DSG | Discipleship Study Guide | Vineyard Boise

Anchor Prayer

the story of His love | Hosea 3.1-5

anchor prayer seriesFRIDAY
Reflection 15 of 15

 

REFLECT

Then God ordered me, “Start all over: Love your wife again,
your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your
cheating wife.
Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people,
even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”

I did it. I paid good money to get her back.
It cost me the price of a slave.
Then I told her, “From now on you’re living with me.
No more whoring, no more sleeping around.
You’re living with me and I’m living with you.”

The people of Israel are going to live a long time
stripped of security and protection,
without religion and comfort,
godless and prayerless.
But in time they’ll come back, these Israelites,
come back looking for their God and their David-King.
They’ll come back chastened to reverence
before God and his good gifts, ready for the End of the story of his love.   Hosea 3:1-5 | MSG

“Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen

 

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One more time. Get started by reflecting on Hosea’s story – if time permits, read Hosea chapters 1-3 at least. Perhaps look ahead and read the Relate question, then see what you hear, see, sense. The pencil (or pen) can be the best eye, so try writing it down. Try it. Listen. And Write…

 

RELATE

The story of Hosea and Gomer is not pretty. It’s a scandalous, painful mess. What parallels have you experienced in your own life? How have you been taught to love in and through your own messy relationships and situations?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

AMEN.

1 cor 13 d

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what a splendid expression of love! | Ruth 3.8-13

anchor prayer seriesTHURSDAY
Reflection 14 of 15

 

REFLECT

In the middle of the night the man was suddenly startled and sat up. Surprise! This woman asleep at his feet! He said, “And who are you?”

She said, “I am Ruth, your maiden; take me under your protecting wing. You’re my close relative, you know, in the circle of covenant redeemers—you do have the right to marry me.”

He said, “God bless you, my dear daughter! What a splendid expression of love! And when you could have had your pick of any of the young men around. And now, my dear daughter, don’t you worry about a thing; I’ll do all you could want or ask. Everybody in town knows what a courageous woman you are—a real prize! You’re right, I am a close relative to you, but there is one even closer than I am. So stay the rest of the night. In the morning, if he wants to exercise his customary rights and responsibilities as the closest covenant redeemer, he’ll have his chance; but if he isn’t interested, as God lives, I’ll do it. Now go back to sleep until morning.” Ruth 3:8-13 | MSG

“Love is a better teacher than duty.” – Albert Einstein

 

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Your turn again.. Get started by reflecting on the story of Ruth – read the rest of the story (Ruth 2-4) if time permits. Perhaps look ahead and read the Relate question, then see what you hear, see, sense. The pencil (or pen) can be the best eye, so try writing it down. Try it. Listen. And Write…

 

RELATE

Describe the “splendid expression of love” you see in Ruth towards Boaz. In Boaz towards Ruth. What are your takeaways from this story?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

Amen.

1 cor 13 d


so the two of them traveled on together

WEDNESDAYanchor prayer series
Reflection 13 of 15

REFLECT

After a short while on the road, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, “Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!” She kissed them and they cried openly.

They said, “No, we’re going on with you to your people.”

But Naomi was firm: “Go back, my dear daughters. Why would you come with me? Do you suppose I still have sons in my womb who can become your future husbands? Go back, dear daughters—on your way, please! I’m too old to get a husband. Why, even if I said, ‘There’s still hope!’ and this very night got a man and had sons, can you imagine being satisfied to wait until they were grown? Would you wait that long to get married again? No, dear daughters; this is a bitter pill for me to swallow—more bitter for me than for you. God has dealt me a hard blow.”

Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye; but Ruth embraced her and held on.

Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her.”

But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!”

When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together. Ruth 1:8-19 | MSG

“True love stories never have endings.” – Richard Bach

 

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Your turn. Get started by reflecting on the story of Ruth. Read all of Ruth chapter one if time permits. Perhaps look ahead and read the Relate question, then see what you hear, see, sense. The pencil (or pen) can be the best eye, so try writing it down. Try it. Listen. And Write…

 

RELATE

What love lessons do you learn from Ruth and Naomi? When most recently has someone really stuck with you like Ruth? What happened?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

Amen.

1 cor 13 d


they seemed but a few days | Genesis 29.9-20

anchor prayer seriesTUESDAY
Reflection 12 of 15

 

REFLECT

         While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.

           As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

           Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Genesis 29:9-20 | ESV

 

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” – Zora Neale Hurston

 

RECEIVE

Once again, there’s more story here to read if you have the margins for it. Like most of the patriarchs, so much of Jacob’s story is a story of perhaps how not to love. Favoritism in parents; sibling rivalry; manipulating families; complexities of married life – particularly when one ends up having the love of your life’s sister thrown into the bargain.

Yes, it’s complicated.

Trace as much of the story of Jacob as you feel led to. Then sit with his story in silence for a bit. Listen. See what it speaks into the complexities of your own life. Write what you see and hear.

 

RELATE

How do you see love demonstrated in the story of Jacob and Rachel? In what places is that story anything but loving? What are your takeaways from it?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

Amen.

1 cor 13 d


anchor prayer: love | 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

anchor prayer seriesMONDAY
Reflection 11 of 15


REFLECT

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 | MSG

 

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 | ESV

 

RECEIVE

The final anchor prayer – and perhaps the most crucial of all.

Love.

Without love wisdom is made blind and courage is reduced to reckless, feckless folly. It’s been said that love is an emotion praised by the many and enjoyed by the few. It’s a rare commodity. Most of what is labeled “love” in this or any culture is a far cry from it. It is often observed that love is not a noun, but a verb – and if that is the case, then Paul gives a good start in coming to grips with what love really is with his classic list of “love verbs” in 1 Corinthians 13. Not a bad passage to read aloud each day this week as we contemplate love and pray our anchor prayer.

Once again we have four stories to reflect on this week as we set before us the “anchor prayer” of love. We could pile up scriptures describing love, praying for love, exhorting us to love. But it is in the concreteness of story that we can best apprehend love.

The ultimate story through which we learn love is, of course, His story of love. “By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us.” It is the Gospel’s contention that that one selfless act of love is in fact the core reality at the center of all existence. And so every story that rings true to our ears bears the marks of that Story. So it is with each of the four “anchoring” stories of love that we ponder this week.

Look for it in each, even as you look for it in your own story.

Again we depart from the usual flow. You will be given a passage to reflect upon and then challenged to listen and write your own musing, observations, and thoughts. It’s the discipline of journaling. Perhaps by now you’ve learned to tolerate it – if not to perhaps like it. Regardless, try it. Again.

Let your thoughts tumble onto page through pen or pencil. Don’t self-edit. Don’t try to be profound or polished or right. Simply listen, and allow thoughts, whether many or few, to tumble out onto the page.

Try it.
Read.
Reflect.

Pause.

Listen.
Write.
Or even Draw, Paint.

And if you are engaging in this study with a small group, be bold and share something that you saw through the point of that pen, pencil, or brush…

 

RELATE

What is love? How would you describe love? How would your version of 1 Corinthians 13 read?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

1 cor 13 d


not what they do to me, but what He does through me

anchor prayer seriesFRIDAY
Reflection 10 of 15

 

REFLECT

After several days of visiting, a prophet from Judea by the name of Agabus came down to see us. He went right up to Paul, took Paul’s belt, and, in a dramatic gesture, tied himself up, hands and feet. He said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: The Jews in Jerusalem are going to tie up the man who owns this belt just like this and hand him over to godless unbelievers.”

When we heard that, we and everyone there that day begged Paul not to be stubborn and persist in going to Jerusalem. But Paul wouldn’t budge: “Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that?”

We saw that we weren’t making even a dent in his resolve, and gave up. “It’s in God’s hands now,” we said. “Master, you handle it.”  Acts 21:10-14 | MSG

“Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.” ― N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

 

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Do you want to take more time? You can try reading through Paul’s story from Acts 21-28 “sightseeing” for points of courage. Or just reflect on this snippet. Sit with it a bit. Read it aloud. Pause. Listen. Write what you hear. Conclude your time today – and this week – with a time of silence. Breathe out fear, breathe in courage.

 

RELATE

When most recently have you caught yourself “looking at it backward” when faced with a difficult choice? What helped you to see it straight? What happened?
RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

Amen.

courage


let no man’s heart fail | 1 Samuel 17:31-37

anchor prayer seriesTHURSDAY
Reflection 9 of 15

REFLECT

When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”  1 Samuel 17:31-37 | ESV

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain

 

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Read all of 1 Samuel 17 if time permits. Let yourself enter the scene – don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Write what you see and hear. Be open to divine nudges towards courage as you square off with your own Goliaths. Perhaps you might even write/paint/sketch your own current “Goliath” – and the smooth stones God has put into your hands as you face him. Write.

 

RELATE

What fed David’s courage to stand up to Goliath? What past stories in your own life of dangers and fears faced can feed your courage in now?

 

RESPOND

Living God, I invite you to take hold of my life today for your purposes.
Please fill me with the Living Water of your Holy Spirit that as you pour me out:

my motives may be rooted in your Love,
my decisions may be rooted in your Wisdom,
and my actions may be rooted in your Courage.

Amen.

courage_2