Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Guided Life: Part 1

[Number twenty-two in a series]

I am beginning to look at Chapter 9 ("The Guided Life: Receiving Guidance from the Holy Spirit") of John Ortberg's The Life You've Always Wanted. The study questions are from the back of the book, and were written by Kevin G. Harney.

The book is about spiritual disciplines. The most important thing I have gotten from the book about spiritual disciplines in general is that we should not do them just so we can check them off a list. They are not a barometer of spirituality or a way to earn favor with God. They are a way to enable the transformation God wants to make in your life.

Small-Group Discussion Questions

  1. Read:
    There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings. -- Thomas Kelly
    Describe a time, even if it was only a brief moment, when you experienced this ability to live on two levels at once.

  2. What are some of the things that can get in the way of this kind of ongoing awareness of God's presence and closeness? What have you discovered that has helped you grow in your awareness of your life in God, even in the midst of your daily responsibilities?

  3. Read:
    Psalm 121:1 I look up toward the hills.
    From where does my help come?
    2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Creator of heaven and earth!
    3 May he not allow your foot to slip!
    May your protector not sleep!
    4 Look! Israel’s protector
    does not sleep or slumber!
    5 The Lord is your protector;
    the Lord is the shade at your right hand.
    6 The sun will not harm you by day,
    or the moon by night.
    7 The Lord will protect you from all harm;
    he will protect your life.
    8 The Lord will protect you in all you do,
    now and forevermore.
    • Take a few minutes and write down what you think God sees and thinks when he looks at you while you are sleeping.
    • Invite you small-group members to read what they wrote.
    • What can you learn about your perspective on the heart of God for his children?

  4. Read:
    John 10:1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.
    In light of this passage, respond to one of the questions below about the Shepherd and his sheep.
    • What does this passage teach you about God as our shepherd?
    • What does it teach about us as his sheep?
    • Tell about how you hear the Good Shepherd's voice and how you receive his leading in your life

  5. Read:
    Genesis 28:18 Early in the morning Jacob took the stone he had placed near his head and set it up as a sacred stone. Then he poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, although the former name of the town was Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will become my God. 22 Then this stone that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely give you back a tenth of everything you give me.”
    What are some modern day "pillars" we can set up to help remind us to be attentive to God and ready to hear his Spirit speak?

  6. Read
    1 Samuel 3:1 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent. 2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am!” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place. 10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!”
    Tell about a time when God was speaking to you and trying to get your attention, but it took a long time for you to tune in and realize God was seeking to move you. What finally got your attention and helped you recognize that God was speaking to you?

  7. John tells the story of how God spoke to him on a number of occasions through a dear woman named Lorraine. Tell about a time you heard God speak to you through the words of another person. How did you respond to this leading or prompting?

No comments:

Post a Comment

How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly