Fuel for the Journey

1. Share a memorable story of when you or someone you know ran out of fuel while driving / mowing the lawn / barbequing / using a snow blower, etc. What stands out to you about that experience?

2. We often don’t change when we see the light – we first need to feel the heat…we won’t change until we feel enough pain. Why do you think many of us continue to live an overloaded, stressed-out life? Why don’t we get fed up with it and make needed changes in our life rhythms?

3. Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

What did Jesus have in mind when He said, “Come to me”? What actions are needed for us to “come to Jesus”? How is this different from society’s solution to getting rest?

4. Describe how being yoked to Jesus could lighten a load you are carrying.

5. Describe how being yoked to Jesus might help you live life at a healthier pace.

6. What is it that you feel Jesus is teaching you at this point in your journey? What do you sense is an area you need to do some growing in your spiritual journey right now?

7. What is the difference between getting physical rest and getting rest for your soul? How are they linked?

8. What is significant about Jesus saying that He is gentle and humble at heart? Why would this give you rest for your soul?

9. How would staying connected to your church family lighten the load in your life?

10. How have you sensed God speaking to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Fruitful Living

1. Spiritually, what plant best describes where you’re at in your journey right now: Tumbleweed? Crab apple tree? Weeping willow? Towering oak? Other? Explain.

2. Jesus said: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8 NIV). How does Jesus say we are to show that we are His disciples? Who is glorified when we do this?

3. Jesus: “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last!” (John 15:16 NIV). Who chose whom according to this verse? For what purpose did Jesus say He chose us? How long is this fruit to last?

4. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) reads: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Talk about how you’ve experienced (or not experienced) the truth of this verse in your life.

5. Colossians 2:6 (Philipps) says: “Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so go on living in him—in simple faith. Grow out of him as a plant grows out of the soil it is planted in, becoming more and more sure of the faith as you were taught it, and your lives will overflow with joy and thankfulness.” And in Psalm 1:2-3 (TEV) we read: “They find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night. They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.” Based on these verses, discuss what you would tell a new believer God says in His word about the secret of growing deep roots? Share some examples from your life or the life of someone you know who lives out what these scriptures say.

6. Jesus said in John 12:24-25 (NASB): “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it…” What does this verse say will happen if you give your life to Christ – and what will happen if you don’t? How does a grain of wheat bear much fruit? How do we lose our life in Christ and bear much fruit?

7. Jesus said in John 15:5 (NIV): “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. But apart from me you can do nothing.’” What do you do to abide (remain connected to) Jesus? Discuss your experience of bearing fruit in Christ and contrast it with the experience of trying to bear fruit apart from Him. Give an example of a time in your life when it was hard to wait for the fruit and the impact your fear and doubt had on the waiting.

8. How have you sensed God speaking to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Leaving Life in the Fast Lane

1. How are you feeling about the pace of your life right now? Do feel you have established healthy rhythms in your life, taking into consideration work-life balance, time to nurture your spiritual journey and time set aside to serve others, as well as time for recreation and for friends? Why or why not?

2. Too many people today feel that the pace of their lives is too fast. Always being in a hurry harms us physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Discuss how hurry has affected you and how it has hurt those you love.

3. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11 (NIV): “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance.” What drives people to push so hard in life? While ambition is not necessarily unhealthy, it can drive us to feel discontented. What are some unhealthy ambitions? What is the secret of being content?

4. If you were to make a “life’s priorities” list or a “what matters most” list for your life, what would be on it? How can you use this list to help you discern when to say “yes” and when to say “no”?

5. In Exodus 20:9-10 (TEV) we read: “You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” Jesus said (Matthew 11:29 Msg): “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Why is rest and relaxation so important that it is one of the Ten Commandments? How might you establish a weekly Sabbath? What are we to learn by walking with Jesus?
6. We talk about needing to trust God, but we don’t always think about trusting His timing. We can easily grow impatient and try to fulfill God’s promise ourselves. Discuss the fine line between trusting God and trusting God’s timing with our role in fulfilling God’s promises in our lives.

7. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus (5:1-2 GNT): “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.” In trying to move from living an overloaded, hurried, stressed-out life to one that has a healthy rhythm to it, ask, “What is the loving thing to do here?” How can asking that question help you slow down? What do we learn from Jesus’ example in these verses?

8. How have you sensed God speaking to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Making Room for Life

1. In what way(s) are you feeling overloaded right now? Why? What do you think you could do to make your schedule, the rhythm of your life, more manageable? Give a couple of examples.

2. How does our culture get us to think we have no limits in our lives and activities?

3. Read Ecclesiastes 4:8. Give examples of things that drive some people to overload in life?

4. What are some warning lights in your life that indicate to you that you are reaching your limits?

5. Read Exodus 23:12. God tells us to rest one day a week. Why does that seem so hard to do at times? What would taking a day for rest and spiritual refreshment look like for you? What kind of an effect do you think it would have in your life?

6. Why is it that the faster you go, the more margin you need?

7. What’s the wisdom behind regularly evaluating your commitments?

8. How would having more space in your schedule enhance your relationship with God?

9. What are the benefits of living with margin in your life?

10. What are some things (of the things you are wrestling with right now) that are causing you to feel overloaded? What changes would give your life more “room”?

11. Sometimes the commitments we make and the activities we participate in can become idols in our life that we hang on to. Is there an idol or two that could be cut from your schedule or your budget?