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Faces: Are Yours For Real?

FacesFaces: Are Yours For Real? (Junior High Bible Study/CROSSzone) - September 2016 Summary

James is concerned about how Christians live out their faith. The lessons of this course focus on just how young people can live out their lives in a way that would glorify God. Joy in suffering is a difficult concept for even most adults to understand. It is nonetheless something that your young people need to begin to understand. No one likes to face trials, to suffer, but we should be prepared to face such difficulties.

You can prepare by reading God's Word, but that is not all, for it is in our response to what has been read (what is done about it) that growth occurs. The significance is not only for personal spiritual growth, but also for others as we are the mirror into which they look.

Jesus said that the second commandment (James identifies this as a ‘royal law’) “love your neighbour as yourself” is essential (James 2:8; Matthew 5:43). Favouritism breaks that law, because every person, regardless of any natural barrier between us, is our neighbour.

In James 2:14, James asks a question with an all too obvious answer. "What good is it, ... if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?". Our reply is surely, "no good". James wants us to understand that actions and good works are proof of the reality of faith.

Just how can your young people live out their lives in a way that would glorify God? They can pray, even when they don't know how to pray or what to ask. James explains that belief is important. They need to believe in God and pray according to God's will. Then we can trust God to take care of us and our concerns.

In these ways we can all live to glorify God!!

1 - The Face of Authority (Intro to James)
Aims: discover who James was, understand his purpose in writing his letter
Summary: James' simple identification in James 1:1 was authority enough. He wrote to people who me he addressed as the "twelve tribes which are scattered abroad," a group of believers living out in the world. The disciples had first hand contact with Jesus, making them eye witnesses. The authority of their word holds weight.

2 -The Face of Disappointment (Trials in faith)
Aims: understand that a right attitude is the key to 'joy in suffering', decide to look for the positive in difficult circumstances.
Summary: When young people experience trials and difficulties it is easy for them to blame God or doubt his existence. Today you can help your group understand better that what happens to them cannot be used to measure God's love... but is an opportunity that God uses to draw them closer and bring them lasting comfort.

3 - The Face of Attention (Listening to God)
Aims: understand that hearing God's Word is not enough, we must obey it, commit to making our 'walk' match our 'talk'
Summary: James indicates that the Bible, God's Word, is like a mirror. When we treat God's Word casually, occasionally catching a glimpse of the truth, we usually forget what we see. When we stop and look intently into God's Word, we begin to recognize and understand what God is saying to us and then we can act on what we have learned..

4 - The Face of Justice (Discrimination)
Aims: understand that favouritism or prejudice have no place in a Christian's life, make a commitment to be open to new people
Summary: While recognizing how important it is for preteens and teens to have a close knit support group, it is also important for them to realize that it is not appropriate to leave people out because of social status or physical differences. Within the family of God we are called upon to accept everyone and treat everyone the same, whether they are our friends or not.

5 - The Face of Truth (Our Actions)
Aims: discover that faith and works go together in demonstrating true faith, identify ways they can live their faith in their day to day actions
Summary: One struggle teens deal with is the temptation to put up 'fronts' before people. It is an important part of the Christian development to see this for what it is, and learn to be real. But they need the security of unconditional acceptance. This lesson emphasizes God's love and acceptance of who we are, not who we pretend to be..

6 - The Face that Speaks (Honesty in Speech)
Aims: discover that thinking before speaking is the best way, identify steps which will help to control the tongu
Summary: Being responsible for what we say is an important part of our Christian integrity. Students will be challenged to think about what they say more often and to be careful that all their words are for the encouragement and building up of others.

7 - The Face of Wisdom (Being wise)
Aims: recognize that the source of true wisdom is God, understand that wisdom is demonstrated y our daily actions
Summary: Wisdom, unlike knowledge, is not merely a matter of the head. It is rather a matter of the heart and of our behaviour. Students are entering a stage of life where their decisions could have serious implications. To know the true source of wisdom will be very important in the making of those decisions..

8 - The Face of Concentration (Thought Life/Attitudes)
Aims: learn that right motives and actions are necessary to right living, discover how to live according to God's way
Summary: What we think and what we believe about the world and the people around us will shape our attitudes for every day life. Try to impact your students today with the importance of basing their attitudes and beliefs on the Bible, and not on what the world teaches.

9 - The Face of Anticipation (Patience)
Aims: value difficult experiences for the lessons they can teach us, discover James' direction concerning patience
Summary: Learning to wait out a bad time, or wait for something special are skills that develop with maturity. Having a solid understanding of God's control and his omnipotence can help believers to develop deep patience. Good things come to those who wait..

10 - The Face of Determination (Steadfastness/Prayer)
Aims: understand that right motives and attitudes are essential to effective prayer, understand that they can be real before God
Summary: Teens are so accustomed to putting on a good front, that they may be tempted to try to fake it with God too. This lesson will emphasize that God already knows, and loves them, and wants them to share their heart with him and rely on his strength to stand firm.
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