Phase 1, Part 1: Pages 1-21
(Part 2 will be pages 23-41)
Value: Growing in an understanding of God’s Word; Scripture: John 21
- What passage of scripture has ever grabbed you with fresh eyes, like John 21:15-23 did for Jen Hatmaker? How has this impacted you, spiritually or not? (See pages 13-18)
- How do you relate to what Jen wrote about church on Sunday mornings (pages 5-6)?
- Jen describes “the tension that lurked at the edges.” Is there anything lurking for you? Have you identified what lurks? Describe the sensation of knowing something is lurking. List out what God lays on your heart so that we can identify what works for each of us.
- Jen wrote about what consumed her family and her: worthless things. What consumes you? Where is your focus? (Is is on something in the past, present, or future, and why?)
- On page 7, Jen writes, “There were other question marks. Like why wouldn’t people commit to our church programs, despite the endless work poured into them? And why did the same people end up doing all the work? Why did 70% of the initial program enthusiasts drop out by the end? Why did so many leave, claiming they needed more, when we were all working eighty hours a week to meet their needs? Why couldn’t I recall the last person I led to Christ? Why did I spend half my time blessing blessed people who should be on the giving side of my equation by now?” Have you ever asked similar questions, or been on the other side of these questions? If so, what answers have you found, if any?
- Jen quotes “Rain Down” lyrics. Read the lyrics and share your thoughts. I am also including a link to the song.
Looks like tonight the sky is heavy
Feels like the winds are gonna change
Beneath my feet the earth is ready
I know it’s time for Heaven’s rain, it’s gonna rain
‘Cause it’s living water we desire
To flood our hearts with holy fire
Rain down, all around the world we’re singing
Rain down, can you hear the earth is singing?
Rain down, my heart is dry but still I’m singing
Rain down, rain it down on me
Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it’s time to dream again
I see the clouds and, yes, I’m ready
To dance upon this barren land, hope in my hands
Do not shut, do not shut, do not shut the Heavens
But open up, open up, open up our hearts
Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my heart upon Your altar
Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my feet, don’t let me falter
ELLIOTT, CHAD JAMES / WEST, ALVIN GERMAINE / COFIELD, CHARMELLE RICHA / WATTS, DOUG
- Shane Claiborne is quoted on page 10: “’I developed a spiritual form of [bulimia] where I [did Christian things]…But it never had a chance to digest…I…was suffocated by Christianity but thirsty for God.’” Do you take time to digest? If so, how? Share your secrets to spiritual growth and nourishment!
- “…I prayed a one-line prayer simply because…I had no idea what else to do: ‘God, raise up in me a holy passion.’ That was it…Let me tell you what I intended by that prayer: I meant, ‘God, give me happy feelings.’” Have you prayed something similar? Do you pray what you mean?
- God asks Jen, “’Jen, do you truly love Me more than anything?’” Do WE???? Or have we idolized religion?
- Jen has quite the reaction to the questions God is asking her! Page 15-16 gives us a glimpse into her response. What is your reaction to the words on the page?
- Jen continues on page 17, “A few minutes and several thousand tons of overreaction later…” Can you relate to the progression of Jen’s thoughts? Why or why not?
- “Basically, I was brainstorming how to improve my current performance, never imagining a whole new stage…” Are we truly open to what God wants us to do? Is He asking for revamping, or for something new? Each situation is different!
- After reading page 18, I had an internal, “WHOA!” What is your take? Has God laid a burden on your heart?
- Page 19: “In humble confession, I’ve discovered there are more than two thousand verses involving poverty, physical oppression and justice, and the redistribution of resources. Where had I been my entire adult life? What Bible was I reading?” One example of such verses is James 2:5-6, 8, 14-16. What is your response to God’s Word here?
- Page 20: “For all my…love of God’s Word, what I really loved were the parts that worked for me…For my blessings.” How does this declaration resonate with you?
My responses will be up late this week, as well as the questions for Phase 1, part 2! Stay tuned!