Bible Study of the Week
Ann Voskamp’s a farm girl. That book she scratched out, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, is about what you really want. Joy is possible. Right where you are. Really. This video Bible study based on her best-selling book ponders the question of finding joy in midst of everything, from the daily grind to the catastrophes we all eventually face. Ann encourages participants to take on the life-changing discipline of journaling God’s gifts—to find the good in life in all circumstances. It’s only in this expression of gratitude for the life we already have, that we discover the life we’ve always wanted. . . a life we can take, give thanks for, and use to serve others.
Watch the trailer above, then the full first session of One Thousand Gifts video Bible study below. You’re invited to join other participants in a conversation in our comments and start journaling your 1000 Gifts.
Attitude of Gratitude
Picture a timeline. It is filled with years, months, days, hours, and countless seconds. On a timeline every moment looks the same. If you could pluck off one minute it would look just like every other minute. A simple span of sixty seconds. It seems like nothing special. It appears to be nothing unique. Yet, all of us have minutes in our lives that shape us. Something happens in that sixty-second blip on the timeline that is deeply and profoundly personal. It was not just another minute in the history of the world.
As you look back on the timeline of your life, many of the days and weeks blur together, but there are minutes that will stand out for the rest of your life. Seared in your memory are the sounds, feelings, images, and even the smells of those moments. None of us live long on this earth without recording one of those unforgettable experiences. Not one of us can travel the rugged roads of earth and avoid all of the painful potholes. It does not matter where you live, how much money you have, how much you love God, how careful you might be, how much faith you exercise, or how persistently you pray. Hurt and heartache are truly unavoidable.
In a moment, without even seeing it coming, we all hit life’s unexpected potholes and feel jarring pain. The question is not: Will you and I have these moments of loss and dizzying confusion? The real issue is: How will we respond to these inevitable and unavoidable moments? When we discover the secret to a heart of gratitude, we can face these certain moments with grace, strength, and even what seems impossible: joy.
Every breath’s a battle between grudgery & gratitude. Give thanks… and you win joy. #1000gifts — Ann Voskamp
Watch the Video: One Thousand Gifts
Discussion and Bible Study Questions
1. Tell about a moment in your life that was hard and painful and looked nothing like a gift, until later you began to discover that a gift was wrapped up in the pain of that moment.
2. What are some of the things that can cause us to close our hands and hearts to God? What specifically has helped you keep your hands and heart open, even through hard times?
3. Ann observes that there is a distinct difference between receiving the grace God offers at the cross of Jesus and being filled with grace to the point of overflowing . . . every day. If a person has received the grace of Jesus and also walks in the fullness of that grace to the point of overflowing, what might this grace-extending life look like at one of these moments:
- When an opportunity to serve a person in need presents itself
- When someone betrays and hurts us deeply
- When we get unexpected hard news
- When a family member is unkind or insensitive
- When the future is uncertain and we feel anxious or fearful
4. Read: Matthew 26:26-29 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. When Jesus broke the bread and offered the cup, He spoke this beautiful word: eucharisteo. This one word captures three distinct and powerful ideas. How did Jesus reveal each of the following in His institution of the Lord’s Supper (the Eucharist)?
What can we do to deepen and expand our thankfulness, joy, and experience of grace?
5. Read: John 11:38-44. Ann talks about thanksgiving raising the dead. What are some connections between thanksgiving and new life being unleashed in the dark and dead places of life?
6. In the video, Ann says, “Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound Him.” How could Jesus express thanksgiving even as He faced the cross? How can Jesus’ example shape your own response to times of pain and loss?
7. Read: 2 Chronicles 20:12-22. How was thankfulness connected to the victory God’s people experienced in this passage? How does a thankful spirit lead to victory in our lives today?
8. Why is it so hard to express eucharisteo thankfulness when we are going through a time of pain, struggle, and darkness? What can help us remain truly thankful in these seasons of life?
9. Take a minute to list five gifts you already have — anything that reveals God’s grace, makes you thankful, and unleashes joy in your life — and then share one item from your list in the comments below.
10. How does a life filled with eucharisteo profit us as well as bring delight to the heart of God?
Thanksgiving — giving thanks in everything — prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ. – Ann Voskamp
Prayer for Today
Take time to pray in any of the following directions:
- Thank God for the good gifts He has given you.
- Invite God to teach you how to experience eucharisteo in the hard times of life.
- Confess where you have forgotten to be thankful for God’s unmerited gifts.
- Ask Jesus to so fill you with His joy and grace that others see it and are drawn near to Him.
- Pray for your family members and friends to discover the truth that grace, thanksgiving, and joy can be theirs through an intimate and living relationship with Jesus.
As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. — Ann Voskamp
Before the Next Session: My Gifts
Read: Philippians 4:11-12. Ann articulates that the secret to living joyfully in every situation is something that is learned. She shares that “practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.”
If you purchase the study guide there is space in your book to practice eucharisteo and make a list of gifts God has given you. (Or consider starting your own separate gratitude journal.) Be creative, think deep, and reflect on big things as well as very small ones. You don’t have to be poetic or a great writer, just honest.
Start by listing up to twenty gifts of God’s grace.
Talk About It
What is your response to question #9 above? Did you list some of your gifts? You’re invited to share at least one item from your list in the comments below.
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To continue the next four sessions of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts Video Bible Study, visit our store to learn more about the Study Guides and DVD. Or, you can purchase the next video sessions on-demand and watch the videos whenever you want, wherever you want!