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Sunday, 30 October 2016


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, October 30th, 2016:
Broadcast Notes:
Good morning. And welcome to Good News In The Morning.  My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church here in Ottawa. I have been pastoring there for 26 years. One of the things I love to do is show how God’s word that was written a long time ago, connects with our world right now

            I am glad you have turned your radio on this morning. Starting your day with God’s word, is a really good place to start. Of course if you are not a morning person, and you want to re-listen, or get the manuscript for this program, you can find us on the internet at . There you can keep up to date with what is happening around Good News Christian Ministries.

            I want to say a special welcome to our international listeners, who listen via the internet. We are glad that you have found us, and that you are finding this ministry an encouragement.

           This program is kept on the air by many faithful people. This morning's sponsor, Bruce Newman, salutes Jericho Road Christian Ministries as a local registered charity, for their outstanding service to the community. Thanks Bruce, you are honouring a fantastic ministry that changes lives.


‘The Power of Suffering’

            This morning I want to look with you at transforming power of suffering.

            Everybody that I have told that I am speaking on the power of suffering – has responded sarcastically – oh great! (sarcasm) But I kind of view it like writing a will. There are some people who will not write a will, either because they don’t want to think about their own death, or they think that writing a will, will hasten it. – Which is crazy. Unless Jesus comes back, we are all going to die – and if you die without a will, you leave those you left behind in a pile of trouble.

            Talking about suffering is the same thing. Talking about suffering doesn’t bring it on. And all of us, at one point and probably many points in our lives or another are going to go through suffering. Suffering seems to be part of the human condition. Some of you are there right now, most of you have been through or will go through suffering. – I know, I am just chalked full of encouragement this morning.

            Now as I talk about suffering, I do not intend to take on the big metaphysical questions – on the problem of evil. Some says that if we say, God is all powerful, and God is love, and there is suffering in the world – that one of those statements has to be false.

            As if one can sum up the complexities of our world, the mysteries of the spiritual realm, the reality of spiritual evil – like Satan and his demons, human free will, human fallen nature – as if you can sum that up in three statements.

            Today I am simply going to put my faith in the Word of God and declare that God loves you deeply, and in spite of that fact, you are going to suffer. In fact 1 Peter comes along and says, don’t be surprised when fiery trials come along. Suffering is going to happen.

            And we really shouldn’t be surprised because the one who we follow was shunned, betrayed, whipped, beaten, and crucified. If our that happened to our lord, we should not expect to get a pass on suffering.

            And here is the weird thing about suffering, some of you could handle the suffering that I have been through without breaking a sweat, and I may be able to handle the suffering that you have been through, without hardly any angxst, but the suffering that comes to us, often feel tailor made to hit our deepest insecurities, our softest spot, and sometimes our biggest idols.

Let’s start with scripture.

James 1:2–4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters,* when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2–4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

            When I talk about the power of suffering, I am talking about the power of suffering to transform you; the power of suffering to produce in you a spiritual maturity. I sincerely doubt that you can become spiritually mature without suffering.

            James says that what suffering produces is something worthy of great joy or pure joy. He is not saying be happy about your pain. But he does say that your pain can produce something of great value.

            I want to walk you through this scripture passage fairly quickly, and then I want to share some wisdom on suffering.

            James is speaking to brothers and sisters – he is speaking to Christians. And he says troubles and trials of many kinds are going to come your way. When that happens your faith will be tested.

            Troubles and trials come to everybody – Christian or not -  It is part of the human condition. But when trials and troubles comes to Christians, it tests our faith. For many people without faith, they ask the question, what did I do to cause this, or why me but Christians tend to ask different questions – usually about the love of God, or what is God up to, or is this punishment for my sins. What good is faith if it leaves me in this pain? In the middle of suffering faith gets tested.

            I think the big faith question is – is God good even when life hasn’t been good to me. In the middle of suffering you have to answer that question. Will I trust in the goodness of God. There is a call and response that is heard in Christians circles. It goes like this “God is God” and response is  “All the time.” Then the call is “All the time” and response is “God is good.”

            My journey has taken me through periods of darkness and pain. When you are in the middle of pain – and God doesn’t seem to be doing anything – You have to wrestle with the question – Is that true? Is God good all the time?

I have wrestled and  I believe it is true. I also believe that God is a mystery because there is so much I don’t understand. But suffering tests faith.
            The reality is that when suffering comes, the only thing you can do is endure it. Sure, if you can change something – and the change is  moral, then you do so. If you are walking with a stone in your shoe, you stop and take the stone out of your shoe. You don’t say, I am suffering I will just endure it. But most of life’s sufferings are not fixed that easily.

On the other hand, if you have a boss who is making your life miserable, you cannot morally hire a hitman to eliminate the problem. (The things you learn on Good News in the morning) When it comes to suffering often the only way through is through. The only thing you can do is endure.

            Usually in times like these we need wisdom.

James 1:5–8 (NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

            In the middle of our suffering we ask God for wisdom. But often the only answer that comes back is endure. But even asking for wisdom is part of our faith journey.

            Sometimes suffering has to do with our finances. Sometimes we think if we had more, we could get rid of our problems. Sometimes we are in danger of losing what we have. In the middle of this passage on suffering James reminds us.

James 1:9–11 (NLT)
Believers who are* poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

            Basically he is saying that you have value, and it is not about the money. Remember that in the middle of money problems.

James 1:12–13 (NLT)
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

            The Promise is that you will be blessed for enduring testing and you will receive a crown of life.

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,* and he never tempts anyone else.

            That word tempted, is the same route word for trial of many kinds.

            It is usually a mistake to say that God is making these trials and temptations happen to me. I also would challenge the notion that some people have, that God is punishing me. If that were true then every believer would be looking for a rock to hide under. The result of the fall goes deep in all our lives.

But I will tell you this, God will use the suffering in your life, if you let him, to produce something worthwhile. He will use it to produce eternal good.

James goes on to talk about the nature of temptation and then he says this.

James 1:17–18 (NLT)
17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.* He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.* 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.*

            If it is good it comes from God. And here is what the word of God says about you, out of all creation, you are his prized possession. The technical translations, is “we became the first fruits of his creation.” Translated, you are his prized possession.

            In the middle of suffering that is hard to remember.  As Eugene Peterson says, “The mistake we so often make is thinking that God’s interest and care for us waxes and wanes according to our spiritual temperature.” But it doesn’t.  You are God’s prized possession. That is hard to remember, and harder to believe in the middle of trouble, but it is true.

Music- Be Still My Soul/What a Friend -Selah – 4:00

            Let me share with you some of the wisdom I have learned about suffering.

James 1:2–4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

            The first thing that I want you to know is that God has a purpose in mind for our suffering. Although God doesn’t usually cause our suffering, he wants to use the suffering that comes our way for a bigger purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together* for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

            This verse is a great verse to know and to remember. It is often a very bad verse to quote, when someone is really suffering. It comes as a trite platitude. But God has a purpose for you life, and he will use your suffering, and the great things in your life, to help you achieve your purpose.

            The way James 1:4 expresses it.  is that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

            One my favourite topics to speak on is  spiritual. I love talking about the six characteristics of spiritual maturity. I love talking about the process of spiritual maturity.

            However, for today let me say this. One of God’s purposes in your life is to make you spiritually mature.

            Dispositionally we tend to fall in to one of three categories. We are either doers or feelers or thinkers. We tend to be governed by our will, or our emotions or our mind. Depending on which type of a person, you are, will depend on what you think is the best.

            It just depends on what culture you grew up in as well. In the late sixties at the height of modernism Star Trek portrayed Spock as the ideal man – logic devoid of emotions. When Star Trek the next generation came along in the late 1980, with Post-modernism on ascendance, Data – was completely logical – but he was looking to become human by finding emotions. But from Marcus Aurelius and the Spartans to many of the business people in our day, -and most athletes, by the way,   it is not about what you think or feel that matters, it is about what you do.

            Doing, feeling, thinking,. The question is, what does God want? What does God want to govern us. The will, the emotions the mind?

            The reality is that the Lord does not want us to be controlled by our minds or our will or our emotions, he wants us to be controlled by our spirits. That is what it means to be spiritually mature.

            Your spirit is the deepest part of you. When you became a Christian, God put his Spirit inside of you. Something in you changed. You became a new creation.

            When you became a Christian you didn’t get a higher I.Q., you probably wouldn’t score higher on an Emotional Quotient test either. Your will didn’t become stronger. But something in you change. It change in the deepest part of you.

            Jesus came into your life. Not in a philosophical way, but in a very spiritual way.

            His spirit went into your spirit. If you can imagine a rod of iron in a fire. It becomes red hot. The fire is in the iron and iron is in the fire, but the fire is not the iron and the iron is not the fire. When Jesus comes into your life, you are not God, but you are changed.

            It is from your spirit that God wants you to be governed. But we have a habit of being governed from our mind or our will or our emotions. What does it look like to be governed from your spirit. It is hard to describe.

            But to be spiritually mature is to be a person who is governed by your spirit. The intellect is still there, the emotions are still there, the will is still there, but they have become subservient to the deepest part of you – your spirit.

            But out of your spirit, you will know in your core that something is right, or you will get a check in your spirit that something is wrong, although you may not be able to articulate it. God will speak by his spirit into your spirit with words of affirmation or direction or conviction. Out of your spirit will come love for people, who you would not otherwise love.

            It is in your spirit where joy and peace reside. There is just this deep sense of wellbeing that may or may not be congruent with your circumstances.

            But living out of your spirit, that has been infused by the Holy Spirit is hard to describe. – but it is what happens in spiritual maturity.

            And the reality is that I don’t think any of us get there without the brokenness that accompanies suffering and by making space for God in the middle of that brokenness.

            At Sunnyside we sing a song that goes like “blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful, where the steams of abundance flow blessed be your name. It is harder to sing, blessed be your name when I found in the desert place, when I walk through the wilderness, blessed be your name. But it is those sorts of place where we learn to hear from God.

            The reality is that very few if any of us really seek after a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord except, just before, during and right after those periods of calamity and catastrophe and suffering and pain.

            Gene Edwards said, “It is by the crushing of the idols within your inmost temple that He will make room for the geysers of Divine Life.” God has a purpose in suffering. It is to make you spiritually mature, spirit controlled, full of life.

            Of course there are not guarantees in this life. Brokenness can lead to bitterness which is an opposite to spiritual maturity.

            Certain kinds of suffering can also lead to death. All I can say is that this life is not all there is. We believe that God will make things right in the next world. Or as our text this morning says

James 1:12 (NIV)
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

            Life happens. Stuff happens. Suffering happens. I want to urge you, don’t waste your suffering, but allow  God to do what he wants to do.

Let me pray for you.

Lord, I pray especially for those who are going through times of suffering, right now, and I’m asking that, you, by your Spirit would bring them strength and comfort; that you would give them a sense that you know what they are going through and that you will walk through it with them. As they endure, I pray that you would produce within them such a great depth of spiritual maturity that they will be able to walk through this life well, regardless of what comes their way.
Lord, I ask these things in your name, AMEN.

“ If Good News in the Morning has been a factor in your journey of faith, we would love to hear your story. Nothing could encourage us more in this work.  Contact us by e-mail or Twitter via the web site –

            And Thank you for listening this morning.

            This program is on the air by the grace of God and donations of many faithful people.
 *“This morning's sponsor, Bruce Newman, salutes Jericho Road Christian Ministries as a local registered charity, for their outstanding service to the community.”.

  If you can help financially we would really appreciate your assistance in carrying out this ministry. You can make a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries,  and send it to Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0.

            You can also give by going to our website. Good News in the

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

MUSIC – Jesus Lover of My Soul – Hosanna Music 3:38

By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
PODCAST LINK to the CFRA broadcast:

Sunday, 23 October 2016



Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, October 23rd, 2016:

Broadcast Notes:

This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 184, Rideau Ferry, ON K0G 1W0.  I’m your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew’s Christian Church in Rockland.  As always, I want to start by thanking you, our listeners; we are so grateful for your encouragement and support.  Please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk, and if you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or mp3 of our broadcast.  Details can be found on our website at
'Christ Crucified'