One Thousand Gifts Study Guide: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

One Thousand Gifts Study Guide: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

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by Ann Voskamp
     
 

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In the five-session small group Bible study, One Thousand Gifts, best-selling author Ann Voskamp ponders the question of finding joy in midst of everything from the typical grind of daily chores and deadlines to the calamity every person eventually faces.

“How,” Ann muses, “do you break the bondage of fear that has white-knuckle control

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Overview

In the five-session small group Bible study, One Thousand Gifts, best-selling author Ann Voskamp ponders the question of finding joy in midst of everything from the typical grind of daily chores and deadlines to the calamity every person eventually faces.

“How,” Ann muses, “do you break the bondage of fear that has white-knuckle control on your life and instead embrace the everyday blessings that immerse you in Christ’s fullness? How can you live life with a heart overflowing with delight?”

In this five-session, video-based small group bible study, Ann encourages participants to take on the life-changing discipline of journaling God's gifts—to find the good in life in all circumstances. It’s only in this expression of gratitude for the life we already have, that we discover the life we've always wanted … a life we can take, give thanks for, and use to serve others. In it, we come to feel and know the impossible right down to our core: We are wildly loved by God.

Embark on this personal, honest and fresh exploration of what it means to be deeply fulfilled, wholly happy, and fully alive.

This Participant Guide is designed for use together with the One Thousand Gifts DVD (sold separately) and includes discussion questions for individuals and groups, between session devotions, DVD session overviews, and a helpful leader’s guide. When used in together, the small group study Participant Guide and DVD provide you with a practical tool that can grow your faith.

Sessions include:
1. Attitude of Gratitude
2. Grace in the Moment
3. All is Grace
4. Trust: The Bridge to Joy
5. Empty to Fill

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310684381
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Edition description:
Study Guid
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
93,153
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

One Thousand Gifts Study Guide


By Ann Morton Voskamp

Zondervan

Copyright © 2012 Ann Morton Voskamp
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-68438-1


Chapter One

Introduction

Picture a timeline. It is filled with years, months, days, hours, and countless seconds. On a timeline every moment looks the same. If you could pluck off one minute it would look just like every other minute. A simple span of sixty seconds. It seems like nothing special. It appears to be nothing unique.

Yet, all of us have minutes in our lives that shape us. Something happens in that sixty-second blip on the timeline that is deeply and profoundly personal. It was not just another minute in the history of the world.

As you look back on the timeline of your life, many of the days and weeks blur together, but there are minutes that will stand out for the rest of your life. Seared in your memory are the sounds, feelings, images, and even the smells of those moments.

None of us live long on this earth without recording one of those unforgettable experiences. Not one of us can travel the rugged roads of earth and avoid all of the painful potholes. It does not matter where you live, how much money you have, how much you love God, how careful you might be, how much faith you exercise, or how persistently you pray. Hurt and heartache are truly unavoidable.

In a moment, without even seeing it coming, we all hit life's unexpected potholes and feel jarring pain. The question is not: Will you and I have these moments of loss and dizzying confusion? The real issue is: How will we respond to these inevitable and unavoidable moments? When we discover the secret to a heart of gratitude, we can face these certain moments with grace, strength, and even what seems impossible: joy.

Talk About It

When you look back on the timeline of your story, tell about a moment you hit a pothole in your journey of life.

Video Notes

As you watch the video for session one, use the following outline to record anything that stands out to you.

Wounded moments that close our hands

Grace

Eucharisteo: grace, thanksgiving, and joy

Thanksgiving precedes the miracle

Eyes on God, open hands in thanks

The list of one thousand gifts

At all times, thank God

Video Discussion and Bible Study

1. Tell about a moment in your life that was hard and painful and looked nothing like a gift, until later you began to discover that a gift was wrapped up in the pain of that moment.

2. What are some of the things that can cause us to close our hands and hearts to God?

What specifically has helped you keep your hands and heart open, even through hard times?

3. Ann observes that there is a distinct difference between receiving the grace God offers at the cross of Jesus and being filled with grace to the point of overflowing ... every day. If a person has received the grace of Jesus and also walks in the fullness of that grace to the point of overflowing, what might this grace-extending life look like at one of these moments:

• When an opportunity to serve a person in need presents itself

• When someone betrays and hurts us deeply

• When we get unexpected hard news

• When a family member is unkind or insensitive

• When the future is uncertain and we feel anxious or fearful

4. Read: Matthew 26:26–29 and 1 Corinthians 11:23–26. When Jesus broke the bread and offered the cup, He spoke this beautiful word: eucharisteo. This one word captures three distinct and powerful ideas. How did Jesus reveal each of the following in His institution of the Lord's Supper (the Eucharist)?

Grace

Thanks

Joy

What can we do to deepen and expand our thankfulness, joy, and experience of grace?

5. Read: John 11:38–44. Ann talks about thanksgiving raising the dead. What are some connections between thanksgiving and new life being unleashed in the dark and dead places of life?

6. In the video, Ann says, "Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound Him." How could Jesus express thanksgiving even as He faced the cross? How can Jesus' example shape your own response to times of pain and loss?

7. Read: 2 Chronicles 20:12–22. How was thankfulness connected to the victory God's people experienced in this passage? How does a thankful spirit lead to victory in our lives today?

8. Why is it so hard to express eucharisteo thankfulness when we are going through a time of pain, struggle, and darkness? What can help us remain truly thankful in these seasons of life?

9. Take a minute to list five gifts you already have—anything that reveals God's grace, makes you thankful, and unleashes joy in your life—and then share one item from your list with the rest of the group.

How does a life filled with eucharisteo profit us as well as bring delight to the heart of God?

Closing Prayer

Take time as a group to pray in any of the following directions:

• Thank God for the good gifts He has given you.

• Invite God to teach you how to experience eucharisteo in the hard times of life.

• Confess where you have forgotten to be thankful for God's unmerited gifts.

• Ask Jesus to so fill you with His joy and grace that others see it and are drawn near to Him.

• Pray for your family members and friends to discover the truth that grace, thanksgiving, and joy can be theirs through an intimate and living relationship with Jesus.

between sessions

My Gifts

Read: Philippians 4:11–12. Ann articulates that the secret to living joyfully in every situation is something that is learned. She shares that "practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation."

After each small group gathering, you will have a space like the one that follows to stretch yourself, practice eucharisteo, and make a fresh new list of gifts God has given you. (Or consider starting your own separate gratitude journal.) Be creative, think deep, and reflect on big things as well as very small ones. You don't have to be poetic or a great writer, just honest.

Start by listing up to twenty gifts of God's grace.

Look for opportunities to share some of the gifts on your list with others in the coming week. And ask them what gifts God has placed in their lives.

My Timeline

In the space provided on the following pages, create personal timelines for up to three moments of loss, pain, and struggle in your life. Note how each situation impacted your past and has influenced your present.

Moment 1

When I was ________________ years old

I experienced:

This moment impacted my life in some of the following ways:

This moment influences my life today in the following ways:

Moment 2

When I was ________________ years old

I experienced:

This moment impacted my life in some of the following ways:

This moment influences my life today in the following ways:

Moment 3

When I was ________________ years old

I experienced:

This moment impacted my life in some of the following ways:

This moment influences my life today in the following ways:

Eucharisteo Mentors

By God's hand and kindness, we all know people who have revealed lives of eucharisteo grace, thanksgiving, and joy.

Reflect on your journey of faith by listing a few people—past or present—who have been models and mentors when it comes to living like Jesus.

Next, pause to thank God for the examples these people have shown you and reflect on how you can internalize their example and let it continue to shape your faith and life.

Finally, during the next week, send an email or a handwritten thank-you note to one or two of these people. Let them know some of the ways you have seen their example of walking in grace, thanksgiving, and joy. Thank them for walking closely with God and being an example of eucharisteo.

Journal

Use the space provided to reflect on any of the following topics:

• How you are doing when it comes to experiencing grace in your life.

• How you are doing when it comes to expressing thankfulness to God and to others.

• How you might grow in your expressions of thankfulness and joy.

• What steps you might take to live a life filled with a spirit of eucharisteo.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

Recommended Reading

As you reflect on what you have learned in this session, you may want to read the opening section of the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, chapters 1–3. In preparation for session two, you might want to read chapters 4–5.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from One Thousand Gifts Study Guide by Ann Morton Voskamp Copyright © 2012 by Ann Morton Voskamp. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Ann Voskamp is wife of one good farmer, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of New York Times bestsellers, The Greatest Gift and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today, and a partner with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children, Ann's a regular loser of library books, usually has a sink full of soaking pots, sees empty laundry baskets rarer than a blue moon, and believes that the sky and fresh mercy over the farm is large and all is grace. Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web, has become a daily well for the weary and soul-thirsty: http://www.aholyexperience.com

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