What if you, personally, could make the world a better place...by tomorrow?
Debbie Macomber knows the secret to doing exactly that! In a world that seems too often stingy and grudging, she has witnessed how one simple act of generosity can yield unforeseen miracles.
You are about to discover, through true stories, what happens when we commit intentional acts of generosity. Lives are changed in ways we never envisioned. Come with Debbie late one evening through the checkout line at the grocery store. Discover the link between a submarine, a few bread crumbs, and some minnows. Visit ancient Galilee as a young boy volunteers his fishes and loaves to Jesus only to see his meager gift multiplied many times over to feed five thousand. You will stand amazed at what God accomplishes when we make ourselves available through simple acts of generosity.
This blend of true stories and motivating messages will delight and surprise you as you discover how giving the gifts of time, encouragement, hope, laughter, prayer, hospitality, service and even forgiveness can have a lasting, life-changing impact, not only on the recipient of such gifts but on the giver as well. Debbie Macomber invites us to offer who we are and what we have to God, to use in the lives of others. When we do so, lives -- including our own -- are changed in ways we couldn't have imagined. All it takes is one simple act.
1. What is it about choosing just one word to chew on for a whole year that seems like such an adventure? Have you ever had a word or an idea crop up again and again over a short period of time? What was that word or idea? Why do you think it kept surfacing?
2. In 1977, the word that kept cropping up for Debbie was the word desire. What does that word conjure up for you? If you could name one desire—a secret dream—for your life, what would it be? (Don’t be afraid to dream big.)
3. For Debbie, the word believe came at a time of great uncertainty, right at the turn of the millennium with all the hype of Y2K. Does this give us insight into God’s timing as he gives us a word assignment? Why do you think he gave Debbie the word believe when she was facing misgivings and fear? Why not courage or another buck-up type word?
4. Debbie confessed that she chose hunger in 1979 as she struggled with her eating addiction. She thought the word would take her one place, but she ended up learning something entirely different. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever set out thinking you were going to explore one thing only to find out God had a different plan? What was the surprise lesson you learned?
5. The year 1986 was a troubled one for Debbie. Why do you think God chose trust? Do you see God’s hand in the choice of words? Do you think we are somehow asking for trouble when we choose a word that only grows out of challenges? You’ve heard people jokingly advise, “Never pray for patience. You’ll only get trials.” Is there an upside to choosing a potentially difficult word?
6. During one of the toughest years in Debbie’s life, her word was brokenness. Look back over your life. Was there a year that seemed to reflect that theme, even if you didn’t intentionally choose it? How did God work through that with you?
7. In 1990, Debbie chose the word prayer. Have you ever had a yearlong adventure in prayer? If you were to choose this word, how would you explore it? How does one move prayer from the coulda-woulda-shoulda list to the just-can’t-get-enough- of-this list?
8. When you saw that Debbie picked the word obedience in 1998, what was your reaction? It’s not exactly a motivational word, is it? Debbie says, “We need to recognize that if we ignore His rules, there will be consequences.” Why is obedience so difficult for us, especially when we consider that it will save us untold chaos?
9. In 2002, Debbie’s word was seek. She believes it’s been a theme for much of her life. What happens to us when we seek God? How do we go about doing this? How might our lives be different if we were never called to seek God?
10. When Debbie chose the word balance in 2009, did you identify with her? What is it that keeps us off balance in this hectic world? If you could somehow find balance, what would it look like? How do we take steps to get our life in balance?
11. Wisdom is one of those things God promises to give us if we ask. In this age of quick judgment, impetuous actions, and on-the-spot decision making, how do we cultivate wisdom? Think of the people you know? Describe your wisest friend. What sets that person apart?
12. In 2004, Debbie was surprised by the word that came to her: surrender. Have you ever been surprised by something God seemed to have in store for you? How hard is it to surrender to His agenda? When we work so diligently to keep control, is it scary to consider surrender? What does it take to get there?
13. It was 2006 that Debbie’s word was hope. She found out it was very different from simple optimism. What is the difference? How do we learn to hope?
14. Passion is an exciting word. When Debbie chose it, she already knew she was a person who embraced things in a big way. During the year she learned that the world is sometimes uncomfortable with passion. It’s not cool. How do we give up the cool detachment that is thought to be attractive? How do we stop holding back? Do we worry that if we become passionate people we will somehow burn out? What does God have to say about this?
15. Debbie explored the word purpose a couple of years ago. The yearlong study took her some interesting places. Do you believe God has one big purpose for your life like he did for Esther? Or are our lives made up of many opportunities—many purposes? How do we find our place? What holds us back from realizing our potential?
16. Were you surprised to see all the verses used throughout the book that had promises attached? Why is it we hold back from seeking all God has promised us? Is it that we think we are not worthy? Are we afraid to take the Lord literally? Look through the verses Debbie outlined in chapter sixteen. Rewrite them into your journal—one a day—putting your own name in each one, personalizing them like this: If SUSIE remains in me and my words remain in HER, SHE CAN ask whatever SHE wishes, and it will be done for HER (John 15:7). Meditate on these powerful promises.
"For many years Debbie's novels have welcomed us home. Now she invites us to come closer to the hearth of our own home and consider what our lives look like when warmed by the graciousness of a giving spirit. Thank you, Debbie, for inviting us draw near as you candidly share your heart with all your faithful readers."
– Robin Jones Gunn, best-selling author of the Sisterchicks® novels
"The lavishness of Debbie's giving-heart is proofread in her fiction....whether she's teaching us through story how to knit, connect meaningfully with others, or heal from a disease, she's does so with grace and ease. Now in her inimitable way Debbie offers us gentle and powerful reminders of true-life generosity and never drops a stitch."
– Patsy Clairmont, Author Catching Fireflies
"You are going to love Debbie Macomber. She's the bubbly friend you've always hoped to meet and the savvy mentor you've longed to know. Debbie's mission statement is captured in God's words addressed to Abraham: 'you will be a blessing' (Genesis 12:2 NIV). I'm here to tell you, girlfriend -- she's taken that promise and run with it! Blessing her loved ones. Blessing her neighbors. Blessing strangers in need. And, in turn, blessing her readers."
– Liz Curtis Higgs, best-selling author of Bad Girls of the Bible