DECEMBER 6: Practice, Practice, Practice
1. Has someone ever said to you that he or she does not want to be part of a church community because too many Christians are hypocrites? What was your response? How does your church create a welcoming space for such people?
2. Is it possible that a person can become a perfect Christian? Why or why not? Do you think God expects us to be perfect?
3. Do you think people sometimes hesitate to become Christians because once they do they are expected to be perfect? What would you want these people to know about what it means to be a Christian?
4. As a Christian, how do you want non-Christians to see you? What do you want to say to non-Christians through the way you live and practice your faith?
5. The “Thought for the Day” says, “I’m not a perfect Christian, but I will get better with practice.” Name one or two ways you can practice becoming a better Christian this week.
DECEMBER 13: Like Thomas
1. How did you become a Christian? Were you born into a Christian family or did you come to Christ later in life? Was your experience more like Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus or the writer of today’s meditation? Somewhere between the two? Explain.
2. What aspects of your faith have you doubted? Was it hard to admit them? Were your doubts ever resolved?
3. Do you think God understands when we have doubts? Why or why not? Give some examples from scripture to support your answer.
4. How does your church or pastor talk about doubt? Is doubt acceptable in your community? How have you or other church members been instructed to deal with doubts and questions about faith?
5. The writer of today’s meditation says, “Doubt can lead to questioning which . . . can lead to a deeper understanding of faith.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
DECEMBER 20: Thy Will Be Done
1. Is it difficult or easy for you to pray for God’s will to be done in your life? How do you respond when God’s will and your will are not the same?
2. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, what do you think was going through his mind? What does Jesus’ prayer in the garden teach us about God’s will versus our own?
3. Think of a time when you felt God was calling you to do something and you resisted. Describe the situation. Did you eventually do what God was calling you to do or not? Why?
4. Does God ever ask more of us than we can give? Explain.
5. When have you struggled to trust God with the outcome of a situation? What did this experience teach you about yourself? What did it teach you about God?
DECEMBER 27: A Moving Experience
1. When in your life has a hard transition led to new opportunities and unexpected blessings? What was the transition and what new opportunities and blessings did you receive?
2. How well do you deal with change? Why do you think change is easier for some people than it is for others? Name some scripture passages that address change. What do these passages teach us about change?
3. Describe a recent change — big or small — that has occurred in your life. Has the change been good, bad, or somewhere in between? Do you think change is a necessary part of life? Why or why not?
4. What change are you facing today for which you would like the prayers of your church community? What challenges might this change present for you? Opportunities?
5. What change is your church or community facing that you can hold in prayer? How will you support your church and community through these changes?
“Spiritual vitality in our churches stems from our openness to God’s transforming presence, not in anxious striving. Tending the soul of the congregation starts with attending to God’s presence in our lives as leaders, then bringing the same prayerful openness into the meetings and ministries of the church. Our work is to help the people to pay attention to, listen to, learn from, and live in the Spirit.” Read more.