This reading group guide for You Have It In You! includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
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In You Have It In You!
, Sheryl Brady examines the lives of some of the Bible’s most faithful figures and reveals that, like us, many of them didn’t know they had it in them, either—not until God revealed the truth about their identity and abilities to them, often in the midst of perilous trials and challenging situations.
Like these Biblical heroes, all of us have untapped talents, unclaimed abilities, and unique gifts waiting to be discovered. Brady believes God wants us to strip away the layers that we often try to hide behind, dissolve the excuses that we use as camouflage, and unleash the beauty and potential of our true selves. By sharing her own journey as well as examples from Biblical history, Brady challenges us to reconsider the way we see ourselves and to reframe our own understanding of how we got there. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In describing Ruth’s departure from Moab, Sheryl Brady writes: “What risk do you need to take today in order to experience the blessing God has for you next?” How do Ruth’s experiences hint at the ways that God provides for us even as he challenges us to take extraordinary risks? To what extent can you relate to Ruth’s risk-taking and her trust in God’s plans for her life?
2. In her account of the prostitute Rahab and her redemption in the battered city of Jericho, Sheryl Brady envisions Rahab as an unlikely vessel for God’s treasure. What role do our bad decisions, our mistakes, and our shortcomings play in acquainting us with God’s true will for us? To what extent do they bring us closer to God?
3. “In some ways, the test is simple. Just ask yourself: Is the gift that I’m asking God for just for my satisfaction? Or is it something I can pass on to someone else?
” When Hannah prays for a son, God answers her prayer only after she vows to dedicate her son to him. How does this Bible story amplify Sheryl Brady’s argument that we need to refocus our desires on God’s divine will and ground our identities in Him, rather than in some external idea of what will bring us happiness?
4. “If we’re serious about discovering all that God’s placed inside us, then we must not be afraid to face him with the darkest, dirtiest parts of ourselves.” In her account of Jacob’s wrestle with the angel, Sheryl Brady sees a metaphor for our need to wrestle with our weakest aspects before God. What does this Bible story suggest to you about the nature of God and His willingness to engage with His creation? What makes this encounter between Jacob and God powerful to readers on so many different levels?
5. To what extent can you relate to Gideon’s disbelief that God has chosen him to serve as a mighty warrior? Have you ever felt like God has chosen you for a job or responsibility that you didn’t feel you were entirely prepared to assume? Or did you experience this challenge more in the manner of David, who unquestioningly accepted that he was the right person to be king?
6. “When we’re obedient to God’s call on our lives, we must often go against the grain of the culture around us.” What does it mean in your life to be obedient to God’s will? What does obedience to God require of you, and how—if at all—does obedience change your understanding of your place in contemporary culture?
7. What does Noah’s perseverance in building an ark in spite of the doubts of his family and his community reveal about his faithfulness to God? In casting aside her tendency for introversion to become a pastor, how does Sheryl Brady show her faith in God’s plan for her life? What arks has God called you to build? How have those around you responded as you faithfully pursued your God-given endeavor?
8. “God will do whatever it takes to humble us so that we turn our hearts to Him instead of our wealth, position, or fame.” What does the story of Naaman, who was too proud to bathe in the Jordan River but relented and found himself healed of his leprosy, suggest about how we should abandon of our feelings of pride and entitlement? In your experience, have you needed to be humbled by God in order to see Him clearly?
9. “What our enemies intend as a push becomes God’s pull toward our destiny.” How has the bounty of blessings God has in store for you motivated or compelled you to continue moving forward at a time when you felt that you had hit bottom? How is this true for Joseph, who only discovers the true range of his powers when circumstances conspire against him?
10. Of the many Biblical figures profiled in You Have It In You!
, which do you most closely identify with and why? If you were adding other important Biblical figures to Sheryl Brady’s book, who would you add and why? Enhance Your Book Club
1. “What is God birthing in you right now that requires patience and hope? What dream did he plant inside you so long ago that you’d almost given up on ever seeing it come to life?” Ask members of your club to consider their hopes and dreams over the course of their life. Which ones did God answer and allow to flourish? Which ones remain buried, but might yet blossom?
2. Have members of your club read aloud some of the italicized passages that re-create experiences of Biblical figures, as imagined by Sheryl Brady. How do these dramatic scenes enrich your understanding of these figures and what they share? How does God reveal His purpose to them, and how do they respond to the opportunity He creates in their lives? How do they embrace or flee from their obligations? How do they demonstrate their faithfulness to God?
3. Sheryl Brady writes about the plight of Noah, who works for years to build his ark before God’s promise is realized. She also writes of Ruth, who willingly travels from her home with her mother-in-law with faith in God’s plan for her. Can you trace risks you have taken in the course of your life that seem, at least in retrospect, to be less than sound but have resulted in bringing you closer to God? Your club may want to compare their experiences.