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A 12 WEEK discussion ON James

True faith produces fruit. A faith without action and without life change is ultimately a dead faith. The book of James speaks to the realities of a living faith in Jesus—the kind of roll-up-your-sleeves and get-your-hands-dirty discipleship that is borne out of an authentic relationship with the risen Lord. James writes to believers who know suffering, who've faced trials, and who ultimately desire a deep relationship with God.

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Sunday, February 3

The book of James emphasizes the active side of our faith, so let’s consider several ways we might put its teaching into practice.

Evaluation: Talk with God about your own faith. Do you have “faith with works” or “faith without works”? Ask Him to give you the power you need to put your faith into action.

Conversation: Talk with at least one other close Christian friend about this question: Is my faith more on the inside or the outside?Both are good. Both are important. But if you just feel your faith and don’t show it, you’re out of balance. (It’s also possible to tilt the other way, doing stuff for God, but not taking time for personal growth.)

Research: James is very specific about the needs we should be responding to—the needs of widows and orphans, as well as those who need food or clothing. Where do these needs exist in your region? And what are the best ways to help such people? Join with some others in a research projects, and share your findings with this group, or your whole church.

Serving: Can you put yourself on a regular schedule of volunteering with some ministry or charity? Tutoring each week? Staffing a soup kitchen each month? Doing a work day once a quarter? Don’t just think about doing these things. Plan something and do it.

Donation: Some ministries are desperate for funds. Challenge your church leaders to support worthy helping ministries, and lead by example by giving your money to support them as well.

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Sunday, February 10

The book of James emphasizes the active side of our faith, so let’s consider several ways we might put its teaching into practice.

Memorization: Learn James 3:9–10. This isn’t your normal type of memory verse, but it might prove helpful in real-life situations.

Stop-Phrase: When you find yourself speaking badly about someone, stop—in mid-sentence if you need to. Find a phrase to run through your mind in those cases. Maybe it’s James 3:9–10. Maybe it’s just “This should not be.” Or maybe it’s a more positive statement like “Bless the Lord, O my soul” or the prayer from Psalm 19:14.

Encouragement: Think of three people you can encourage this week, and do so. Be as specific as possible. Can you bolster their confidence or their faith?

Thanks: Who has encouraged you in the past? Who has spoken words into your life that truly helped you? Can you find them and thank them for that?

Media Fast: Many of us learn unkind habits of communication from talk radio, cable news, or online videos. If this is a problem for you, engage in a “fast,” abstaining from those media sources for a period of time—perhaps the next seven days. Then re-evaluate.

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Tuesday, February 17

The book of James emphasizes the active side of our faith, so let’s consider several ways we might put its teaching into practice.

Prayer: James 1:5 invites us to ask God for wisdom. As Francis Chan suggested in the video, “Say, ‘God, I’ve been pursuing success, I’ve been pursuing riches, I’ve been pursuing knowledge but I see in Scripture now wisdom is what You value and it should be what I value...Give me the wisdom I need to navigate through this life in a way that honors You.’”

Memorization: Learn the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:3–10. Or at least create some mnemonic way to remember the eight qualities that Jesus describes there.

Study: Do a computer (or concordance) word search through the Bible for “wisdom” and/or “wise.” Pick ten verses from different books (not all from Proverbs!) and study them.

Honor: Do something to honor a person whose wisdom you have been blessed by. If the person is still living, thank them by telling them what they have taught you. If they have passed, then thank God for them, and find some way to commemorate their effect on your life.

Evaluation: Do this with a kind, humble heart. Name the 5 to 8 opinion leaders in your life—people in church, school, work, the media, etc.—whose ideas you regularly pay attention to. Based on the teaching in James 3:13–18, do you feel these people are speaking God’s wisdom into your life? This is not an invitation to pride, criticism, or a divisive spirit on your part—just a way to check your regular input with the descriptions of heavenly wisdom we learned today.


Sunday, February 24

30 Hour Famine Breakfast in The House

We’re wrapping our monthlong focus on justice and service by sharing a meal together with all students in 4th-12th grade. This meal will be the official end of the 30 Hour Famine for those participating in the fast. We want all kids there though…even ini they didn’t participate in the 30 Hour Famine!

Parents, we’re looking for 5-7 families to donate breakfast casseroles and fruit plates. If you’d be able to help us out, please let us know asap! Thanks!