Discussion Questions

Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, GodSimple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God
Thom S. Rainer, Art Rainer
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Feel like your life is veering off-course? Spend 30 days with the best-selling co-author of Simple Church and chart a course from joyless to joyful! As you examine your attitude toward time, relationships, money, and God, you'll learn to foster a life that is less busy---and rediscover true spiritual riches.
     
Chapter 1:
    1. Discuss an instance when you were suddenly hit with the reality of your life's timeline
    2. What hesitations/worries do you have about your mission statement?
    3. Your life impacts others. List those who you think will be most impacted by your decision to simplify your life.
    4. Envision your simple life. What excites you most about making your vision a reality?

Chapter 2: 
    1. We are the culmination of our choices. What decisions have led you to the life you live today?
    2. What are the motivations for decisions you make?
    3. What seems to drive you more, the past or the future? Why?
    4. How are you going to tell your family and friends about the choice you have made to pursue a simpler lifestyle?

Chapter 3: 
    1. Take a moment to honestly assess your life. Are your activities aligned with the goals you stated in your mission statement?
    2. Who will hold you accountable for your desired goals? Do they meet the criteria discussed in the book?
    3. How will you make sure that the pursuit of your mission statement will align with who God created you to be?
    4. Tell of a life scar, how it hurt you, and how it has healed.

Chapter 4: 
    1. How can you find yourself doing too many "good things."
    2. How do you think those close to you will react to your changes? How will you deal with those reactions?
    3. Do you find yourself striving for a “balanced life?” Discuss your answer.
    4. The book discussed Jesus’ focus while on earth. How does His focus affect your focus?
Chapter 5: 
    1. One of your relationships is not as it should be. Who is it?
    2. What do you seek in your spouse? What do you think your spouse seeks in you?
    3. We need to spend more time with our spouses. What would that time look like to you? To your spouse?
    4. What is your main fear when trying to improve your targeted relationship?
Chapter 6: 
    1. With the relationship you have chosen to target, tell your favorite story about the two of you.
    2. Tell of a time when your life’s congestion hurt your targeted relationship.
    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. What description of love needs the most improvement in regards to your relationships?
    4. Do you need to forgive the person in your targeted relationship for something that he or she did? Right now, take some time and forgive.
Chapter 7: 
    1. Tell of a time when you noticed that the person in your targeted relationship was not quite like you.
    2. Out of the five misalignments (gender, faith, commitment, time, and money), which concerns you the most. Why?
    3. How do you better align this contrasting part of your relationship?
Chapter 8: 
    1. How do you think others see you? Is this how you see yourself?
    2. Tell of a time when you think the person in your targeted relationship would have described you as selfish.
    3. As you focus, what is going to be the most difficult area of your life to let go? Why?
    4. Read Matthew 22:37-39. Why do you think God desires us love others like ourselves?
Chapter 9: 
    1. Write down your top three reasons why you detest finances.
    2. How does your financial situation affect those closest to you?
    3. How would your finances look differently if you recognized God as the owner and you as the steward?
    4. Which of the three categories (The Now, The Future, or The Far Future) gives you the most concern? Why?
Chapter 10: 
    1. How did you get into your current financial position?
    2. What motivates your monetary decisions?
    3. How are these motivations a reflection of your heart?
    4. What good, holy things do you envision your money accomplishing?
Chapter 11: 
    1. The book mentions six recommended criteria for financial accountability partners. Which one presents the most difficulty? Why?
    2. How does your personality influence how you handle your finances?
    3. How has your previous inability to adjust influenced your financial position?
    4. What have you tried before to get your finances simplified? What worked? What didn't?
Chapter 12: 
    1. The beginning of the chapter illustrated a battleship that needed saving. In regards to your finances, what planes are preventing you from saving your ship?
    2. Focus sees the whole picture. How do you ensure that you are able to see the complete monetary picture as opposed to the fragments?
    3. What concerns you about eliminating this part of your financial picture?
    4. The book mentioned some areas that you should not eliminate. What are those areas?
Chapter 13: 
    1. Do you find yourself, like most Americans, claiming to be Christian but not having time to spend with Him? Why do you think there is such a discrepancy?
    2. What do you think is causing the chasm between desire and reality in regards to your relationship with God?
    3. Do you feel that the terms hypocrite or Pharisee sometimes describe you? When?
    4. What area of your relationship with God do you most desire to improve?
Chapter 14: 
    1. Read Philippians 3:13-14. What do you need to forget to move forward?
    2. Review your goals. Do they seem lofty? Do they need adjusting? Remember, this is just the beginning.
    3. What excuses have you given that previously delayed your relationship with God?
    4. What barriers are preventing you from having the closeness to God that you desire?
Chapter 15: 
    1. What point in time do you consider to have had the closest relationship with God? What brought you from there to here?
    2. Who holds you accountable regarding your relationship with God? How does that person hold you accountable?
    3. The chapter discusses the need for flexibility. What role does flexibility play into your relationship with God?
    4. How often do you consider grace? What would your relationship with God look like if you placed a greater spotlight on God's grace to you?
Chapter 16: 
    1. Why is it so easy to eliminate our time with God but so difficult to diminish other aspects of our lives?
    2. What good things are you doing that are preventing you from a closer relationship with God?
    3. List those potentially affected by the principle of focus to your life. How would you explain to them your decision?
    4. What additional activities had you planned before you read this chapter? Will they fit in your Simple Life?