The Life You've Always Wanted Participant's Guide Copyright © 2004 by John Ortberg Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 ISBN 0-310-25588-0 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Nancy Wilson Printed in the United States of America 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 /.DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 We want to hear from you. Please send your comments about this book to us in care of email@example.com. Thank you. It's "Morphing" Time SESSION ONE The good news as Jesus preached it is that now it is possible for ordinary men and women to live in the presence and under the power of God. . . . It is not about the minimal entrance requirements for getting into heaven when you die. It is about the glorious redemption of human life-your life. It's morphing time. -John Ortberg QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT 1. To be transformed means to be changed, and transformation is taking place all around us all the time. What examples of transformation-of any sort-come to mind? 2. What is required for transformations such as those you have mentioned to occur? 3. Although we use the term spiritual transformation, we often use it casually without giving it much thought. Describe what spiritual transformation means to you. 4. What do you consider to be the indicators of spiritual transformation? How can we tell if another person has experienced a spiritual transformation? VIDEO OBSERVATIONS Life: disappointment and hope We shall "morph" indeed Pseudo-transformation Trying harder versus training wisely VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS 1. What is the hope of the Christian gospel as John Ortberg describes it? 2. An important concept in The Life You've Always Wanted is that we are always being transformed; we are always changing for better or for worse. This happens physically and, although it's less obvious, spiritually. How might some of our daily practices cause us to be "formed" spiritually in one direction or another? 3. Why did Jesus so strongly challenge pseudo-transformation and the rabbis' "boundary markers" regarding dietary laws, the Sabbath, and circumcision? 4. In what ways does pseudo-transformation creep into churches today, and what are its damaging effects? Can you identify any "boundary markers" in your church? LARGE GROUP EXPLORATION Pseudo-Transformation vs. Morphing When our lives are not marked by genuine, God-directed spiritual change, we tend to look for substitute ways to distinguish ourselves from those we consider to be less spiritual. We adopt boundary markers-highly visible, relatively superficial practices intended to quickly separate the "insiders" from the "outsiders." These boundary markers may include conformity to specified forms of dress and speech, adherence to certain rules of behavior, participation in prescribed activities, and so on. They provide a false sense of security and superiority. The religious leaders of Jesus' day focused a great deal of their attention on boundary markers. Many of their conflicts with Jesus occurred because Jesus took a radically different approach to assessing spirituality. Instead of focusing on visibleOrtberg, John is the author of 'Life You'Ve Always Wanted Participant's Guide Six Sessions on Spiritual Discipline for Ordinary People', published 2004 under ISBN 9780310255888 and ISBN 0310255880.