This Sunday begins a new sermon series on the book of James. We're also one Sunday away from another season of Adult Forum offerings made available during our Christian Education hour (9:30-10:23) that begins on September 16. It seems appropriate, then, to read what St. James has to say about a new season of finding in God what completes and perfects us. We never experience complete and total wholeness on this side of eternity. But if we seek God's answers to the most important questions in life ("Who am I?" "What Makes Me Unique?" "Why am I here?") rather than simply following our best instincts or inclinations in answering those questions, God promises to lead us to a greater maturity and stronger faith that is sure to grant us greater fulfillment and joy,.
One opportunity for such growth in maturity is found in sessions beginning September 16 entitled "Discovering God's Vision for Your Life." This Bible-based exploration of spiritual gifts is an opportunity for us all to seek greater clarity in understanding what God wants us to do with our lives. Though anyone can benefit from a focus on this topic, I'd especially encourage young adults considering their life's vocation or older adults preparing for retirement to check it out. It will be led by Mr. Ray Wernecke and be ongoing, over the course of eight weeks.
Another chance for spiritual growth and understanding, especially as this relates to the Word of God, is the series of new sessions on the Word of God facilitated by Gloria Ranta entitled "How We Got the Bible." These sessions are based on an award-winning series produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries and featuring renowned historian Dr. Paul L. Maier. If you have heard things about the Bible that make you or someone you love wonder about its veracity (Did the church make Jesus a divine figure? What should our response be to those who criticize what is recorded in the Old Testament as historically inaccurate? etc.) then you will have come to the right place.
Whichever session you choose, I urge you to take this opportunity to gather around the Word of God with others who claim to be just as incomplete and imperfect as you are. Let us all, together, live by the words of St. James: "Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."