This reading group guide for Amaze Us, O God! includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
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In a world where a growing majority of Americans are suspicious, at best, and cynical, at worst, about the existence and involvement of God in our lives, authors Mark Hanby and Roger Roth provide witness that God is alive and active! Amaze Us, O God
unfolds story after story of God’s powerful movement that transformed the ordinary and often painful reality of people’s lives into amazing intersections of heaven with earth. Through personal testimony and compelling witness of the stories of others, the authors invite us to challenge our pre-conceived assumptions about who God is and the ways He works in our lives and in our world. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. What was your favorite chapter of this book? What story or quote impacted you the most?
2. Chapter 1 opens with these sentences: “In our religious culture, we have, for too long, made heaven and earth separate, isolated places. We live in one and hope one day to go to the other.” Does this ring true for how you have thought about heaven and earth? How do the authors contrast their understanding of the intersection of heaven and earth? What is their definition of a spiritual portal? (p. 9)
3. In chapter 2, the author shares a story from his family that illustrates his spiritual heritage. How would you describe your spiritual heritage? What have been some of the “signs of God” you have experienced in your life story? How does a “sign of God” differ from a “sign from God”?
4. On pages 25-26, the author compares our posture in receiving from God to the downspouts receiving rain off of the church roof. How does this image compare with how you have thought about receiving from God prior to reading this book? What is the difference between working hard to do good things for God and “entering into His rest”?
5. One of the qualities the authors describe as necessary in order to be amazed by God is to be awake and engaged with the experiences and relationships of each moment. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “comatose” and 10 being “awake and engaged,” how would you score your day-to-day availability to be amazed by God?
6. On page 38, the authors describe how preconceived ideas of God can be an obstacle to encountering His movement and presence. What words or phrases immediately come to your mind when you think of God? What experiences in your life helped shape your view of God? What assumptions or preconceived ideas about God would you like to challenge by talking with God and seeking out what He says about Himself in scripture?
7. In chapter six, the authors discuss the attribute of trust. What is trust? What is the difference between faith and trust? Has your life experience and spiritual heritage encouraged you to trust or distrust God? Read Psalm 13. Are you surprised to find this kind of honesty about the struggle to trust God in scripture? How can you engage with God about your questions and distrust?
8. How would you define hope? How does your definition compare with the authors’ reflections about hope on pages 67-69? What is the difference between faith and hope?
9. On page 77, the authors say: “Selfishness is really a form of fear, whereas selflessness is an attribute of love.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
10. Have you had any experiences in the past month that you initially thought were “coincidences” but which, upon reflection, you see as the movement of God in your life? Describe. How do you distinguish between a coincidence and the movement of God in your life?
11. Has there been a time in your life that was stressful, painful, or even tragic when you experienced God’s presence and movement, even in the midst of feeling great sadness or pain? Describe.
12. In chapter 7, the authors describe the difference between having faith for things to happen rather than faith in God. How would you describe the difference? What are some spiritual practices that cultivate faith in God?
13. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of prayer? Roger Roth’s quote at the beginning of chapter 12 says, “The essence of prayer is not speaking to God but learning to look at God.” How does this description of prayer compare or contrast with your own view of prayer? What do you think it means to “look at God”?
14. What is one way you have been amazed by God during the past week? How has reading this book impacted your relationship with God and your awareness of His movement in your life? Enhance Your Book Club
1. Record your “God-sightings” in a journal for a month. Bring your journal to the next book club meeting and share the highlights of where you saw God at work in your life and in the world around you.
2. Draw a timeline of your life of faith, highlighting significant milestones and relationships. Bring your timelines to your next book group meeting and share what you learned from doing this exercise.
3. Select someone in your life who is more than seventy years old to spend an evening or meal with. Ask this person to share stories from his or her journey of faith that have been significant or formative.
4. Watch the movie, Amazing Grace
about the life and work of William Wilberforce. At your next book club, discuss the various principles from Amaze Us, O God
that were illustrated in Wilberforce’s life.