Summary: We’re going to look at three phases of James’ life. Some of you may be able to relate really well to this. We’re going to look at James, the skeptical brother; James, the saved sinner; and James, the servant Leader.
And To Think I Called Him "Crazy"
Preached by Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
October 29, 2000
Introduction: I’m excited about what we’re beginning this morning. I think our study of the Book of James is vitally important to the life and health of our church, especially in these early stages. As I mentioned last week, the Book of James is my favorite book in the Bible. Verses in this book have brought me the greatest encouragement in some of the darkest days of my life.
The Book of James, as we will see, is incredibly practical. The book addresses so many issues that are relevant to life in today’s society. Not only is practical and relevant, but it is also encouraging, challenging, and convicting. During our study of this book we will address such issues as authenticity in our faith. We will tackle issues like temptation, anger, gossip, favoritism, procrastination, dealing with wealth, church leadership, and the list goes on. We’ll take a serious look at an issue that differentiates biblical Christianity from every other religion—the relationship between faith and good works.
And we’re going to take our time. This might be the first time some of you have studied the Book of James, or any book of the Bible, for that matter. It’s important to me that I not simply preach to you, but that I also study with you. My hope is that we will grow together in our faith as we study this great book.
This morning we’re going to take a look at the historical background for the Book of James and we’re going to take a close look at the life of the author. We’re going to look at three phases of James’ life. Some of you may be able to relate really well to this. We’re going to look at James, the skeptical brother; James, the saved sinner; and James, the servant Leader. But before we do that, I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about a particular phrase.
This phrase, which is comprised of only three words, can cause the burliest of men to shudder. This phrase seems to negatively affect only the males of our species. Now ladies, just because this phrase seems to apply to men only, this illustration is representative of an issue that is important to both genders.
The three words in question seem to have a much greater effect on the male psyche when read, as opposed to being uttered. Simply saying these three words to a man will usually result in nothing more than a tilt of the head and an accompanied look of curiosity.
But have the average man read this short phrase on a pamphlet, box, or carton and you will almost immediately see his jaw tighten and large beads of sweat cover his forehead. “So, what’s the phrase?” You ask.
“Some assembly required!” I am going to share with you a story that is common to those men, like myself, who are afflicted with an aversion to the before-mentioned phrase. This common story, however, is of the type rarely shared publicly, and is usually reserved for conversations with only the closest of friends.
Several years ago, my oldest daughter, Michelle, was given a small plastic tricycle for Christmas. It came in a small box and the picture on the side showed a smiling little girl on a little tricycle. I was expecting to open the box and remove a ready-to-ride tricycle. Then a short phrase in small print on the side of the box caught my eye. “Some assembly required.”
With several relatives looking on, not to mention a little girl who was dying to ride her new toy, I purposed to get the bike together in record time. With the confidence of a master mechanic (which I’m not), I tore the box open. I emptied the contents onto the floor and picked up the single page instruction sheet. I glanced at the piece of paper, and then smugly tossed it aside. “I’m not going to waste my time reading the instructions on so simple a project.” I thought.
Before I knew it, an assembled bike sat before me. I cautiously scanned the living room floor, checking for those annoying extra parts that some manufacturers insist on putting in their products. To my surprise and relief, there were none.
As I reveled in my victory over “The Phrase,” I noticed that the finished product looked a bit strange. Then I noticed why. The handlebars were on backwards. My stomach knotted as I manipulated the little tricycle, all the while assuring the onlookers that it just needed a few minor adjustments.
After several moments, I picked up the instructions, found my mistake, and conceded defeat. Oh, don’t worry. My daughter wasn’t disappointed. By the time I finished tearing the bike apart, replacing parts, and putting it back together; she had a new toy to ride. The finished product, of course, cost almost twice what I originally paid for it. If only I had read the instructions!