Summary: Quickly, get the shoes and take off. Glad we missed that events. That minister is crazy! Me visit the nursing home! Give me a break.
THEME: REAL RELIGION MAKES A REAL IMPACT ON A PERSON’S LIFE
TEXT: JAMES 1:27
The women of the congregation were trying to pull my hands from the pulpit in the church building. My family never went to church with Brent and me. Every Sunday my family would drop Brent and me after at the local church building. To this day I still have no clue which denomination it was. The parents would take us to Bible Class and then pick us up after Sunday school. We never attended the worship services. At the age of 12, this was the last time I would attend church until I was 18.
On this particular Sunday the family dropped me off for Sunday school. For some reason unknown to me even at this time I decided to skip class. Instead I spent the hour running around outside of the church building while the other students were learning. I was looking in windows and causing other types of mischief. Finally, one of the ladies came out and grabbed me and took me inside. There I waited until my mother came to pick me up. When the hour was over one of the ladies was going to march me outside to inform my mother of my behavior. But I knew that this was one walk that I did not want to make. So I bolted towards the pulpit and grabbed a hold of it for dear life. If you could have been there that day you would have witnessed me kicking and screaming and crying as I was fighting of the women trying to grab my legs.
Finally, after some of the theatrics died down. I knew I had one chance. If I could run to the door jump in the car and get my mother to drive away everything would be alright. So I took off running for dear life to the door with a woman after me. I jumped in the car and took my mother to go quickly. Everything would have worked well if it was not for the woman behind me waving and screaming to get my mother’s attention. The lady informed my mother of my behavior. That was the last time I attended church for the next 6 years. Some people run away from religion.
James 1:27 is a verse that causes people to run away from real religion. The verse states “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James provides a partial definition of what real religion is. The terms pure and undefiled are similar in meaning. Pure represents cleanliness and undefiled means freedom from contamination. Religion that performs these following functions of caring for the widows and the orphans is a belief system that is not spotted with human impurity of selfishness. God can see the thoughts of the heart. When the Lord looks down upon our true motivations he can see us uncovered by pretext. James tells us the religion that is pleasing to God the father is a working and serving religion. There is no fooling the Lord. He knows if a person’s heart is in the right place. James states that if a person is truly converted to God than is actions will prove his thoughts in his heart. Pure religion is living a life that visiting the nursing homes and orphan homes. James 2:17-18 “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
Unfortunately, religion is filled with self-satisfaction. People are not dedicated to service and action but more on fulfilling the flesh. In the typical youth group or church there are more people attending services than are traveling to the nursing homes. The numbers of teens increases for pizza devotionals than singing at the orphan homes. Many times the bus heading towards the ski resort is packed while the car heading to the service project has empty seats.
One spring we were going to have a spring clean up day at church for the youth group. There were other service projects that the youth did which often no one to one or two teens would show up for. This seemed sad because many times there would be fifty teens for the annul ski trip. So this time, I told the teens and the parents that every child is expected to be there for the spring clean day. I understood some of the teens had prior commitments so I allowed the parents to simply write a note to let me know about this prior obligation. The reason I did this was that I was going to pick a fun event that a teen that did not show for the clean up day could not go on. Since the teen was too busy to serve than they must be too busy for the fun stuff in the youth group. I thought that the parents would have supported this action but there was a lot of complaining against my actions. In fact all we did was clean out a storage building on the church property and move some storage from a storage unit that the church had to rent. In fact this saved the congregation 75 dollars a month. But some of the parents were upset with this work. They came to me to let me know that their children should not clean up this building because there could be spiders in there that could hurt the teens. It was too dangerous of work for them to do. Maybe they were right. It is wrong to risk a child’s life to clean up a storage building. It could have been serious hurt. Maybe even more than a spider bit, a teen could have cut him or broke a bone. There are hundreds of dangers in working. Maybe I should have cancelled the work day. But I could not help wondering why the parents did not send their children on the dangerous ski trip that winter. Trees, other skiers, bones, concessions, there are hundreds of dangers associated in skiing. Wonder why no one complained about that trip?