Ministry Development Institute

Read Wilhoit textbook pages 38-56, and pages 57-103 and answer the discussion questions:

Post answers in the text box below.

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1. Life happens to all of us, circumstances we can control and some we can’t. In order to navigate through life we need to keep God in the front, and seek his guidance in everything that happens, good or bad. In James 1:2-18 we learn that God will test us to help us mature in our faith and relationship with him, and Satan will tempt us and we need to persevere and be able tell the difference. No wishing your circumstances are different, God has a plan for us, and wants to bless us for being obedient.

2. Interesting question. Looking back at my own life and how things worked out compared to other people that I knew. Some people just seem to have certain morals and guidelines built into themselves. For example the priests sons, Hophni and Phinehas, assuming they grew up in an environment learning all about God, why then did they turn out so bad? In my own life, why were their certain morals missing even though I grew up in church, and a good family. While people I knew that hardly set foot in a church, let alone knew about God, seemed to have moral values way beyond my own. I know better now, but still wonder, I just feel God allowed me to make bad decisions so that I can be a stronger person today, and may be able to help someone not make the same mistakes I did, or help someone to understand that God’s grace is sufficient to start a new life following Jesus’s footsteps.

3. I like the four spiritual commitments on page 50, “receiving, remembering, responding, relating.” What it boils down to is a lifelong commitment in every aspect of our lives. We have to turn all of it over to Jesus, not just the parts that we are comfortable with, everything. No one said it would be easy with all these eyes watching for us to make mistakes, plus Satan attacking from every angle, but the benefits and the end results are worth every second of the brief thing we call life. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 reminds us of the crown of righteousness that awaits us for fighting a good fight, finishing the race, while keeping the faith. Glory be to God!

4. When everything seems to be going good, and there is no pain, disappointments, and suffering we tend to feel like we have everything under control and don’t need anything else. That’s when we tend to put God on the back burner. The poor decisions that I have made in the past that caught up with me caused pain and suffering, and it is only through surrendering all that pain and suffering over to God you realize how much you need God’s grace every day. So many stories about people that have hit rock bottom, and they feel that was the best thing that happened to them after they gave everything to God, and have sought after a relationship with him. Everybody may need different motivations, just a thought.

5. When we regret our sins we start to see and understand what sin is, and what the consequences are. You will begin to see a need for change in your life, and seek out what can be done. I like Wilhoit’s statement “we have opened one of the windows to true transformation.”

Brokenness is realizing that we face problems we cannot overcome by willpower alone. We must humble ourselves before God and admit daily that we are broken, and ask for his grace so that we can experience the joy and peace that only God can provide for us no matter what comes our way.

6. I really like Wiloit’s illustration about how the sun has healing power for jaundice, and how the one couple thought they were helping their daughter by taking her for a walk in the sun, only to have here basically hidden from the sun. We have been going through Max Lucado’s book on grace, and he thinks so many people settle for wimpy grace, only receiving grace in only parts of their lives. He goes on to tell a story about a heart transplant patient where a teenage daughter dies and her heart is given to another. When the mother of the daughter who had passed away met the woman who received the heart, and heard her daughters heartbeat again, giving that woman life. God is a heart surgeon, replacing our heart and replacing it with his own. We don’t have to clean up so he will accept us, he accepts us as we are, and then begins to clean us up. Ezekiel 36:26 says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

7. Using discernment when faced with decisions or sharing some project with others to get advice has been a way to see God’s will for that situation.

Where I am from the men of the church would get together once a month for a prayer breakfast. We would serve each other, then have a devotion time, and take turns praying for our churches in the community, pastors and leaders, worldwide church, and for our country. It was an awesome experience sharing prayer with Christian men.

I used to think I was worshiping God by enjoying nature on Sunday mornings. I see now that was not the way to worship. Worshiping with other believers, seeing tears of joy and tears of gladness while praising God is so very powerful.

Since we have downsized and in the profession that I am in, I have a new appreciation for just using what we need. Working in houses that have storage rooms that are about half the size of my house, and to see it so full you can’t hardly walk through it. I think what good all this stuff is doing for them. So much money that could have went for helping others in need.

Repentance, ah repentance. So very important every day of our lives. Personally I believe we all receive God’s grace, but to understand it to the fullest extent we need to repent everything in order to understand what a blessing it is. We also understand what a blessing it is to extend grace to others. From the smallest gestures to one of the hardest things to release; resentment, guilt, and forgiveness.


The paragraph that resonates with me the most is #4. At the very end you say that "everybody may need different motivations." As the early childhood pastor I think of child development. You are correct Kim. 0-1 year olds have certain questions, 2-3 year olds, etc...all the way up through high school graduation. Does this change in the different phases of our walk with Christ? I think not. I think you have made a great point, along with many others, in your response. We are all children of God (1 John 3:1) and we go through different developmental phases (maturity) in Christ. Fellowship with believers, prayer, getting in the Word, attending church services, small groups, etc...these are the milk that we need as believers. No matter what the crisis of belief (not crisis like death or natural disaster but crisis or change in our walk) love is the answer. 1 John 4:8. I say this in regards to the many references to grace in your response. This was a nice read this morning. Thanks Kim! Keep it up!

You hit the nail on the head when you said, No wishing your circumstances are different, God has a plan for us, and wants to bless us for being obedient.  That is really my point in having your feedback on this.  Accept where God has put you and continue to focus on serving HIM.  So many people get distracted onto areas they have no interest, talent or God-given work and thus they get very frustrated.  Mostly we compare ourselves with those that are on stage or activity in front of people.  Bade idea.  Be the person God has made you. 

Oh, in #2 following Jesus is so different than many of us learned in church. Walking on The Way is where it is at rather than church attendance, meeting church standards placed on us from man's view and comparing ourselves to others.  Oh, we get ourselves into trouble. 

Very good responses Kim!!  A joy to ready.  


  1. 1.“We must accept the  circumstances we constantly find ourselves in as the place of God’s kingdom and blessing. God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are, and if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment after moment,as not being “right”, we will simply have no place to receive his kingdom into our life, for those situations and moments Are our life.” - We must understand that in the life that we live right now is where God is going to work in and through us. This is where we are going to be in relationship with him because this is where we are. We must let him into our lives to work. We will never receive any blessings or the kingdom in any fashion here and now or in anything to come. God will work in us and through us while we are going through situations and circumstances. If we give God lordship over our life then we will in fact see his kingdom and his blessings according to his will in all situations and circumstances.
  2. 2.Samuel made a choice. He was open to the lord to do his work and his will in his life. It doesn’t matter where you are or what your circumstance is if you choose to be open to God he will work in and through you and he will protect you.  In the midst of everything around him, Samuel still chose to honor the lord. Samuel committed himself to a relationship with the Lord. Samuel 3:19 says “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground” Samuels choice to submit his life to the Lord  allowed him to grow in stature and favor with the Lord and with men. His Father on the other hand new his other sons were doing wrong yet he did not restrain them so the Lord Gave a vision to Samuel that God’s judgement was coming upon the house of Eli. Samuel returned to his father and told him everything. I would say one way Samuel could have been more christlike is he could have tried to correct, rebuke and encourage with patience and careful instruction. Paul says this to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2. Jesus modeled this when Peter asked him who he was, he in turn asked Peter who do you say i am? we  would have rejected him if Jesus would have just claimed to be the messiah and the son of God. Jesus let the Holy Spirit reveal to Peter who he was. That is careful instruction.
  3. 3.First the most important thing is my relationship. Am I allowing  grace to spiritually form me? Am I in prayer and the word? Am I allowing him to use every circumstance and situation to be an impact for his kingdom and will? Am I allowing him to work on me through these as well? Am I reflecting him? I have to know him so I can reflect him. I try show people who he is through my actions. i want my actions, thoughts and words to be his. In comparison mine are rubbishy selfish and ignorant. I am not real good at this but i sure do try. Just knowing he can be in everything if we choose for him to be is amazing. God wants to be involved with us and he will be if we let him. Christ provided a freedom that people don't understand and if we live in that freedom people will see it. Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” -  Birds just do what birds were created to do so why shouldn't we just do what we were created to do. We were Created to love god and to love people so if everything we do is from that motivation then we will not go wrong.

4. Suffering and pain were the needed catalyst for the brokenheartedness that opened me up to abandon everything I knew and seek him. That pain is something I didn't want to feel i, I just wanted it healed. It is ok to be broken before the Lord. It is ok to submit to him and to show this by action is a big way of showing our surrender. We can say a lot of things but if we don't believe it in our hearts then we are not going to live it. Im not afraid to be transparent and ask my peers for prayer. I walk with them just like they walk with me.  It Is surrendering because I am choosing to let him reign in my life. You know its not about Me it is about him. His will and his kingdom are what matters. James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

5.When we regret our sins of omission as keenly as our sins of commission  then we begin to understand sin and that opens one of the windows of true inner transformation. The regret of sin allows you to process it. You cannot go to the point of condemnation but you can definitely analyze it to help you apply it that area of your life. 

Brokenness is an image for people who are overwhelmed by troubles who can change them. Old Testament writers called it a broken heart or spirit and feelings of anguish, despair, and a loss of hope or a sense of well being. Brokenness is a place for God to work in your life. It is not always bad. sometimes it may seem and feel bad but really it is a place for the Holy Spirit to work and change you from the inside. Through brokenness we become stronger in our faith by enduring hardship. Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow are two different things that are contrary to one another. Godly sorrow is approached with a humble spirit, with appropriate acceptance, with a deep reliance on God. the experience is painful but he is where our strength comes from.  Worldly sorrow is approached from a bitter self centered spirit with the understanding that they have been wounded. The experience is painful and placing blame is a way of escaping the pain.Godly sorrow is constructive and worldly sorrow is destructive.

6. Grace as a noun is define as unmerited favor but grace as a verb is an action or a state or an occurrence. Grace is what happened on the cross. He paid the penalty for all mankind sin which was death. Then 3 days later he rose again conquering death. Grace as a verb is the ongoing forgiveness of our sins. Their is not a sin we can commit that has not already been paid for. 1 Peter 2:24 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”  We cannot earn Grace we can only accept it which is contrary to the world.  the world says we have to earn what we get but we cannot earn forgiveness or salvation. It can only be accepted and to try to do anything to earn even a small part of your salvation cheapens what he did. He set us free i need to be free.

7. How do we show receiving in community from the following:

Discernment affects community by actively seeking God’s direction together as the body. We can show receiving through prayer as prayer is answered. We have a believe board in the lobby where people have written what they believe God is going to do and it has been acquiring answers to the prayers that were written so people can see answered prayer. Worship stimulates people to sing and move and while they are praising they open themselves to receive from God and then you see people respond to the steps.  People tithe because they realize it is not about them. When I realized that it turned my life upside down. I give more now than i ever have and God is faithful. Having that testimony of what God did in my finance is cool and it speaks to people. Gods love leads us to repentance. His love reflected through us by showing people they can be cared for and loved. I need to learn to receive better.  In every situation there is a opportunity to receive something. It may be humility or patience. It may be perseverance or long-suffering but even when these things are complete the develop maturity. Transparency is a great way to show receiving. Spiritual growth is a great way to show receiving.

Oh Jamie, I am so encouraged to read your work.  Giving God Lordship over our lives in #1, growing in HIM rather than following worldly standards, and being broken (#5) make for a growth pattern towards true spiritual maturity.  You have it my friend!

I do want to comment on #7.  That "believe board" is awesome. I did not know this but am so impressed.  Tithing as a response to God rather than a response to man changes things does't it?  Excellent testimony here.  Transparency is where we get when we know who's we are and what HE desires of us.  Excellent!

Dude. You could create a year long devotional with all the good stuff that  I just read. #1 reminds me A LOT of Blackaby. You must see where God is working and meet Him there. We can sit there and be lazy and not want to grow grow grow. I enjoy reading about Samuel as well. How cool would it have been to be Peter? He was a rockstar in that moment - "You are GOD!!" When you speak of grace in #3 that really hits home. I think that is an excellent question for any believer to ask themselves - "Am I allowing grace to spiritually form me?" Great point. When you talk about suffering and pain in #4 I think you make a true statement for so many people. I was fortunate enough to be led to Christ in a "good time" in my life but since then there has been tons of suffering and pain but it is Him who has gotten me through it all. I would love to catch up sometime and tell you the whole story! Great job my friend! Keep rockin' it out man. And don't EVER forget....BALD IS BEAUTIFUL!

lets make it happen sometime Jim. Id love to hear it.

Maybe at the next all-staff? When things cool down after lunch maybe we can chat. That would be sweet.

1.  What are the implications to you when Wilhoit states, "We must accept the circumstances we constantly find ourselves in . . .?"  (p. 39)

This sentence to me implies that no matter the circumstance good or bad that God has us where he wants for a reason.

2.  Further explain how it is Samuel, in I Samuel 2, could grow in Christlikeness "in the midst of hypocrisy and crass religious charlatanism . . ." he still "grows into a righteous man."  (p. 41)  Apply to yourself.

Just like Samuel, God has given us the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. Samuel dove in to everything with God just as I have. Where ever God want me that is where I shall go. Believe me there where some places I didn’t want to go. This was mainly in relationships to forgive and ask for forgiveness.

3. Jesus invites us to love and obey God as well as love one another (p. 46).  After reading pages 46-51 how do you do this?

How do I love and obey God as well as love one another. I love God by doing what he ask me to do. If I am doing what God ask then I should be loving my neighbor.

4.  Bottom of page 52, Wilhoit discusses "suffering and pain are the needed catalysts for the broken heartedness that opens us to leave behind our self-made idols and seek God . . ."  How does this show in your life?  How is this surrendering?

I was at a point in my life where I had justified everything in my life. I had a problem with putting myself first. God was not even on my radar, but God has a way to bring you to your knees. When God brings you to your knees I don’t what you can call it except for surrendering. It is surrendering because it’s no longer you calling the shots.

5.  What does it do to us when we regret our sins? (p. 60)  Explain brokeness.  (pages around 70, 88-89)

When we regret our sins we struggle with what we have done. Things are hard to deal with on our own so we turn to God.

Brokeness can be hard to explain, it’s that feeling of being worthless, stuck in a rut, and you feel there was no way out.  


6.  How is grace a verb, not only a noun?  (pp. 76-80)

Grace is a verb because it can be given. God gives us grace every day, and in doing so God wants us to give grace to everyone we meet as well.


2. Forgiveness is a huge thing Patrick. I'm excited that you have grasped this so well. I think many Christians don't realize the impact of forgiveness and the calling of forgiveness but if they did it would make their walk so much greater. 

3. How are you doing that? Elaborate.

4. Look at Jonah 2:8. What are the idols and would we ever want to forfeit anything? Just trying to make you think. :-)

5. Is being "broken" good? Let me know what you think.

6. I suck at extending grace too much. Thank you for pointing this out and reminding me. 

Good Job Brother!!! Keep it up!!!

Yes, yes Patrick!  In #1 God has us where HE allows us to be as HE knows so much more about us than we. (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Thus, seek the Lord while HE may be found (vs. 6).  I would like to see you have more detail on implementation of this though. Examples, stories, your own issues . . .

As for #4, you have tackled a big point.  Justifying everything in our own mind is a key problem. Surrendering is a great word for it.  

Oh for brokenness in #5--painful but rewarding.  I'd like application here too.  Examples in your life and others.  

Nice job Patrick but would be deeper with examples and application. Always helpful.  Now go do the right thing my friend . . .


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