Notes from our Thursday night discipleship group:
We’ve considered podcasting our meetings but have opted out of that option for several reasons. The most prominent being that we haven’t wanted to allow any level of a performance mentality to enter into our gathering. When we gather we gather to meet Jesus, and when we open the word of God to discuss it, it is for the sake of interacting with our Jesus. To record it would be to record our intimacy with God. I’d rather keep that private. If you’d like more info on our meetings you can go here > http://www.formationschool.com
The Book of James Discipleship Meeting
Background and Scripture:
James, of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ a servant, to the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion: Hail! 2 All joy count [it], my brethren, when ye may fall into temptations manifold; 3 knowing that the proof of your faith doth work endurance, 4 and let the endurance have a perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire — in nothing lacking; 5 and if any of you do lack wisdom, let him ask from God, who is giving to all liberally, and not reproaching, and it shall be given to him; 6 and let him ask in faith, nothing doubting, for he who is doubting hath been like a wave of the sea, driven by wind and tossed. 7 for let not that man suppose that he shall receive anything from the Lord — … (felt led to leave out verse 8)
To properly interpret the scriptures on their ground and to better interpret the meaning of the scriptures it’s best to do some homework on the context. James was a brother of Christ who was documented as having rejecting the Lordship of Christ before the cross (John 7:4). And we learn from history, James was converted and became a very prominent leader in the early church. Some say that no one spiritually entered into the church unless James prayed them in. He was known as “Old Camel Knees” because of how much he prayed and how his knees were disfigured because of it.
So, we should take a long hard look at the writer’s character as he shares with us. Just like James writings, when I write I have a certain background that I came from, that I speak from. For example, if I were a partial paraplegic my perspective on things will come through my issues and my lifestyle. If this was the case I might avoid talking about standing up or riding in my wheel chair, and avoid talking about sports or other activities that I didn’t participate in because of my lifestyle. Or I may talk about all those things with over-excitment, as if they were things that should be treasured. Or maybe I would talk about them with disdain. As you can see either way, knowing about my perspective will help you read my writing and know that this guy is different than me in this way so that when he says… you have to understand that he can’t walk so I need to interpret what He is saying differently.
James was a former non-believer. This man lived with the son of God most all of His life and possibly never got a chance to acknowledge, in the flesh, that Jesus was in fact God. That had to be tough on James. So, as James writes we must understand that he knows a lot about being a non believer. And he probably knows more about what it takes to win over a stubborn non-beleiver. As we read in verse one of James. He was writing to the dispersed Jews. The group that he was once a very dedicated member of. And as you may know those in Judaism aren’t easily converted to Christianity (that’s included in every account of the Gospel).
James had denied the divinity of his half brother, got transformed and radically converted to the faith and then sends a letter to his cultural brothers. And he happens to be a great man of prayer. The kind of prayer person that probably had crazy eyes and out dated clothes and spoke about things that were hard to hear. So here he writes and talks all crazy saying.. (see passages 1:1-6)
“Count it all joy when enter into trails and tribulations!!” Are you kidding me?! That makes no sense to our modern mind. “When hard times come I just curse the devil leave the hard situation and praise God for a route of escape.” I’m kidding… partially. But the thing I believe James was getting at was that when we are tested in areas that cause us to waiver, God is wanting to fix something in us, and we should rejoice in that. Many times we are so hyper aware of “spiritual warfare” that we disregard the chastisement of the Lord. But the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Heb 12:6). James was kinda talking crazy, but he was talking from the heart of God. God wants to make each of us whole and prepared us for the good works he has planned for us. And without His divine and spot on accurate discernment working out of us the anxiety, unbelief, violence, un-forgivness, pride, envy, idolatry, ect. we have no hope.
In what ways has the Lord allowed hard times that we’ve been resisting? In what areas have we been challenged in recent history that God used to help transform us? Do we really want to be made whole by God? Count it all joy my brethren, for He makes all things work together for your good.
(The most important part of every meeting is the way we commence to talking about the word. The above is just the springboard to get us into conversation. The kind of conversation where we publicly consume the word and make it become life to our souls. And bring it back to God.)