Edge of Eternity: Discussion Questions

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Edge of Eternity Discussion Questions

Chapter 1

1. How much do you rely on reason?

a. Can you think of a time when you made a decision without reason (followed your heart against all logic)? What was the outcome?

b. How do God’s Word and reason relate to each other?

2. Has someone close to you died?

a. What kind of questions did you struggle with during those times?

b. Did you find answers to your questions?

3. How do unbelievers deal with death and pain?

a. What is their view of God through it all?

b. What do you think of God in light of death and suffering?

Chapter 2

1. Nick felt like he was teetering between two worlds. Have you ever felt that way?

2. In life, what kind of journey are you on? Has it been a rough path or a splendid path?

3. Joshua says this world is beautiful but not always safe. How is our world like that?

4. When was the last time you felt lonely?

a. What do you do with loneliness?

b. What are the choices you’ve made that take you in the direction of loneliness instead of community?

5. Why do you think Nick is so set against turning back?

6. Nick said, “I’d never felt so relieved to come out of the darkness and into the light." In a spiritual sense, how have you experienced this in your own life? What are the implications?

7. What did Shadrack mean when he called Nick a “child of clay”?

a. Read Genesis 2:4-9. Then read Genesis 1:26-31.

b. What does it mean to be a “child of clay”?

c. Why is this important?

Chapter 3

1. The sun reminded Nick that he was an alien, a stranger, a pilgrim in that world. What things remind you that you are an alien on this earth? (Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:11)

2. How can we share the rewards and hardships in our lives with others? Why is it important to walk the journey with others instead of alone?

3. Nick had many questions he was too afraid to ask. Have you ever had a question you were too afraid to ask? Maybe a question for God?

a. Why were you afraid to ask it?

b. What would help you to feel comfortable asking it?

4. How would you answer the question, “what do you think of your life”?

5. When Nick asked the group what they were looking forward to the most on their journey, why was the answer “home” so surprising?

a. In light of Philippians 3:20, where is our home?

b. What are you looking forward to most about Heaven?

6. What do the two cities Nick saw represent? Why was Nick drawn to the city of darkness?

Chapter 4

1. The woodsman describes the King as the fountain of life, a rose, the true vine, the tree of life, the giver of grain, light, a singer and a song, a lamb, a lion, and the bread of life. Take some time to think about each of these names.

a. Look up these names in Scripture. Why do they describe the King?
b. Which is your favorite? Why?

2. Who is the woodsman? (Read John 20:27.)

a. Why did Nick feel like he had caused the scars on the woodsman’s hands?

b. Why does Nick flee from the woodsman’s presence?

Chapter 5

1. Why was Shadrack so against Nick going with Joshua? Why did Shadrack insist on going with Nick and Joshua?

2. Why was Nick so drawn to Joshua?

a. Why did Joshua let Nick feel like he was in control?

b. Do you like being in control? Why?

3. Have you ever wanted to read people’s minds? What do you think it would be like?

a. How were people’s views of Nick different than what he thought they would be?

b. What do you think people would say about you?

4. What was it about Nick’s life on earth that was “broken”? What kind of “promised land” was he hoping Mozart’s music would take him to?

5. Why do you think Joshua was showing Nick clips of his life on earth?

a. How did Joshua want to help Nick find the answer to his questions about the meaning of life?

b. Where do these paths lead?

Chapter 6

1. Where had Joshua led Nick? What kind of emotions and struggles was Nick experiencing through these temptations?

2. What does the gerbil/scorpion represent?

a. Why couldn’t Nick get it off of himself?

b. Why did the animal keep changing from a gerbil to a scorpion and back?

3. What did Nick feel when he saw his daughter and wife? Have you ever felt conflicted like this? What was it like?

4. Why did Nick feel empty?

a. What kinds of things didn’t satisfy him?

b. Have you ever felt this kind of emptiness?

c. What did you do to try and fill it?

5. Where did Shad want to take Nick?

a. What did he promise?

b. Why didn’t Nick go with Shad?

6. What did Shad say that helped Nick see what was really happening on that stage?

a. When Nick thought with his mind and not his passions, what truth did he see in what he had done?

b. Can you relate to Nick?

c. How has truth been shed on some of your passions?

7. Nick said, “I wasn’t very good at examining the state of my soul. I hadn’t had much practice.” How good are you at examining the state of your soul? Take some time to examine your soul.

8. Why did the word “religion” leave such a bad taste in Nick’s mouth? What has your experience with “religion” been like?

9. In regard to the roads of religion, Joshua tells Nick, “You need to look far and wide to find bits of the truth that you can weave all together into something that satisfies you.”

a. How have you seen this played out in our world?

b. Have you tried this or seen others try it?

c. Has it satisfied?

Chapter 7

1. Why could the people on the ground not see this battle going on in the air? Does the Bible talk about a battle going on that we can’t see? Can you think of some verses?

2. Who was this battle between?

a. Nick says, “The conflicting missions of the two armies seemed to have no fog, no gray, only black and white clarity. I had lived my life in terms of compromise, rule-bending, trade-offs, concessions, bargaining, striking deals, finding middle ground. In these two great armies, there was no such thing. Good was good, and evil was evil, and they shared no common ground.” How have you lived in the gray?

b. What does the Bible say about good and evil?

Chapter 8

1. What did Joshua show Nick about Shad’s religion?

a. Have you been to a church where you experienced this? What was it like for you?

b. Why was Nick so turned off by this?

c. What did Shad say about what Joshua had showed Nick?

2. What song was Nick drawn to?

a. Why was he drawn to it?

b. Why were some people drawn to the counterfeit song the dark prince was singing?

3. When Nick finally saw who Joshua really was, who was he? Looking back, how had Joshua deceived Nick?

4. How did Shad describe those who were walking in a trancelike, zombie state? Think back to Genesis 1:26-31. How had Nick become one of those people?

5. How does Shad describe the battle between the King and the imposter? What is the King’s heart for the people?

6. What does Shad say about the chasm?

a. Nick asks Shad, “If the red road goes to the chasm like all the other roads…why should we walk it instead of them?” How does Shad respond?

b. Read Matthew 7:13-14. What does the Bible say about the roads of life?

c. What, or rather who, is the narrow road Matthew speaks of and the red road Shad speaks of? (John 14:6)

7. What was different about Nick’s desire for the city of lights, Charis, and Nick’s desires in the city Joshua had taken him to, Erebus?

8. What does the chasm represent? (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23a). What are some ways that we try to cross the chasm?

9. Who does Nick think put the chasm there? Who really put it there? How?

Chapter 9

1. Nick has an internal battle between longing for Charis and thinking of reasons why it is foolish. Have you ever had an internal battle like this?

a. What was it like?

b. What did you conclude?

2. How does Marcus describe Erebus?

a. Have you ever thought of separation from God in this way?

b. What surprises you? What stands out?

3. What is Marcus’s answer to the question “How could the King allow us to go to such a horrid place?”

a. Have you ever asked that question of God?

b. How would you answer this question?

4. Read Luke 2, John 1, Luke 4, and Revelation 5:1-5.

Chapter 10

1. How did the woodsman feel about the chasm?

2. Why did the woodsman tell Nick that he couldn’t help cut the tree down?

3. Why do you think the woodsman was depicted as a giant compared to the people? What does this tell us about God?

4. What did Nick start to feel about the woodsman after he was given the hammer?

a. Have you ever felt this way about God? Why?

b. Why did the gerbil appear right after Nick started feeling this way?

5. Why did the woodsman not let the warriors in the sky come and help him? Why did the woodsman let the creatures from below come to torment and attack him?

6. Nick struggled with feeling like he was a good person and feeling horrible for helping inflict pain on the woodsman. Have you ever had this internal struggle? How does this scene affect you now?

7. Take some time to read John chapter 19 and 1 Peter 2:21-2.

8. Reflect on the words of this hymn: How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory. Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished. I will not boast in anything No gifts, no power, no wisdom But I will boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection. Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom.

9. If you have trusted Christ for your salvation, how do these verses and this hymn affect you? How does going back to the cross revive your soul for Christ?

10. If you have not trusted Christ for your salvation, how have you processed this story?

a. Does it help bring light to what the Bible says?

b. Can you see yourself relating to Nick? How?

Chapter 11

1. Read John chapter 20.

2. What does it mean that the woodsman was alive again?

a. What do you see the woodsman doing once he was alive again?

b. Why is this important?

3. Was it possible to get to Charis before the woodsman died?

a. How is it possible now that he is alive again?

b. What does this mean for the people who nailed him to the tree?

4. What does this mean for Nick?

a. Do you remember what Joshua let Nick feel as they were heading to Erebus (chapter 5, question 2)?

b. What was the woodsman asking Nick to do?

c. Why was this a struggle for Nick?

5. Why did Nick confess his wrong doings to the woodsman? What does Nick finally conclude to do? Why?

6. Once they cross the chasm the woodsman tells Nick, “’Of course you don’t deserve it.’ He smiled. ‘If you deserved it, you wouldn’t need it. And I wouldn’t have had to die to give it to you.’”

a. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Have you experienced this gift of grace in your life?

b. What does this mean to you?

7. If you aren’t a Christian and haven’t accepted this gift of grace from Jesus, but would like to, go here to find out more.

8. How does the woodsman explain why Nick has always wanted to go to Charis? Do you long for Heaven? Why?

Chapter 12

1. Why did Nick feel so close to the other chasm crossers now that he had crossed? Have you experienced this with others?

2. When Nick woke up in the middle of the night, why did he begin to struggle?

a. What caused him to question what he had felt so strongly the night before?

b. If Nick had crossed the chasm, why was there still struggle and pain?

c. Have you ever struggled with your faith? d. What did you do during those times?

3. Nick asks Shad why there are multiple roads on this side of the chasm and why things aren’t easy. Shad says, “We’ve not yet arrived. Your heart has been changed, but you must still do battle within, and the world remains the same.” What kinds of battles within do you still struggle with?

4. Shad continues to say, “On the chasm’s other side they (the roads) distract travelers from coming to the King. Here they distract them from serving the King.”

a. If you aren’t a Christian, what kind of things distracts you from coming to the King?

b. If you are a Christian, what kind of things distracts you from serving the King?

c. What do you love about these things? How do they compare to the King?

5. How would you answer this question: What do you see when you look back at who you were?

6. How do you know if something is from God or not?

a. What did Shad say you should do?

b. Was there a time in your life when you did not understand why God asked you to do something but you chose to trust him?

c. What was the outcome?

d. Do you know God’s purpose for it yet?

7. Shad says, “The book is your guide, your compass. Don’t underestimate your ability to depart from the true road. Don’t trust your instinct or your logic—don’t even trust me. I don’t trust myself. Trust only the RoadGuide.” What did he mean, don’t trust yourself?

a. What happens when we put our trust in ourselves?

b. Can you think of times when you’ve done this? What happened?

c. Who are we to trust, if not ourselves?

Chapter 13

1. Why do you think it was so hard for the travelers to not be able to open their bags of rocks?

2. Have you ever asked the question Nick thought: Why do others burn with fire and I don’t?

a. What does it mean to be on fire for Jesus?

b. Have you ever resented someone for their faith? Why?

3. What kind of responses did the people have toward Quon and the GuideBook?

a. Have you seen those kinds of responses toward the Bible? Give some specific examples of this.

b. Why does the world hate God and the Bible so much?

c. Why did Quon persist so hard?

4. Why did the warriors in the sky retreat from protecting Quon?

a. Why did Nick feel peace that Quon would be alright and yet he died?

b. Was that peace from God?

5. Have you ever felt like God let you down? How? What is the truth?

Chapter 14

1. Have you ever struggled with the sovereignty of God like Nick did after Quon’s death? How? What does the Bible tell us about God’s sovereignty?

2. What do you think of David’s statement, “We can’t win people over unless we’re more like them”? What does the Bible say?

3. How have you mourned the loss of a loved one? Where do you find hope during these times?

4. Nick said to Frodo, “You don’t understand the storm, do you boy? But you just want to be close to your master, don’t you? That’s all that matters to you, isn’t it?” How does this describe the struggle Nick has been going through?

a. What truth does this statement make?

b. How did this help Nick understand what was going on?

5. Why do believers still struggle with doubts?

a. What is it that calls us back to who we once were?

b. Who is the bird? Read John 16:7-11.

6. Nick said, “I simply wanted to have climbed it; accomplishment without struggle”. Have you ever felt like this in life? Why does God allow struggle in our lives?

7. Why was tying themselves together so important as they were climbing the steep parts of the mountain?

a. How are we as believers to tie ourselves together in hard times?

b. Why is this important?

8. Have you ever felt weak like Nick did?

a. What kind of feelings did you experience in weakness?

b. Why did Nick not want to feel anything?

c. What was able to influence Nick in his weakness?

d. What did it want him to do?

e. What does God tell us to do in times of weakness?

Chapter 15

1. How did the travelers help each other as they struggled up the mountain? Have you ever had friends stick by you and help in times of struggles? How?

2. Why did Nick and his friends like the guardrails? Why did the man in the orange stocking cap hate the guardrails?

3. What do the guardrails represent? How do people struggle with guardrails in real life?

4. Why did Nick help Malaiki when David was touching her?

a. How should we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ?

b. Have you seen people in your life stand up for others in this way?

Chapter 16

1. Why were the travelers that Nick’s group met so attached to their possessions even though they made it harder to climb the mountain? What kind of things do we try to carry with us in life that inhibits us from serving the King?

2. Mr. Bartholomew’s mansion was clearly enticing and it was easy to see why the travelers would be so tempted to stay, but why was it wrong to stay?

3. Can you think of things in your life that may be good and enticing but are wrong to do?

a. Why do we like ease and comfort and familiarity?

b. What does the Bible say about these things?

Chapter 17

1. What did Shad mean when he said, “You can’t be the King’s bride without giving up your other lovers”?

a. Take some time to think about what other lovers you may have in your life.

b. What does the Bible say about these other lovers? Read Colossians 3:5, 1 Corinthians 10:14, and Romans 1:22-23.

2. Why do we care so much about what others think?

a. How did Nick caring about what others thought more than what the King thought affect the man in the blue coat?

b. Can you think of a time when you didn’t do something you knew you should because of what others might think?

3. Why did the men in the jail cell want to stay in prison? What are some things in life that could appear to imprison us?

4. Why didn’t the man in the green polo shirt, Alec, want to join the group on the red road? Do you know of others who have excuses when it comes to following God?

Chapter 18

1. The travelers’ time was a time in darkness. Have you ever experienced a time of spiritual darkness in your life? What was it like?

a. What did you learn from it?

b. Why do you think God took you through a time of darkness?

2. Shad asked, “Have you ever heard anyone say he learned his greatest lessons and developed his strongest character in times of ease?” What lessons and character did you develop during your time of darkness?

3. Why was Shad so against resting?

Chapter 19

1. What did Nick see when he went into town?

a. Nick was heartbroken over what he saw but why was he not heartbroken when those things were actually happening?

b. What did Nick do with his grief, sin, and brokenness?

c. Have you ever been heartbroken over your sins?

d. What does the Bible tell us to do? Read 2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 John 1:9, James 4:8-10, and Romans 6:23.

e. What does God do with our sins?

2. What did Marcus show Nick?

a. Why was Nick so shocked at who he saw in Erebus and in Charis?

b. Have you ever felt the same way Nick did? Why?

3. Marcus said, “By thinking men better than they are, you make the King’s grace seem less amazing than it truly is.” Why do we try to elevate men and lessen God’s grace? How have you experienced God’s grace? Read Luke 16:19-31.

4. Why did Nick help Cliff?

a. Why did the others pass by Cliff?

b. Can you think of a situation where you would not have helped someone in need?

c. Can you think of a time when you have helped someone in need? Why did you help them?

d. What do these situations reveal about our hearts? Read Luke 10:25-37.

Chapter 20

1. Marcus tells Nick, “If you are to be of use in the visible world, you must pay close attention to the invisible worlds.” What did he mean by this?

2. What did Marcus mean when he said, “No man can get out of Erebus. But each man can keep out of it. There is a choice—though even choice is governed by the King’s sovereign will—but the opportunity to choose always ends at death”?

a. What choice is Marcus referring to?

b. What choice do we have in regard to Heaven and Hell?

c. Do you know how to get to Heaven and keep out of Hell? If you don’t, read this article on Randy’s website.

3. Have you ever felt like Nick who longed for Charis but there was so much he wanted to do before he got there? Why? What was Marcus’s response?

4. How do we willingly fulfill our roles on this earth without trying to make them more important than they are? What are some practical ways to do this?

5. Marcus said, “Charis and Erebus are the high stakes that give meaning to life in the Shadowlands.” How do Heaven and Hell give meaning to our lives here on earth?

a. He also says, “The GuideBook is a knothole into eternity.” How is the Bible a knothole into eternity?

b. What are ways we can maintain a heavenly perspective here on earth?

6. Why did Nick start to become so confident in himself?

7. Why was Gabriel so encouraging to Nick? Do you think Gabriel was who he said he was? Why or why not?

8. Why did Frodo sense danger when Nick picked him up after talking to Victoria? Do you think Nick’s decision to ask Victoria to sit with him by the fire was a wise one? Why or why not?

Chapter 21

1. Read Hebrews 4:12. How is the word of God like a sword?

2. Who did Gabriel reveal himself to really be?

a. How was Gabriel deceiving Nick?

b. How did Gabriel use the Bible to support his claims? Did this make it more believable for Nick?

c. Have you known others in your life who twist Scripture to support their claims?

d. How do we know whether to believe them or not?

3. How do we sometimes sacrifice eternity on the altar of the immediate? Can you think of times when you’ve done this? Why did you do it?

4. When Nick realized Gabriel was an imposter and realized what he had done, how did he feel? What kind of struggle did he continue to fight?

5. Nick tells Gabriel, “You see him (the King) in me too, Pretender, for you try to hurt him by hurting me, don’t you?” How does our enemy try to hurt God by hurting us?

6. Gabriel thought he was the equal opposite of the King. What is the truth?

a. Why do we give Satan more power in our lives than we should?

b. Why was Gabriel on a leash?

c. Who was controlling that leash?

7. Marcus tells Nick, “The man who thinks he can’t be robbed leaves valuables in plain sight. The one who knows he can be robbed puts them somewhere safe. If you know you can fall, you make wise choices to keep yourself from falling. But if you tell yourself it can’t happen to you, that ensures it will.” In what ways do we, as humans, tend to fall?

a. In what ways have you fallen?

b. What are some ways that we can keep ourselves from falling?

c. How can we trust the King more and not our ability to follow Him?

8. Shad tells Nick, “For he uses those who learn from their failures.” How have you learned from your failures?

Chapter 22

1. Nick said, “But if I’d learned anything here it was that what I wanted wasn’t reason enough to do or not do something.” Why is this true?

2. When Nick was sinking in the mud, what did the King want him to do? Why had Nick forgotten to do this?

3. What are ways in which we forget to ask for God’s help?

a. How can you daily place your nails at the King’s feet?

b. What does accepting the King’s help require?

4. How does the tree define the road Nick walks?

a. How much does the cross define our journey?

b. How was the tree planted for everyone, yet also planted just for Nick?

5. When the travelers were finally able to open their bags of stones to give to the King, what was inside?

a. Why were some stones now precious jewels and some straw?

b. What did these stones represent? Read 1 Corinthians 3:8-15.

c. How does what we do in this world have profound effect in the world to come?

6. What did Nick see in his stones?

a. Who was Nick really helping when he helped Cliff?

b. What do these stones represent? Read Matthew 25:31-40.

7. Victoria had no stones. Could she still enter the city? Why?

a. Why was it sad that she had no gift to offer the King?

b. What do these stones represent? Read Ephesians 2:8-10.

8. Why was Nick both sad and glad about his stones?

9. Will you have any stones to offer the King when you get to Heaven?

a. What kinds of things produce straw?

b. What kinds of things produce jewels?

Chapter 23

1. As the war between Charis and Erebus, between the King and the deceiver, began Marcus said, “Every man must accept the pardon or be devoured by the sword, there is no third option. Bow to him now in repentance and service, or bow to him later in judgment and condemnation. In either case every knee will bow to him.” Have you bowed to the King before it’s too late? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t go here to find out how before it’s too late.

2. “Even as he conquered the twisted planet and made it his footstool, the Commander on the white stallion wept.” Why did He weep? What does this reveal about His heart?

3. What is the King doing by conquering Erebus and the deceiver? Why did He wait till now to do this? Read 2 Peter 3:9-15.

4. Marcus tells Nick, “And now, you shall reign with your King!” What did he mean? How did Nick feel about it? Read 2 Timothy 2:10-13 and Revelation 20:1-6.

5. As Nick was about to enter Charis, he had to watch the details of his life. If you had to watch a video about your life right now, how would you feel?

a. What would God think about how you are living your life?

b. What do you want to do differently from here on out?

6. What was it like when the travelers were cleansed and entered into Charis?

a. What did they feel and experience?

b. Can you anticipate what it will be like when you enter Heaven? Read Philippians 3:20-21, 2 Timothy 4:8, Matthew 13:43, Psalm 16:11, and Luke 19:17-19.

7. How is God’s sovereign plan like weaving a tapestry?

a. What side of the tapestry do we live on?

b. How is there purpose in the chaos we feel?

8. Nick realized that the King’s approval was the only one that mattered. Is God’s approval the only one that matters in your life? Why or why not?

Chapter 24

1. Why did the man Nick saw arguing with the guard think he deserved to enter Charis?

a. Why did the guard say he couldn’t? Read Matthew 7:21-23.

b. What is the gift that the man didn’t receive? Read John 14:6.

2. Why didn’t the King want Nick to enter into Charis yet?

a. Where “is the need greatest and the battle rages”?

b. What did the King want Nick to do there?

3. The King told Nick, “I’ve given you my GuideBook. Do you know why? ... So you need not wait until you die to learn how you should have lived.” What does the GuideBook represent? How important is it to figure out how to live while still on earth?

4. The King tells Nick, “Each day I grant you is a gift of grace, a window of opportunity. Use it wisely. Pick up the stones, even when you don’t understand why.” How is God calling you to use each day wisely? How will you live unashamed for Him?

5. What was Nick about to do when he returned to earth? What did Nick decide to do instead?

6. How is this world a world of second chances? What are you going to do with your second chance?

7. How has this book helped you see God’s plan in a new light?

Chelsea Dudley served as Randy's personal assistant at Eternal Perspective Ministries for several years.