April 2, 2020
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“A Faith That Handles Difficulties” with Pastor Rick Warren


– Hi, everybody, I’m Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church and author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and speaker on the “Daily Hope” program. Thank you for tuning into this broadcast. You know, this week here in
Orange County, California, the government announced
that they were banning all meetings of any kind, of any size until the end of the month. So welcome to Saddleback
Church in the home. I’m glad you’re here. And I’m gonna be teaching you by a video between now and whenever
this COVID-19 crisis ends. So welcome to Saddleback
Church in the home. And I wanna invite you
to follow me every week, be a part of these
worship services together. We’re gonna have music
and worship together, and I’ll be delivering
a word from God’s Word. You know, as I thought about this, by the way, first I need to tell you. I figured that they were
gonna cancel us meeting. And so this week, I had
the Saddleback studio moved to my garage. I’m actually taping this in my garage. My skeletal tech crew. Come on in, guys, say hi to everybody. (laughs) They helped move it over
here and set it all up so that we could talk to
you on a weekly basis. Now, as I thought about
what we should cover during this COVID-19 crisis, I immediately thought
of the book of James. The book of James is a very small book near the end of the New Testament. But it is so practical
and it is so helpful, and I call this book a faith
that works when life doesn’t. And I thought if anything
is needed right now, is we need a faith that
works when life doesn’t. Because it’s not working
very well right now. And so today, this week, we’re gonna begin a journey together that’s
gonna encourage you through this crisis. And I don’t want you to
miss any of these messages. Because the book of James
actually covers 14 major building blocks of life,
14 key issues of life, 14 areas that every single one of you have already had to
deal with in your life, and you’re gonna have to
deal with in the future. For instance, in chapter one of James, let me just give you a
little overview of the book. It’s only four chapters. Chapter one, it first
talks about difficulties. And we’re gonna talk about that today. What is God’s purpose for your problems? Then it talks about choices. How do you make up your mind? How do you know when to stay, when to go? How do you know what to do,
how do you make decisions? And then it talks about temptation. And we’ll look at how do you
defeat the common temptations in your life that seem to
keep causing you to fail. And then it talks about guidance. And it talks about how we
can be blessed by the Bible. Not just read it, but be blessed by it. That’s all in chapter one. And we’ll look at those
in the weeks ahead. Chapter two talks about relationships. We’re gonna look at how
do you treat people right. And with people having to stay home, all in the family together,
kids and moms and dads, and people are gonna get
on each others’ nerves. That’s gonna be an important
message on relationships. Then it talks about faith. How do you really trust God
when you don’t feel like it and when things are going
the wrong direction? That’s all in chapter two. Chapter three, we’re gonna
talk about conversations. The power of conversation. And this is one of the
most important passages in the Bible on how do
you manage your mouth. That’s important whether
we’re in a crisis or not. And then it talks about friendship. And it gives us very practical information on how do you build wise friendships and avoid unwise friendships. That’s chapter three. Chapter four is on conflict. And in chapter four, we talk about how do you avoid arguments. And that’ll be real helpful. As tensions rise and frustrations grow, as people are out of work,
how do you avoid arguments? And then it talks about judging others. How do you quit playing God? That would cause a lot
of peace in our lives if we could do that. And then it talks about the future. How do you plan for the future? That’s all in chapter four. Now, in the last chapter,
chapter five, I told you there were four chapters,
there are actually five chapters in James. We’re gonna talk about money. And it talks about how to
be wise with your wealth. And then we’re gonna look at patience. What do you do when you’re waiting on God? The most difficult room to sit in is in the waiting room when
you’re in a hurry and God’s not. And then we’re gonna look at prayer, which is the last message we’ll look at. How do you pray about your problems? The Bible says there’s a
way to pray and get answers, and there’s a way to not pray. And we’re gonna be looking at that. Now today, we’re just gonna
look at the first six verses of the book of James. If you don’t have a Bible,
then I want you to download off of this website the
outline, the teaching notes, because all the verses we’re gonna look at are there on your outline. James chapter one, the first six verses. And the Bible says this
when it talks about having to deal with your problems. First, James 1:1 says this. James, a servant of God and
of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes scattered
among the nations, greetings. Now, let me pause here
for a minute and say this is the most understated introduction of any book in the Bible. Because you know who James was? He was the half-brother of Jesus. What do you mean by that? It means he was Mary and Joseph’s son. Jesus was only Mary’s son. He wasn’t Joseph’s son ’cause
God was the father of Jesus. But the Bible tells us
that Mary and Joseph had many children later on,
and even gives us their names. James was not a Christian. He was not a follower of Christ. He didn’t believe his
half-brother was the Messiah during Jesus’ entire ministry. He was a skeptic. And you’d figure that,
younger brother not believing in an older brother, well,
that would be pretty plain. What made James a
believer in Jesus Christ? The Resurrection. When Jesus came back from
death and walked around for another 40 days and James saw him, he became a believer and
later became the leader at the Church of Jerusalem. So if anybody had a right to
drop names, it’s this guy. He could’ve said, James, the
guy who grew up with Jesus. James, the half-brother of Jesus. James, Jesus’ best friend growing up. Those kind of things, but he doesn’t. He simply says James, a servant of God. He doesn’t pull rank, he
doesn’t promote his pedigree. But then in verse two,
he starts getting into this very first issue of God’s
purpose in your problems. Let me read it to you. He says, when all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, don’t
resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends. Realize they come to test your faith, and to produce in you
the quality of endurance. But let that process go
on until that endurance is fully developed, and
you will become a person of mature character and integrity with no weak spots. That’s the Phillips translation of James chapter one, verses two to six. Now, he says when all kinds
of trials come into your life and they crowd into your life,
he said, don’t resent them as intruders, welcome them as friends. He says, you got problems, be happy. You got problems, rejoice. You got problems, smile. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You go, are you kidding me? Why should I be happy about COVID-19? Why should I welcome
these trials in my life? How is that possible? The key to this entire
attitude of maintaining a positive attitude in
the middle of a crisis is the word realize,
it’s the word realize. He said, when all these kind of trials crowd into your lives, don’t
resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends,
and realize, realize, they come to test your faith. And then he goes on, what it’s
gonna produce in their lives. What he’s saying here is
that your success in handling the weeks that are ahead of
us in this COVID-19 pandemic that’s now all around the
world, and as more and more nations are shutting down,
and they’re shutting down restaurants and they’re
shutting down stores, and they’re shutting down schools, and they’re shutting down churches, and they’re shutting down any place where people are gathering,
and like here in Orange County, where we’re not allowed to
meet with anybody this month. He says, your success in
handling these problems will be determined by your understanding. By your understanding. And by your attitude
towards those problems. It’s what you realize, it’s what you know. Now, the first thing in this
passage I want you to realize is that God gives us four
reminders about problems. You might wanna write these down. Four reminders about
problems in your life, which include the crisis
we’re going through right now. Number one, he says first,
problems are inevitable. Problems are inevitable. Now, how is he saying that? He says, when all kinds of trials come. He doesn’t say if all kinds
of trials come, he says when. You can count on it. This is not heaven where
everything is perfect. This is Earth where everything is broken. And he’s saying you will have problems, you will have difficulties,
you can count on it, you can buy stock in it. Now, this is not something
that James says alone. All through the Bible it says it. Jesus said in the world
you will have trials and temptations, and you
will have tribulation. He said you’re going to
have problems in life. So why are we surprised
when we have problems? Peter says don’t be surprised when you go through fiery trials. Said don’t don’t act
like it’s something new. Everybody goes through hard times. Life is difficult. This is not heaven, this is Earth. Nobody’s immune, nobody’s isolated, nobody’s insulated, nobody’s exempt. He says you’re gonna have problems because they are inevitable. You know, I remember one
time when I was in college. Many years ago, I was going through some really difficult times. And I started praying, I
said, “God, give me patience.” And instead of the trials
getting better, they got worse. And then I said, “God,
I really need patience,” and the problems got more worse. And then I said, “God,
I really need patience,” and they got even more worse. What was going on? Well, finally I realized
that after about six months, I was a lot more patient
than when I started out, that the way God was teaching me patience was through those difficulties. Now, problems are not some
kind of elective course that you have a choice to take in life. No, they’re required, you
can’t opt out of them. In order to graduate
from the school of life, you’re gonna go through
the school of hard knocks. You’re gonna go through
problems, they are inevitable. That’s what the Bible says. Second thing the Bible says
about problems is this. Problems are variable, that
means they’re not all the same. You don’t get the same
problem one after another. You get a lot of different ones. Not only do you get ’em,
but you get different ones. He says when you trial, when
you have problems of all kinds. You might circle that
if you’re taking notes. When all kinds of trials
come into your life. You know, I’m a gardener,
and I once did a study, and I discovered that the government here in the United States has classified 205 different kinds of weeds. I think 80% of them grow
in my garden. (laughs) I often think that when
I’m growing vegetables, I should charge admission
to Warren’s Weed Farm. But there are many kinds of of weeds, and there are many kinds of trials, there are many kinds of problems. They come in all sizes,
they come in all shapes. There are more than 31 flavors. This word here, all kinds, where it says there are all kinds of
trials in your life, it actually in the Greek
means multicolored. In other words, there are
a lot of shades of stress in your life, would you agree with that? There are a lot of shades of stress. They don’t all look the same. There’s financial stress,
there’s relational stress, there’s health stress,
there’s physical stress, there’s time stress. He’s saying that they’re
all different colors. But if you out and you
buy a car and you want a custom color, then
you have to wait for it. And then when it’s made, then
you get your custom color. That’s actually the word that’s used here. It’s a custom color,
multicolored trials in your life. God allows them for a reason. Some of your problems
are actually custom made. Some of them we just all
experienced together, like this one, COVID-19. But he’s saying problems are variable. And what I mean by that
is they vary in intensity. In other words, how hard they come. They vary in frequency,
and that is how long. We don’t know how long this is gonna last. We don’t know how hard it’s gonna get. I saw a sign the other day that said, “Into every life some rain must fall, “but this is ridiculous.” (laughs) And I think that that’s the way a lot of people are feeling right now. This is ridiculous. Problems are inevitable
and they are variable. The third things James
says so we’re not shocked is problems are unpredictable. They’re unpredictable. He says when trials crowd into your life, if you’re taking notes,
circle that phrase. They crowd into your life. See, no problem ever
comes when you need it or when you don’t need it. It just comes when it wants to come. That’s part of the reason it’s a problem. Problems come at the
most inopportune time. Have you ever felt like a problem came into your life, you go, not now. Really, like now? Here at Saddleback Church,
we were in a major campaign dreaming about the future. And all of a sudden the coronavirus hits. And I’m going, not now. (chuckles) Not now. Have you ever had a flat
tire when you were late? You don’t get a flat tire
when you got plenty of time. You’re in a hurry to go somewhere. It’s like the baby wets on your new dress as you’re walking out for an
important evening engagement. Or you split your pants before you speak. That actually happened to me one time on a Sunday a long time ago. Some people, they’re so impatient, they can’t wait for a revolving door. They’ve just gotta, they gotta do it, they’ve gotta do it now,
they gotta do it now. I remember many years ago I was in Japan, and I was standing at a
subway waiting for the subway to arrive, and when it
opened, the doors opened, and a young Japanese man immediately projectile vomited on me
as I was standing there. And I thought, why me, why now? They are unpredictable, they
come when you don’t need ’em. You can seldom predict
the problems in your life. Now notice, it says when
all kinds of trials, when, they’re inevitable, all
kinds, they’re variable, crowd into your life, that’s
they’re unpredictable, he says don’t resent them as intruders. What is he saying here? Well, I’m gonna explain
this more in detail. But here’s the fourth thing
the Bible says about problems. Problems are purposeful. Problems are purposeful. God has a purpose in everything. Even the bad things
that happen in our life, God can bring good out of them. God doesn’t have to cause every problem. Most of the problems we cause ourselves. People say, why do people get sick? Well, one reason is we don’t
do what God tells us to do. If we ate what God tells us to eat, if we slept like God tells us to get rest, if we exercise as God
tells us to exercise, if we didn’t allow negative
emotions into our lives like God tells, if we obeyed God, we wouldn’t have most of our problems. Studies have shown that about
80% of the health problems in this country, in America,
are caused by what are called chronic lifestyle choices. In other words, we just
don’t do the right thing. We don’t do the healthy thing. We often do the self-destructive thing. But what he’s saying is here,
problems are purposeful. He says when you encounter problems, realize they come to produce. Circle that phrase, they come to produce. Problems can be productive. Now, they’re not automatically productive. This COVID virus, if I don’t
respond in the right day, it won’t produce anything
great in my life. But if I respond in the right way, even the most negative things in my life can produce growth and
benefit and blessing, in your life and in my life. They come to produce. He’s saying here that suffering and stress and sorrow, yes, and even
sickness can accomplish something of value if we let it. It’s all in our choice,
it’s all in our attitude. God uses the difficulties in our lives. You say, well, how does he do that? How does God use difficulties
and problems in our life? Well, thanks for asking,
because the next passage or the next part of the verses say that God uses them three ways. Three ways, God uses problems
in your life three ways. First, problems test my faith. Now, your faith is like a muscle. A muscle can’t be strengthened
unless it’s tested, unless it’s stretched, unless
it’s put under pressure. You don’t develop strong
muscles by doing nothing. You develop strong
muscles by stretching them and strengthening them and testing them and pushing them to the limit. So he’s saying problems
come to test my faith. He says realize that they
come to test your faith. Now, that word testing
right there, that is a term in the Bible times that was
used for refining metals. And what you would do is
you’d take a precious metal like silver or gold or something else, and you would put it in a big
pot, and you would heat it to extremely high temperatures, why? In the high temperatures, all of the impurities are burned off. And the only thing that’s
left is the pure gold or the pure silver. That’s the Greek word here for testing. It’s the refining fire of
when God puts the heat on and allows that in our lives, it burns off stuff that isn’t important. You know what’s gonna happen
in the next few weeks? Stuff that we all thought
was really important, we’re gonna realize, hmm, I got along just fine without that. It’s gonna reorder our priorities, because things are going to change. Now, the classic example of
how problems test your faith are the stories that are
about Job in the Bible. There’s a whole book about Job. You know, Job was the
wealthiest man in the Bible, and in a single day, he lost everything. He lost all his family,
he lost all his wealth, he lost all his friends,
terrorists attacked his family, he got a dreaded, very
painful chronic disease that could not be cured. Okay, he’s terminal. And yet God was testing his faith. And God later restores him actually double what he had before he
went through the big test. At one time I read a quote
somewhere a long time ago that said people are like tea bags. You don’t really know what’s in ’em until you drop ’em in hot water. And then you can see
what’s really inside them. Have you ever had one
of those hot water days? You ever had one of those
hot water weeks or months? We’re in a hot water situation right now. And what’s gonna come out of
you is what’s inside of you. It’s like a toothpaste. If I have a toothpaste tube and I push it, what’s gonna come out? You say, well, toothpaste. No, not necessarily. It could say toothpaste on the outside, but it could have marinara sauce or peanut butter or
mayonnaise on the inside. What’s gonna come out when
it’s put under pressure is whatever’s in it. And in the days ahead as you
deal with the COVID virus, what’s gonna come out of
you is what’s inside of you. And if you’re filled with
bitterness, that’ll come out. And if you’re filled with
frustration, that’ll come out. And if you’re filled with
anger or worry or guilt or shame or insecurity,
that’s gonna come out. If you’re filled with fear
that’s, whatever is inside of you is what’s gonna come out when
the pressure is put on you. And that’s what he’s saying here, that problems test my faith. You know, years ago, I
met an old guy just really in a conference many years
ago back in the East. I think was Tennessee. And he, this old guy told
me how getting laid off was the greatest benefit in his life. And I said, “Okay, I
wanna hear this story. “Tell me all about it.” And what it was is he had worked at a sawmill all of his life. He’d been a sawmiller all of his life. But one day during an economic downturn, his boss walked in and suddenly
announced, “You’re fired.” And all of his expertise
went out the door. And he was laid off at 40
years of age with a wife and a family and no other
job opportunities around him, and there was a recession
going on at that time. And he was discouraged,
and he was fearful. Some of you may feel that way right now. You may have already been laid off. Maybe you’re fearing you will be laid off during this crisis. And he was pretty depressed,
he was pretty fearful. He said, I wrote this
down, he said, “I felt like “my world had caved in
the day that I was fired. “But when I went home, I
told my wife what happened, “and she asked, ‘So what
are you gonna do now?’ “And I said, well then since I got fired, “I’m gonna do what I’ve
always wanted to do. “Become a builder. “I’m gonna mortgage our home “and I’m gonna go into
the building business.” And he told me, “You know,
Rick, my first venture “was the construction
of two small motels.” That’s what he did. But he said, “Within five years,
I was a multi-millionaire.” That man’s name, the man
that I was talking to, was Wallace Johnson, and
the business that he started after getting fired was
called Holiday Inns. Holiday Inns. Wallace told me, “Rick,
today, if I could locate “the man who fired me, I would sincerely “thank him for what he did.” At that time when it
happened, I didn’t understand why I was fired, why I was laid off. But only later could I see
that it was God’s unerring and wondrous plan to get me
into the career of his choosing. Problems are purposeful. They have a purpose. Realize they come to produce,
and one of the first things they produce is greater
faith, they test your faith. Number two, here’s the
second benefit of problems. Problems develop my endurance. They develop my endurance. That’s the next part
of the phrase, it says these problems come to develop endurance. They develop endurance in your life. What are the result of
problems in your life? Staying power. It’s literally the ability
to handle pressure. Today we call it resilience. The ability to bounce back. And one of the greatest qualities
every child needs to learn and every adult needs
to learn is resilience. Because everybody falls,
everybody stumbles, everybody goes through tough times, everybody gets sick at different times. Everybody has failures in their life. It’s how do you handle pressure. Endurance, you keep on
keeping on and hanging on. Well, how do you learn to do that? How do you learn to handle pressure? Through experience, that’s the only way. You don’t learn to handle
pressure in a textbook. You don’t learn how to
handle pressure in a seminar. You learn to handle pressure
by being put under pressure. And you don’t know what’s in you until you’ve actually been
put in that situation. In the second year of
Saddleback Church, 1981, I went through a period of depression where every single week
I wanted to resign. And I wanted to quit
every Sunday afternoon. And yet, I was going through
a difficult time in my life, and yet I would put one
foot in front of the other as God, not get me to
build a great church, but God, get me through this week. And I just would not give up. I’m so glad I didn’t give up. But I’m even more glad that
God didn’t give up on me. Because that was a test. And during that year of trial,
I developed some spiritual and relational and emotional
and mental strength that allowed me years later
to juggle all kinds of balls and handle enormous amounts
of stress in the public eye because I went through that year of flat out difficulty, one after another. You know, America has had a
love affair with convenience. We love convenience. In the days and the weeks
ahead in this crisis, there are gonna be a lot of
things that are inconvenient. Inconvenient. And what are we gonna do with ourselves when everything isn’t comfortable, when you have to just keep on keeping on when you don’t feel like keeping on. You know, the goal of a triathlon
or the goal of a marathon is really not about speed,
how quickly you get there, it’s more about endurance. Do you finish the race? How do you prepare for
those kind of things? Only by going through them. So when you are stretched
in the days ahead, don’t worry about it,
don’t worry about it. Problems develop my endurance. Problems have a purpose,
they’re purposeful. The third thing that James
tells us about the problems we go through is that
problems mature my character. And he says this in verse
four of James chapter one. He says but, let the process go on until you become people
of mature character and integrity with no weak spots. Wouldn’t you like to have that? Wouldn’t you like to hear
people say, you know, that woman has no weak
spots in her character. That man, that guy has no
weak spots in his character. How do you get that kind
of mature character? Let the process go on
until you become people, men and women, of mature character and integrity with no weak spots. You know, there was a
famous study done many, many years ago in Russia
that I remember writing down, and it was on the effect of
how different living conditions affected the longevity or the
lifespan of different animals. And so they put some
animals in easy living, and they put some other
animals in more difficult and harsh environments. And the scientists
discovered that the animals that were placed in the comfortable and the easy environments, conditions, those living conditions,
actually became weaker. Because the conditions were
so easy, they became weaker and more susceptible to sickness. And those who were in comfortable
conditions died sooner than those who were allowed to experience the normal hardships of life. Isn’t that interesting? What’s true of animals I’m sure is true of our character, too. And in the Western culture
particularly in modern world, we’ve had it so easy in so many ways. Living lives of convenience. God’s number one goal in your life is to make you like Jesus
Christ in character. To think like Christ, to act like Christ, to live like Christ, to love like Christ, to be positive like Christ. And if that’s true, and the
Bible says this over and over, then God’s gonna take you
through the same things that Jesus went through
to grow your character. You say, well, what is Jesus like? Jesus is love and joy and peace
and patience and kindness, the fruit of the Spirit, all those things. And how does God produce those? By putting us in the opposite situation. We learn patience when we’re
tempted to be impatient. We learn love when we’re
put around unlovely people. We learn joy in the middle of grief. We learn to wait and have
that kind of patience when we have to wait. We learn kindness when
we’re tempted to be selfish. In the days ahead, it’s
gonna be very tempting to just hunker in a bunker, pull back in, and I said, we’re gonna take care of us. Me, myself, and I, my
family, us four and no more and forget about everybody else. But that will shrink your soul. If you will begin to
think about other people and helping those who
are vulnerable, the aged and those with preexisting conditions, and if you will reach
out, your soul will grow, your heart will grow,
you’ll be a better person at the end of this crisis than
you were at the start, okay? You see, God, when he wants
to build your character, he can use two things. He can use his Word, the truth changes us, and he can use circumstances,
which is much more difficult. Now, God would rather use
the first way, the Word. But we don’t always listen to the Word, so he uses circumstances
to get our attention. And it’s more difficult, but
it’s often more effective. Now, you say, well, okay, Rick, I get it, that the problems are variable
and they’re purposeful, and they’re here to test my
faith, and they’re gonna be all different kinds, and they
don’t come when I want ’em. And God can use ’em to grow my
character and mature my life. So what am I supposed to do? In the next few days and in the
weeks and maybe months ahead as we face this coronavirus
crisis together, how should I respond
to problems in my life? And I’m not just talking about the virus. I’m talking about problems
that’ll come as a result of being out of work or kids being at home or all the other things
that are upsetting life as it normally has been. How should I respond to
the problems of my life? Well, again, James is very specific, and he gives us three very practical, they’re radical responses, but
they’re the right responses. In fact, when I tell you the first one, you’re gonna go, you gotta be kidding me. But there are three responses,
they all start with R. The first response he says is when you’re going through tough times, rejoice. You go, are you kidding? That sounds masochistic. I’m not saying rejoice over the problem. Follow me on this just a minute. He says consider it pure joy. Treat these problems as friends. Now, don’t misunderstand me. He is not saying fake it. He’s not saying put on a plastic smile, pretend that everything’s
okay and it’s not, because it’s not. Pollyanna, Little Orphan Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow, it
may not come out tomorrow. He’s not saying deny reality, not at all. He’s not saying be a masochist. Oh boy, I get to go through pain. God hates pain as much as you do. Oh, I get to suffer, whoopee. And you have this martyr
complex, and you know, I only have this spiritual
feeling when I feel bad. No, no, no, God doesn’t
want you to be a martyr. God doesn’t want you to have a masochistic attitude toward pain. You know, I remember one
time I was going through a really difficult time and a
friend was trying to be kind and they said, “You know, Rick, cheer up “because things could be worse.” And guess what, they got worse. That was no help at all. I did cheer up and they did get worse. (chuckles) So it’s not about a fake
Pollyanna positive thinking. If I act enthusiastic,
I’ll be enthusiastic. No, no, no, no, it’s much,
much deeper than that. We don’t rejoice, listen, we
don’t rejoice for the problem. We rejoice in the problem,
while we are in the problem, there’s still a lot of
things to rejoice about. Not the problem itself,
but the other things that we can rejoice about in the problems. Why can we rejoice even in the problem? ‘Cause we know there’s a purpose for it. Because we know that
God will never leave us. Because we know a lot of different things. We know that God has a purpose. Notice he says consider it pure joy. Circle the word consider. Consider means to deliberately
make up your mind. You got an attitude adjustment that you’re gonna have to make here. Is it your choice to rejoice? In Psalm 34 verse one, he says I will bless the Lord at all times. At all times. And he says I will. It’s a choice of the
will, it’s a decision. It’s a commitment, it’s a choice. Now, you’re gonna go
through this months ahead with either a good
attitude or a bad attitude. If your attitude is bad,
you’re gonna make yourself and everybody else around you miserable. But if your attitude is good,
it’s your choice to rejoice. You say, let’s look on the bright side. Let’s find the things
that we can thank God for. And let’s realize that even in the bad, God can bring good out of the bad. So do an attitude adjustment. I’m not gonna be bitter in this crisis. I’m gonna be better in this crisis. I’m gonna choose, it’s
my choice to rejoice. Okay, number two, the second R is request. And that is ask God for wisdom. This is what you wanna do
anytime you’re in a crisis. You wanna ask God for wisdom. Last week, if you listened
to last week’s message, and if you missed it, go back
online and watch that message on making it through the valley
of the virus without fear. It’s your choice to rejoice, but then you ask God for wisdom. And you ask God for wisdom and you pray and you pray about your problems. Verse seven says this in James one. If in this process any of
you doesn’t know how to meet any particular problem, this
is out of Phillips translation. If in the process any of
you doesn’t know how to meet any particular problem
you only have to ask God who gives generously to all men without making them feel guilty. And you may be sure that
the necessary wisdom will be given you. They say why of all things
would I ask for wisdom in the middle of a problem? So you learn from it. So you can learn from the problem, that’s why you ask for wisdom. It’s much more helpful if
you’ll stop asking why, why is this happening,
and start asking what, what do you want me to learn? What do you want me to become? How can I grow from this? How can I become a better woman? How can I become a better
man through this crisis? Yeah, I’m being tested. I’m not gonna worry about the why. Why doesn’t really even matter. What matters is what,
what am I gonna become, and what am I gonna learn
from this situation? And in order to do that,
you’ve gotta ask for wisdom. So he says whenever you
need wisdom, just ask God, God’s gonna give it to you. So you say, God, I need wisdom as a mom. My kids are gonna be
home for the next month. I need wisdom as a dad. How do I lead when our
jobs are in jeopardy and I can’t work right now? Ask God for wisdom. Don’t ask why, but ask what. So first you rejoice, you
get a positive attitude of saying I’m gonna thank
God not for the problem, but I’m gonna thank God in the problem. Because God’s good even when life sucks. That’s why I’m calling this series “A Real Faith that Works
When Life Doesn’t.” When life doesn’t work. So I rejoice and I request. The third thing James says to do is relax. Yeah, just kinda chill
out, don’t get yourself all in a heap of nerves. Don’t get so stressed out
you can’t do anything. Don’t worry about the future. God says I’ll take care of you, trust me. You trust God to know what’s best. You cooperate with him. You don’t short-circuit the
situation you’re going through. But you just say, God, I’m gonna relax. I’m not gonna doubt. I’m not gonna doubt. I’m gonna trust you in this situation. Verse eight is the last
verse we’re gonna look at. Well, we’ll look at one more in a minute. But verse eight says, but
you must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts. What are you asking for in sincere faith? Ask for wisdom. And say, God, I need
wisdom, and I thank you you’re gonna give me the wisdom. I thank you, you are giving me wisdom. Don’t freak out, don’t doubt, but take it out to God. You know, the Bible says,
earlier when I pointed out that it said these many kinds of problems. You know, we talk about
they’re multicolored, many, many kinds of problems. That word in Greek, many kinds of problem, is the same word that’s
covered in First Peter chapter four, verse four that said God has many kinds of grace to give you. God’s many kinds of grace. It’s the same multicolored,
multifeatured, like a diamond. What is he saying there? For every problem that you have, there’s a grace from God that’s available. For every many kind of
trial and tribulation and difficulty, there is
a kind of grace and mercy and power that God wants to give you to match that particular problem. You need grace for this,
you need grace for that, you need grace for this. God says my grace is as multifeatured as the problems that you’re facing. So what am I saying? I’m saying that all the
problems that are in your life, including this COVID crisis, the devil means to defeat
you with these problems. But God means to develop
you through these problems. He wants to defeat you, Satan,
but God wants to develop you. Now, the problems that come into your life don’t automatically make
you a better person. A lot of people become
bitter people from ’em. It doesn’t automatically
make you a better person. It’s your attitude that
makes the difference. And that’s where I wanna give
you another thing to remember. Number four, the fourth thing to remember when you’re going through
problems is to remember the promises of God. Remember the promises of God. That’s down in verse 12. Let me read you this promise. James chapter one, verse 12. Blessed is the person who
perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of
life that God has promised, there’s the word, to those who love him. Let me read it again. I want you to listen to it very closely. Blessed is the person who
perseveres under trial, who handles the difficulties, like the situation we’re in right now. Blessed will be the person
who endures, who perseveres, who trusts God, who keeps
believing under trial, because when he has stood
the test, coming out on the backside, this
trial is not gonna last. There’s an end to it. You’ll come out at the
other end of the tunnel. You will receive the crown of life. Well, I don’t even know all
what that means, but it’s good. The crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. It’s your choice to rejoice. It’s your choice to
trust the wisdom of God instead of doubting. Ask God for wisdom to help
you from your situation. And then ask God for the faith to endure. And say, God, I’m not gonna give up. This too shall pass. Somebody was once asked,
what’s your favorite verse of the Bible? Said, it came to pass. And so why do you like that verse? Because when problems come, I
know they didn’t come to stay. They came to pass. (chuckles) And that’s true in this
particular situation. It’s not coming to stay,
it’s coming to pass. Now, I wanna close by this thought. A crisis doesn’t just create problems. It often reveals them,
it often reveals them. This crisis can reveal some
cracks in your marriage. This crisis can reveal some cracks in your relationship to God. This crisis can reveal some
cracks in your lifestyle, that you’re way pushing yourself too hard. And so be willing to let God speak to you about what needs to change
in your life, all right? I want you to think about this this week, and let me give you some
practical steps, okay? Practical steps, number one, I want you to encourage somebody else
to listen to this message. Will you do that? Will you pass this link on
and send it to a friend? If this has encouraged you, pass it on, and be an encourager this week. Everybody around you needs
encouragement during this crisis. So send ’em a link. Two weeks ago when we had
church in our campuses, at Lake Forest and all of our
other campuses of Saddleback, about 30,000 people showed up at church. But this last week when
we had to cancel services and we all had to watch online, I said, everybody go to your small
group and invite your neighbors and invite your friends
to your small group, we had 181,000 ISPs of our homes
connected into the service. That means maybe a half a million people watched last week’s message. A half a million people or more. Why, because you told
somebody else to watch. And I wanna encourage you
to be a witness of good news this week in a world that
desperately needs good news. People need to hear this. Send a link. I believe we could encourage
a million people this week if we would all pass on the message, okay? Number two, if you’re in a
small group, we’re not gonna be able to meet, at least
this month, that’s for sure. And so I would encourage you
to set up a virtual meeting. You can have an online group. How do you do that? Well, there are products
out there like Zoom. You want to check that
out, Zoom, it’s free. And you can get on there and
tell everybody to get Zoom on their phone or on their computer, and you can connect six
or eight or 10 people, and you can have your
group this week on Zoom. And you can see each other
face, like Facebook Live, or it’s like some of the others, you know, what’s on the iPhone when
you look at FaceTime. Well, you can’t do that with a big group, but you can do it with one person. And so encourage each other
face to face through technology. We now have technology
that was not available. So check out Zoom for a
small group virtual group. And actually here online you can get some information, too. Number three, if you’re
not in a small group, I’ll help you get into an
online group this week, I will. All you need to do is email me, [email protected] [email protected],
one-word, S-A-D-D-L-E-B-A-C-K, saddleback.com, and I’ll get you connected to an online group, all right? Then make sure if you’re a
part of Saddleback Church to read your daily newsletter
that I’m sending out every day during this crisis. It’s called “Saddleback at Home.” It’s got tips, it’s got
encouraging messages, it’s got news that you can use. A very practical thing. We wanna stay in touch with you every day. Get “Saddleback at Home.” If I don’t have your email address, then you’re not getting it. And you can email me your email address to [email protected],
and I’ll put you on the list, and you’ll get the daily connection, the daily “Saddleback
in the Home” newsletter. I just wanna close before I pray by saying again how much I love you. I’ve been praying for you every day, and I’m gonna keep on praying for you. We will get through this together. This is not the end of the story. God is still on his throne,
and God is gonna use this to grow your faith, to
bring people to faith. And who knows what’s gonna happen. We could have a spiritual
revival out of all this because people often turn to God when they’re going through tough times. Let me pray for you. Father, I want to thank you for everybody who’s listening right now. May we live the message
of James chapter one, the first six or seven verses. May we learn that problems
come, they’re gonna happen, they’re variable, they’re
purposeful, and that you’re gonna use them for good in our
lives if we’ll trust you. Help us to not doubt. Help us to rejoice, to request, Lord, and to remember your promises. And I pray for everybody that
they’ll have a healthy week. In Jesus’ name, amen. God bless you, everybody. Pass this onto somebody else.

Jean Kelley

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Sam Sund Posted on March 25, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    I just realized that the 2 last lines are everything that I've been praying for in years

    Reply
  2. 40bambina Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:21 am

    Pastor Rick, I can't remember when I really discovered you, but you have been a true lifeline for me. As I listen to this recent sermon I wanted to ask how to deal with a dishonest husband. I keep enduring the sexual immorality from him and it is absolute torture. Is GOD testing my faith with a husband that lust outside of his marriage? Does GOD truly want me to have patience with adultery? Please help me. I am so broken by this

    Reply
  3. Lucy Chweya Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Thank you so much, pastor Rick,

    Last year I decided to ask God for a second chance, I went online typed" seeking God ' among the first result were you series of your sermon, I have been following you since then and thank God for you whenever I remember to.
    once again thank you for this message.
    you are impacting people in the globe i am from Kenya

    Reply
  4. Tracy M Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:08 am

    Thank you Paster Rick for sharing God’s word, to show us how we use them with the troubles we are facing now! God use me for you sake. I will rejoice that you are never going to leave me, and you are never to tired to hear my troubles or worries. Trust, and know that I am God! ♥️

    Reply
  5. Tita Poblete-Hoffman Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Such amazing ! God has provided a confirmation to support the Inspiration that He put into my mind. Thank you Pastor Rick!

    Reply
  6. ken and courtney croan Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:31 am

    Thank you Rick for taking time to give a online bible study for the people. May your love continue to pay it foward in Jesus' name.

    Reply
  7. Malibu Sea Ridge Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:21 am

    I just wanted to let you know Pastor Rick that you have inspired me since 2005 when I had my first son. I was a part of your small group at Saddleback Church and lived in Garden Grove. I left to Arizona in 2011 and then moved to Wyoming from 2015 to 2020. But all this time I have been following you on YouTube and have also read your book the purpose driven life. You inspired me and helped motivate me to get through the toughest times of my life and brought me closer to GOD . I am finally back in orange county now after years of prayer and what really helped me was your video about Gods timing. I can’t wait to come back to church when this whole thing is over with COVID-19. I am hoping to become a member again you are the best pastor in the whole world and I thank you.

    Reply
  8. Araceli Martínez Posted on March 26, 2020 at 3:37 am

    I'm sorry but does anyone know which book is this in Spanish ? Thanks

    Reply
  9. Ryan Corrigan Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:19 am

    Great message thank you. Love from Canada.

    Reply
  10. John Geiger Posted on March 26, 2020 at 4:47 am

    Thank you Pastor Rick.
    We love you.

    Reply
  11. John Geiger Posted on March 26, 2020 at 5:01 am

    I see hard times and problems as an opportunity to point people to God and his son Jesus and save souls.
    When hard times and problems come to me I always think 'it could be a lot worse' so this issue I'm facing is nothing for this child of God to handle.

    Reply
  12. J Haalilio Heyer Posted on March 26, 2020 at 6:15 am

    Amen!🙌

    Reply
  13. 이용태 Posted on March 26, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Pastor Rick, many thanks for your relevant message. In South Korea, the covid19 pandemic is being mitigated with the help of the effective governmental handling and medical workers. However,I hear that the USA has a hard time in coping with this virus. Hope that this contagious disease is contained worldwide soon. I pray that you and your family and the saddleback church members are safe from the impact of the coronavirus and healthy. Let all the Christians be connected spiritually even in this pandemic so that we can be mutually strengthened. Thank you again,pastor Rick Warren.

    Reply
  14. etienne ngenza Posted on March 26, 2020 at 7:05 am

    God bless you Pastor Rick 🙏🙏 this sermon helped a lot "Faith that works when life doesn't" God is good even when life sucks
    Glory be to Jesus Christ 🙌🙌🙌

    Reply
  15. betty e Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    God bless you! I have been listening to the word of God, through these hard times. Puerto Rico has been two weeks in quarantine. Thanks for letting God use you to help others.

    Reply
  16. Joyce Muhire Posted on March 26, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    It is good to learn how to go through this COVID-19 pandemic biblically. Ouoting scripture helps us understand that God is real.

    Reply
  17. Taylor Renee Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for turning your home into church. I look forward to hearing the message. I really enjoy the way you, your wife, and fellow pastors deliver God’s message, so thank you all!!!

    Reply
  18. Sam RUKUNDO. Posted on March 26, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you and God bless you more.

    Reply
  19. Gracy Prathap Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    I have passed this msg to almost 10 people, loved your msg Pastor, felt good during this crisis period a spiritual strength and hope. God Bless 🙏 You and your family. Am from India

    Reply
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