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INTRODUCTORY NOTES

Imagine that you were given the task of interviewing the New Testament writer, James. What kind of questions would you want to ask him? Being a very thorough investigative journalist you will, naturally, have read his book ahead of the interview. It is only 5 chapters so it won't take long to read.

As you read this very confronting book (actually, it is more of an extended letter than a book), you are increasingly aware that the content of this letter stirs some feelings in you that you had not expected. These feelings, in turn, prompt more than one question in your mind.

Has James always been this blunt with people? Have people been offended by his direct approach to issues that others have considered to be "hot potatoes"? Does he believe in grace - given that he places such a strong emphasis upon action, not just words, in and through the lives of Christians. Well, I can't answer for you but I find this letter from James "cuts to the chase" almost from the opening greetings.

If I was asked to suggest a name or a title for his book, a title that captures the essence of what he wants to convey to his readers, I think I would go for something like, "Let's Walk The Talk". I think James would say something like this: "There's too much talk in the Christian Community and not enough action to go with it! Let's not abandon legitimate talk but let's make sure that we put our words into action. Words are easy and often cheap". Jesus Himself made it clear that knowing and doing are two very different realities (John 13/17).

As a Pastor I'm not sure I would want James as a member of my Church! Then again, he might be just the guy to shake us out of our complacency. Of this I am sure; there would never be a dull moment when he came on the scene!!

In a number of places in Scripture the living of the Christian life is likened to a walk. e.g. we are called upon to walk worthy of our calling...... I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, (Eph 4:1 NKJV) Let's walk the talk! Let's practice what we preach! Let's be doers of the Word, not just hearers! Where is the evidence or proof of our faith? Are we a people of action or are we nothing more than a people of words?

Over the next few weeks I want to make available to you a series of 10 study sessions that I have called, "Let's Walk The Talk!" Each session will be in note form rather than a 'full manuscript'. Yet I hope there is sufficient material to encourage you personally as you seek to walk the talk. Maybe this approach could work in your Bible Study group as well?

You can prepare for this exploration by reading the Letter of James. The read it again in a different translation. And since it's only 5 chapters long, read it a third time! Now we are ready to engage with this challenging New Testament letter. But don't expect it to be a comfortable stroll in the park!!

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