It isn’t that often that I’d choose to write a blog about a sermon series BEFORE Pastor Josh preaches on it (typically I need to steal all the answers from him! ) but I just couldn’t wait till after this series to talk about it! I urge you, if you’ve gotten into a slump and missed a few weeks, months, or years of church, THIS is the week to get back to Lakes Church! Set your alarm for 9:00 am (9:30 at the latest depending on where ya live) and get here by 10 starting this week!!!
Pastor will be starting a series called “The Book of James”. Some of you may be saying “so what? why is that a big deal!?!?” I would have said the same thing not long ago until I learned more about James.
At Lakes Church we start off every new year with 21 days of prayer and fasting. Every year I try to find a different part of the bible to read during this time. This year I decided to go to the back of the New Testament into what I call “the name books”. I’ve read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John enough times but I’ve never ventured into Peter, James, and the other John books. I’ve never really read the bible with the frame of mind of thinking about who the author is of each book. I’ve always just read it like it’s one big book, written by one overly zealous person! This time I wanted to realize that these books are from the authors point of view as to what this whole “Christianity” thang was about.
Looking at it this way, I quickly realized that James is totally someone I would have hung out with back in the day (at my house his nickname is “BB” which means “bible boyfriend” (may not be funny to some since I AM a married woman, but you get my point, James seemed like my kinda person!)
The book of James is only 5 chapters long so it’s an easy read (this week alone I have read it in 3 different versions just to get every last morsel of info from it!) as short as it is, it is jam packed with useful information! Just everyday knowledge that we all may know already but perhaps have forgotten along the way.
I’ve done a little research on who James was (sidenote: if you ever feel like the questions you have regarding the bible might make you look stupid if you ask them, I encourage you to look em up! So many things that I’ve wondered about (and didn’t want anyone to know I didn’t know), when I’ve researched em a little I’ve found that they are topics still debated by theologians and bible scholars. Makes me feel much better about my “stupid” questions!) Anyway, back to James. It is widely believed by most that James was the half brother of Jesus (some scholars still think it could have been one of the other James that wrote this book but popular belief leans toward the brother) The thing I loved most is that it appears that he wasn’t a “believer” till after the resurrection. I mean come on! His brother claims to be the “Messiah”! It’s understandable that he might have a hard time believing that! That’s why his words hold such a place in my heart! I won’t speak for any of y’all, but I know I’ve gone thru times in my life when I’ve doubted the whole thing! What if we Christians are wrong? Every religion around the world thinks they’re right so what makes us so sure?!? The story of James totally puts me back on track!
Stay with me here, I know I may be confusing to follow. I’m sure he loved his brother Jesus very much even if he didn’t buy into the whole “Messiah” thing. I could only hope for his sake that he didn’t have to witness first hand the horrible torture his brother endured before and during the crucifixion. But whether he saw it first hand or not, we do know that his mother was there when it happened so I’m going to guess he knew all about how horrible his brothers death was. Then he had a face to face visit from his brother proving that he had risen from the dead. Now, it’s easy to think of the people in the bible as not being real actual human beings. Let’s take a moment to really think about that from a human perspective! His heart is broken over the death of his brother, whom he played with as a child, the brother that the whole family had to turn around and travel back to Jerusalem for the year they forgot Jesus during passover (I can just hear my kids reaction to that if it were one of their siblings! and we have a car!!!! They were traveling by foot!!!!) I would imagine that these memories were swirling thru his head along with the thoughts of how his brother was horribly beaten and tortured in front crowds of people who yelled “hit him again!!!!”. As far as James was concerned, this was all for nothing! And then the day comes where his dead brother is standing in front of him, very much alive! WOAH!!!! Can you seriously imagine?!?! James then became passionate about spreading the word to everyone! For me, there’s no better example of the truth than when it comes from someone who didn’t believe at first (Take Paul for example)! Jesus had to make sure his brother knew the truth before he left this earth and what a way to make sure he did!!!!
If you’re following my point completely, it makes it kind of hard to have any doubt still, doesn’t it?
DISCLAIMER: I would never claim to be a bible scholar and I know you can’t believe everything you read on the interwebs so I suppose I could have this wrong. I did dig fairly deep tho and came up with the same story 9 times out of 10 🙂
To sum up my point: read the book of James in as many different versions as you can to make sure you get it!
Put it to use in your everyday life!
And come to Lakes Church this week to learn more about it! (series will go from 5/31/15-7/12/15)
It’s gonna be so good 🙂