July 3: Taking a Risk
1. When have you decided to take a risk that others did not understand or tried to discourage you from taking? Did their concerns make you think differently about your decision? Did you take the risk after all?
2. Can you relate to the writer’s experience of feeling called by God to a particular place or kind of work? How do you listen for God’s guidance? What practices help you to determine God’s will for your life?
3. When you encounter opposition or disagreement from others about your beliefs or actions, how do you respond? What have you learned from these experiences?
4. Do you think others can see your faith in your actions and decisions you make? If so, how? If not, how can you help others see that your faith informs your daily decisions?
5. Today’s writer says that we sometimes need to take risks to make ourselves available to God. When has this been true in your experience?
July 10: A Simple Ministry
1. If you know someone like Thad’s mother for whom it is natural and easy to talk to strangers about faith, what do you admire about that person? Is this kind of witness easy or difficult for you? Why?
2. Whom do you look up to as a model for sharing your faith? Give some examples of how this person has shared his or her faith with you and why it was meaningful or memorable to you.
3. Do you believe there is a right way to share your faith with others? If so, describe it and explain why this way is best. If not, explain why.
4. Name some ways people share their faith in the Bible. Which of these people do you relate to most? Which person do you want to me more like? Explain.
5. How does your church share its faith with your community? How could it be better at sharing faith? What examples would you offer to other churches as good ways to witness to people outside the church walls?
July 17: The Power of Faith
1. As a child, did you go to church and participate in church activities? What role did faith play in your family life? In what way has your faith changed over time? In what ways has it remained the same?
2. How do you respond when you hear about someone’s life-changing encounter with God? Can you relate to these kinds of stories? Is it difficult for you to understand?
3. When you experience a crisis, how do you pray? What do you pray for? How have your prayers been answered?
4. What helps you to feel assured of God’s power and presence in your life? Describe the practices, prayers, scriptures, or people that help you feel connected to God.
5. How does your church community pray for one another? How do people request prayer? Have you experienced the prayers of others to be meaningful in your times of struggle? How could your church better pray for one another and for people around the world?
July 24: Wherever I Am
1. How do you identify yourself? By your job? Your relationships? How do you spend your free time? What would make you feel as if you had lost your identity?
2. When have you taken a job or offered to help with a task that you were unenthusiastic about? Did your perspective about the work change after you completed the task? Explain.
3. In what setting would you be most surprised to find yourself ministering to others? Why would it surprise you?
4. Recall a time when a conversation with someone you just met made a lasting impression on you. Describe the conversation. What about that conversation was meaningful to you?
5. Name some Bible stories where someone begins a new life or ministry. Which of these do you most identify with? What do the stories you named have in common with each other and with today’s meditation?
July 31: Cover to Cover
1. Have you ever read the Bible from beginning to end? If so, describe your experience. If not, why?
2. How often do you read the Bible? What tools and resources help you to connect with God through scripture?
3. How does your church use the Bible in worship and teaching? What other times or ways would you like to see your church community engage with scripture?
4. When you read the Bible, what books, verses, or stories are most meaningful to you? Which parts of the Bible are difficult for you to read? Which parts of scripture are you least familiar with?
5. Name a Bible passage that has held a different message or importance for you at different times in your life. Why do you think this is the case? What has this taught you about God’s word?
“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.