1. Describe where you’re at spiritually this Fall? Are you in a desert? In an oasis? Somewhere in between. Has your summer rejuvenated you or exhausted you? Share. Read Isaiah 40:1-5; 28-31. Let these words both comfort and encourage you.
2. On Sunday, I talked about avoiding God; that is, not willfully denying his existence, but simply building your life in such a way that you don’t have to think about God or talk to God. Why do you suppose so many people do this? Is it fear, busyness, apathy, pain…what?
3. Dallas Willard in his book, “The Allure of Gentleness” writes, “People can also use their reason to hide from God, and he will cooperate with them (up to a point). God has so ordained that if we wish to hide from him, he will hide from us. He has created the world and arranged history so that human beings can have a way to avoid him, but also so that they can find him in their own way.“ Why do you suppose God allows us to hide from Him? (Hint: Something else Dallas said, “You have to face this with your children. If you had the power to completely control your children, I’m sure you would decide that you should not use that power most of the time. Once in a while, yes, but most of the time, no. This is because you know you would destroy your children. Children must choose. And to choose, they must have some distance, some freedom. Children must be able to do things without being known. And God chooses not to know everything.”)
4. Some people take Jesus’ statement in the gospel of John that he is “the way, the truth and the life” as offensive; as if Jesus is deliberately trying to exclude people from his kingdom. In a world so desperately in need of a reliable source of truth, why are these words in fact the most comforting words that we can hear?
5. How do you do your best thinking about God and Jesus? By reading? By conversing with friends? Through experience? Share some goals you might set for thinking more seriously about God in the coming year.