Now What? Living Out the Lesson

To study the Bible or to take a class on prayer or discuss compassion for the poor—but not do anything about what one has learned—is a waste. The Word of God holds up a mirror in which we can see our own face: our character, values, attitudes, and habits. It offers an opportunity to compare our face to that of Christ, noting the similarities and differences.

It’s worth emphasizing this fact because so many study groups settle for educating people about God and the Christian life. Many people don’t believe it’s possible for them—ordinary, full of faults—to become like Jesus. Many others like the idea in theory, but the actual process of it scares them. “What now?” questions ask for relevance. “What now?” questions are pointed and ask for action.

  • How can you put this insight into practice this week?

  • What can you do to cultivate this into a habit?

  • What can I do to become a significantly more compassionate person by this time next year?

  • How can our prayer time as a group better reflect what we have been learning?

In Encouraging People to Tell Their Stories , we noted that questions about the future are often more intimate than those about the past or present. Most people don’t talk about their hopes and goals casually. Consequently, when the group has been together for about six sessions or more, members will find it extremely bonding to begin discussing their hopes for who they want to become and how they plan to pursue their goals.

Counting the Cost

Jesus told a parable about two sons, in which one son agreed to do what his father asked but then didn’t follow through, while the other balked but eventually obeyed (Matthew 21:28-32). People frequently talk about how a passage applies to them but don’t do anything about it after the discussion. One reason for this is that they don’t consider the risks and costs of living the gospel. Jesus urged His followers to count the cost and to be sure they knew what they were getting themselves into before embracing the kingdom of God. Here are some questions you can use when studying a passage that you know asks something difficult:

  • What are the risks of doing what Jesus says here?

  • What obstacles hinder you from living that way consistently?

  • What would be the benefits of living like this?

You have been reading excerpts from How to Ask Great Questions : Guide Discussion, Build Relationships, Deepen Faith by Karen Lee-Thorpe. Learn when and how to ask effective questions, and how to promote follow-up discussions that will lead from good thinking to life application. This NavPress Bible study resource is the ideal guide for small-group leaders, Sunday school teachers, and anyone who regularly leads group discussions or committee meetings.