Welcome to week three of our summer sermon series on James called Faith That Works. This week our conversation will look at how our speech and reactions to others says more about our faith than our religious beliefs.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share part of your story
What was your all-time favorite summer vacation?
Who is someone going through a difficulty right now that you want the group to lift up in prayer?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Read together James 1:19-27. Consider reading it in more than one translation. What are some of the differences you notice? What are some of the main ideas?
How We Relate
James gives the people a list of three things everyone should do. What are they? Why do you think these are important?
James tells the people to take note of their speech and quick temper. Do you think our culture is becoming more or less like what James instructs? Why?
When have you experienced someone who was a good listener? How did they make you feel? What are a couple of ways you can practice listening over quick speaking?
With the three challenges in the first verse, “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” which of these is the most difficult for you to follow through on and why? What is a specific habit that you could practice to grow in this area?
After the Sermon
Senior Pastor Jeff Manion talked about how most of the time our problem is not that we are evil, but that we are just forgetful. Our habit of forgetting is why Small Groups are so important. They are a way for us to take the teachings of the weekend deeper and further than the parking lot. What are some practical ways for your group to help each other intentionally carry these lessons and conversations further, to take another swing at it and prevent “I forgot”?
James uses strong language when he says that those that consider themselves religious but cannot control their speech but are self-deceived. Why do you think people tend to fool themselves in how healthy their faith is? How can you avoid this religious pit-fall?
How We Relate (Part 2)
The sermon talked about the idea of keeping a tight rein or filter on our speech. Not only does a rein restrain but it can release as well. Ideally, we restrain our words and release compassion. Talk about a situation where you made the choice to hold back words you wanted to say and chose to speak in kindness instead. Talk about a time when you didn’t.
We may not live in the same culture and world as those James was writing to, but there are still people in our community who are in distress that we can help and serve. What are some local organizations or individuals that you strongly feel are worth investing the time and energy to support?
It could be that we are the ones in a situation of distress right now. When we are in a difficult life season, it can be hard to look outside of ourselves to others around us who may also be in need. How can your group encourage each other not to trivialize distress but also keep our focus on others and remember, “it’s not all about me?”
Senior Pastor Jeff Manion reminds us that everybody should be looking out for somebody and that even doing something small is more helpful than doing nothing. Who are you (or could you be) looking out for? What is something specific you can do to help them?
This week we talked about how we relate (twice), being forgetful and helping others in distress. For your faith to work, which area do you most need to grow in right now? What’s one step you can take to grow in this area? How can your group encourage you?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Who is someone in distress that your group can work together to help?
Download a printable PDF here.