Consult Your Friend Jesus Step One of Sacred Pace, Terry Looper

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm 46:10, The Message)

Why Jesus?

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", pg 64]

After I tried for so long to fill the hole inside of me with money, success, and people pleasing, God gave me the faith (through much pain) to start looking to Jesus, and nothing has been the same. As I grew still, opening myself day after day to His love and direction, I began to see Jesus as never before. The more I talked with Him in prayer, the more my heart and mind changed. And as they did, I was able to turn from my old ways of thinking and be in a position for His will - and especially His own heart toward me - to be clearly revealed.

Discussion Questions

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

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17, NIV)

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (James 5:16, NIV)

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;" (Ephesians 4:22, NIV)

  1. Terry says, "God gave me the faith", discuss the process whereby God gives faith, making every effort to go beyond the obvious and dig deep into personal experience.
  2. If you haven't already, share how you've also "begun to see Jesus, through much pain".
  3. What is your prayer experience? Can you agree with Terry that "the more you talk with Him, the more your heart and mind change"? How does this change occur?
  4. Turning from old ways of thinking seems to be critical to then experiencing "the will of God". How does old thinking restrict the clarity of understanding God's will in our lives? How have you effectively changed your patterns of thinking?

Experiencing Christ's Love

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", pg. 66]

I've heard of others becoming more whole in their soul just by experiencing Jesus' love too. Sadly, based on the number of Christians I've spoken to about this, it's apparently not unusual to go many years (or an entire lifetime!) without a deep sense of our Lord's love. Rather than excitedly crawling up on Jesus' lap as we can imagine the children in the Gospels doing, we remain guarded, distant. We're wary of being hurt. Scared that we may not be lovable. As a result, a lot of people do what I did: they get busy "being Christian" - doing and performing to gain Christ's approval - if they don't give up on Him altogether.

Discussion Questions

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

"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV)

  1. What is the primary difference between "being Christian" and actually loving Jesus and knowing His love?
  2. Why is it so easy to bypass knowing and feeling Jesus' love - and just be busy doing things that look "Christian"?
  3. Many of us have been hurt in love. What is different about Jesus' love and how do we intentionally apply that difference in our relationship with Him?
  4. What are some key indicators that we're not prioritizing the love relationship but rather the "doing and performing"?
  5. What are some key steps to getting back on the right track?

Relationship, Not Concept

[the following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", pg. 68]

Pastor Charles Stanley has written: "The essence of the Christian life does not consist of a set of rules and regulations. It is sharing a moment-by-moment, intimate relationship with the Savior. It is not a matter of human acceptance. God accepts us - that is all we need." Jesus' command to abide in Him (John 15:4) is actually an invitation to live in His presence. As I've welcomed Him into my decision-making process, His presence has become a deeply personal part of my experience, and it is one of my greatest joys. If you are lacking the experience of Jesus' presence, humbly ask Him to make Himself real to you. To pour out His affection on you. To bring you to a point where you are comforted by His presence rather than scared or confused by it.

Discussion Questions

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

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes a so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other." (John 15:1-17, NIV)

  1. What "rules and regulations" continue to plague your Christian experience?
  2. What steps might you take to move toward a more intimate experience with Jesus?
  3. What prevents us from "living in His presence" during our daily experience?
  4. How might Jesus "become more real to you"?
  5. What about Jesus' presence could be scary or confusing?
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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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