Summary: To encourage the believer as they prepare for eternity.


George E. Crumbly (Sunday AM)

April 9, 2006 UMC Humphrey Arkansas

James 4

My sister in Florida sent me an email this week of an interview with Rick Warren regarding his new book “Purpose Driven Life.” He started off by saying:

”People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven”.

It made me do some serious thinking about life. Not just about life in general but thinking about MY LIFE!! You see one day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

It is so easy to get so caught up in living down here that we forget about living up there. Man pretty much EXPECTS things to be hunky-dory down here. The scripture the Lord has given me today is actually scripture you would use during a funeral.

James 4: verses 12-17

There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor? 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money." 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist (“vapor”KJV) that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions & trillions & trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until we figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense. (most folks no matter how evil do want to make sense out of life)

Life is a series of problems: Either we are in one now, just coming out of one, or getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in our character than our comfort. (we have so much to look forward to going to heaven)

God is more interested in making our life holy than He is in making our life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness. (the Lord never ever promised me that I would be rich, or happy BUT He did promise me that he would be with me to the end)

RICK WARREN: “This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer”. He goes on to say: “I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life”.

I believe personally that no matter how good things are in our life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in our life, there is always something good we can thank God for.

We can focus on our purposes, or we can focus on our problems.

I’ve learned that if I focus on my problems, I will go into self-centeredness, "which becomes my problem, my issues, my pain." It can very easily & very quickly become all about ME….. Life is not about me or you or my problems….Life is ALL ABOUT GOD!!!

One of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get our focus off ourselves and onto God and others.

RICK WARREN: We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

We have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. Sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. Something Rick Warren said in the interview led me to read the first 10 verses of our text this morning:

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