- Faith in Christ does not mean a carefree life. “Whenever you face trials of many kinds” the scripture says. Not IF but WHEN.
- Faith in Jesus Christ shows us HOW to face our problems. I used to climb Mt. Baker. The standard climbing route is a long hike. You need stamina, but it is not technical. Most of the time nothing goes wrong. I once met a climbing party as we were descending that were so foolish because they were doing so many things wrong: wearing jeans, heading to the top late in the day, flimsy shoes, few supplies. They made it to the top and back down again in one piece. But they were fools. Here’s the thing about climbing Mt Baker: you need to know what to do in case something goes wrong. Climb enough, and something will go wrong. You will be caught in a storm. You will slip. This is why you come to a book like James, to learn basic survival skills of faith when you are suddenly faced with trials. You will likely make it to the top of Mt. Baker and back wearing jeans, but if it should start to rain jeans get wet and take away body heat. Most days you will make it through the day fine, but someday a crisis will hit. The phone call will come. An accident will change your world.
James is a basic survival manual of the Christian faith. These are basic principles to keep you alive. A few of the things we talked about last week:
Years ago a new family moved into Nooksack. For some reason, after a few months of knowing him, he got on the topic of hell. Every time he saw me he’d want to talk about hell. After a while I ran out of things to say! The man was persistent; I got to the place where if I saw him in the store and could avoid him, I did. I was tired of hell! Most people are far more practical in what they want to talk to me about ~ few people want to talk about nuances of theology. Most people who call me for advice or informal counseling are desperate to keep their head above water. They are just looking to survive, a broken relationship, overwhelming depression, loneliness, falling one more time into the pattern of addiction, feelings of hopelessness. I.e. they want to talk about their life as a living hell!
This is the book of James: A Survival Manual. James is like the Boy scout Handbook of the Bible ~ when lost in the wilderness, you don’t need a scientific explanation of heat and oxygen, you just need to know how to start a fire. You just need to know some basic knots. Getting out of the cold. How to survive. This is James: A Survival manual. How to survive when you are alone, feeling lost, confused… James is not only HOW to survive the wilderness, but how to survive it well. I appreciate a quote from Catherine Booth that makes an awesome summary of James: “The Waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.” The message of James is going from barely surviving to thriving.
Carl Crouse, Pastor
At SACC we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every Sunday the worship service includes a message from the Bible. My words are an attempt to understand and apply the Bible to our daily living. I post weekly sermons and other biblical messages on this page. May you find meaning and hope as you read through each message and seek to hear God's voice. Leave a comment to ask questions or inspire others with your insights.