Yesterday in church Pastor Johnny preached on James 5:7-12. His sermon title was "Difficult Times: God's Promise Based on Hope." I'm sure this wasn't an easy thing to preach or may have trouble understanding if you haven't gone through a difficult time or aren't living it presently. Pastor Johnny said that James uses words that cause us to look in every direction for answers:
1. Look Upward. 7
2. Look Inward. 8-9
3. Look Backward. 10-11
4. Look Forward. 12
Then he gave us 4 Don‘ts as we deal with what to "be" during difficult challenges:
1. Don‘t focus on the situation, or you will be filled with anger.
2. Don‘t focus on yourself, or you will be filled with self-pity.
3. Don‘t focus on someone to blame, or you will begin complaining.
4. Don‘t focus on the present, or you will miss the point of what God is wishing to achieve in your life.
Next Pastor Johnny did something he had never done before. At the end of the sermon Pastor Johnny, asks those who have fallen on hard times (lost their job, their house, sickness, whatever) to stand. He then asks the rest of us to encircle each of these people as we pray for them. Then he did something I still can't believe. He asked all those people to come forward that have needs to tell the church and the church would meet that need. What?! You mean we can do something more for them than just pray? We pray for people many a time that God would meet their needs never thinking that we the church could be part of His answer. I am proud of Pastor Johnny for having the faith to obey God. He didn't get bogged down in the details of how will this flesh out - how will the church do this - nope he just did it. And let me say it wasn't just a hand full of people that stood for prayer and that went forward it was over a hundred probably more like 200. I'm sure you are thinking, well sure your church has the means to do this but not all churches have the means to meet these peoples greatest financial need. Your right, but I'm sure Pastor Johnny wasn't sure where the money would come from or how it would all come together. But God answered during the invitation. The church asked (not Pastor Johnny) to give a second offering. What?!!! in a baptist church! Two offerings in one service! YES! it happened! I was a witness! Wow! Did that really happen? Not just the second offering but the church meeting the needs of it's own? Yes. I am thinking of my friend, who is without a job, a single mom of two, who was blessed by her church yesterday. Pastor Johnny says "We can go to church or we can BE the church." Thank you God for using us yesterday to help meet the needs of our brothers and sisters. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
You can go here to see the service. You can also click here to check out the sermon notes.