Friday, July 3, 2009

Book Discussion for "Because He Loves Me"

Because He Loves Me

As you read Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, this is where you can make comments on the book, ask questions (of other club members or the authors), or answer questions that I post here.

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ChristFocus Book Club said...

I've decided to use study questions from the book so club members will have already thought about the answers.

What is your response to the statement "If we're not completely convinced that his love is ours, right now, fully and unalterably ours, we'll always hide in the shadows, be focused on our performance, fearing his wrath"? Do you agree or disagree?

How often do you think about God's love for you as demonstrated in the gospel? Do you just assume it?

The author's premise for this book is that many of us are so focused on living the Christian life that we've left Jesus behind. (For those reading these question who haven't also read the book, don't jump to conclusions about what she means by that.) Do you agree or disagree?

Debbie, ChristFocus leader said...

Starting with the last question first and working backward:

3) I agree. I've seen many Christians so focused on doing things for God and cleaning up their behavior for God that they've forgotten the true reason behind why we're doing these things. Just listen to the average sermon: do this, change this, see how you measure up here. The focus is all wrong and thus the life-transforming power is missing.

2) I try to daily listen to worship music to help me stay focused on God's love for me as demonstrated in the gospel. When I miss a day or listen to other type of music (even if it's Christian), my focus tends to suffer.

1) I was reading a children's book yesterday where the heroine does something to stop a boy from teasing her, it backfires, and a lot of peoples' feelings were hurt. She promises her dad to read several Bible verses (which he provided) that would help with her situation, but she feels "too icky" of a person right then and decides to wait until she's cleaned up her act some before touching the Word of God.

It made me think since I'd just read chapter one of Because He Loves Me. I've always wondered why we hold ourselves away from God (avoiding prayer, the Bible, even godly friendships) when we've done something wrong or have a wrong attitude and know it. This is when we need God most.

I think we instinctively understand that sin can't enter God's holy presence. What we forget is that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross has already washed us clean of all sins, even those just committed. God sees us as holy, like His perfect Son. We just need to learn to see ourselves as God does rather than as Satan would have us see ourselves. Then we will run to God when we sin and repent, find healing, and find transformation. So, yes, I agree.

Your thoughts on these questions, my comments, or the book in general? Did the author make any statements that changed your thinking or that you're not sure you agree with?

Anonymous said...

I had to stop and meditate on some of the statements in Chap. 4, "The Verdict." The author expounds upon what it means to be "in Jesus." Because I am In Jesus: God loves me just as He loves Jesus, God hears my prayers just as He hears His Son's prayers, in God's eyes I always seek His perfect will, & in God's eyes, I have never sinned but I have lived a perfect life just like Jesus. I guess I have always imagined that Jesus covered up my failings and ugliness, but I haven't really thought of His performance as replacing mine!

Anonymous said...

If forgot to sign the above post. It was made by Judith

ChristFocus Book Club said...

Here are some more possible discussion questions.

Based on chapter two information, do you agree that Christians often suffer from spiritual amnesia (forgetting who we truly are in Christ)?

How convinced are you that the key to transforming your life lies in an ongoing appreciation of God's love as seen in the gospel story?

From chapter three, the author's definition of the good news is that we are so sinful and flawed that we deserve eternal punishment but that we are more loved and welcomed than we could ever hope. Do you agree with this statement? How does this statement transform your everyday actions?

Blaise Pascal wrote, "Apart from Jesus Christ we cannot know the meaning of our life or of our death, of God, or of ourselves." What does Jesus Christ teach you about who you are and what your life ultimately means? What does he teach you about your heavenly Father?

Debbie, ChristFocus leader said...

To answer some of the questions: yes, I do think Christians hear so many "add on" sermons and such that they forget the core, transforming truths of the gospel and who we are in Christ.

I totally agree that we must study Jesus Christ to learn about him, God, and the meaning of our live and death.

Anonymous said...

I have read this book twice—once alone, then again with a small group for the Book Club. I really like Part 1 about Our Identity. I think few of us fully understand all that it means to be “In Christ.” Such a realization really should change the way we look at ourselves and others. I found Part 2 to be confusing. I understand that because of all that God has done for us, we should treat others in the same way He treats us (“Only an appreciation of His love can motivate genuine obedience” and “...the work of God is the incentive for the work of man” ). Seeing others in the way that God looks upon humankind is good motivation for loving others as we love ourselves. I understand that we can only live a life that pleases God and loves others by releasing the indwelling Spirit to be free to work (“Our obedience is entirely the result of the seed he has planted in us and the work of the Spirit through us”). But when the author goes into detail about obedience, obligations of the Gospel, and measuring our progress in the Christian life, the idea becomes fuzzy to me. I have many sisters in my Sunday School class who have had a deep loving relationship with Jesus for many years, yet they are always feeling that they have failed to please God and haven't done enough. I believe that if they were to read this book, they would still focus on their performance and feel that they don't measure up. They would fail to adjust their life-long mindset. Even though the author spends 90 pages trying to clear up this incorrect understanding of how we should live out our Christian life, I remained confused at the end. Judith

Darrell said...

My small group has just finished reading this book. I agree that "Because He Loves Me" may be one of the most important books of the decade.

If Christians will read this book, understand the concept, and apply it everyday, the Church will experience a great Revival.

Always focus on the Son and what He has done for you, then you'll reflect His brilliance.

If you want to recover your first love of Christ, then read this book!

I can't wait to read the next ChristFocus book club pick after reading the first two.

ChristFocus Book Club said...

It looks like the main club members who frequently comment are already done with the book, but I'll list a few more discussion questions here.

From page 106, A.W. Tozer wrote, "Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God...Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues. It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of its own existence. Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all." Does this definition of faith differ from what you've previously thought? How?

From page 123, Review the four motives for holy living on page 120. Which one speaks most powerfully to you? What normally motivates you to live a holy life?

From page 154, Do you have hope that your life can be transformed? If so, upon what do you base that hope?

From page 172, What does it mean to you that Jesus Christ said, "Take courage. Your sins are forgiven"?