Monday, January 7, 2008

Blog Message Part 1, "Crash Test"


Experience the Journey blog message, Part 1, "CRASH TEST"
(our series is adapted from a study on James done by Rick Warren)
James 1:2-6

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."

All of us experience wrecks in our lives. The problems in life many times can overwhelm us and cause us to want to take a permanent pit stop on the Spiritual Journey that God has invited us on. We're going to take some time this week during the blog messages to talk about those wrecks. First things first. There are some realities that we have to face when we are dealing with our wrecks, whether we caused them or not. Every wreck that we encounter is a crash test that we must face that can alter our lives forever. Here are 4 things that you can wrap your life around even if you feel like your skidding out of control.

1. (WRECKS) PROBLEMS ARE INEVITABLE

"... whenever you face trials ..."

Scripture doesn't say, "If you encounter problems consider it joy" but whenever -- count on it, you're going to have problems. If you don't have problems, check your pulse. It is a fact of life. Jesus said "In the world you will have tribulation." Peter said, "Don't be surprised when you have problems." Count on it. Problems are not an elective in life. They are a required course. You don't get out of them by saying you don't want to have any problems. Nobody's immune.

2. (WRECKS) PROBLEMS ARE UNPREDICTABLE.

James says, "...whenever you face problems ..." The word "face" in Greek is "peripipto". It literally means "to fall into unexpectedly". It is the same word used in the story of the Good Samaritan where the man fell among thieves -- it was unexpected. Trials are not planned. We seldom can anticipate the problems we're going to experience in life. That's probably good because if we could anticipate them we'd run the other way and we wouldn't get the benefit from them. We don't plan to have a flat tire, or a crisis. They are unplanned and unpredictable -- when we least expect them. That's what makes a problem a problem. Often it's inconvenient when you fall into it suddenly.

3. (WRECKS) PROBLEMS ARE OF MANY KINDS.

"... trials of many kinds ..."

They come in all shapes and sizes. One thing about problems, you don't get bored with them. There are a wide variety of them. Have you ever tried to match paint? The word in the Greek for "many kinds" is literally "multi colored". There are problems of many shades and varieties. They vary in intensity, they vary in variety, they vary in duration. Some are minor inconveniences. Some are major crises. We have all kinds and shapes of problems.

4. (WRECKS) PROBLEMS ARE PURPOSEFUL.

"Realize that they come ... to produce in you..." (Phillips)

They have a purpose. Pain can be productive. Pressure produces. Suffering can accomplish something. Crash tests are truly tests. It has value in our lives. What value? Come back tomorrow and we'll talk about the 3 ways that the wrecks in your life can add value to you.