Summary: This is the 3rd "F" on how to fly with spiritual engine failure: ask God for wisdom to FIX the problem.



A. Illustration: Apollo 13 lifted off 2:13 PM April 11, 1970 [Apollo 13 web site]. James Lovell, John Swigert, Fred Haise read their instruments at 55:52:31 into the flight. The master caution light was triggered by low pressure in hydrogen tank #1. At 55:54:57 oxygen tank # 2 read off-scale; in plain language, it exploded. At 55:55:20, or 10:08 PM, April 13, command module pilot John Swigert speaks: “OK, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Oxygen tank #1 line had ruptured; service module bay cover #4 was blown off. All oxygen stores were lost in 3 hours; along with water, electric, & propulsion systems. Swigert’s voice was incredibly calm, but did not express joy. You may remember that Apollo 13 successfully returned at 1:07 PM, April 17th. Success relied on a combination of addressing the problem, gettig help, and trusting the advice of the control center.

B. The Bible does not tell us to be happy in times trial.

1. But we can express joy when our faith is tested in difficult times.

2. James offers counsel on how to deal with problems when our spiritual engine fails.

Read JAMES 1:2-6


A. There are many ways to address problems

1. Illustration: North Dakota Indian tribe wisdom[, 9-27-03]: If you discover you are riding a dead horse, dismount.

2. We often expand this basic tribal wisdom in our church life and personal life.

a. If we find ourselves on a dead horse, we simply change riders.

b. Or we do nothing: “this is way we’ve always ridden dead horses.”

c. We can, of course, hire someone to ride the dead horse for us.

d. Some might form a committee to study the horse & see how dead it really is.

e. Liberals would merely re-classify the dead horse as “living impaired.”

f. Accountants would declare that since the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is no strain on the budget.

g. Bureaucrats would promote the dead horse to a leadership position.

B. The most effective way to address any problem is to consult God’s Word.

1. This message is the 3rd in a series of 5 F’s what to do if have spiritual engine failure.

a. #1 was to FLY the plane; let Jesus be pilot

b. #2 was to FIND a safe place to land, something God does best.

2. Today, #3 is FIX the problem.

a. In aviation, pilots are taught to troubleshoot in an appropriate order.

b. For example, if the VSI (vertical speed indicator) stops working, check the altimeter to see if you’re losing altitude, look at the tach to see if you are low on power, and look out the window.

3. For trials & tribulations of life, James offers a 3-step troubleshooting procedure.

THESIS: God’s AAA troubleshooting procedure will fix the problem:

Admit there is a problem; opportunity to learn (v 2)

Ask God for wisdom (v 5)

Acknowledge that God’s way is the only way (v 6)



1. James says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (v 2).

a. Literally "pure joy" comes from a Greek root word meaning "calm delight."

b. It does not suggest we have to be happy when we face trails & temptations.

c. Rather, to have calm delight in knowing the testing faith results in perseverance (v 3).

2. Too many folks have the stuffing beat out of them, to the point they are not able get up.

3. Illustration: Chippie the parakeet was minding his own business in his cage [Max Lucado, In Eye of Storm 1991]. The wwner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. When she turned to answer the phone, Chippie was sucked into the vacuum. The bird was retrieved, covered in soot & dust; the held under running water to clean it. Chippie was now wet & shivering, so the owner blasted him with hot air from a blow dryer. The story was reported in the local paper. After few days, the reporter contacted the owner to see how Chippie was doing. “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore – he just sits & stares.”

4. All of us at one time or another probably felt like Chippie.

a. We denied self, took up our cross & followed Jesus (Matt 16:24).

b. Suddenly without warning, trials & temptations hit us.

c. We were so burdened that we felt helpless.

5. What we need is a beatitude of victory not an attitude of defeat.

a. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the helpless, for theirs is the kingdom heaven (Matt 5:3).

b. The test of faith produces perseverance (v 3).

c. Perseverance conveys the image of cheerful, hopeful endurance, to finish its work (v 4).

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