Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Life You've Always Wanted
An Undivided Life Part I

[Number twenty-four in a series]

I am beginning to look at Chapter 11 ("An Undivided Life: The Practice of Reflection on Scripture") 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. Please read:
    A whole department of the federal government, the Food and Drug Administration, is charged with monitoring and protecting the purity of what we eat. But our standards of purity are not always what we might hope. Here are the federal guidelines of purity for a few familiar products:

    Apple butter: If the mold count is 12 percent or more, if it averages 4 rodent hairs per 100 grams or more, if it averages 5 or more whole insects (not counting mites, aphids, or scale insects) per 100 grams, the FDA will pull it from the shelves. Otherwise, it will go right onto your English muffins.

    Coffee beans: (Caffeine addicts beware!) Coffee beans will get withdrawn from the market if an average of 10 percent or more are insect-infested or if there is one live insect in each of 2 or more immediate containers. (The FDA says people just don't like getting too many live insects with their coffee beans-one container is okay, but with more than that we draw the line.)

    Mushrooms: Mushrooms can't be sold if there is an average of 20 or more maggots of any size per 15 grams of dried mushrooms.

    Fig paste: If there are more than 13 insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples, the FDA ruthlessly tosses the whole batch. (Apparently other insect body parts are tolerable, but we don't want to be staring at too many insect heads.)

    Hot dogs: You don't want to know about it.
    • How do you feel when you realize that these are the real standards for the food you buy at the local grocery store?

    • If there was an organization like the FDA that established national standards for moral and spiritual purity, what might these standards look like?

  2. Watch video clip. It's message is that life should be centered on "one thing".
    • When you look around you, what are some examples of the "One Thing" people seem to be seeking?
    • Why is it deeply important that we pick the right "One Thing"?

  3. Read:
    Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin. 15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.
    • Describe the condition of the apostle Paul's heart in this passage.
    • Describe a time you felt the way Paul feels in this passage.

  4. When defining multiplicity, the author gives three examples:
    1. "We desire both intimacy with God and we flee from it.
    2. We long to be generous, but we also hoard and covet.
    3. We sometimes attempt to be servants and sometimes are driven by arrogance and self-serving.

    What are some other areas of multiplicity followers of Christ can face?

  5. Read:
    Ephesians 5:25 . . . just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.
    Tell about a time when you experienced a spiritual washing as you studied God's Word. How did God bring cleansing and refreshment to your life through his Word?

  6. Read:
    2 Timothy 3:16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.
    What are some of the specific kinds of work God can do in our lives through study of his Word, and how have you experienced one of these in the past month?

    • Why are a repentant spirit and a soft heart essential when we read the Scriptures?
    • What are some of the dangers when a person reads the Bible simply to accumulate knowledge?

  7. What is one passage in the Bible that has sunk deep into your heart and how has this portion of Scripture brought transformation to your life?

1 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