October 3: Faith Training
1. Do you have a daily spiritual practice? If so, what is it? If not, what keeps you from having one? Do you think a daily spiritual practice is important?
2. Do you enjoy physical exercise? Do you see any relationship between physical health and spiritual health? Which of the two is more important?
3. What are the “spiritual strengths” in your faith community? Why do you think God gives each of us different spiritual strengths?
4. Looking back on your life, what significant spiritual changes do you see in yourself? Were you aware of the changes at the time, or do you see them only now that you are looking back?
5. What do you think the writer of today’s meditation means when he says he “found a greater awareness of God’s presence”? How do you recognize God’s presence in your life? How might you become more aware of God’s presence?
October 10: Praying for One Another
1. When has someone prayed for you during a difficult time? How do you think it affected the outcome of your situation?
2. Under what circumstances and in what situations do you offer to pray for others? Is this something that comes naturally to you, or is it awkward? What if you offered to pray for someone and the person said no? How would you respond?
3. Is there ever a time when offering to pray for someone is inappropriate or unhelpful? If so, when?
4. Do you think it is possible to change God’s mind through prayer? Explain. Support your answer with scripture.
5. Have you ever been surprised by the way God answered one of your prayers? Why did it surprise you? What did this teach you about prayer?
October 17: Special Gifts
1. Which characters in scripture used their gifts in unique and amazing ways? Which of these is your favorite? 2. What spiritual gifts has God given you? Which of your gifts have others recognized and appreciated? How could you use your gifts to better serve others?
3. Whom do you know who uses God’s gifts fully? What spiritual gifts do you most admire in others? What gift do you wish you had that you do not? Why?
4. What are God’s expectations of the ways in which we use our gifts? Are there any restrictions on how we can or should use the abilities God has given us?
5. Have you ever encountered someone who claims to have no special gifts or abilities? What words of wisdom and advice would you give to this person?
October 24: The Way
1. The writer of today’s meditation says, “Often, grief, setbacks, or radically changed circumstances leave us uncertain and confused.” Think back on a time when this was true for you. What helped you get through the situation?
2. Have you ever had a problem that seemed as though it had no solution? What did you do? In what ways did your faith help you cope with the problem? What words of encouragement would you give to someone going through something similar?
3. When in your life has God brought something good out of a bad situation? What did this teach you about God and the troubles we face in life?
4. Do you think God is in control of everything that happens in the world? If so, why does God allow bad things to happen to us and to those we love? Support your answer with scripture.
5. Name two specific actions that you will commit to in the coming week to help someone going through a difficult time.
October 31: Relationship with God
1. In the story of Mary and Martha, which character do you identify with most? Why? What is the most important lesson we can learn from the story?
2. How much time do you spend with God each day? In what ways does spending time with God equip us to better serve God and others?
3. Why do you think people often have negative things to say about Martha? Are those criticisms fair? Why or why not?
4. Describe a time when you have been “distracted by many things” and overlooked what is most important. What did you learn about yourself from this experience? What will you do differently the next time you are in a similar situation?
5. Under what circumstances or in what settings do you find it easiest to focus on God? What disciplines or practices help you focus your attention on God? How does your church congregation support focused attention on God? How could it better support it?
“I believe with all my heart that vulnerability and authenticity are the only way to find wholeness in Jesus Christ. … I believe in the holistic, healing love and salvation in Jesus Christ, who walks with us in the valleys and brings beauty from ash heaps again and again and again. I am here to tell you that I have been on the mountaintops and in the valleys, and I have discovered that we need a reset in our souls. We need to share stories so that others will too. When we’re free to be real, that’s when the real joy comes.” Read more.