The Journey Ahead: Book Study – Chapter 11

09 March, 2015

This book has been an invitation to a journey of freedom that is made available to us in the shared love of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Throughout this study we’ve talked about those things in our lives that make it difficult to live into that love, and we imagined what it would be like if we accepted His invitation.

Rublev's Icon of the Trinity

In this final chapter we look forward to the journey ahead. A journey that requires us to stand firmly in the truth that our God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit have included us in their love. He has invited us into relationship, and it is in this relationship that we find belonging, significance and communion. It is in this relationship that we are offered freedom to be his beloved sons and daughters and to experience what it means to be fully alive and fully free.

One of the best ways that we can remain firmly rooted in that truth is to listen to scripture when the world we live in tries to sell us quick fixes and shortcuts. In scripture we see that God has revealed Himself as the loving God who extends relationship as the only way to true freedom. The Father seeks a bride for his son. The son is given so that the doors to the Father are opened wide. He is our God that keeps coming after us with salvation, redemption, and relationship. That is His story. That is our story. And it never ends, because the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit never runs out.

Study Questions

1. Rick says that if you want to live in the freedom that is offered in the love of God, you must guard against spiritual remedies that lead to death, not to life. These remedies offer false hope and promise us the life we always wanted through self-improvement methods. Are you currently guarding against these in your life? How will you guard against them?

2. Rick describes the Bible as truth that deals with the issues of life and relationships. It speaks to our situation with brutal honesty that most of us have been taught to hide from. Rick fears that we have lost our appetite for truth that speaks honestly into our messy lives. Do you agree? Discuss.

3. Rick ends the book by saying that he imagines a world of possibility, a world in which the reign of love is everywhere breaking in and the noise of futility fades. In this imagining we are called into a love that makes us wholly alive. Describe one way that you can imagine life being different if you accept that invitation and step into the freedom of the love of God?

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8 Responses to “The Journey Ahead: Book Study – Chapter 11”

  1. Heidi Dahlin

    I second what Ruben said: thanks for this book study! I appreciate your time and effort, Pastor Rick, in putting this together and running it. It facilitated me thinking about not just this book, but reflecting on what I experienced with The Story and Rhythms of Grace series. I recently had a health setback and I leaned into God and chose to respond with courage, rather than fear. You helped me do that.

  2. Ruben J. Alvarado

    p.s. I’d like to also to express appreciation for the medieval art used to enhance our study and for the the thought provoking questions.

  3. Ruben J. Alvarado

    I would also like to take time to thank Rick and his staff for providing us this book study. It provided us a time to reflect and grow spiritually sharing our thoughts with you and others. Rick also thanks for your book that enables us to understand the freeing aspects of our Father’s love. You articulate this love in a way that we can sense and desire relationship with Him. May God always bless your endeavors and provide health, healing, patience, kindness, mercy, and grace to your Imago Dei staff.

    • Rick McKinley

      Thank you Ruben for your kind words and for joining in this book study!

  4. Ruben J. Alvarado

    I’m not quite sure if it’s that we have lost our appetite for the honest truth that the Bible addresses to our messy lives. It just might be that our hunger has been diminished by the ordinariness of life, such as getting ready for the day, grooming, fixing meals, our chores, driving to work, fulfilling our job requirements, serving our family, co-workers, and community. The physical and mental demands they place on our meditations, alertness and energy can exhaust us. There are brief moments in that ordinariness that we find communion with our Truine God. In those moments, we sense the honesty of his Scripture speaking to the issues of our lives and relationships. During our busyness our appetite is not diminished but more desired. We sense without it we are ship without a rudder. It’s like when you fail to exercise, even though we hate do it sometimes, we miss it for we know its health benefits. When we are one with our Truine God even if that experience speaks to us in brutal honesty, we feel its benefits. We feel liberated to live in a world in which His love reigns. A world where our day begins with the acknowledgement of his love. A day that begins with praise and gratitude. A day where we appreciate the beauty of his creation, and those who he has blessed us with. A day strengthened by His Word, and day open to see His face in those we work, meet, and live with. And when the day ends, to again acknowledge his love, his blessings of the day and thanks for his presence in our lives. Remember when Jesus was pressed by the demands of those who he taught, healed, served, fed, and ministered, he would withdraw into the wilderness. He sought renewal and strength to continue on his earthly journey. We also must step away from the noise of futility, renew our appetites and let the Love of our Truine God REIGN!

  5. Heidi Dahlin

    2. I loved how we read through the Bible last year as a church. When you first challenged us, I figured I’d do it, because you said to, but I’d done it plenty of times before and was not looking forward to slogging through Leviticus. Up until then, reading through the Bible was an endurance trial that Christians were expected to do, but no necessarily enjoy or find particularly meaningful. All kinds of bad stuff happens and it all seemed kind of out of control. You gave us the challenge to read it through as a narrative, and I decided to listen to the Bible while I walked at night. Wow, talk about a real, meaningful experience! It was like I was there as God challenged Abraham to number the stars. I wept with King David when Nathan said, “it was you!” and he felt the full brunt of his guilt. I begged Solomon to turn back to God and not stay mired in his depression. These were real stories about falable people just like me, and time and time again, God showed his love through grace and mercy. I became part of the story.
    3. I’m envisioning living more courageously. I am learning to live out the truth of “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.” I love the mantra “live fully, love boldly, and fear nothing.” The only way I see those words being fulfilled in me is to live in relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is a choice I make day by day, minute by minute, to live in relationship with God.

    • Rick McKinley

      Heidi, I’m glad you found The Story to be so helpful and inviting. Thank you for sharing how your relationship with God has given you the freedom to respond to life with courage instead of fear! Your responses have shown how desirous you are of living fully, loving bolding and fearing nothing. Thank you!


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