Discussion Questions on Seven Men & the Secret to Their Greatness: Wilberforce

Some questions for discussion on Eric Metaxas’ chapter on William Wilberforce.

  1. What do you think of the role William Wilberforce’s wealthy aunt and uncle played in his life? What surprises you about it?
  2. Have you ever heard someone applying the phrase, “…taking things to far…” to one’s faith? The question, “where, exactly, must one draw the line?” is common. How do you answer it?
  3. Wilberforce’s parents were concerned that he would not become the person they hoped he would become. Do you think they were disappointed?

    WHM146809 Portrait of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), 1794 (oil on canvas) by Hickel, Anton (1745-98)
    oil on canvas
    © Wilberforce House, Hull City Museums and Art Galleries, UK
    German, out of copyright

  4. From where did Wilberforce feel his mission came? How would this help him overcome obstacles? Metaxas emphasize this again and again. Why?
  5. Where you surprised to read of the social ills of the late 1700’s in London? What evils might an Eric Metaxas of 200 years from now list?
  6. Metaxas says, “At it’s core, every battle worth fighting is a spiritual battle”. Do you agree with this? Why?
  7. Why do you think that Metaxas feels the most important thing Wilberforce was able to do was to have a personal relationship with God?

Discussion Questions on Seven Men & the Secret to Their Greatness: Washington

Some questions for discussion on Eric Metaxas’ chapter on George Washington.

  1. Metaxas says, “If you wonder whether one person’s actions can matter, and if you wonder whether character matters, you needn’t look any further than the story of George Washington.” Later he states that Washington believed God had a purpose for his life. Do you ever wonder about this? Can one person’s action matter? Does God have a purpose for everyone’s life? How might that knowledge change a person? What’s God’s purpose for your life?
  2. How would you characterize Washington in his first military experience in Western Pennsylvania (in the early days of The French and Indian War)? What kinds of character traits do you observe? Throughout the remainder of the war, what do you see developing in Washington?
  3. In his letter to George Fairfax, Washington speaks of the dichotomy before him: Engaging in a bloody revolution or becoming a nation of slaves to England. He goes on to write, “Sad alternative! But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?” Have you ever been in a position where you only had two options — and neither was desirable? Upon what did Washington apparently base his decision on these two alternatives?
  4. How do leaders in your life compare to this statement about Washington: He seems discreet and virtuous, no harum-scarum, ranting, swearing fellow, but sober, steady, and calm. Why would anyone not strive to be like this?
  5. According to Washington’s nephew, how often did Washington read his Bible and pray? How does one find time for this?
  6. What does Joseph Ellis mean when he says Washington “knew himself well enough to resist the illusion that he transcended his human nature?” Why is this knowledge significant or important in one’s life?
  7. In a sentence, how would you answer the question, “What was the secret to Washington’s greatness?”

Got Trust Issues?

PRESENTED AT CURWENSVILLE ALLIANCE ON 5/15/2016 BY PASTOR STEVE SHIELDS

You’ve heard people say it, right? “I have trust issues. Sure you have. And if you’re like me, you sympathize, but a part of you wants to reply, “And… you think that makes you different than…who?” Struggling to trust is not unique to the few.

Almost everyone I know has trust issues. We’d like to think it’s because of the day in which we live. How can we not struggle to trust when we see so much evil around us. But it’s no more unique to our era than the concept is unique to you or me.

It’s said that the most often repeated command in Scripture is Fear not. Do you ever wonder why? Sure, there are the everyday reasons. Fear leads us backwards. Fear doesn’t accomplish anything extraordinary. Fear stifles. But perhaps there is a more basic reason. Maybe fear is the opposite of trust. Maybe the commonness of the command, Fear not, serves to remind us of the commonness of trust issues.

sheep

Part of Jesus’ mission was to show us the glory of God — filled with grace and truth. And in His statement, I am the good shepherd, Jesus gives us good reason to trust God. He helps us with our trust issues.

This podcast addresses this in ways I hope you find helpful.
~Steve