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Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
7111 La Jolla Blvd in beautiful La Jolla, CA
14 miles north of downtown San Diego, CA

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When you ask better questions, you get better answers. This is a skill worth developing!

 

 

 

Ask better questions. Get better answers.Ask better questions. Get better answers.

I. The questions you ask influence the answers you get.

Sometimes all you have to do to change a person’s life for the better is to change the questions they are asking.

A person who asks, “What should I be afraid of in the world?” will find plenty of answers.
But the Bible says over and over again, “Do not fear.” Do not fear in the presence of angels. Do not fear the circumstances of life. Do not fear disasters and calamities. The Bible tells us to fear only God, who loves us. When we fear God, our fear can be transformed to love, honor, respect, and awe. If someone continually asks, “What is there to be afraid of in the world?” and focuses on their fear instead of living by faith, some better questions might be “How can I focus on God who loves me? How can I accept God’s protection in all circumstances? How can I let God free me of my fears? How can my life glorify God?”

II. One way to make a question better is to make it more specific.

The question “How can I earn more money?” is answered when you get a ten cent raise. But that’s probably not what you had in mind. How much money do you want? The question “How can I earn an extra hundred dollars a week?” will produce very different answers from the question “How can I legally earn a million dollars this year?” Ironically, both questions might take as much time to answer and both might be just as hard to pull off. But they produce vastly different results.

What questions are you asking?

Are they specific enough?

Bold enough?

III. Another way to ask a better question is to ask, “What do I really want?” and to keep asking that until you actually get to the core of what you are after.

Scrooge McDuck thinks he wants more money. He doesn’t want to use it necessarily, he just wants to touch it and swim in it and see it in his bank vault.

For most of us, money isn’t what we really want. Even for people who say they want more money, what they really want is something else. More exciting vacations with their family perhaps. More peace. More joy. Something. But probably not really just a stack of $100 bills. They want more money because they think they will get something else from the money. So often a better question to ask is not the questions you have been asking, but “What do I really want?” Ask that several times in a row.

Here’s an imaginary conversation with Scrooge McDuck.

“What do you want?”

“Another billion dollars!”


“What do you really want?”

“Another billion dollars. That’s what I really, really want.”

“What will you do with it?”

“I will guard it from the Beagle Boys.”

“Why do you want another billion?”

“Having more money makes me feel secure.”

“So what you really want is to feel secure?”

Scrooge looks puzzled. He can’t imagine feeling secure without having another billion dollars. He’s been focused on money for so long he can’t see that he already has 100 billion, and it hasn’t satisfied him, and one billion more or even 200 billion more are not going to make any difference. Scrooge could have an enormous breakthrough if he keeps asking himself the question, “What do I really want?” If he figures out that what he really wants is security and peace of mind, or healing from wounds he got when he thought he didn’t have enough, he’s on his way to a much different, much better, much happier life.

Look at the things you are pursuing.

What are you going after?

What do you really want?

(Keep asking “What do I really want?” until you get to the core of what you’re going after. It may be easier to get than the thing you are pursuing in place of it.)

IV. One way to ask better questions is to align your values with God’s values.

If what you think you really want is not in line with what God says is best for you, you still haven’t gotten to what you really want. You’re still at a substitute.

V. Sometimes people ask great questions but they don’t realize it.

On a feast day (think of Thanksgiving), David asked Nabal for food for his 600 men. That’s a five loaves and two fish kind of problem. Even if you have a lot, it doesn’t seem like enough. And Nabal didn’t want to give what he had to a group of thugs. “Who is David?” he asked in 1 Samuel 25. “Who is the son of Jesse?”

As it turns out, those were two great questions. David was the man who would become the most beloved king of all Israel. David, the son of Jesse, would be one of the most influential people in the line of Jesus, the reason Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem centuries later at the time of Jesus’ birth. David was someone Nabal would really want to have a good relationship with. But Nabal couldn’t see it. Nabal just saw a leader of a group of ruffians who were trying to shake him down on a feast day, a feast he had prepared for his own family, friends, and workers. And there definitely wasn’t enough to share with 600 ruffians.

One thing that would have helped Nabal – one thing that might help us – is to recognize that every person we see is a beloved child of God, created in God’s image. Some are living their inheritance, some are definitely prodigals. But all are greatly beloved by God, each one. Even if Nabal couldn’t see David’s future, he at least could have treated him with respect as a child of the great King, a beloved child of God.

Who are you disrespecting?

What can you do to see them as God sees them, greatly beloved and created in God’s image?

What can you do to treat them in a way that reflects their true status as beloved children of God?

VI. People sometimes miss out on the best because they aren’t interested in the right questions.

Gallio had a chance to hear from Paul (the most influential Christian of his day) about Jesus (the messiah who first created time and space and then redeemed it on a cross). But Gallio wasn’t interested in those questions or those answers. (See Acts 18:12-16.)

God, help us to be interested when opportunity comes to us. Thank you. Amen.

VII. Ask Jesus. He can redeem your questions, even if they’re not good.

Read John 6. There was a large crowd, hungry. The disciples had nothing to give them. But Andrew noticed a boy who was willing to give five barley loaves and two fish.

Andrew reported this, then asked, “But what are they among so many people?”

It’s better to have faith than doubt. But if all you’ve got is a doubt-filled question, at least ask Jesus, who has the power to upend your expectations.

 

Exercise one

What do you want?

Why is that?

What do you really want? (Ask that question over and over until you think you get to the core of what you really want. Then write it here:)

 

When you think you know what you really want, make sure it is specific enough. Then turn it into a question your subconscious can work on.

“How can I ____________________?”

Is your question in line with your best values? Is it in line with God’s values?

If so, start asking yourself that question day after day. People who seek answers find them.

Exercise two

It’s time to get some practice asking better questions.

Here’s an example. Someone might ask: What’s wrong with our President?
If they ask it long enough and hard enough, they will get plenty of answers, even if they are thinking about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or King David or the greatest president that ever lived.

A better question – one that will help that person be happier – would be to ask “What’s great about our President?” If they ask it long enough and hard enough, that question also will produce plenty of answers, even if they are thinking about the worst president in the world.

The questions we ask influence the answers we get – and our outlook – and our level of happiness – and, quite frankly, how much our actions align with God’s best for us.

For a person asking “What’s bad about our president?” a better question would be “What is God doing in America today, and how can I participate?” That change of focus will transform a person’s attitude, actions, and life.

Here’s a sample question: What would be a better question?

Why is our family always fighting?

Why is my boss so dysfunctional?

Why is my life so messed up?

What’s wrong with where I live?

Exercise three

What questions are you asking? (If you don’t know, you can discover them by identifying what you are thinking about, obsessing over, or unhappy about.)

 

What are some better questions you can be asking?

 


Check out other Bible Studies and videos for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 or 2011.


La Jolla Lutheran Church is a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, a fast-growing association of churches that believe the Bible. Other LCMC churches in the San Diego area include Penasquitos Lutheran Church at 14484 Penasquitos Drive; and St. Timothy Lutheran Church at 2602 Reo Drive. Check the list of more than 800 congregations to find an LCMC church near you.

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright, 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S. A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Visit La Jolla Lutheran Church Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

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Worship with us Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

La Jolla Lutheran Church
7111 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, California, 92037
14 miles north of downtown San Diego.

 

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