I wonder how much God thought before he spoke His famous first words, “Let there be light”? I wonder if he imagined what effect the light would have or if he introduced to his new creation something that was eternally familiar to him?

I thought a lot before I spoke my first words as a House Church Pastor this week. “As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?” I listened smugly as I had correctly anticipated the answers of the 19 people sitting around the room. Teachers, astronauts, baseball players. I had thought about this question long enough to know that the most popular answer would be “teacher” and that absolutely no one would answer “a kid.”

As a boy, I do remember having meloncholy glimpses of being grown up and not getting good night kisses from my mom and not playing catch on Saturdays with my dad. However, those emotional distractions did little to dissuade me from the sheer joy of maturing in to a man who could drive, work, kiss my wife good night and look forward to playing catch someday with my own son.

We began a 12 week study of James on Wednesday night and as I spent hours thinking before I spoke, I noticed that James has a lot to say about the process of maturation. It’s hard work. In the same way I was utterly baffled when, as a boy, I got bigger, I’m shocked now as I grow closer to my savior. The trials and tests come and I don’t always know why. I don’t always look bigger each time I stand in front of a mirror, but I know it’s happening. I keep drinking my milk, eating my veggies, practicing free throws and studying math. I endure the heartbreaks, the frustrations, the not knowing, the airballs. Not because there’s any joy in those events on their own, but because God weaves them together to build me back up in his image.