Saturday, October 13, 2012

Child of Mine Fellowship Questions

Child of Mine Fellowship Questions
            If you choose to read Child of Mine alongside other people and have “book club” meetings to discuss it, here are some questions to help the conversation along.  I call them “fellowship” instead of “study” questions because this isn’t a book that you necessarily have to study.  But I hope that it will encourage self-introspection, conversation and openness, deeper faith, and deeper relationships. 

            But do not feel like you have to follow these questions, though.  You could simply discuss what you thought of the chapters or anything that jumped out at you.  But there are people who will like to have some questions to help start the conversation or to keep it going.  And that’s what these are.  
            If you don’t want to have a book “study group” for Child of Mine, that’s fine.  Many of these questions appear in Through the Furnace, which is meant to take you much deeper into your life, past, thoughts, and feelings than these study questions.  If you would rather, you can simply read Child of Mine on your own, and then do Through the Furnace alone or with a partner or group.  It’s up to you.
            But since I’m all about building deeper relationships and living more transparently, I hope that there will be those who will meet together with a friend or two after reading a couple chapters to have some good food and pleasant conversation, simply enjoying each other’s company and learning more about yourself.  That’s what I hope these questions do for you, if you choose to do them with a group.  It’s not so much a “Bible study” group as it is an “iron sharpens iron” kind of group.  (However, please keep in mind that some people may have too hard of a time opening up about their past and their issues.  So always remind people that they can “pass” on any question.)  
            Anyway, here are some questions that stem from each chapter in Child of Mine, if you’d like to use them.  Some of them are light and fun, and some get down to the painful nitty-gritty.  Print them up or copy them down so that you can bring them to your get-togethers.  Read the chapter(s) and answer the questions on your own first, and then get together with your group or partner to discuss your answers.  There is no space for answers here, so write them down in a separate notebook.  Since chapters are different lengths and have different levels of depth and meaning, I double up some of them and some are on their own.  Have fun with these questions and enjoy some relaxing, yet challenging, “friend-time.”  Take care and God bless!


Foreword and Chapter 1

Icebreaker Question:  What are some powerful dreams that you have had – good or bad – and what did (do) they mean to you? 

Icebreaker Question:  Are there any songs or stories or movies that mean a lot to you?  Why? 

1.  When did you first feel “older” or like you were really growing up?

2.  What are some of your greatest memories?  How did these impact your life?

3.  How important are control and order to you?  How are these evident in your life?

4.  What areas do you feel like you have the most control over?  The least?

5.  What are some of the most challenging times or greatest trials you have faced?  And how did they grow you or change you?         

6.  When, specifically, have you felt the most out-of-control or helpless?  How did you react and what happened?

7.  What kinds of situations typically stress you out or make you feel out-of-control or helpless?  How do you normally react or deal with it?

8.  What are some times that you have had to really step out in faith and trust God?  What happened and how did it affect you?

9.  What are some other things (besides control) that are really important to you in life?  And how are they evident?

10.  When do you feel the most alive?  What kinds of situations do you thrive in and love to be a part of?

11.  What are some misconceptions that you have had about God over the years and how did God correct those?

12.  How do you feel about life right now?  What is the meaning, purpose, or point of it?  Maybe start with, “Right now, life is . . .”

13.  Where are you at in life right now?  And how could you “be a missionary” wherever you currently are?

14.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapters 2 and 3

Icebreaker Question:  Describe yourself in a tiny nutshell.

Icebreaker Question:  How did you come to know the Lord?  Or if you haven’t yet, what are you curious about when it comes to God and faith and the Bible?

1.  What are some of the most exciting, adventurous things you’ve ever done?  Did they have a lasting impact on you?

2.  In a nut shell, describe your family-of-origin and your childhood?  How did they make you who you are?

3.  What were some keys events in your childhood?  And how did they affect you?

4.  What are some lessons – good ones and/or hard ones - that God has taught you during your life so far?  How have these changed or affected you?

5.  Like the man in Russia that I was compelled to give a Bible to, have you ever had a time when you felt God’s strong leading or calling?  What happened?

6.  How can you tell when God is calling, leading, or speaking to you? 

7.  Is there ever a time (that you are comfortable sharing) where you failed to heed God’s leading or calling?  What was the result?  Have you seen any good come from it?       
8.  What are some things or circumstances in your life or your past that you are really thankful for?  Why?
9.  What is God doing or working on in your life right now? 
10.  What do you think might be God’s “next step” for you in life?
11.  What are some things that you still want to accomplish?

12.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?

Chapters 4 and 5
Icebreaker Question:  Like the situation with the neighbor that pulled a gun on my roommate, do you have any interesting or unusual situations in your past? 
Icebreaker Question:  Like wishing I could go back and elope, are there any things that you wish you could go back and do differently?
1.  What parts of yourself do you like?
2.  Which parts would you like to change?
3.  What are some of your insecurities or fears?  Do you have any examples of these playing out in your life?  And how have they shaped you?
4.  Can you trace these fears and insecurities back to their source or starting point?
5.  How have they affected your view of yourself and relationship with others?
6.  What is your view of “the one”?  Is there a pre-picked, pre-planned person out there for us, or do we get to choose?  Is there only one or do we have options?
7.  What are the good points about your view and what are the pitfalls?
8.  How do you think we can know when God is leading us or when something is His Will? 
9.  What is your view of the balance between mankind’s freedom to choose and the level of control and influence that God exerts over us? 
10.  How does our answer to #9 affect how we live our lives? 

11.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapters 6 and 7

Icebreaker Question:  What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Icebreaker Question:  Do you have any embarrassing or humbling moments - from your childhood or as a parent - that you’re willing to share?

1.  Fill in the blank with something you have said or do say.  “When I have kids (or when I grow up), I’ll never _____________.”  How has that worked out for you? 

2.  If you have children, what are some of the best things about being a parent?  If you don’t, is there anything you are looking forward to?   

3.  If you have children, what are some of the greatest challenges you have faced or greatest lessons you have learned?  If you don’t have kids, what are some of the things you are concerned or afraid about?

4.  How has your past affected your view of “family” and raising children?

5.  What did your parents do well?  And what do you wish they did differently?

6.  When it comes to being a parent, what do you think you’ve done well or will do well?  What do you think are or will be “weak spots” for you?

7.  When it comes to being a friend or family member, what are you doing well?  What are some “weak spots”?

8.  What is some of the best advice that you have ever been given (pertaining to parenthood or life in general) or what is some advice that you have always wanted to pass on?        

9.  Like when I had children instead of working, has God ever interrupted your plans and asked you to do something different instead?  What happened?

10.  How do you respond to interruptions in your day?  Do you see them as opportunities or disruptions? 

11.  Are you willing to let God interrupt your day or your life with something He wants you to do?  Does this idea scare, intrigue, or excite you?
   
12.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?

   
Chapter 8

Icebreaker Question:  Cell phone addiction is one of my pet peeves.  What are some of your pet peeves?  Things that really get to you? 

Icebreaker Question:  What are some of your favorite Bible verses and what do they mean to you? 

1.  What are some issues that you are passionate about?  Are you doing anything with that passion to have an impact in that area? 

2.  What is an issue that you would like to challenge society in general about? 

3.  What would you like to challenge other Christians in general about?

4.  In this chapter, I spoke of “mompetition.”  What kinds of things or situations cause you to feel threatened by others?

5.  When or about what do you find yourself being smug, judgmental, or condescending toward others?

6.  I talked about what I think tolerance is - how God gave us the right to choose right or wrong and how we need to let other people have that right, too, (as long as it doesn’t break the law or violate anyone else).  How can you best balance standing up for what is right and tolerating someone else’s freedom?  When and about what issues should we step in and fight (and how), and when should we sit back and let others do what they will?    

7.  Is there anything – any issue, sin, belief, characteristic, or habit - that you currently being challenged about or that you feel God is calling you on?

8.  Is there any Bible verse that you feel God is challenging you on or that you want to apply more to your life?

9.  We have little to no control and influence over most of the world, but what do you think you can do in your own little place in the world to make a difference for God?

10.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 9 and 10

Icebreaker Question:  I wanted to be known for “the best gravy ever” and for doing things better than my mom.  Have you ever had any goals or things that you wanted to be known for?  How has that played out?

1.  Think of the “messes” in your life and your negative characteristics and traits.  Where do you place most of the blame for those?  Is it fair and accurate? 

2.  We all have a choice to be the victim or not.  How can you rise above your “messes” and negative traits?  How can you take responsibility for them or for changing them for the better?

3.  How has God used the negative things in your life for good?  (Or how do you think He might be able to use them for good?)   

4.  Like my housekeeping skills and my inability to put the wrappers in the garbage, what areas in your life are you slacking in?

5.  What desires, in general, drive your determination to succeed or do well?  Pride, vengeance, desire for recognition, to do better than others, to glorify God, to help others, etc.?

6.  Have you ever reached a “breaking point,” a time that completely broke you or knocked you down?  What was the result of that? 

7.  Have you ever “put God’s name on your will” so that you could do what you wanted to do or run ahead of His leading?  What happened and what did you learn from that?

8.  Has God ever blown your mind by showing Himself strong at a time when you really needed Him?

9.  I began to see that enjoying the food that God created was actually a way to praise and worship Him.  Has He ever opened your eyes to see how you could glorify Him in the mundane, plain things?  If not, can you think of any ordinary things that can become opportunities to praise and glorify Him?  How?    

10.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapters 11, 12, and 13

Icebreaker Question:  When you were younger, what did you think your life would be like when you grew up?  Did you have any grand plans or dreams?

Icebreaker Question:  Do you still have any dreams for your future?

1.  I said that stability and consistency were always very important to me.  What kinds of things are important to you and how are they evident in your life?  Excitement, freedom, recognition, success, love, happiness, relaxation, acceptance, your faith, etc.?

2.  What are some of the major stressors that you have faced in your life, good and bad?  How did you handle them and what helped get you through them?  

3.  Did God use them in your life in any special way?  And what did you learn about God during those times?

4.  How has life turned out like you thought it would?

5.  How has life disappointed you or turned out differently than you thought it would? 

6.  Have you been able to see how God used that for good or made something beautiful out of it?

7.  Is there currently anything in your life that just isn’t what you want it to be or an area where you are still waiting on God?  Any unanswered prayers? 

8.  What kinds of thoughts and feelings are being brought up by your answer to #7?  And what’s the hardest part about waiting?

9.  What doubts about God have those hard times, unfulfilled dreams, or unanswered prayers uncovered?

10.  What is the best way to handle our doubts about God?

11.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 14 and 15
Icebreaker Question:  How would you describe what it means to be a “child of God”?

Icebreaker Question:  For years, I lived like I was a “good, adult step-child” of God.  Can you think of a description of how you have related to God?  (Some ideas: orphan, outcast, teacher’s pet, rejected child, a nobody, a God-pleaser, etc.) 

1.  In what ways have you tried to please God, to “be a good Christian”?  Or to manipulate Him, even if it’s unconsciously?  Why do you think you do this – to make Him happy with you, to get what you want, to earn His blessings and approval, to impress others, to glorify Him, to influence Him, etc.?  (Our motives are rarely pure.  Explore what drives the things you do for Him.) 
 
2.  In what areas do you feel like you are “on the outside, looking in”?  What do you normally do in response to those feelings?

3.  When it comes to trials, what is your typical response or how do you normally handle them? 

4.  In what ways do you feel like you are failing (or have failed) God?  Times you’ve let Him down?  What do you do after you feel like you’ve failed Him? 

5.  What do you think God does as a result of your “failures”?  How do they affect your relationship with Him?

6.  What does the Bible say about how God views our failures and treats us after we’ve sinned?

7.  In this chapter, I said that I learned that I couldn’t do anything on my own and that I couldn’t make God answer me.  Are there any “painful truths” that you have learned about yourself or God over the course of your life?  What effect have these had on you?

8.  Can you think of a time in your life when you felt tiny, alone, or “invisible”?  How did you make it through it, and what was the outcome? 

9.  Have you ever been at the point of desperation where you had to decide to give up, to go forward on your own, or to completely fall on God in trust?  What did you choose and what was the result? 

10.  Have you had or become aware of any fears, insecurities, or doubts (about yourself or God) that hinder or affect your relationship with the Lord?  How so?  And how does having doubts about God make you feel: weak, ashamed, afraid, human, etc.? 

11.  Where do you think these fears, insecurities, or doubts might have come from?

12.  Is there any truth in them or validity to them?  (If so, consider what God wants you to do about it, but if not, then throw it out or find a biblical truth to replace it with.)

13.  Is there anything in your relationship with God that you think He is calling you to change or do differently?

14.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 16 and 17

Icebreaker Question:  Has there ever been a time in your life when you were completely humbled or when your pride took a huge fall?

Icebreaker Question:  How would you define “humble like a child”?       

1.  Was it a natural thing for you to trust in and rely on your parents?  How has this affected your relationship with others and with the Lord?

2.  Is self-sufficiency important to you?  Why? 

3.  How can self-sufficiency hinder or hurt our relationship with others and with God?

4.  How do you normally handle the times when you are hurting emotionally?  What, in your past, do you think caused you to be this way? 

5.  How do you feel about being honest and transparent about who you really are and what is really inside you?  Is it easy or hard for you?  Are you too honest, honest enough, or not honest enough?  What caused you to be this way?

6.  What is your gut reaction to being needy, helpless, and dependent?  [Maybe start with “To me, these things make me feel . . . “]  And how does this affect your relationship with others and with the Lord?

7.  Thinking back on your definition of “humble like a child,” how are you doing with living that out?  Is it difficult or not so much?  And what might have influenced you to be this way?

8.  Is there anything in your life that has blocked or is blocking God’s love, healing, or truth from flooding your heart or that is keeping Him an arm’s length away?

9.  What would be a proper balance between being dependent on God and being responsible?

10.  What is God challenging you about right now in your relationship with Him?  With others?

11.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 18

Icebreaker Question:  Do you have any favorite parts of the Bible?  Why is it your favorite or so meaningful to you?  

1.  Is there anything from the Old Testament (or the New Testament) that has stood out to you or impacted your life in some way?

2.  In thinking about the Israelites of the Old Testament, have you noticed any similarities between them and you?  What have you learned from that or taken away from that?

3.  What are your initial reactions when the going gets tough or when “Pharaoh’s army” is bearing down on you and your back is against the Red Sea?  How do you do with “standing still” and waiting for the Lord’s deliverance? 

4.  Have you ever had a time when God miraculously or mightily intervened in a difficult situation?

5.  In what areas is it hard for you to exercise faith in God?  Finances, revealing the “next step,” waiting for an answer to a prayer, trusting Him to make something good out of the bad, trusting Him with the future, etc.?  How might you be shortening His arm?  How would you live differently if you truly believed that His arm was long enough?

6.  In this chapter, I pointed out that God used the manna to test the Israelites.  What do you think the purpose for the test was, and how did the Israelites do? 

7.  Looking back (or at your current situation) can you think of a time that God gave you a “manna test”?  How did you do or what did you learn through it? 
            (For example, in my marriage, we have basically never been given more than our “daily” bread.  We’ve never had an “abundance” of money, and so we’ve always had to be very cautious with it.  And this has worn us down at times with discouragement, stress, and worry over our finances.  Now that I think about it, it has been a kind of “manna test” where God is calling us every day to trust Him to provide what we need for that day only.  And He is teaching me to be content with receiving only that much, and to keep my focus on the things that I can manage and to let Him handle the rest, and to not store my treasures on earth but in Heaven.  And I will admit that I have failed this test over and over again by being anxious or grumbling or judging God because He wasn’t doing what I thought He “should” be doing.  But I keep trying to refocus on Him and to be thankful for the things I do have.  How about you?  Any “manna tests”?)    

8.  I said that God is a respecter of our free-will.  He gives us the right to choose, to obey or disobey, but He also allows us to face the consequences of those choices.  What thoughts or feelings does this bring up for you? 

9.  How should this truth influence how you live your life?

10.  Do you really believe that God delights in us?  How could we be the most delightful to Him that we can be?  And what should be our motive for trying to delight Him or please Him? 

11.  What are the things that you are most thankful for in your life right now?

12.  Is there anything that God is challenging you about after reading this chapter?

13.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 19

Icebreaker Question:  When were you most disappointed or confused by God?

1.  Have you ever had a time when you thought God was showing you the “next step” in His Will or giving you an answer to prayer, but you were wrong?  How did that affect you?

2.  I said that we knew people who couldn’t understand why we were waiting when it came to buying a house.  Have you ever felt like God was asking you to do something that made no sense?  What happened and what did you learn from it?

3.   I pointed out how important it is to actually pray about things instead of just thinking about them or assuming that God knows what you want to say?  What do you think about that?

4.  Has there been a time in your life when you desperately needed guidance from God and He clearly provided it, through others, His Word, or circumstances? 

5.  How do you define “walking by faith”?

6.  Have you ever been pruned by God?  What was that like and what was the result?

7.  When it comes to your life, do you really want His Will?  Enough to lay down your own?

8.  Is there anything that gets in the way of wanting His Will?   

9.  Why is it so hard to trust Him?

10.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 20A

Icebreaker Question:  How do you define “God’s Will”?

1.  How do you think you can know when something is God’s Will?  Do you have any examples of when you think you got it wrong?  Got it right?

2.  What kinds of things get in the way of finding God’s Will?  How about for you personally?

3.  What expectations have you had about God that have caused you problems?

4.  Why might God keep us waiting a long time?  Why does He remain silent sometimes?

5.  If you are like me, the waiting and silence are the hardest parts.  Sometimes harder than getting a “no” answer from God.  What are some things that you can do to make the wait more bearable or even fruitful?

6.  What do we learn during these times of waiting and silence that we can’t learn any other time?

7.  Why is pain usually necessary to grow us in our relationship with God?  What would be the best response to times of pain?  

8.  What are some of the wrong ways that people handle pain, God’s silence, and long waits?  What effect might these have on their lives?

9.  How could practicing thankfulness help you bear with the waiting and the silence better?

10.  What is the difference between happiness and joy?  Which should we be pursuing and how can we do that? 

11.  How can “our feelings” get in the way of our obedience?  And where is the balance between the two?  Is there a balance?

12.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 21

Icebreaker Question:  What are some differences between Christians who abide in the Word and Christians who don’t read their Bibles often?

1.  What is your first thought or feeling when someone tells you that you should be reading your Bible daily?  Why do you think or feel this?

2.  What does a “good enough” Christian look like? 

3.  What are the dangers of settling for being a “good enough” Christian?

4.  Why is it so important to abide in the Word and firmly hold to the truth of Bible in this day and age?

5.  What are some of the consequences of not doing this, either for individuals or for churches?

6.  What are the “three keys” for discerning God’s Will about a particular issue?  What are your thoughts about these?  Have you ever experienced these in your life?

7.  Can you think of any other ways that God guides us?

8.  I pointed out that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  (Psalm 111:10)  Look again at Proverbs 2:1-5 that explains how you will understand the “fear of the Lord.”  What does this mean to you?  And how can you apply it to your life?

9.  What does “seeking righteousness” look like to you? 

10.  James 5:16 says “. . . The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  And 2 Timothy says that Scripture is useful for training in righteousness.  How would you describe the link between abiding in the Word, seeking righteousness, and the power of our prayers? 

11.  What are some ways that you can “abide in the Word” throughout your day? 

12.  What effect would it have on your life specifically to spend time in the Word daily and to cherish it more?

13.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 22

Icebreaker Question:  Have you ever experienced anything out of the ordinary, positive or negative?  If you never have, do you know someone who has or do you think this is all just too far-fetched to believe?

Icebreaker Question:  Have you ever had a time when you had to face something scary or difficult alone?  What happened and what effect did this have on you?

1.  How is it evident when someone has too much interest in (or is too focused on) the spirit world?  Too little interest?

2.  What are the dangers of too much or too little interest in it? 

3.  What is a balanced view of the spirit world?  And how would someone with a balanced view of it live?   

4.  Do you live with too much, too little, or just enough awareness of it?

5.  What do you think Heavenly angels are here for?  Could you be overestimating or underestimating what they can do?

6.  What do you think fallen angels, including Satan, are capable of doing?  Are you overestimating or underestimating them?

7.  What are the dangers of overestimating and underestimating what Heavenly and fallen angels can do? 

8.  Why do some Christians ignore Scripture’s plain teaching about the spirit world and Hell?  What danger is there in doing that?

9.  How should the awareness of eternity – of Heaven and hell -  affect how we live our lives?

10.  I talked about the need to watch out for “open doors and welcome mats” for Satan and evil in your home and life.  What do you think about this?  Does it seem too extreme to you or right on?  Why?  And can you think of any open doors or welcome mats in your own life or home? 

11.  Do you think that the way we live has a bearing on our effectiveness in the spiritual battle that goes on around us? 

12.  Do you live like you take the spiritual battle around you seriously?  Is there any way that you need to change to become more effective in this battle? 

13.  Read Ephesians 6:10-18 about our Spiritual armor.  What do these mean to you?  And which do you need to “put on” more regularly?

14.  I said that prayer really does matter.  Do you think it really does?  Why or why not? 

15.  I said that we don’t “celebrate” Halloween anymore and that I try to spread the unpopular word that yoga is not spiritually harmless.  In what ways and situations have you had to stand up as a Christian, to take a stand for what’s right and moral or against the things that you don’t agree with?  Was it hard to do?  And what happened as a result? 

16.  How do you think the people of the Bible could have gone from glorifying God in one generation to following false gods in the next?  What can we, as Christians, do to help prevent that from happening to our next generation?

17.  Do you really notice the people around you and think of them as people with souls who may end up spending eternity in Hell?  How should this awareness affect how you live and how you see and treat others?

18.  When I was going through those five months of nighttime attacks, I was driven to the Lord.  And I was highly alert for and aware of Satan's attacks.  But after that time was over, I noticed how easy it was to get comfortable and relaxed, to "fall asleep" and let Satan attack or tempt me in subtle ways.  And sometimes these subtle ways are much more effective than the obvious, big attacks.  And so it would be wise to periodically ask ourselves this question:  In what ways or areas could Satan be attacking or tempting me right now?  Pride, vanity, judgmentalism, anger, bitterness, greed, etc.?  
        (If you do not want to answer for yourself specifically, then answer this question for the general Christian population:  In general - when things are going smoothly - in what areas or ways could Satan effectively and subtly tempt or attack Christians?)   

19.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


Chapter 23 and 24

Icebreaker Question:  What are some of the things you love or enjoy the most in life?  (Anything from people to experiences to nature to hobbies, etc.)

Icebreaker Question:  Have you had any clear answers to prayer or times that you think back on when you need to remember God’s faithfulness?

1.  What are some things that you have leaned on to help you through the hardest times in your life?

2.  What do you normally do when you need help or encouragement?  Is it hard for you to reach out to others when you need help?

3.  When teaching about Elijah, Pastor Bob talked about how we need to be radically obedient.  What does that mean to you?  Is this hard to do and why?

4.  He also said that God leads us one step at a time.  Why is this so hard for us?

5.  Pastor Bob said, “God is faithful all the time - all the time!  Even when we don’t feel like He’s faithful, He is! . . . God is a non-forsaking, unfailing, always faithful Father who will always supply everything we need!”  How is it possible for people to believe this when they are still in a painful situation or a long period of God’s silence or didn’t get the answer that they really wanted or “needed”?

6.  As I said in this chapter, “Sometimes, though, when we get too lost and hurt and confused, we have nothing left to offer God, not even a little bit of trust and faith.  At these times, all we have to offer God are empty hands and empty hearts.”  How do you think we do this and what is the result?

7.  What do you think of when you picture God as your Heavenly Father?  Is He absent, stingy with love, unhappy, overly gushy, permissive, uninterested, old and decrepit, etc.?  How does this affect your relationship with Him?

8.  How do you think He sees you?

9.  Which is harder – to love or to let ourselves be loved?  Why are they so hard?  What are the risks?

10.  Why is it so hard for most of us to believe that God loves us . . . just because we are His?

11.  How do we get in the way of His love and healing or prevent it from filling our hearts?

12.  How might your life be different if you lived fully submerged in His love?

13.  How might your life be different if you lived fully aware of His holiness?

14.  What does it mean to you to be “sweetly broken”?

15.  Did the chapters trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?


If you want to include "Understanding God's Will" as Chapter 20B:

1.  How do you define “God’s Will”?  His pre-set plans, what He desires for us and from us, or whatever actually happens?  Or can you think of another way to describe it?

2.  Considering you definition of “God’s Will,” what is the best way to go about finding or knowing it?

3.  What are the hazards of defining “God’s Will” in the wrong way?  And how should you live in light of the “correct” definition of it?

4.  What is your view of the balance between God’s all-powerfulness and human free-will?  (Has it changed from when you answered Chapter 4 and 5’s question #9?)  

5.  What effect should this knowledge have on our life and decisions?  What is our responsibility in making sure that God’s Will gets done?

6.  What is your opinion of the whole “Does God cause it or just allow it” debate? 

7.  What are the risks and responsibilities associated with each side?  And how should your belief affect your life?

8.  In your opinion, what is the purpose of prayer?  Does it really have an effect?  And if so, how can we have the most effective prayers?  (Has your opinion changed from your answer to Question 14 in Chapter 22’s questions?)

9.  How does sin interfere with our prayers? 

10.  How does it interfere with our relationships with ourselves, other people, and with
God?

11.  How would you answer this question that I asked in the chapter:  How come some prayers don’t seem to work, even when you believe that it’s God’s Will?  And how long do you keep praying for something (especially when it’s a painful issue) when God seems to not be listening or answering?”

12.  What are some potential negative effects of unanswered prayer, when God doesn’t give us what we really, really wanted or thought He would give us? 

13.  What can help us better accept the times that we don’t get what we ask for?  What are the hidden blessings of unanswered prayer?  Why is it possibly a good thing that we don’t always get what we ask for? 

14.  Mark 11:22-24 says, “‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.  ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” 
            How do you best understand and explain this verse, especially in light of the fact that we don’t always get what we ask for or believed we would get?  Is it a lack of faith?  And how should we respond when our prayers don’t get answered in the way we wanted?   

15.  In the chapter, I talked about “switching your employer”.  What does this mean to you and what are some ways you can apply this to your life?

16.  I also said that I “should not be limiting God by my expectations and putting parameters around Him and how He works in my life.”  How do we do this?  What problems does it cause?  And what should we be doing instead?

17.  I referred to a couple things about which our society needs a “wake-up call”.  In your own life, is there any area or issue where God has given you a wake-up call (or where you realize you need one)?  What can you do about it?

18.  1 Corinthians 10:31:  “. . . whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  What have you been doing for your own glory that you need to start doing for the Lord’s glory instead?  How can you do this? 

19  In what areas/ways do you feel you are bringing God glory?  How are you doing this?

20.  Did the chapter trigger any thoughts that you would like to discuss?  Or do you have a question that you would like to put out there for the group to answer?

No comments:

Post a Comment

A place for your thoughts and questions. If you would like, think of this as a big, online, "book-club" meeting where you can all interact, answer each other's questions, and encourage each other. Please keep comments godly and uplifting because I will delete any that are mean or clearly ungodly. I want this to be an encouraging, safe place to interact. God bless!