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Get Neutral PART 1: Step Four of Sacred Pace, Terry Looper

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10, NLT)

The Work of Waiting

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", pg. 96-97]

Once enough information is in for a decision - once you've prayed through it, consulting your Friend Jesus; gathered the necessary facts; and paid attention to any relevant circumstances - wait until you've gotten neutral. Wait until you clearly know in your heart that you want His will more than your own. That's when God's answer is most likely to come. This entire process, and particularly the effort to get neutral, means allowing time for the Spirit of God to show you the motives of your heart - the good ones and the bad ones - and how they are influencing you. If we don't take this time, if we rush and fail to complete all four steps, our impatience will block us from being able to distinguish God's desires from our fleshly ones. But His best is what we're going for.

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." (Psalm 86:11-12, NIV)

"You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”" (James 4:2-6, NIV)

"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”" (Romans 8:13-15, NIV)

  1. What about getting neutral is so counter-intuitive to our typical method/process?
  2. What is it about seeking God's will that typically seems to fly in the face of our agenda?
  3. Share 2-3 great questions that can be utilized to help you determine the motives of your heart. Why is it often so hard to ask yourself those questions?
  4. What typically characterizes our fleshly desires in contrast to God's holy desires?

Going That Extra Step - Or Mile

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", Pg. 97-98]

Following someone else's lead can be tough. Most of us prefer to be in control, see where we're headed, choose our route. But to go so far as to actually get neutral for the sake of discovering where God wants to take you? As you can imagine, that one additional step usually represents a journey all its own. For a couple of reasons, it can seem more like going an extra mile than just an extra step.
First, getting neutral is the most challenging place to be. It's the position in which, no matter how hard you hit the gas, no matter how much you rev the engine, you're simply not moving on, at least for the moment. More than any of the other steps leading to a sacred pace, getting neutral feels like going nowhere, though it's actually the only way to reach the destinations God has mapped out for you.
Second, it's quite honestly the toughest place to arrive at in our hearts. We don't just struggle to stop hurrying and decelerate until we've gotten neutral; we struggle to remain undistracted and ignore what other drivers are doing (or want us to do). We also aren't too eager to ask for directions. It pinches our pride. Feels like weakness. And that kind of vulnerability is painful.

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps." (Jeremiah 10:23, NIV)

"My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways," (Proverbs 23:26, NIV)

"Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:10, NIV)

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1:25, NIV)

"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)

  1. What is the difference between being confident as a leader or allowing God to have control of our life direction (and maybe slowing down)?
  2. Terry speaks of several major business decisions in his life where God was clearly guiding him to make a choice that was not in alignment with what many thought was best. Have you faced similar circumstances? Share your experience and learning - with transparency, regarding results.
  3. How can we receive instruction that may cause us to bristle (pride)? Can you share a time when you've allowed others to offer advise that changed your perspective and direction?

Counterintuitive, Challenging, and Life-Changing

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", pg. 100]

I will admit, this whole idea of downshifting so you can get neutral is counterintuitive. How can such opposing measures advance you on the road to success in business and in life? And how can a process that always involves some pain (because you have to slow down, surrender any ungodly desire, and step out into the unknown) keep you coming back for more? Yet I can promise you it does - again and again - because these steps take you where you most want to go and deliver you, with fewer detours, to dreams and opportunities you never thought possible. In essence, they shorten the distance to God's will - and give you much, much more of Him. As Janet Erskin Stewart has said: "When you get your own way, you nurse a hideous idol called self. But when you give up your way, you get God."

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, NIV)

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)

  1. Name some specific ways that this "downshifting" approach to decision-making is counter-intuitive.
  2. How can such opposing measures advance you on the road to success in business and in life?
  3. How can a process that always involves some pain (because you have to slow down, surrender any ungodly desire, and step out into the unknown) keep you coming back for more?
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Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy. Deut. 5:33 NLT

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