learning and applying the Book of James:

Two weeks ago, we at South Ridge Church began a new message series on the book of James. This weekend, I (Pastor Justin) challenged all in attendance to read through the Book of James, and to let me know something you learned from your study, and how you plan to apply it. Below are some of the responses I’ve received so far.

Feel free to contact me at justin@southridgefairmont.com to add your contribution to this post, or “reply” below. We’re really looking forward to reading about how you’re applying the Book of James in your life!

Post 1: So much to learn from this Book of the Bible!  Our faith should motivate us to serve God in mighty ways!  Our faith, accompanied by action, shows our faith is alive! I am also thankful that mercy triumphs over judgment. I pray that I can demonstrate my faith through service to others and that I can be merciful, instead of judgmental, towards others.   Mercy triumphs over judgment.  I pray that I can face trials  and persevere, knowing that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. There are many other things addressed in this chapter that we need to make part of our daily living in this world.

Post 2: Something I learned during this series so far is to “humbly accept the word God has planted in my heart, for it has the power to save your souls”.  I am going to apply God’s word to my life.  The first will be to practice acceptance of the actions that are presented to me.

Post 3: It’s funny how it seems that the message was meant just for me, many times
I’m struggling with something or have something weighing on my heart & mind.  Then that Sundays message seems to answer or help lead me in the direction that I need. Then Sunday, again, that message was written for me. I just finished reading James, There is so much of that that I can take and apply to my life and the man I want to become!

Post 4: For me, I keep seeing the importance of our deeds that have to go along with our faith.  We need to show others around us the love of God through our actions everyday.

Post 5: Chapter 1 thought – I understand the value of temptations.  By growing stronger, I have faith to help others who struggle with the same issues.  Chapter 2 thought – Our faith must match the same as our action.  A rowboat with two oars (Faith and Works) moving to a common goal. That is my favorite illustration. Chapter 3 thought – Wisdom by practical insight is from God.  We learn to be humble.  Our spiritual growth becomes stronger in Faith. Chapters 4 & 5 – This is totally from a Dad’s perspective,  As a dad, I must let God plan my life.  Godly character can last a life time.  It is very important for our family. My performance review should be honest and sincere,  Then my children can say “My dad is a Christian”

 Post 6: Thank you for the message on Sunday.  I really like the call to action we’ve heard since starting here a month ago.  The scripture that I focused on this week was James 2:17-18: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Although I do things that glorify God in helping others, I’ve wanted to do more community outreach. Reading the book of James, in particular this verse, along with the outreach opportunities at South Ridge, I’ve already begun to put my faith in action.

Post 7: One would think at my age I would have understood this long, long ago and I don’t remember being this way my entire adult life, but somewhere along the way I forgot to be a good listener, especially slow to speak, as well. My plan is to apply this verse to my everyday life. – James 1:19-20

Post 8: James has always been my favorite book of the Bible.  James has the attributes that I like to look for in a friend—direct, honest, and loyal.  My application involves the following verses, 1:22  “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” and  2:14 “What good is it my brothers if someone says he has faith, but does not have works?”  I know that our salvation is not based on our works, however, the way we live our lives is our testimony for Who is Lord of our lives.

Very recently I wrote a journal entry on what attracts me to certain Christian friends—in other words, what qualities do people possess that makes me say, “Wow I just love being with that person?”  Some of the things I wrote were “seeker of the Lord always—knowing that they will give me wise counsel”, “encouraging”,  “truthful”, “not gossipy”, “positive—don’t complain alot”, “not judgmental”, “makes time for me”, and “not envious–truly wants the best for me.”  These are people who are really living with an eternal perspective—I love being around those people. They don’t have to “say” their testimonies, they live them out.  Are they 100% of these attributes all the time? No,they are human and they fail.  However, I know that Jesus is at the center of their lives.
I desire to also have a life that is a LIVING testimony—-the kind that James described.

Post 9: Thanks for the nudge to get into the WORD. James 4:8. We step toward Him…He steps toward us…

Post 10: To sum up MY reaction to the book of James:  OUCH!  I found it very convicting as I struggle and fall short in virtually every area he mentions.  What came to me, on how to apply God’s Word was: Pause and Patience. The 2-very characteristics that I struggle with the most.  I react too quickly and expect others to do the same.  I believe if I learn the skill of taking a time out and giving some thoughtful consideration to things, I may just seem some progress.  I don’t always need to respond/react, sometimes not doing anything is the best thing to do (or not do?)

Post 11: I heard this on Rick Warren’s podcast today and thought I might share it.

“Ask God a specific question. James 1:5-6 says, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him …. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you” (TLB). Those verses tell us three truths.

First, God wants you to ask him for advice. You’re not bothering him. He’s interested in every detail of your life, and he’s waiting for you to ask.

Second, the more specific you are, the better, because it builds your faith when you ask God for something specific and then he answers. Don’t be general in your prayers.

Third, God wants you to expect an answer. Don’t pray and ask God for help unless you expect that he’s going to help you.

Look into God’s Word. After you withdraw and as you’re waiting and watching for the Lord, you need to get into the Bible. I can’t tell you how many times God has taken a verse and, even after I’ve read a passage a hundred times, it suddenly pops out at me, and I see something I’ve never seen before. God uses the Bible to give answers to your specific questions.

Post 12: I am walking for water.
About a year ago this idea “popped” into my head and though I thought I would do it, I failed to follow through. Fast forward to the James series. In searching and questioning God, I felt strongly that I was to walk (as often as possible) contributing $ for each mile I walk but to carry a bucket to raise my own awareness of why I walk and possibly the awareness of our community. It is already starting. Someone who saw me asked what I was doing and when they found out they said they want to contribute. So now its out there! Here is  where i always fall short–follow through. I could not begin to tell you the number of times I have been inspired but failed to complete!  I want to be done with that!! James is helping encourage me in my “works”. Maybe I should add, “if the Lord is willing . . . ” I will do this!

I (and maybe lots of people) want to be a part of something that makes “a difference” in lives of others. Water makes a profound difference  to the woman who has to walk 4 miles (on average) daily to have water . Its really so simple!

Post 13: I have learned (unfortunately many times over and over again) that the trials I am going through are to be celebrated!  Time and time again God is faithful and I am stronger and joyful with the outcomes of these trials, but I find I lack the faith during the trial.  I need to trust.
James 1:2  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

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real marriage ministry begins!

Here at SRC, we’ve learned a few things about couples through the years. For example…

  • 2/3 of All Couples would like a Mentor Couple to interact with, even when their relationship is going well.
  • 9/10 of All Couples would like a Mentor Couple to interact with, especially during challenging seasons in their marriage.
  • All couples learn in a variety of ways, and they all want to take steps forward in their marriage. Sometimes they’re just not sure how.

This is why we’re very excited to begin a new ministry at SRC – Real Marriage.Real Marriage Logo (final)The Real Marriage ministry is designed from the ground up, helping couples grow in their Friendship, Unity, and Intimacy. In other words, it’s holistic in nature, focusing on every aspect of the marriage relationship.

How does it work?  Good question.

We’re going to begin offering some things at SRC we’ve never offered before. For example:

  • Large Groups – South Ridge Church will begin hosting three Real Marriage Events a year. These events are typically held in January, June, and October and are specifically designed to help couples take information about marriage and turn it into intimacy and oneness in their relationship. For 2015, we’ll have a Friday evening event in June booked soon. But we already have a Weekend Event planned for October 23-24, right here at SRC!
  • Community Groups – SRC Community Groups often discuss the same topic as the Weekend Message. And because we offer at least one Marriage-themed message series a year, all groups will be encouraged to discuss the subject of marriage within their group. Additional Life Group studies specific for wives, husbands, or couples may be available throughout the year as well. The goal of each group is to help couples apply a selfless, Christ-like love within their marriage.
  • Mentoring – The heart of the Real Marriage ministry is in mentoring. Whether a couple is engaged and planning to be married in the months ahead, or they have been married for many years, mentoring is a way to help all couples focus holistically on their relationship.

Is anything happening right now?  YES!

Marriage mentoring is now available at SR!. In most cases, couples meet with a mentor couple once a week for eight weeks to discuss various aspects of their relationship. If you have any interest in receiving mentoring, you may contact the church office any time.

We also have a good girl's guideDiscussion Group for Women beginning soon. The group will be discussing a book by Sheila Gregoire, “The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex.” It’s a great opportunity for wives to discuss a Biblical view of intimacy in marriage. If you have any interest in participating, please contact the church office soon to register.

We’re excited to begin this new ministry at SRC, and we look forward to working alongside many couples in the years to come.