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This weeks announcements: 


  1. Mark your calendars for Fireman's Festival - Saturday, July 27th! Every year our church participates in Olivet's event by passing out free food & fellowshipping together! It's a great way to serve our community and meet new people!  You can sign up to volunteer HERE or sign up in the lobby at the giving table.
  2. We will be having a Next Step class on  Sunday,  August  4th at 9am.  If you would like to learn more about City on a Hill, this is the class for you!  You can learn more and sign up here.
  3. Plan on joining us  for a picnic at Shrontz Park after service.  There will be plenty of food, so don't worry if you didn't bring something!

The Book of James: Finding Purpose in Our Pain

Speaker: Pastor Steve Byrens

James 1:2-3 (NLT), “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

LIFEPOINT: The promise that “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation” gives us confidence that He will finish His perfect work in our lives!
 
Everywhere we look, people are making claims about life and how we can make ours better. Everyone from celebrities, to sports heroes, to social media newcomers, all claiming to know the secret to the good life. And with a national election coming up, the politicians are all telling us that if we will just vote for them, our lives will be so much better! But talk is cheap. Way too often we find out the promises that sounded so good, were empty and hollow. People frequently say one thing, but then go out and do something completely different.
 
Sadly, we’re sometimes guilty of this as Christians. We make important claims like: Jesus is the only answer! or God is good, all the time! But then we seem to deny those very same claims by the way we live our lives. The author of the Book of James takes a very different approach when it comes to the things that give our lives meaning and purpose. He doesn’t offer us any short cuts or easy three step methods for success. Instead, he deals with the realities of life in this world in a way that points us back to the counter-cultural message of Christianity. And in the process, he doesn’t hold any punches: There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. The path often takes us through seasons of pain and suffering. Thankfully, after challenging us toward maturity, James records a power promise from our Lord: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.” This promise means we can trust that Jesus will finish His perfect work in our lives!

In His Service
Pastor Steve

Sermon Notes

“Not everybody who grows old, grows up. There’s a vast difference between AGE and MATURITY! Ideally, the older we are, the more mature we should be; but too often the IDEAL does not become the REAL!” - Pastor Mark Copeland

Author / Date:
  • James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John
  • James, son of Alphaeus - Another of the apostles
  • James, father of Judas the apostle
  • James, the brother of Jesus - Ancient tradition believes he is the most likely one to have authored this epistle

Purpose:

LIFEPOINT: The promise that “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation” gives us confidence that He will finish His perfect work in our lives!

James 1:1-12 (NLT), “This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. 9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”


We usually think of suffering as something that happens to us separately from God's work in our lives. But James wastes no time in dismissing that idea. He completely flips the script by telling us that suffering is actually an important part of God's redemption in our lives.


Three truths that will help us find joy in the midst of our trials:

1) Believers will experience seasons of pain in this life

John 16:33 (NLT),I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Romans 8:17 (NLT), “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

1 Peter 4:12 (NLT),Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”

When we know that suffering is part of God's plan, we can be more prepared to trust in His sovereign goodness.


2) Believers experience growth through the seasons of pain

James 1:3-4 (NLT), “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Endurance itself isn't the final goal. Spiritual maturity and being shaped in the image of Christ is our final goal!

Romans 8:28 (NLT), “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”


3) Believers ultimately experience victory over trials
 
James 1:12 (NLT), “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”


LIFEPOINT: The promise that “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation” gives us confidence that He will finish His perfect work in our lives!

God will make sure that we will have the strength we need to endure these trials. They will be for our good and for His glory!

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