Read an Excerpt
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
—John 1 4: 12
For most of us, the experience of our daily lives is a far cry from the greater works Jesus talked about in John 14:12. We’ve had some big dreams about what God might want for our lives. But so many of us are stuck in the starting blocks. Or are dragging along at the back of the pack.
We know we were meant for more. Yet we end up settling for less.
We’re frustrated about where we are. But we’re confused about how to move forward.
I think we all know instinctively, even if we can’t articulate it exactly, that something isn’t squaring up. There’s a huge gap between what God said in His Word and the results we see in our lives.
I wonder if you can relate.
If so, you need to know that the frustration that’s simmering on the back burner right now might boil over one day, and you’ll be bitter about the opportunities you missed. Opportunities to be used by God, to touch lives, to get outside yourself and be a part of something greater. I know it’s not easy. But don’t tell me it’s not possible. Jesus Himself said it was.
The fact is, we have the potential to be so much better than we’ve become, because God is so much greater than we’re allowing Him to be through us.
That’s why we’ve developed this Greater DVD Participant’s Guide. It’s a tool for you and a group of others to use in diving deep into the message of Greater—not just considering this message on a conceptual level but wrestling with what it means for you. Offering discussion questions combined with personal reflection topics and suggested action steps, it’s a guidebook to take with you on the way to the greater life.
Here, as in Greater, the prophet Elisha shows us the way. Through four key incidents from his life, we’ll be learning four key truths that we’ve got to know if we want to embark on the greater way.
The DVD that goes along with this participant’s guide is strategically designed to present the concepts and enhance the content in a multidimensional way. The teaching sessions on the DVD were filmed at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Additionally, each session features support footage that was filmed on location where Elisha performed his miracles in the Holy Land. And each video session on the DVD ends with an original worship song written just for that session and performed at Abbey Road.
We pray that these elements will stir your passion and incite your imagination to seek God for greater things. And I
hope you’ll bring lots of friends, family, and fellow church members with you on the journey.
How to Use This Guide
The book Greater wasn’t designed to stand alone. Instead it was intended to serve as just one piece in a whole set of related resources. I didn’t want the message to exist merely as a book that people would read and set aside. I prayed that God would use it to spark a movement in the hearts of men and women everywhere, helped along by every format that’s appropriate. I’m grateful to God that He’s allowed it to happen.
The participant’s guide you hold in your hands is an important part of the Greater resources. Our vision is that people will use this participant’s guide…
• in adult or youth small groups, Bible studies, Sunday school classes, or ministry team meetings
• on a church-wide basis along with a four-week series of sermons
• for leadership training and personal development in business and community settings
• as individuals or couples
However you choose to use this participant’s guide, I hope you will maximize your experience by using it in conjunction with the core book, the Greater DVD, and the Greater collection of worship songs. Also check out the greaterbook.com website for more information and updates.
This participant’s guide doesn’t simply cover all the same points the book does. Instead it builds on the foundation of the book, offering expanded biblical and practical reflections on the principles in Greater. It focuses on four images from the prophet Elisha’s life—how he burned his plows, commanded some kings to dig ditches for water, raised a boy from the dead, and struck the waters of the Jordan River with his mentor’s cloak. In exploring these four images, it also presents four key ideas that are crucial to pursuing the greater life. Here’s how we’ve broken them down:
Burn the Plows: To pursue a new life that is greater, we first have to make a decisive break with our old lives. (See also chapter 4 of Greater.)
Digging Ditches: We can start small as we seek a greater life, but we need to make practical preparations that demonstrate our faith. (See also chapter 5 of Greater.)
Upon Further Review… We can’t let ourselves become discouraged as we advance toward God’s greater purpose, because our faith is never wasted. (See also chapter 8 of Greater.)
Strike the Water: For each of us, there comes a time to step out on the word God has spoken to us about a greater life. (See also chapter 12 of Greater.)
These are the truths I talk about on the DVD, which includes five video sessions. The first video session is introductory, and I suggest you watch it before the first group session to get an idea of the flow of the study. For example, if you’re in an established weekly small group that’s going to be using this participant’s guide, you could watch the introductory video session as a group the week prior to starting your Greater study. The four numbered video sessions go along with the four group sessions, one after the other.
Obviously, many using these resources are already experienced group leaders and have a clear sense of how your meetings should be organized and conducted to fit your context. But for those who want a little more direction, here are some suggestions to get you started.
If you’re using this participant’s guide in a small group of some kind, try to keep the size to no more than a dozen people so that everyone can share easily. You’ll need to meet in a place where you can watch a DVD on a large screen and then sit comfortably to discuss the questions. There’s enough material for about an hour’s worth of meeting time, though you can shrink it or stretch it, if you need to, depending on how your group manages the discussion time.
The sessions are designed to follow a simple format. You’ll find an introduction you can read and an opening question that will help to establish how the session topic applies to your life. Then you’ll watch the video for that session, taking notes on your own as you watch. Each teaching will conclude with a portion of an original worship song inspired by the message of Greater. Hopefully, this will establish an atmosphere for a productive extended time of group discussion that breaks down the key idea for the session and starts to apply it in the participants’ lives. Look for the discussion questions in italics. Finally, you’ll conclude your time with prayer.
One person should serve as the facilitator of the group sessions. This isn’t a formal class, and there’s no need for anyone to lecture or dominate the group, but someone should take responsibility for keeping the discussion rolling. See the Leader’s Helps at the back of this book for more information.
Make these sessions an opportunity for relationship building. Spend time getting to know each other, encouraging and praying for each other. You might want to serve food. Maybe you’ll want to put on some Beatles music when your group is This icon identifies a quote from one of the video sessions on the Greater DVD.