June 2 - July 22
It is not uncommon for us to wrestle with how our personal relationship with God impacts our everyday lives. What an important question to ask! And the Book of James has answers because it is so incredibly practical. It is also hard-hitting. James will have no trouble stepping on our toes! We won’t hit every passage, but we will look at several of the main themes including: Trials, temptations, anger, our tongues, wisdom and more. These are real life issues we need to be ready to engage in as faithful followers of Jesus.
1. How many of you have read or studied the Book of James before? Was any of the information Pastor Gary shared about James new to you?
2. How does hearing from a man who grew up in the same home as Jesus change the way you might interact with this book?
3. Talk about a time in your own life or the life of someone you know when good eventually came from trials or adversity. How did that event influence your faith?
4. Read James 1:1–8. Do you think it’s realistic to be able to consider your trials “pure joy”? Why or why not? How would a perspective like that change your relationship with God? How might it change the way you deal with your circumstances?
5. Last weekend, Pastor Gary’s Main Thought was: God wants to grow me up. And he shared 4 answers for how we might navigate trials for growth:
· Recognize what’s going on
· Cooperate with the growth process
· Ask God for help
· Keep a faith-filled attitude
Share your thoughts and feelings about these answers.
6. Do you agree with the idea that spiritual maturity has less to do with what you know and more with how you trust God and persevere in the face of trials? Why or why not?
7. As you think about trials you face right now (big or small) what is one thing you can do to “let perseverance finish its work”? How might God be using this trial to “grow you up”?
8. Read James 1:5, where do you need wisdom right now? Are you willing to faithfully ask God to give it to you?
9. Read James 1:12. How does the hope of receiving the crown of eternal life impact your desire to persevere in your faith?
10. What can this group do to support you?
11. Close in prayer for one another.
1. We’ve all heard it said, “Never talk about politics, sex, money, and religion at the dinner table.” What area do you think brings up the most conflict in your family or with your friends?
2. In the middle of conflict, we all have a natural response. Circle the phrases below that best describe what you’re quick to do, why do you respond this way, and explain whether or not you think this helps your relationships be honoring.
When someone accuses me, I’m quick to:
-Review the facts and prepare my retort.
-Write the person off and ignore their claims.
-Ask clarifying questions.
When someone tells me how I’ve hurt them, I’m quick to: -Claim my own hurt.
-Defend my actions.
-Listen with my heart affirming their feelings and apologize.
When I know I’m right, I’m quick to:
-State my case with evidence.
-Shut down and withdraw emotionally.
-Be curious and patient while they explain their point of view.
3. Read James 1:19–21. Imagine you were trying to summarize these verses for a friend. What would you say in one or two sentences to explain what James was communicating?
4. God doesn’t want us to be right at one another, but right with one another. Who do you need to be right with currently? Describe the tensions in that relationship.
5. Which of these strategies might help you best in the relationship in which you’re currently experiencing the most conflict? Why?
-Ask three questions before responding with your side.
-Listen to understand rather than reply.
-Remind yourself that everything this person does, says, and believes makes sense to them.
6. Jesus didn’t come to be right. He had every right answer, but he came to reconcile men and women to God and to reconcile us to one another. Think of a few words that describe Jesus’ approach and discuss how these characteristics can help guide your most difficult conversations.
7. Handwrite James 1:19-20 and place it somewhere you’ll see it this week. Try your bathroom mirror or your desk or the dashboard of your car.
8. Pray for God to give you the discipline to slow down and listen first when you face conflict.
1. Have you ever been on the wrong side of someone showing favoritism? If so what happened and how did you feel?
2. Why do you think we are prone to not wanting others to show favoritism towards us, yet easily show favorites with others?
3. How is racism the same sin as showing favoritism? Where do you see yourself doing this as well?
4. Our study of James has hit us pretty hard with the challenge to not just be a hearer of the word, but a doer of the word. How does this challenge you personally? Where are you most prone to know you need to make some changes and applications, but not be proactive in doing so?
5. Why is it that we typically get frustrated with others when they do this, only to also do it ourselves?
6. Read James 1:22-25 and 2:14-26. What are the main points of these two passages? What implications do these verses have for your life personally?
7. Pray for each other that we won’t just be hearers of the word, but that we would be known as doers of the word!
1. Have you ever seen someone (famous or not) lose control of their mouth? What was your perception of that person? Did they face consequences?
2. Who has significantly impacted your life with words? Why is it easier to remember words that hurt rather than words that were kind or encouraging?
3. Read James 3:1-12. Which images of the tongue are most impactful to you? Which comparison do you identify with the most?
4. Read verses 7 and 8 again. James says the tongue is untamable. As a follower of Jesus, why is that so important to understand?
5. Read Luke 6:45. Pastor Gary’s Main Thought was: Words Matter Because They Reveal My Heart. Why is that so important for us to understand as well? Why is the cross and resurrection so vital to this discussion?
6. Read James 1:26. The Action Steps for this week are: Offer my heart to God and THINK before I speak (is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind). God invites us into His growth process for us…we work on reining in our words, and He changes our hearts. How can you encourage and support one another in these steps? Who is one person you can encourage this week?
1. Almost everyone has that one food that they can’t walk away from. Whether it’s potato chips or chocolate or ice cream (or hypothetically a turtle sundae at Freddy’s with extra caramel) what is it that tempts you most?
2. Read James 1:13-18. We need to be honest with ourselves and own how we respond to temptations. We make the choice to fall to sin—to take the customized bait—but we can’t choose the consequences. James says sin leads to death. When the fish sees the bait, he grabs it, and is satisfied for a moment. And then the hook sets (v. 15). The good news is that we do not have to give in. Are there things you choose not to be a part of, because you know it could result in sin for you?
3. When you think about the enemy of our souls custom designing temptation for your, how does this make you feel?
4. We are told to resist the enemy. How do you do this? What could you do that would empower you to resist even better?
5. Read James 4:10. Why is it so important for us to stay humble?
6. Read James 4:8 & Proverbs 3:5-6. What do these verses say to you personally, that will help you prioritize staying close to the Lord? How could this help you battle temptation?
7. Pray for each other specifically about the way we will fight temptations when they come our way.
1. What is the difference between a smart person and a wise person?
2. Who is the wisest person you know?
3. Read James 3:13-18. Discuss the difference between Godly wisdom and worldly wisdom?
4. How have you experienced the results of implementing worldly wisdom in your life?
5. How have you experienced the results of implementing Godly wisdom in your life?
6. Why is it so easy for us to default to utilizing worldly wisdom rather than Godly wisdom?
7. This week Doug shared that in order for us to gain Godly wisdom we’ve gotta:
Ask For It!
Know The Word!
Rank yourself on how you are doing with each of these on a scale of 1-10. (1 is low)
8. What is the one adjustment you can make in your life this week to pursue Godly wisdom?
9. Pray James 1:5 together for you and for our church!
Why do you think some are intimidated to pray?
What does your prayer life look like right now?
Read James 5: 13-18. Share a time when you prayed during a difficulty or trial. How did prayer help you feel more peaceful? How were you able to surrender the problem regardless of the outcome?
Have you or has anyone you know ever been healed of a physical problem through prayer? What about an emotional problem?
Are you able to stay focused on God if an issue does not resolve situations as you hoped it would through prayer? (His presence in the situation can change our perspective.) Doug talked this week about making sure our prayers are: Humble, Expectant, Persistent, Confident and Full of Faith. Does this describe your prayers? What can you do to continue growing in praying this way?
Read James 5:16 again. How does this challenge you?
Take time to pray together as a group about any special requests, and please also pray for PCC to be full of people that really pray!
1. We all plan. We all make decisions based on our anticipated future. Would you call yourself a planner? Do you enjoy planning or is it a chore?
2. What areas of my life do I tend to try and handle on my own?
3. Read James 4:13-17.
4. 2 Life Truths shared this weekend were: My future is unknown and I’m fragile. Why do you think we tend to believe and act like we have more control in life than we really do? How have you recently experienced the reality of these 2 Life Truths?
5. The Main Thought this weekend was: God’s plan is the best plan. God is not against our human planning. He just wants to be included. Why do we tend to exclude Him? How have you seen this happen in your own life? Why?
6. Pastor Gary shared 3 Habits for Planning: Pray through my planning, Obey God’s leading and Boast only in Him. Why are those 3 habits so important? Which one will be easiest or hardest for you? Why?
7. Where do I tend to take credit that should only belong to God? Contrast James 4:16 with 1 Corinthians 1:31 and Ephesians 2:1-10. Why is it so important that we only boast in God and what He has done for us?
8. What were some memorable challenges for you personally over this 8-week James series? Why? What changes have you made as a result? Close in prayer for one another.