Road Trip to Redemption
Brad Mathias

Prologue: To Hell and Back
1. Have you ever “adapted” yourself to a situation by pretending to be someone you weren’t? How long did you keep up the act? What was the end result?

2. What did you think of Brad’s vision? Why do you think God might have chosen to speak to him in that way, at that particular time?

3. After Brad describes his children’s emotional issues, he says he believes these struggles were “directly attributable” to the period when he and his wife were separated. Do you agree? Why or why not?

1. Flashback at the Falls
1. For Brad, Bow Lake is the place where he feels most connected to the Lord, “as if I am standing in the presence of my Creator God.” Is there a place where you feel like this? What about that place makes it special?

2. Have you ever judged your child’s actions before speaking with him or her?

3. If Brad hadn’t taken the time to pray that night, what might have been different for Bethany and their family? How does this relate to the importance of prayer?

4. Has God ever spoken to your heart and told you to do something immediately? How did you respond?

5. In learning about Bethany’s dark secret, Brad lived through a parent’s nightmare. What has been your most difficult experience as a parent?

2. Stepping Back from the Edge of Fear
1. As a parent, it was difficult for Brad to admit that he couldn’t change the past or control the future. Which of these do you struggle with more? Why?

2. Have you ever read a book that completely transformed your life, like Crazy Love did for Brad? What was the book’s message?

3. As a parent, what is your behavior teaching your children about their heavenly Father? How does your understanding of God affect the way your children understand him?

3. Parent Guilt and Parent Pain
1. This chapter deals with reining in pride, finding purpose in pain, and letting go of guilt. Of these three areas, which do you struggle with the most?

2. Have you ever shared your parenting concerns with your own mother and father? How could their insights be an “untapped resource” for you?

3. Think of a time when one of your children was in crisis. How did that affect your family as a whole?

4. What’s the difference between guilt and conviction?

Road Trip to Redemption
Brad Mathias

4. Leaving the Old and Embracing the New
1. Read Ezekiel 37:1-6. What does this passage mean to you as a parent?

2. How can you strive to encourage true transformation, rather than just behavior modification, in your children?

3. What is your ultimate goal in parenting? Can you boil it down to just one or two sentences? List a few practical ways you are working to reach that goal.

4. “The ultimate and universal language of love is time.” Do you agree with this statement? What activities do you and your kids enjoy doing together?

5. How can you make your faith more visible and real to your kids? When it comes to your spiritual life, do your words match your behavior?

5. My Family on a Road Trip: Genius or Insanity?
1. Has God ever told you to do something that sounded crazy to you (like taking your entire family on a cross-country road trip)? Did you follow his prompting? How did things turn out?

2. In Brad’s descriptions of his three children, did you recognize any of your own kids? In your family, when do personality differences create conflict?

3. Like Brad, are you sometimes tempted to manufacture or “force” a special moment for your family? Why might that approach be unwise?

6. Nashville to South Dakota: An Anxious and Stormy Start
1. Brad’s kids shared a phobia of storms rooted in their close call with a tornado. Do your children have any specific fears? How can you help them overcome those fears?

2. What sudden storms has your family faced together? How does the memory of that experience impact each person today?

3. When you face a personal crisis, do you tend to freeze up and stay put—or take action and push on?

7. South Dakota to Montana: The “Four Chins” to Tornado Alley
1. Why do you think seeing Mount Rushmore meant so much to Caleb? What places or experiences have your kids latched on to with that same eager excitement?

2. Caleb, Bethany, and Jessica each had a unique reaction to seeing the tornado so close by. How do your kids react to dangerous situations?

3. Describe a moment when you were in danger and there was nothing you could but pray for protection. Why do you think God allows us to be put in those situations?

Road Trip to Redemption
Brad Mathias

8. Montana to Canada: Running Wild and Free
1. Most parents can identify with Brad’s frustrated attempts to engage in conversation with his teens. Do you think this difficulty is mostly due to constant media distractions (iPods, smartphones, etc.) or to something else?

2. Describe a time when your family had the chance to explore a new place or try a new activity together. Whether it was a new country or a new sport, how did this fresh experience affect your relationship with your kids?

3. How can you balance your desire to plan and coordinate with your need to let go and trust God to work out the details?

9. A Week in God’s Country and the Hike That Changed It All
1. Brad writes that “beauty is a reflection of the glory of God.” Where do you most see God’s glory reflected in creation? Where do you most feel his presence?

2. Can you relate to Brad’s concern that kids might learn all about God without really meeting him one-on-one?

3. Since children don’t automatically inherit their parents’ faith, how are you helping your kids experience God for themselves?

10. Canada to Yellowstone and a Memory in the Tetons
1. Think back to a time when you stayed up all night with a sick child. As a parent, how did that experience affect your relationship with your child?

2. Brad calls Jessica his “low-maintenance daughter.” Do you have a child who fits this description? How do you balance caring for your other children without neglecting this child’s needs?

3. Have you ever taken your own children to revisit one of your favorite childhood vacation spots? What other meaningful family traditions do you carry on?

11. Lost in the Present and Finding Bethany’s Moose
1. We all need breaks from life’s routines, times when we can “pull off the road and enjoy the view.” What’s your favorite way to do that with your family?

2. Do you ever feel “lost in the present”? What can you do to live with more awareness of each day?

3. Why does God often choose to whisper to us, rather than shouting his instructions? How can we avoid missing his gentle nudges?

4. What did the moose signify for Bethany?


Road Trip to Redemption
Brad Mathias

12. Caleb’s Climb and Jessica’s Rainbow
1. Have your kids ever had a seminal experience, like Caleb’s climb, when they seemed to grow up before your eyes? As a parent, what was it like for you to witness that moment?

2. What message did God give Jessica through the triple rainbow?

3. During this family road trip, God met each person’s needs in a unique way. How have you seen God do this with you and your children?

13. Road-Trip Theology: Learning to Read the Road Signs
1. How has God redeemed and restored something broken in your life?

2. Which spiritual “road sign” feels most applicable to the challenges you face as a parent?

3. Consider whether God might be urging you to take your own family on a “road trip to redemption”—either a short weekend getaway or a longer excursion. Sit down with your kids and brainstorm some ideas.