December 5: Our Gifts
1. When have you received a gift that probably wouldn’t mean much to another person but was very meaningful to you? What was the gift? Who gave it to you? Why was it so special?
2. Can we ever give back to God all that God has given us? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life to illustrate your point. What does God want us to give in return for what we have been given?
3. When in your life have you struggled to give of your gifts? Why was it a struggle?
4. How does God expect us to both use and give of our gifts? When have you used your gifts to serve God in a surprising way? In what new ways could you use your gifts to serve God and others?
5. Name three ways that you will show your gratitude to God in the coming week by giving to others.
December 12: The Glory of the Lowly
1. Are you someone who often compares your worth to others? Why is this sometimes easy and tempting to do? By what standards should we measure our worth?
2. The Thought for the Day says, “When I measure my worth by God’s standards, I am always enough.” What are God’s standards of worth? How can we be sure that we are measuring our worth by God’s standards?
3. What would you say to someone who feels inadequate and useless? When have you felt like this? What helped you overcome these feelings and gain a greater sense of worth in God’s kingdom?
4. Who are some “lowly” people in scripture that God used to accomplish great things? What do their stories teach us about what God sees in us and values in us? Which of these stories do you find most inspiring and encouraging?
5. For what purpose do you think you were designed? Why is it important that we let others know that they are valued and worthwhile in God’s eyes? Whom in your life do you need to tell that they are valued and worthwhile in God’s kingdom?
December 19: Above the Clamor
1. The writer of today’s meditation says, “I was confusing busyness with holiness, wants with needs, and personal pride with ministry.” Say more about what you think she means by this statement. How do you relate to her experience? When have you done the same?
2. How often do you take time out of your busy schedule to be alone with God? Is having time alone with God easy for you, or is it a challenge?
3. Why did Jesus need to spend time alone with God? In what ways do you think this helped him in his ministry? Do you think Jesus ever became as overwhelmed and tired as we sometimes become?
4. Have you ever “hid” behind your busyness in an attempt to ignore a problem? What happened? What did you learn? What would you say to someone doing the same thing today?
5. In the coming week, commit to spending fifteen minutes each day alone with God. What busyness can you clear from your schedule to make this happen? What will this time alone with God look like for you, and what do you hope to gain from it?
December 26: The Goldfish Bowl
1. Have you ever felt “limited” by the attitudes, judgments, or opinions of other people? Speak about this experience. What did you do? What does scripture say about our own limitations and the limitations we place on others?
2. What do you think the writer means when he says, “Our perception of the world can limit us from the limitless possibilities Christ offers”? What does it mean for us that we have limitless possibilities in Christ?
3. Does God put any limitations on our ministry and what we can accomplish in the world? If so, what are they? Why would God put limitations on us?
4. In what ways would it change the church and the world were we all to believe that through Christ anything is possible?
5. What potential do you see in yourself to grow? What potential for growth do you see in others? How will you work to reach your full potential? In what ways can you help others reach their full potential?