters how we respond to these trials. We can either become bitter and ballistic or we can experience the presence of God while knowing that every trial has the potential to mature us and make us more like Jesus.

My prayer is that the world sees a noticeable difference in how Christians respond to life's lumps. I also hope they see that it is only through Jesus that it is even remotely possible to experience joy in the midst of pain.

If only all knew that that was the life we were meant to live.


Sandi said...

Amen! I'm still working on going ballistic............(when that happens, I KNOW I AM JUDGING...instead of witnessing. the being bitter has eased through the Grace of God.........

God isn't finished with me yet.

Can't wait to listen to your message Chad Aunt Sandi

Jana said...

I know your heart will be into this sermon given the lumps you've had to take in the past year. Looking forward to Sunday and hearing what you've got to say. I think I'll give the book of James a re-read this evening.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Jesus! God is awesome! He has read my heart and responded because this is a prayer answered for me. I cannot wait to hear it and then let it soak in.


Anonymous said...

James is my favorite book! I have had my fair share of unexpected lumps this year. I must admit my initial reaction was self-pity and at times anger - but what I have learned (and it is still ongoing)is that when I shift the focus off of myself and put it back on God and only focus on worshipping Him for who He is can I find healing. He is all powerful, my creator, He is my redeemer and restorer, He is my father, He is Holy...and the list goes on. But when I focused on praise, I began to be filled with such peace. When I started focusing on just how great our God is, I began to remember that nothing is to big for Him - and He has a plan and a purpose for my life.

Psalm 71:6-8

God Bless, Sara

Keith said...

Well there needs to be pure joy happening in our household right now. Doesn't feel like but we will try and look forward to Sunday to point the way to joy during trials for us.

Sandi said...

Keith, we will pray for you.