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WebClass Bible Study Resources for August 30, 2015

The teacher for this session is Kathy Thompson.

Let's look at James.  

Think about the people who are speaking out (loudly) in politics lately. During the recent Republican debates, did you notice how loud some of them talked? Some of the comments got more attention than others. Some of the comments weren't very nice. 

  • Why do you think these kinds of comments get attention?  
  • What about loud, religious people? 
  • Can you make a list of the top ten notable Christians today?  

The text, today, is from the book of James. It talks about hearing, saying, doing and being. Think through the list of notable Christians you just made and consider: Are they are known for the things that they say, or are they known for the things that they do?

Watch the clip "No More Wifi” from the movie This is 40.

  • Have you ever tried to make any changes like this? 
  • How would your family respond? Why?
  • Do you think it's important for someone to change his- or herself when they begin to follow Christ? Why or why not?
  • What changes should someone make when they commit to following Christ? 
  • How would you respond to someone who refused to change? Why?
  • How has Christ transformed and changed your life? 
  • Do you have little brothers? What's that like? Did they follow you everywhere? 

Watch the clip "Jesus LIL Brother" from comedian Michael Jr.  Tradition tells us that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the New Testament book of James.

  • How hard would it have been to be Jesus’ little brother? Would you feel inferior? 

James emphasizes the importance of "work" in his book. He seems to be saying that true faith is a faith that  "works." He does tell us that works of faith must still begin with grace – and our first work, in a sense, is to accept God's good gifts. (James 1:17) We can count on the fact that every good gift is a reminder of God's love, generosity, and his grace.

Read James 1:17-27.

  • What does it mean that every “good” thing comes from above?
  • How quick are you to listen? Why is that so difficult? 
  • Would it have been difficult for James to listen?
  • Why are we so quick to "get loud" when we are attacked, instead of listening?
  • Does anger ever accomplish anything good?
  • What is the difference between hearing and listening?
  • How can we look intently into the "perfect law?" What does that mean?
  • How do we balance God’s grace and caring for others?
  • Why do you think James defines "true religion?" (James 1:27)
  • When someone orders you to do something, what's your first reaction? 
  • What if someone told you that you couldn't eat a certain type of food anymore?  

Watch the clip "South LA Fast Food Ban Backfires" from Newsy Science.

  • Why do you think the ban isn't working? 
  • What does James mean by the "law of liberty?" How can we embrace that?
  • How often do you ride on crowded buses, trains, or planes? Do you enjoy it? 
  • Do you think a large group of people on a crowded train will act with compassion or with evil intentions? 

Watch the clip "Australian Commuters Tip Train Car to Free Trapped Man" from Buzz60.

  • Are you impressed that people got off the train to help? What makes people do that? 
  • What can our local church do to show that type of caring?

Think about the “loud” people we talked about earlier. 

  • Which one means more to you: loud talk about faith – or images of a faith that is lived out? 
  • Can images of faith lived out in action be as “loud” as words?  

Modern readers of James face the same dilemma as the first readers of this letter: his words are easy enough to understand, but are we doing what he said?

  • What characterizes our spiritual lives? 

He tells us to act out our faith.

  • How can we authentically live out our faith today? 

James seems to be telling us that it's not enough for us to come to church for an occasional tune-up, like we do our cars. We need to put our faith to work, day in and day out, otherwise our faith becomes meaningless. James tells us that religion that matters is not just passive Sunday mornings of inspiration, but a daily dedication to the teaching of Jesus. To the world around us, real religion is seen in what we do with it.

Facilitator

KathyThompson.jpg

A native of Virginia, Kathy Thompson is the daughter of a Baptist minister. She also married a Baptist minister! She and her husband, Robert, live in Ashland, Virginia where he recently retired as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ashland, where they served for 20 years. Kathy was active in the music department at First Baptist and taught Sunday School for many years. She is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and teaches music at Liberty Christian School. She and Robert are the parents of two sons: Matthew and his wife Jennifer, and Christopher and grandparents to Peyton Elizabeth. They also have a precious dog named Eli.

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