Chapter 2 Exercises

God Revealed . . . through Our Friendships

Chapter 2 told stories of experiences in which God spoke to me or revealed truths through existing friends and new acquaintances. This has happened many times throughout my life and, as a result, I am now always tuned in to what God might be telling me through people I fortuitously meet or through reunions with those I haven’t seen in many years. I also recognize that I can be the friend through whom God speaks to others.

Divine Messages Delivered through Friends

My reunion with my friend Warren after a thirty-year separation changed the future course of my life and resulted in a very fulfilling early retirement. It is no exaggeration to say that this book would not have been written but for that reunion.

– Can you identify just one person from your past with whom you enjoyed a strong friendship and in whose presence you felt spiritually enriched?
– Describe how they made you feel and why it was a spiritual experience.
– If you could locate them, what would you say to them?
– Using today’s Internet search capabilities, try to find them and have that conversation if you can. God may just have very pleasant surprises in store for both of you.

A Life Lived Well

My centenarian friend Margaret Bradshaw showed me that life doesn’t end at age fifty-nine or upon retirement from active employment. Margaret was positively impacting lives until the day she died at age 106. Her faith and her philanthropy were an inspiration to me and to many others as we sought our own post-retirement passions.

– Whether or not you have ever gone through a formal discernment exercise, try now to identify and list your greatest passions and your God-given spiritual gifts.
– Honestly assess the extent to which you are utilizing those gifts and following those passions.
– Dream a little about your future and identify the ways in which you will proactively pursue your passions and use those gifts to advance God’s Kingdom in the future. It’s a  journey that can only lead to happiness and fulfillment.

Tailor-Made Testimonies

My work-related visit to Vietnam with Erin Pham as my guide resulted in my hearing her remarkable story of God’s grace in her family’s escape from Vietnam following the war. Prior to contributing to this book, she had never recorded the story in writing to share her almost tailor-made testimony in a way that would positively impact many other lives.

– Think back on a time when you palpably felt the presence of God in your life. It need not be a dramatic conversion experience; rather, it might just be an experience in which you knew that God was uplifting you and pouring out His love.
– Describe the experience by jotting down some notes about the circumstances of the encounter, how you felt, and why.
– Share this experience with your study group, your spouse, or a friend. You may even be more comfortable sharing it with a recent acquaintance (as Erin did with me). If you do this, I believe you will feel very gratified knowing that God may be speaking to your friends and acquaintances through you.

Next Chapter 3: At the Crossroads in Our Lives

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