The Reason for God Study Guide Chapter 14

I am posting a study guide for Tim Keller’s The Reason for God that I created to lead my small group through. I hope it is a blessing.

Reason For God Chapter 14

The Dance of God

Interpretation Questions

  • What was your favorite part of this chapter?
  • What made you struggle in this chapter?
  • What did you learn about God in this chapter?
  • What did you learn about yourself in this chapter?
  • Does the Trinity mess with you?

Study Questions:

The Divine Dance

God, father, son, and spirit live in community and glorify each other.

  • It is not self-centered or static.
  • The life of the Trinity is characterized not by self-centeredness but by mutually self-giving love.
  • They are entered into orbit around each other centering themselves on the desires and interests of each other.
  • This creates a dance.
  • The concept of the trinity overloads our minds.


The Dance of Love

Since God is Triune and is love then loving relationships in community are the center of reality.

  • When people say God is love they usually mean that God values love or wants us to be loving.
  • In the Christian understanding, God really has love as his essence.
  • He has been loving others from all eternity. God models true love in the way that he loves himself and the community of persons that he is.


The Dance of Creation

God created the world not to fill a void in his life. He created the worlds o that we could join him in the dance. He loves to create things to enter the dance of relationship with him.

Losing the Dance

Viewed through the lens that all creation is a relationship dance with God, brings new perspective on sin.

  • Sin is the losing of the dance. It is becoming self centered and isolated from God.
  • God doesn’t leave us there. Jesus died so that we could renter the dance wit him.

Returning to the Dance.

Jesus brings us back into relationship with himself and others when we move toward him.

The Future of the Dance.

So how will the story of human history end? The world wont melt away, instead heaven will come to earth. God will reengage with creation in a new way and we will continue to live with him.

The Christian Life

How do we respond?

  • WE see that Christianity is not only about getting one’s individual sins forgiven so we can go to heaven.
  • That is an important means of God’s salvation but it is not the end or final purpose of it.
  • God wants more from us than to just get us to heaven.
  • We are saved for God not just from sin.
  • We are a part of God’s plan to restore creation
  • When we get to heaven we will say we are finally home. Just like In CS Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia. Our adventures are just only the cover and title page.

Reflection Questions?

Do you long to Dance with God?

Do you long for heaven?

Prayer Time

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The Spirit is Moving

Hello everybody!
This is Bobby McDonald, and I’ll be your Israel Mission trip ambassador for today. First and foremost all thanks be to God! Today has been a miraculous day with God working through us in great ways. First, I have to share the testimony that my mission partner for the day, Rebecca, and I experienced.  Again, many of the events of the day were miraculous, but I’ll let you be the judge.  We started off the morning going door to door in apartment buildings.  We went to five buildings over the span of about 2 hours and of all of those units only one person answered and she did not want to speak with us.  So our first few hours were pretty discouraging.  However, the sixth building is the one that God had planned for us.  At this particular complex we walked to the top floor and knocked on the doors, working our way downstairs.
Finally we make it to the 1st floor (which was the last floor floor since we started from the top) and there was only one apartment left. Due to our lack of success we were just about to leave, but then the owner of that last apartment was coming into the building as we were walking out.  We told him who were were and what we were about and he invited us into his home.  It was the home of a young bachelor, charming and decorated for the social night-life with pictures of friends having a good time all around.  His name was Nimrod (not quite good for America but a strong name here in Israel). Nimrod and I connected a lot because I’ve been in his situation. He was a nice young man who loves to have fun, loves to have a good time and was not thinking about God much because life was good thus far.  I mean, why think about God when you have a career path, friends, and get to enjoy life so much?  Sadly, that story is far too similar to countless people, and they have a veil of comfort to hide them from reaching the truth.  There are many times though when that veil will be lifted by God, and the truth will be exposed.  I strongly believe that this happend to Nimrod, and others that the members of our team reached out to today.
Anyways, we were inside Nimrod’s home and after learning basic information about his life we started to share the gospel.  We were talking about who Jesus was and then all of sudden I felt urged to share my testimony.  When I started sharing the story of how I prayed one Saturday night almost 2 1/2 years ago and asked that Christ would reveal Himself to me if He was real, and then He did, I had a confidence greater than any other point on this trip.  The words just kept coming.  There was no hesitation, no delay, but just a flow of words.  I don’t remember a lot of it, but Rebecca told me that Nimrod all of a sudden leaned in with great interest and was totally absorbing everyting God was saying through me.  It was as if God answered our constant prayers, that He would open the hearts of those whom we meet so that they would listen.  When I was finished, I couldn’t believe what just happend, and you could tell Nimrod almost couldn’t believe my testimony either.  I mean, how cool is it that you could pray to God that He would reveal Himself to you, and then He does in ways that go beyond what we could fathom.  Then Rebecca shared her testimony, and he was just so moved that he accepted a New Testament in Hebrew, allowed us to pray over him, and gave us his information so that Aaron could mail him a book about the Messian and the prophecies He fulfilled.  We were able to leave our first “door-to-door” meeting of the day with knowledge that God came before us, put someone in our path, and opened their hearts to hear His message.  It was very powerful.
It is even more rejuvenating to our faith to hear other stories similar to Rebecca’s and mine that happend to our peers while they were out today.  Kelsey experienced the same thing that I did, being overtaken by the Holy Spirit and God preaching through her.  Her partener for the day, Nick, said it was astounding what he witnessed.  All of a sudden Kelsey just started preaching, and didn’t skip a beat.  Jeff met an Israeli woman that spoke fluent Hebrew obviously, but extremely little English.  He, having a very meager background in Spanish, asked if she spoke Spanish and she did fluently.  He was able to share the gospel with her, but used spanish words and grammar that in his own description said that he should not have even remembered at all.  The level of spanish he spoke was far higher than his current knowledge of the language, and the same goes for his understanding of it as well.  Another amazing aspect is that it is not only God moving in us as we share the Word, but also in those who hear it.  When the group got together over dinner tonight to share our experiences of the day, everyone gave witness that the people all of a sudden leaned forward, and were paying attention with amazing interest.  God saved us from death, God brought us to the Holy Land, and God used us to preach.  I implore those who read this blog to reach out and ask God with all your heart how can you do His will, in old ways or new.  He will use you.
Now, there is another important aspect of the experience that Rebecca and I had.  After we left Nimrod’s home we walked and found a wallet in the middle of the sidewalk just a few dozen steps from his building.  We picked it up and asked passerbys where a police station was, but didnt really get much help.  Finally, we asked one lady and she told us that we could take a bus to the nearest station.  We being foreigners said that would could not do that because  our knowledge of the city was too limited.  So she decided that she would take the wallet, and call its owner to inform them that we found it.  It was lunch time and we were all on our way to lunch, so we invited her to join us.  She did and we had such a delightful conversation with this Israeli woman.  She had been here for quite some time after living in Chicago and New York due to her husband’s accounting career.  We spent a good hour together and had a wonderful time at one of the best falafel spots in Tel Aviv (falafel is fried hummus, quite the arabic delicacy). This experience was extremely familiar because the testimony that I had just shared with Nimrod was how God brought an older woman across my path and revealed Himself to me through her.  And now here we were, after sharing the gospel with him, we find a wallet, meet a lady through that event and then are having a wonderful time getting to know eachother.  However, whilst at this same Falafel restaurant someone taps me on the shoulder, and its my new friend David.  David is a 90 year old Israeli man that looks 70.  Calla and I met him yesterday when going door to door.  We were with him for about an hour and shared with gospel.  He too filled out a card to receive the book on how the Messiah fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament.  Anyways, he invited us to meet him in his home after Rebecca and I left the falafel restaurant.  So we went there and had great conversation for 30 minutes.
After that we went to a tent city that I had visited last night.  For a quick background, there is a protest going on here in Tel Aviv.  People have left their apartment homes and condos to live on the streets in tents together to protest the high cost of living and low average salaries.  There I had met two individuals, Mayan and another David, both students in college. We talked last night for over an hour.  So today, Rebecca and I cross their paths and were able to meet with them for about 45 minutes.  At each of these meetings we were able to reinforce an observation that Mayan had shared with me last night.  She said that although she is not religious, and does not believe in religion, Christians seem to have a peace about them that is unsurpassable.  They seem to really know God.  So us sharing the words of the gospel is not only how we reach people, but through our witness.  Through our day to day interactions with others and letting them know that we are Christians, God uses us to share the way Jesus lived because we strive to live by it.  I love you all and thank you for letting me share our testimonies with you.  Good night.
– Bobby

Fertile Soil

This Sunday I preached a message out of John 15:5-8.  The thesis is that we prove to be Jesus’ disciples by producing much fruit.  From John 15 we jumped to Matthew 13 and the parable of the sower.  We learned that we are able to produce good fruit by being fruitful soil.You can listen to it here:

After the service someone asked me to elaborate on how the Holy Spirit allows us to be good soil.  I felt that the best way for me to address this question was here, online.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s main tool to transform us into the likeness of his son Jesus.  The Holy Spirit speaks to us by convicting us of sin and moving in us to do God’s work.  The best way to have the Holy Spirit work in your life is to begin to have a relationship with him.  The Bible tells that he is the third part of the Godhead.  That means that he is as much God as God the Father and Jesus.  Although he isn’t human, he is a person with the desire to be in relationship with us.  As we grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, through prayer to him and trying to do his will we will change into being good soil.

One of the most powerful roles that the Holy Spirit does in our lives is being a helper.  Jesus tells us about the role of the Holy Spirit in John 14.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  John 14:26

I find great confidence in becoming good soil knowing that the Holy Spirit is working in me. That he is going to teach me all things and that he will help me follow Jesus’ teachings.

To hear more about the role of the Holy Spirit you can listen to this message on the Holy Spirit that we taught on Recently.  Just click on the link!