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1 How Faith Works Trials Handout Yesterday, we kicked off a new series called "How Faith Works."  It's a 9-week study of the book of James.

Our first topic was "How Faith Works in Trials" from James 1:1-8.

Lots of stuff to talk about, so let's get to it:

  • Why? Why? Why? — I had a NUMBER of people ask me why (partially tongue-in-cheek) that I would speak on the subject of TRIALS. Like the series would be the catalyst for problems to be unleashed in people's lives. I don't think so. But I wouldn't put it past God to wait to unleash some real doozies until we've been equipped to handle them!
  • What a Whisper — A wonderful man walked up behind me during the last song before I spoke and whispered that he had been coming to Grace for a short time (though we hadn't met yet) and he was so looking forward to the series. You see, he has four young kids and his wife died two months ago from a long, debilitating illness. He was really looking forward to hearing "How Faith Works in Trials." Wow.
  • Vocabulary Confirmation — One of the many reasons people believe James the half-brother of Jesus is the writer of James is the vocabulary.  Read James speech in Acts 15. Even the unique word translated "Greeting" in Acts 15:23 is the same word we find in James 1:1.
  • Dealing with Trials — There are four stages we grow through in how we deal with trials in faith.
    1. Escape — Get me out of here, God! Psalm 13
    2. Lesson — What are you teaching me, God? 2Cor 1:3-11
    3. Patience — I am waiting on you, God. James 1:2-4
    4. Joy — I am counting this trial as joy, God. Acts 5:40-41
  • You Complete Me — Yes, it's true. Sufferings complete us. 1 Peter 5:10.
  • How God Uses Trials – Jami Campbell sent me this illustration of how God uses trials (with credit to lurganbaptist.com where she found it): "An old dog fell into a farmers well. After considering the situation the farmer decided that neither the dog or the well was saving so he decided to bury the dog and put it out of its misery. When the farmer began shoveling the dog went hysterical. But as the farmer kept on shoveling, and the dirt hit the dog’s back, a thought struck the old dog. Each time a shovel of dirt hit the dog’s back he would shake off the dirt and step up. No matter how painful those shovels of dirt were, the old dog fought pain, he just kept shaking it off and stepping up. Finally, the dog, battered and exhausted stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. What he thought would bury him actually benefited him because of the way he handled it."
  • A Wisdom Reset — Here are some thoughts on wisdom that hit the cutting room floor:
    • Getting more wisdom is better than getting more money (Prov 8:11)
    • The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom (Prov 1:7)
    • Christ IS the very wisdom of God (1Cor 1:24)
    • Rely on GOD'S wisdom, not your own (Prov 3:5-6)
  • How Stuff Works — We kicked off the series with reference to the HowStuffWorks.com website. (Kudos to Jim Shrader for the idea.) Check it out; it's pretty cool. I was reminded afterward that one of our own, Kevin Allen, works for the website now. I don't hold it against them. 🙂 For HowFAITHWorks though, hang with us in our study of the book of James!
  • Various Takes — Here is some feedback we received on the day:
    • "Tim, today’s message was powerful. Including me, I guarantee you spoke to a lot of people today that are going thru trials.  I measured my faith during and after this message and I was blind sided. I am at the escape level and that floored me. I knew this was going to be an important series for me and others. Thank You Thank You for letting the Lord use you!!!!! There will be some changed people after each message – I’m already there – I can’t even explain it."
    • "Great sermon series! Looking forward to the rest!"
  • Small Group Opportunity — There's still time to join a small group for a short time to discuss the book of James.

 If you want to read ahead for next week, we are covering James 1:9-18 and talking about "How Faith Works in Temptations."