Let me say right off the bat, this probably won’t be as winsome as many of the Old Testament studies we’ve done with Paige in the past, but it is going to be so good for our souls. It’s like the cough medicine that will quiet a child’s hacking cough so she can get some sleep and heal, but she refuses to receive it. She’d rather keep hacking than take the medicine.
Photo by Priscilla-du-preez from Unsplash
Oh Lord, may we not be like that, hacking along in life, wondering why we are not whole, but instead, come gladly to You, the Healer of our Hearts.
In visiting with a godly friend after listening to Paige, we both had the same reaction to her continually telling the people to put their heads down, to look at the Scriptures and not at her. She kept saying “Heads down!” We didn’t like it and felt scolded! But I think I know why she did it. She wants us to know that Bible study should be a place where you learn and receive what God says. This is important to remember in this stern letter, for, as Paige says, James has more commands than any New Testament book. You may feel pounded! But Paige wants you to know, “This is not Paige Brown telling you how to live, this is God! Therefore it is good wisdom from above, so receive it!”
So before you even listen (or re-listen) to Paige, pray for your heart to be like play-dough, receptive and malleable. For, in addition to the many commands in James there are beautiful PROMISES for those who receive. James is going to spell out how to live so that we are empowered to trust God and choose the daily path that eventually leads to light and not to darkness.
Pray here, now, for your own heart, silently.
Click here for Study 1:
I’ve divided Paige’s teaching into 5 parts, with a break on Sunday for you to share a “God Hunt,” a way God has worked in your life. This is to help you not be overwhelmed, but go at the pace that is best for you. I’ve not used the questions from Paige’s church, but feel free to do those in your discussion as well if you have time. If you are doing my questions, you can download and print off this document: Discussion Questions for Paige
Thursday: Paige’s Introduction
A. Share your name and why you’ve come. How have you been blessed in the past by doing Bible study in community?
B. What stood out to you from the introduction to this blog and why? (To see my opening go to this link: https://deebrestin.com/category/personal/
Watch the first 17 minutes (From when the video begins at about minute 9 to when she reads James 1:1-19 (minute 26:26). Take notes.
1. Name one thing that particularly stood out to you and tell why.
2. When she opens and welcomes those attending, she said that this was her family’s church “who have added our own dysfunction to this dysfunctional family.” Why might this be a helpful way of looking at our own hearts and our own church? (Matthew 7:3-4 – about the log in the eye)
3. Paige tells a story about her daughter’s reaction after her first track practice. What was it and what was Paige’s point concerning an authentic Bible study? How can this help you be discerning about Bible studies? About sermons?
4. What did you learn about the letter of James and about James himself?
Friday: Count it All Joy! How Trials Can Lead To Maturity
Watch from the time she reads the text (James 1:1-18) up to when she begins Part II (about minute 41:19 when after quoting Corrie ten Boom, she asks “What is the practice of this professed faith?)
5. Read James 1:1-18 slowly as an overview on your own. Find one thing that jumps out at you. Why do you think it does at this time in your life? (Be brief.)
6. Share one thing in particular that stood out to you from this section of Paige’s lecture and explain why.
7. Trials do not help unbelievers, but they can help believers to build muscles. (James 1:2-4) Explain.
8. Faith can be tested – what God tells us should be seen played out in life. Can you give one example concerning God’s hard instructions on sex, the tongue, money… actually play out as true in real life?
9. Can you give one example from your life of a muscle you have because you trusted and obeyed God in a trial?
10. You may have heard it said God will not give us more than we can handle, but James actually teaches the opposite. As Paige says, “This is all about our inability so we collapse upon the Lord.” How might that help you right now in a trial you are facing?
11. When does “imputed” righteousness happen? When will we be completely righteous? What will help us grow toward that now, according to this passage?
God will take you where you have not intended to go to produce in you what you could not produce on your own. (Paul Tripp)
You will never know the strength of the anchor until you feel the stress of the storm. (Corrie ten Boom)
12. Have you experienced the truth of the above statements from Paul Tripp or Corrie ten Boom? If so, share in one sentence with a specific example.
Saturday: Practicing Faith: Counting, Asking, Receiving
Begin listening again at about 41:20 when she asks: “What is the practice of this professed faith when we are faced with these hard things?” Stop at 59:48 when she says “Number 4: Boasting”
13. What stood out to you from this section and why?
14. She said we will have genuine joy along with devastating sorrow, so we must count. What does this mean?
15. What does James tell us to do in the midst of trials and why? What do you learn about God here? (James 1:5)
Our weakness does not keep us from God, our delusions of strength do. (Sinclair Ferguson)
Application assignment: Right now ask God, in faith, for wisdom about a present trial. Receive it. Live into it. Be ready to report, if possible, how it worked out for you at the end of this study. Write the wisdom here and we’ll check back at the end.
“Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring, for His grace and power are such none can ever ask too much.” (John Newton)
16. Review James 1:6-8. What do you learn about receiving? How well do you receive just the commands we’ve had from James so far? How receptive are you to commands and criticism in general?
17. What illustrations did Paige give about the term James coined: “double-minded?”
18. Name a current trial or temptation in your life and describe what being double-minded would look like. What would single-minded or receiving look like?
God Hunt Sunday (And catch up if need be!)
19. How have you experienced God in your life this week through His presence, an answer to prayer, illumination from His Word, or unusual timing or circumstances?
Monday: Practicing Faith: Boasting, Remaining
Begin listening at 59:48 when she says “Number 4: Boasting” to when she finishes the Joni wheelchair story at about 1:08:11
20. What stood out to you from this section and why?
21. What should the brother in humble circumstances boast in and why? (James 1:9) What do you remember about Paige’s story of the Christian woman who cleaned for her?
22. What should the brother who is rich in this world boast in and why? (James 1:10-11)
23. Paige said we pray for wisdom about money but don’t receive it. Thoughts?
24. What promise is given in James 1:12. What did Paige think this meant?
I am not sure who she was quoting (Dr. Motyer?) but she wants us to remember this: We live about what we love. The shape of our lives is determined by the joy of our hearts. (C. S. Lewis and John Piper have said similar things.)
25. How does the above apply to you?
Tuesday: Principles of Temptation (It’s the Heart, Stupid)
Listen from after the wheelchair story at 1:08:11 to 1:18:19 when she says, “If this is who we are, then what do we need? Everything!”
26. What stands out to you from this section and why?
27. When we are tempted, who or what is the problem? Who or what is not? (James 1:13-14)
28. Paige goes to great lengths to show that we shouldn’t be blaming God, Satan, circumstances, parents, social media, or the culture. Why is this diagnosis important?
29. It is not wrong to be tempted, and every person (James 1:14), even Jesus, struggled with temptation. She quoted Douglas Moo saying “Temptation itself is not sinful –only when our hearts grab it.” We mature as we refuse to succumb to it! Give one example of muscle that has developed in your life because you have repeatedly resisted a particular temptation. (Talking about progress not perfection)
30. Cycle of Sin (She credits Sinclair Ferguson for clarifying this) Please make comments or give examples from your own life after listening to each.
A. Deception “Sin comes from things we believe that are not true.” Give an example.
B. Attraction “What insight does the word lure (as in fishing) give you?
C. Pre-occupation (Now we are enticed) That which was on the outside is on the inside. The word for desire is “epithumia” which means over-desire. (Can even be for something good – -turning it to ultimate)
D. Conception (Desire meets opportunity)
E. Subjection (Mastered)
31. Since Jeremiah 17:17 tells us our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, we must listen to someone besides our own hearts! And it’s not Woody Allen! (The heart wants what the heart wants!) Last week I gave you an action assignment to ask for wisdom in the midst of trial or temptation. Did you receive it? Give us a report.
Wednesday: Good Good Father
Listen to the end.
32. What do you learn about God from:
A. James 1:16-18
B. From Paige?
33. Do you believe you are God’s treasure? If so, why?
Jesus lived by what he loved, and the shape of his entire life and death was determined by the joy of his heart — which was us!
34. What is your take-a-way and why?