Register today for The Broken Way Online Bible Study!
In one week we officially launch our next online Bible study – The Broken Way with Ann Voskamp – and there’s still plenty of time to sign up and join us! As a sneak peek, below is a look at the complete video and study questions for session one: How Do We Live This One Broken Life?
Introduction to Session One
Ann’s mother was in and out of psychiatric hospitals when Ann was growing up. Ann’s sister was accidentally killed by a delivery truck. As a teenager, Ann dealt with the pain of these and other losses by cutting her arms with broken glass. Twenty years later, her skin still bears the scars of that cutting, and her heart still carries sorrow upon sorrow. Life deals out suffering to all of us, and we need to find a way to live in the world unafraid of being broken people.
The good news is that Jesus is on the side of broken people. He went to a cross brokenhearted over the lovelessness of the people He loved, and He let them break His body. If we dare, we can trust Him to heal our bad brokenness with His good brokenness.
This first session of The Broken Way study gives us a chance to go on record as broken people, to own our brokenness and start moving toward each other and toward God. It’s a chance to let some love into the cracks of our broken hearts so that they begin to heal. It’s an opportunity to see what Jesus does with His brokenness. Instead of drawing back to protect Himself, He gives thanks, breaks, and gives away what He has to give. The question is, can we become like that?
All I can feel is this unspoken brokenness splintering through me. What do you do if you’re struggling to remember who you really are? —Ann, The Broken Way, page 15
When you look back on the story of your life, tell about a moment when you felt broken. It doesn’t have to be your darkest secret, just a time when you were aware that you were flawed.
View the video segment for session 1 of The Broken Way: How Do We Live This One Broken Life? Use the following outline to note anything that stands out to you, any quotes you want to capture, or any responses you have.
- How do you live unafraid of broken things?
- For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone.
- Jesus, with His pierced side, is always on the side of the broken.
- Despite my fear, I must trust Christ to redeem the broken in me.
- Eucharisteo precedes the miracle.
- Jesus breaks and gives the bread away.
- “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
- What didn’t make the list of graces? The failures.
- His love is around us everywhere.
- Maybe our hearts are made to be broken. So they can learn to let the love in.
Talk About It
1. What in the video moved you? Is there a line or an image that stands out? Why?
2. Read Psalms 42 and 43. What word pictures does the psalmist use to express his feelings of need and brokenness? Which of these word pictures speak to your experience? What is it about those that you resonate with?
- Verses 42:5, 42:11, and 43:5 repeat the same questions and a determination, all addressed to the psalmist’s soul. If you were to ask these same questions of your soul, what might the answers be? Or if these questions don’t fit your life right now, what questions would you ask of your soul?
- The determination in these three verses is “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” How easy is it for you today to put your hope in God? Why?
3. At the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it away. What is the bread that Jesus has broken and given to you? How have you responded? How would you like to respond?
4. In the video, Ann speaks of giving thanks for the brokenness. Can you imagine giving thanks for your brokenness? Why or why not?
Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. — John 12:24-25 MSG
5. Read John 12:24-25. In what sense does a planted grain of wheat “die” in order to produce much at harvest time?
How is this like what needs to happen in our lives?
The paradox of it breaks into me afresh: unless we die, unless we surrender, unless we sacrifice, we remain alone. Lonely. But if we die, if we surrender, if we sacrifice, that is when we experience the abundance, that is when we dance in communion. The life that yields the most—yields the most. —The Broken Way, page 41
6. What would it look like for you to die, surrender, sacrifice, or yield in grace and givenness — that is, to live cruciform — in your current situation? Think of one tiny step you could take.
7. In the video, Ann says, “Brokenness happens in a soul so that the power of God can happen in a soul.” How have you experienced the power of God in the very place of your brokenness?
8. God is at work, broken and given for you, in the other members of your group. What do you most need from the people in your group? Tell them what would help you — or what wouldn’t help you if you have a clearer picture of that. Write down what the others in your group say in answer to this question so that you can remember how best to serve, to be broken and given for them in the coming weeks.
“What if the busted and broken hearts could feel there’s a grace that holds us and calls us Beloved and says we belong and no brokenness ever has the power to break us away from being safe?” —The Broken Way, pages 20–21
You’ve probably brought brokenness to this group that you’re shy about sharing. You don’t want to burden group members with your neediness and risk rejection. The unspoken truth, though, is that we are all broken. And Jesus always stands with the broken, so there is no shame in it. How can the group pray for you at the place of your brokenness? You will honor them if you gift them with a glimpse into your broken heart.
Also, as Ann said in the video, eucharisteo or thankfulness always precedes the miracle. In addition to sharing your place of brokenness, share also something you want to thank God for.
As you pray together, begin with thanksgiving, and then move to asking God to enter each person’s area of brokenness and transform it over the coming weeks.
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All of us have been broken. Maybe that’s the way God designed it to be? Broken to be poured out for others and broken to love others. Come share your thoughts on living the broken way on our blog. We want to hear from you!
… And don’t forget to sign up for the online Bible study starting January 22, 2017. Please be in with us? You are wanted and needed and belong.
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