STUDY GUIDE©Francee Strain 2018
The following study guide is designed for use as a companion to my book No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose. You may download and print this guide for free.
Chapter 1: No Ordinary Invitation
1-1. When you receive an invitation, what are you more enthused about: the people or the event itself? Why is this true?
1-2. Make a list of the invitations God has given to you. Have you responded to all of them or are there some that have gone unanswered? Did you respond favorably or negatively to the invitations? Why? Are there some that you are living vicariously (i.e., letting your grandma pray for you rather than doing it yourself)?
1-3. Have you ever truly stopped to ponder eternity and what it means for us?
1-4. Have you ever considered that you are invited to more than just this life you are currently living?
1-5. If you were to write your memoir, what would be the highlights of your times with God? What would you find yourself recording as the reasons for why you resisted what He invited you to do?
~Blessings come when we take action.~
Chapter 2: Come Unto Me
2-1. What does your “real life” look like?
2-2. Are you losing hope? Have you already lost it?
2-3. What questions are you asking that could be answered with Exodus 33:14?
2-4. Have you received an extraordinary invitation that has impacted you greatly?
2-5. Have you ever heard Jesus invite you? How?
2-6. Are you currently preparing because of an invitation God gave to you, or is the “event” already occurring?
2-7. If you are still in the preparation phase, are you actively and adequately preparing as you should? What changes need to be made, if any?
2-8. Name three examples of biblical invitations. What can be learned from the responders—either positive or negative—and applied to our lives today (e.g., trust, fear, how to make excuses)?
2-9. Do you give the same responses to God that you give to people? Is it ever “your way or the highway”?
2-10. Are you paying attention to what is going on around you and the consequences of that, or are you living haphazardly?
2-11. Are you cognizant of your time and living your life knowing that you cannot get it back, or are you paying no heed?
~Experience the extraordinary—come unto Him.~
Chapter 3: Great Expectations
3-1. What is your expectation for the future?
3-2. What does it mean to come to Jesus?
3-3. With what labors and cares are you laden? From what do you need rest?
3-4. Was Jesus’s calling about Him or about us?
3-5. What does it mean to exercise “free will”?
3-6. Compare and contrast invitations and commands. Which do you prefer to respond to and why? How does your attitude influence your responses?
3-7. Does it seem commands are more often for our benefit or for the commander’s?
3-8. What is the motivation when God issues commands? Are they for His benefit or ours? Why is it safe to respond to God?
3-9. What is the magnitude of compliance? Of refusal?
3-10. How does a positive response identify us as His children?
3-11. What amazing things have happened for people who have already said yes to God? For you?
3-12. How do your positive responses give people hope?
3-13. Are you listening for Him? Can your life change the world? What legacy will you leave?
3-14. What gives an invitation an impact? What is the difference between His invitations and our human ones?
3-15. What causes us to refuse (e.g., drama, self-reliance, playing the martyr, pain, fear, shame)?
3-16. Why is His invitation a gift? How was Jesus Himself an invitation?
3-17. Why is it necessary that we RSVP to God?
~We are expectantly invited to great things!~
Chapter 4: Elemental Invitations
4-1. What needs do you have in your life? Are the things that you consider needs truly needs? How do you go about satisfying those needs?
4-2. Do you have the things God says you need?
4-3. Have you ever had an experience like Lazarus, where Jesus brought you out from death unto life? Have you spiritually come out from death unto life?
4-4. How do you react when God answers prayers according to His timeline, and it happens to be different than yours?
4-5. Why were people in the crowd upset at Jesus? What accusations did they level at Him?
4-6. What extraordinary things happened when Jesus arrived on the scene?
4-7. What extraordinary things have you seen in your life because of Jesus?
4-8. What graveclothes are binding you and needing Jesus to loose them?
4-9. Do we need all of our circumstances to change, or do we simply need Jesus? Rest assured that although things appear cold, dead, and dark, God is at work around us.
4-10. What things do humans hunger for? Are these always the best for us? Why are the things which God offers better?
4-11. Why is Jesus more important than our necessary food? What excuses do we give to not partake of His life-giving nourishment?
4-12. Have you taken time to address your spiritual thirst? If you have taken this step, take time to remember your salvation experience and thank God for giving you the gift of eternal life.
4-13. Are you struggling with anything that causes you shame? Do you feel like you are isolated at the well in the heat of the day? Have you listened as Jesus has come there to speak to you in your circumstances?
4-14. Like the Samaritan woman, have you shared with others the things that God has done for you? Take time today to share with at least one person.
4-15. Why can only Jesus truly satisfy us?
4-16. Do our reputations change the fact of His offer?
4-17. How can we make others thirsty for Jesus?
4-18. Why do we need to continue drawing from the well after our salvation?
4-19. What makes you weary? How does multitasking contribute to the problem of weariness?
4-20. Have you ever come to a point where you felt that you could not take it anymore? Have you ever hit burnout? Is this a new problem for our society? How did the causal factors of burnout manifest in the lives of the disciples?
4-21. Have you ever had what is described as a “desert experience”? How did the living water enable you to survive?
4-22. How can taking on the mind of Christ remedy the problems of mental and spiritual weariness?
4-23. What are the consequences of ignoring the call to rest?
4-24. Have you ever lived in “function mode”? What were the results? What consequences still linger?
4-25. What is the difference between “living” and “living intentionally”?
4-26. Can we control the majority of what depletes us?
4-27. What impact would intentional daily rest have on your daily life? Spiritually? Mentally? Emotionally? Physically? Relationally?
4-28. List five truths that you can meditate on to combat weariness.
4-29. What do we do when we fall back into our old habits?
4-30. Who is ultimately making your way? Who is making it right now?
~We can make God elemental to our lives.~
Chapter 5: Hide and Seek
5-1. Do you ever view life as a game of hide-and-seek? What are you seeking? From what are you hiding?
5-2. Have you ever hidden from God? How?
5-3. What happens when God comes looking for you? Have you ever reached a point where you thought God had ceased to look for you?
5-4. What significant things have happened in your life when you have said to God, “Here am I.”?
5-5. Do the answers we give God solely impact us? What benefits can others receive from our acts of obedience?
5-6. Do you ever try to devise your own solutions rather than seek His help?
5-7. Do you think God is for or against you?
5-8. What ultimate proof has God given that He is for you and is seeking you?
5-9. How can we categorize why people seek Jesus?
5-10. Have you ever sought Jesus in spite of what others have said? What was your motivation to do so?
5-11. What things has God given to you that you were seeking? What things have you seen Him give to others? Take time to thank Him for His provision, to you and to them.
5-12. What do you currently seek from God? Why do you seek this? Is it for the sake of yourself, others, or Him?
5-13. For which kingdom are you seeking? How committed are you to seeking Him? How long and how far will you go? What is your level of commitment—a cross-looker or a cross-carrier?
5-14. Do you really want to hear God’s answers to your questions?
5-15. What treasures will we find in God?
~He is the treasure that we will find if we seek.~
Chapter 6: Lost and Found
6-1. Think back to your lostness before Jesus found you. How did you see Him exhibiting compassion for you?
6-2. Have you allowed Him to shepherd you? What are we responsible to do as sheep?
6-3. Do you ever ask God “Why?” Where is your focus at this point?
6-4. Are you grieving about anything? Have you allowed Him to help carry your grief?
6-5. Write out the meaning of the name Immanuel. What does this mean for your life? For what situations do you really need Immanuel right now?
6-6. Would you consider yourself to be living a righteous life right now? Truthfully, and according to God’s standards, are you? Have you taken on His righteousness? How does righteous living impact the people around us? Think about how many lives could potentially be impacted.
6-7. What talents and abilities do you bring to the Body of Christ?
6-8. What are you doing to prepare for the second advent?
6-9. Is there anything keeping you from entering His kingdom? Have you sent in your RSVP? Are you anticipating the call that “all things are now ready”?
6-10. What do you go about doing in your earthly life? Does it involve Jesus?
6-11. Are you positively impacting the world for Christ?
6-12. Are you deluded like Paul and mistakenly believing that what you are doing is “for God”?
6-13. Have you ever felt a move of God upon your life? What were the circumstances? What was your response?
6-14. Are you involved in the work of His kingdom?
6-15. What does God provide in order for us to do His work?
6-16. Spend some time thanking God for His help and His promise to never leave you or lose you.
~Being found in Christ will find me changing the world.~
Chapter 7: Needy
7-1. What is the underlying reason people come to Christ today?
7-2. List the seven spiritual benefits named in the book and then add more of your own. Meditate on the magnitude of these things: We can be saved. We can know God!
7-3. How are you seeing evidence of God?
7-4. Are you allowing God to establish you in the place where He wants you?
7-5. Are you fulfilling the purpose for which He placed you here?
7-6. Are you abiding in Him so you can bring change to the world?
7-7. Are you taking advantage of the opportunity to know Him better?
7-8. Do you have peace?
7-9. Do you have the mind of Christ?
7-10. Are you strengthening your relationship with God?
7-11. Do you love Him and love others?
7-12. How is God being expressed through your life?
7-13. Are there emotions holding Him at bay?
7-14. Are you a picture of beauty and grace from the inside out? What needs to change?
7-15. What physical challenges would you like to have changed? How can God’s power come through even without a change?
7-16. Why does God supply all of our needs beyond just the spiritual?
7-17. List the six verbs from Joshua 22:5. How can you accomplish these six things in your life?
~His wants are my needs.~
Chapter 8: There Is No Present like the Time
8-1. Are you prone to view your time as a gift? Do you most often think of it in terms of the past, the present, or the future?
8-2. Why is timing important to an invitation?
8-3. Make a list of the things to which you know God is inviting you. Are you deferring action on any of these invitations? Identify any reasons that are causing you to delay or refuse taking action. Spend time praying about this issue, and take steps to act.
8-4. Do you view His invitations to you as gifts?
8-5. Will today be your day to act?
~May my lifetime be a gift to Him.~
Chapter 9: Refusing Excuses
9-1. Are you one to make excuses? Of what good things have you refused to take part? What are your excuses? Do you have default excuses?
9-2. Do you make assumptions about what God is calling you to do?
9-3. How do people miss Jesus when you do not show up where God has asked you to be?
9-4. Are you and Jesus on familiar terms, or are you more like acquaintances, or even strangers? How can you know Him better?
9-5. Have you ever essentially said to God, “Do I have to?” What reasons do you have for resistance? Who you are? Your circumstances? Your external influences?
9-6. What would happen if you came to God for healing?
9-7. How can you be your own obstacle in coming to God?
9-8. What actions do we take besides giving God a verbal “no”?
9-9. What drowns out God’s voice in your life?
9-10. Whose definition of success matters? How does His version vary from ours?
9-11. How can we redirect our focus to God?
9-12. What is the difference between grace and perfectionism?
9-13. How can we handle impatience in our spiritual lives?
9-14. In what ways can waiting be a benefit?
9-15. How can we express our emotions and still rest?
9-16. What brings things into alignment?
9-17. Why is it difficult for us to make God our first priority? What priorities are consuming you? What are you neglecting in the process? Take time to confess any sin that is keeping you from prioritizing Him.
9-18. How do distractions overwhelm us?
9-19. Is your first thought yourself or Him?
9-20. How does salvation set us free?
9-21. Who is conducting your life?
9-22. Are there any relationships keeping you from Him?
9-23. Is there anyone or anything you love more than God? Do your actions say something other than what your words say?
9-24. Will you decide to move excuses aside and come to Him?
9-25. Are you on God’s side or are you working against Him?
9-26. Have you given God an invitation to be your Savior? To do His will in your life? Do your dreams align with His?
9-27. Have you ever stepped into a newly God-given role?
9-28. What needs to change—you or your faith?
9-29. How do you contend when obstacles arise?
9-30. Are you taking action and watching God act?
9-31. What do we miss by not coming?
9-32. Are you doing the great things He has called you to do?
~May God be seen in me and through me.~
Chapter 10: Seeker-Friendly
10-1. Have you taken the first step to come to God? Are you still heading in His direction? If not, what would it take for you to do so—faith or action?
10-2. How do we move from the initial step toward eternal life into the subsequent steps of abundant life?
10-3. Is your prayer life a two-way communication?
10-4. Are the words of the Bible just written on the page, or are they written on your heart?
10-5. Is your worship full, or is it lacking in some aspects?
10-6. Is the song of your heart for Him?
10-7. Where do your thoughts dwell? When and how often are they focused on Him?
10-8. Are you speaking of Him and to Him along with others, or are you isolated from godly fellowship?
10-9. Have you given yourself over to the work of the kingdom?
10-10. Is your heart committed to living for God and following His plan? How deep, wide, far, and long will you go to be His? Choose your level of commitment from the following list: platinum, gold, silver, bronze, honorable mention, participant, observer, uninvolved.
10-11. How much of your heart will you give to Him? How much of Him will you allow to flow through your daily life?
10-12. Are you striving to become a person after God’s own heart? Is all of your heart all for Him for all of forever?
10-13. Do you lift up your soul? Come without shame? Claim God as your salvation? Come because you trust? Come because of wisdom?
10-14. Do you live, move, and have your being in God? Does your relationship with God make a difference in the world around you? Will your life make a difference into the future?
10-15. What is your heart’s condition? Are you being real? Have you allowed Him to lift you out of the dirt?
10-16. Have you placed yourself into a proper position in relation to God? When He speaks, how does your heart respond?
10-17. Who is winning over your circumstances?
10-18. Are you grateful for your salvation?
10-19. Have you resolved to trust Him with your life?
10-20. To what does a delayed response equate?
10-21. Do you understand the wisdom in seeking God? Why is it important to seek God continually? What are the benefits, and who benefits?
~Resolve to seek His face always.~
Chapter 11: It’s Not Me, It’s Him
11-1. In the words of Matthew 11:28, who are the parties involved and what is each to do?
11-2. What is your experience with resting? Do you do it? How would others describe your resting?
11-3. Have you ever experienced significant consequences due to a lack of rest? Were there spiritual consequences?
11-4. Take time to ponder the path of your feet. Are the things you are busy doing the things God would have you to do? Are there any course corrections that need to be made?
11-5. Stop the damage; start life anew. Take time for confession and time to accept the forgiveness He offers.
11-6. Are you aware of the spiritual battle raging around you? Do you know who the real enemy is? Is there anything disguised as a friend that is truly an enemy?
11-7. Are you aware of the chinks in your armor where Satan can gain access? Pray for strength and protection.
11-8. Are you worn out? Hurt? Exhausted? Turned against God? Stand firm against what Satan is trying to steal, kill, and destroy in your life.
11-9. What battles rage in your mind? Which battles has God already won that you are trying to go back and fight? Where do you need to ask for His help?
11-10. Take time to speak truth on the battlefield. Remind yourself of whose who are. Let grace and peace fill your mind.
11-11. How long is your list of sin? Have you dealt with it? Have you allowed Jesus to deal with it and bring you freedom? Move that clutter out of the way, and declare His glory in a dark world!
11-12. Have you accepted Jesus’s yoke, or are you resisting? Whose road are you wanting to travel? Whose heart are you choosing to follow?
11-13. Are you allowing Him to fix what is broken in you, or are you attempting to do it yourself?
11-14. Do you try to “do it all”? Is it difficult for you to say no? Is God’s presence over you, or is it buried under all the busyness?
11-15. Do you remember to rest as God has asked and take time to love Him and others?
11-16. Are you stressed out and burned out, or are you sold out and poured out for God?
11-17. Are you on a path of self-destruction?
11-18. Which kind of B.U.S.Y. are you—under Satan’s yoke or the Savior’s? Jesus can be our coach, teammate, and prize in this obstacle course!
11-19. Are the things you do spiritually significant? Are you spiritually barren or fruitful?
11-20. Make a vertical list of ten yokes that you wear and then write your name beneath them all. Pray about each of these, and take time to transfer them over to Jesus’s shoulders.
11-21. Take time to work through each of the questions in the next to last paragraph of this chapter. Pray for discernment.
~Our past is our past, but Jesus can be our future.~
Chapter 12: Yoked to Rest
12-1. Are you laboring with a misdirected focus or purposely laboring for the eternal?
12-2. Is your free will a blessing to you and others, or are you misusing it?
12-3. Are you moving forward, or are you stuck in things of the past?
12-4. What is the purpose of a yoke? Of a spiritual yoke?
12-5. Are you becoming more matched to Jesus, or do you have a sore neck at the end of the day?
12-6. How does Jesus’s yoke become a perfect fit for us?
12-7. Define a yokefellow. How do we become co-laborers with God?
12-8. Have you ever tried to wear someone else’s yoke?
12-9. Have you given yourself to the load or to the Lord?
12-10. What has Jesus taught you? What would you still like to learn from Him?
12-11. What would help you become a more effective learner?
12-12. List ten characteristics Jesus displayed. Do you exhibit these?
12-13. How does His yoke bring us rest?
12-14. How can we find rest in the midst of busyness and burdens?
~May my side of the yoke bear the impression of Jesus.~
Chapter 13: The Rest and the Restless
13-1. Are you most often rested or restless?
13-2. Do you truly know God? Are you suffering from spiritual amnesia? How have you forgotten God? Take time to remember who He is and what He has done for you.
13-3. Do you seek God or other things to fulfill you?
13-4. How do these other things keep us from knowing and remembering God? How do they cause restlessness?
13-5. What fire, flood, or chaos is stealing your rest? How can you put your restlessness to rest?
~There is an abundance of peace and rest in His presence.~
Chapter 14: The Bearing, the Breaking, and the Better
14-1. How can we use His yoke as a tool in our lives?
14-2. What incorrect yokes are you prone to wear?
14-3. Have you ever fought His yoke? What lesson did you learn from that experience? Are you fighting one now?
14-4. Are you living His vision for you or something less?
14-5. Are you offering Him your lip service or your heart?
14-6. Have you found freedom by giving up control?
14-7. Are you on a detour or in the ditch right now? What will it take to get back on the path?
14-8. Is your life being wasted in fruitless pursuits?
14-9. How does dependence on Him bring freedom?
14-10. How does surrender to His timing help us achieve rest?
14-11. How can burdens make us better?
14-12. How can we rest during our lifetimes?
14-13. Are you using the best techniques as you pass through life?
14-14. Are you languishing on the valley floor or moving up toward the summit?
14-15. Are you trying to circumvent the growth process? Give thanks for the good that He will bring out of your storms.
~God’s light is not just at the end of the tunnel—it is there in the midst of it.~
Chapter 15: A Mind to Rest
15-1. To whom would you say your mind belongs?
15-2. How can a view of Jesus’s heart bring rest to our minds?
15-3. How can an understanding of divine and human natures aid in the process of finding rest for our minds?
15-4. How does focusing on God diminish worry?
15-5. What things truly allow our minds to rest?
15-6. Why does the manner of our thinking matter?
15-7. List five amazing things about God and then spend some time thinking about them.
15-8. Why is thinking on God important in the good times as well as the bad?
15-9. How can we rest even during our rainy seasons?
15-10. How can we take shelter in God?
15-11. How do we find the light and the good in the midst of suffering?
15-12. On whose vision do you rely? How can an eternal perspective change a temporal mind-set? Do you need a perspective adjustment?
15-13. Do you have a mind to trust God?
~We can bring our minds to rest in God, and He will bring rest to our minds.~
Chapter 16: The Rest of My Relationships
16-1. What and whose design for relationships will complete us and fulfill us?
16-2. Why does absence from God not make the heart grow fonder?
16-3. For what are we really longing?
16-4. How do we bring relationships into alignment?
16-5. What makes relationships a blessing? How can we find rest in them?
16-6. What can we do when things go wrong in relationships?
16-7. What does it mean to retreat with God?
16-8. Take time to think about whose agenda is getting the priority in your life. Is it whose it should be?
16-9. Has God’s agenda become your agenda? Completely? In part? At all?
16-10. How can our relationships be fuller and richer?
16-11. Why is it important to take time with God? What will we learn while we do so?
16-12. When and where can we access God? Experience His power?
16-13. Why is it important to have times for stillness and introspection?
16-14. Who are you, and what are you all about? Whose name are you trying to magnify?
16-15. Is God the theme of your activities?
16-16. Why does even the smallest step toward God make a difference?
16-17. Are you fulfilling God’s plan for your life? How can you know?
16-18. Why are the elements of prayer, worship, and the Word important to a relationship with God?
16-19. How can ordinary moments become extraordinary?
16-20. Should each day on our calendars look alike? Do you take time for rest that is holy?
16-21. How can repose remove the shadows over our relationships with God?
16-22. How can spiritual erosion affect all other parts of our beings?
16-23. Did Jesus allow Himself to be pulled in countless directions? Do you? If so, how can you deal with this reality?
16-24. Why is communion with God both important and necessary?
16-25. List the six benefits mentioned in the book that come from the pursuit of a relationship with God. Can you think of others?
16-26. Do you recognize the source of true help? Hope? Everlasting love?
~Connect to the Vine, and your life will flourish.~
Chapter 17: Journey to Rest
17-1. Are you pouring your energy into life? Eternity? Are you living for the short term or the long term?
17-2. Are you a “go, go, go” person? Do you naturally rest, or do you need to be intentional about it?
17-3. How did Jesus balance the many activities of His life?
17-4. Are you missing out on real life while you chase an impossible one?
17-5. What is the purpose of allowing a field to rest? Why do we need to rest?
17-6. Does resting in God equate to idleness?
17-7. Do you live a drive-thru life? Physically? Spiritually?
17-8. Is everything on your calendar necessary? Are you neglecting the significant while you pursue your schedule?
17-9. What are some side effects of being too busy?
17-10. How do we balance the call of the Great Commission with the call to rest?
17-11. How can multitasking inhibit abundant living?
17-12. Why is it necessary to come before we go?
17-13. How does working well allow us to rest?
17-14. How can we rest and run at the same time?
17-15. Who is coaching you through life?
17-16. Is your journey comprised of steps that are moving you forward toward God?
~Walking in step with God will find you traveling with the greatest of all companions.~
Chapter 18: Strong to the Core
18-1. What truly makes a person strong to the core?
18-2. When we are being strong in our human strength, are we truly strong?
18-3. What made Jesus strong to the core?
18-4. How can we become stronger during times of stillness?
18-5. How does Jesus’s yoke build strength in us?
18-6. How does inviting God into every waking moment bring us strength?
18-7. What will strengthening from God enable us to do?
~You can be a strong presence for God in this world when His presence is strong in you.~
Chapter 19: Waiting Times and Waiting Rooms
19-1. Are you a patient person, or is it difficult for you to be still and wait? Are you patient when you are waiting on God?
19-2. Do you most often operate on God’s timeline or your own?
19-3. Are you restless in your spiritual life? Why? What is the danger of this type of restlessness?
19-4. How are discontent and restlessness connected?
19-5. What can impatience destroy? How can inaction also be a problem?
19-6. On whose pursuits are you focused? On whose way?
19-7. What are the benefits of yielding to His workmanship? Of waiting?
19-8. In what waiting rooms do you find yourself right now? How can this time and these locations be the perfect circumstances for waiting on God?
19-9. Think of examples of people who had to wait quite some time for the fruition of their lives to be realized. What benefits did they and others receive in the waiting period?
19-10. Why is His work sometimes for us to rest?
19-11. How is His work our work?
~We are His masterpieces, created with love and time. What He has for us will come to pass.~
Chapter 20: “Yes,” for the Win
20-1. Are you able to answer the four questions outlined at the beginning of this chapter?
20-2. What things do you need to go past so that you can come to Jesus?
20-3. Do your eyes see past the reality of now? Do you have an eternal focus?
20-4. Have you taken care of the all-important decision of where you will spend your eternity?
20-5. What invitation has God sent for us to read with our eyes and see with our faith?
~God displays His invitation to eternal life through the life of His Son.~
Chapter 21: Awaiting the Big Day
21-1. How can we experience God now while waiting for the celebration of heaven?
21-2. Have you looked to find Him there with you in the midst of your storms?
21-3. What are we to be doing while we await His return?
21-4. Are you on His mission of love?
21-5. How is your legacy looking right now? How can it be improved?
21-6. Have you yet begun to live? Do you live intentionally for God?
21-7. Are you allowing God to order your steps?
21-8. Are you presenting God with excuses of the day? How can excuses be overcome?
21-9. Despite your limitations, how could God use you if you surrendered to Him? What great things is He capable of doing through you?
21-10. What will enable us to fulfill the missions He has for each of us?
21-11. Write a mission statement to express your purpose for living. Is God found anywhere in your statement?
21-12. Are you pressing toward His mark? Are there any prompts you could write to help you in this journey?
~May these lives You have given us to live, God, be no ordinary lives. May they be extraordinary for You!~
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to seeing you at the finish line!!! ~Francee