All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?
John Ortberg

John Ortberg opens his book with this question: “If you had to summarize your life in six words, what would they be?” Read the examples given, and take up his challenge to write a six-word synopsis of your life.

Identify some “open door” moments—big and small—that you have experienced. How did you respond to each call? What was the outcome? 

The author says, “Learning to recognize and go through open doors is a learned skill,” and he suggests that we start with small doors (page 18). Looking back over the last week, what “small door” opportunities did you encounter? How did you respond?

Review the qualities of “open-door people” described in chapter 2. Which of these descriptions apply to you? In what area do you most need to grow? 

To go through the door God opened for him, Abraham had to leave his old idols behind. What idols do you need to leave behind to accept an invitation from God? 

FOMO (the fear of missing out) has driven people to sin ever since Eve was tempted by the serpent. Today, social media makes it even harder not to compare our lives to those of others. Identify one area of your life where you are motivated by FOMO. What are the negative consequences of this mind-set? In what ways can this desire for more be used to advance God’s purposes for your life? 

Scripture provides many examples of God calling individuals who were reluctant to go where he led them. Apparently “feeling ready” is not a requirement for being called into God’s service. Is there a situation where you’ve been waiting for all the pieces to fall into place before taking the first step through a door God has opened to you? What can you do to move forward in obedience, even without the guarantee of success? 

Mother Teresa famously said, “Don’t try to do great things for God. Do small things with great love.” Ortberg concurs, saying, “Open doors are mostly small, quiet invitations to do something humble for God and with God in a surprising moment” (page 93). Even small gestures can have great impact. What seemingly mundane circumstances of your life present opportunities to help others? 

Persistent feelings of regret about “the road not taken” can lead to depression, stagnation, and self-pity, but Ortberg reminds us that learning from our mistakes can result in renewed energy and spiritual growth. Can you recall times in your own life that demonstrate how God can “use even the wrong road to bring us to the right place” (page 99)? 

Sometimes people pray for “God’s will” when what they really want is to avoid the stress of having to make the decision themselves. Do you suffer from “decidophobia”? Name a decision you’ve been postponing. Is it possible that God’s will in this case is simply “You decide”? What can you do to move toward a resolution?  


All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know?
John Ortberg

On page 117, the author says, “You’ll be defined by your biggest problem.” What do you think this means? What is your biggest problem—what profoundly moves you, concerns you, or breaks your heart? Do you think God is calling you to action? If so, in what ways? 

Proverbs 12:15 says, “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” God often uses others to speak wisdom into us. Is there someone whose wisdom you seek when facing difficult decisions?  What about that person compels you to trust his or her advice? Are you that person for someone else? 

Trusting God is more important than making the right decision. Recall an example from your own life (or someone else’s) when what seemed to be a wrong decision turned out for the best. 

“Responding to the open doors God sets before us is a matter of not only being aware of what’s going on outside us but being aware of what’s going on inside us” (page 163). Refer to the author’s chart on page 152. Which title best describes you: Clueless, Hermit, Chameleon, or Change Agent? 

When faced with new opportunities, people tend to respond in one of two ways. Although both have their strengths, Impulsives tend to lack discernment, while Resisters may lack courage. According to the chart on page 172, which is your response style? Which of the author’s suggestions on pages 174–175 seem particularly helpful to you? 

God called Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah stubbornly refused and headed to Tarshish instead. In the end, Jonah reluctantly complied. Has there ever been a time when you ran away from a clear call from God? What was the outcome? 

In chapter 9, the author expresses gratitude for the closing of certain doors in his life. What closed doors in your own life have, in hindsight, turned out to be blessings?

In the final chapter, Ortberg exhorts us to never quit searching for God’s open doors. Which of the excuses mentioned tends to hold you back from following God’s call on your life?

How will your process of making decisions change now that you know you serve “the Lord of the Open Door”?