Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
These are the words I’ve been reflecting on for the last few weeks, as I’ve been preparing for our series in the book of James in Student Ministry. These are the words I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach to a group of students who I’m sure are all facing varying trials in school, relationships, and/or at home. “Count it a great joy…whenever you experience various trials.” On its own, this seems like really bad guidance. “Oh, that thing you’re struggling with? Get excited about it!”. You go around saying that to someone without any context, you may as well present them your jaw for a good ol’ punch.
But what we need to remember is that we are not facing these trials on our own. God doesn’t say to us, “Okay, now, go through this really hard thing, I’m gonna sit here and watch, make sure you survive!” No, as we know from the Great Commission, that we’ve been reciting together as a church, Jesus finishes his time on earth by saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. Jesus is with us.
When we’re going through that trial, he’s standing there with us. He’s encouraging us and speaking to us to persevere. He’s given us His word to use as a backbone for our defence. We see Jesus, when he was tempted in the desert, he doesn’t overcome the adversary alone. He uses scripture to stand firm. And we also need to. God is with us. When we’re going through trials, God, in His grace, is saying something like, “Okay, you’re going through this hard thing, but don’t fear, I’m with you, you can overcome this, with my help”.
Now, I don’t wanna cut Jolene’s grass, but Hillsong released an album this year that had a song called Another in the Fire. And I want to leave you with it. When you’re going through something difficult, whatever the circumstance, remember that you are not alone. As it says in the song, “Should I ever need reminding, how good you’ve been to me. I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where you’ll be”
Mike Sanders, Youth Director
Do we trust God every day? I like to think that I try to, but when there’s a bump in the road, a disappointment or something doesn’t go as planned, I’m often questioning what happened and why. I might complain, feel the circumstances are unfair, doubt, or try things my own way.
In Sunday school, our grades 2-5 have been on the journey with Moses as he leads the people through the desert to the Promised Land. I can’t even imagine the pressure and sense of responsibility Moses must have felt each day. To be chosen to lead a group of people who were sometimes doubtful, disobedient and difficult, would be tough for sure.
This Sunday we are at the part of the story where Moses is punished. As you may recall, God had asked Moses to gather the people at the rock with his staff and to speak to the rock. Moses did gather the people there, but ended up striking the rock twice. Moses perhaps was frustrated and disobeyed God’s instructions. As a result, he was told that he wouldn’t be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land.
I can totally relate to some of the people in this story. I can see myself lacking in trust for God’s provisions and showing doubt….and even complaining. I can see how Moses may have had a moment where he thought his way was best and became frustrated.
Even with all that, God still loved and cared for Moses and the people. I believe God understands when we fall short or have feelings of fear and doubt. We can definitely trust Him to meet our needs everyday.
Tanya Chant, Director of Family and Childrens Ministry
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to Him.
Psalm 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.
In June of this year, the men at Calvary had the privilege of hearing Dr Michael Haykin speak at a Saturday morning breakfast. He gave several different stories regarding physical presence as being important for friendship, and one stood out to me. Recently Michael had injured himself so that he could no longer travel. As a professor in a southern US seminary, Michael would travel there to teach but since he could not travel, Michael used Skype to give the lectures. What he noticed was that while he was doing the distance education, no one asked questions or shared comments. It was not until he resumed going to the campus that the two-way dialogue resumed. Can you relate to his experience?
As a church, we need each other. Some members of our church are longing to come to church but cannot because of their health concerns. Do you have a similar attitude of longing, or are you satisfied just listening to a podcast or a video? These things are good for the short term but you need human touch, a friendly hello, to be helping someone, discipling someone and being discipled.
When live theatre, concerts, are lectures still a big part of our society, why do we have such an issue with meeting together regularly as a church? When you listen alone, sing alone, or pray alone you should miss the power and impact of corporate or small group prayer and worship. You should long for it.
I've included a link to an article titled, "Seriously, Go to Church". Please have a read, it is not long. Then let’s meet face to face to discuss why the local church should be important in our lives and what we can do to make it so. I’ll buy the coffee.
Please remember that being a Christian is not a solo event. We need each other ( I Corinthians 12).
Peter Klahsen, Elder Chair
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