Great Questions from a Great Asker


Who in your life asks you great questions? Who spurs you on to deeper insight and greater challenge? I’m always looking for people who do that for me and recently I stumbled across a great set of questions that my old friend and colleague, Alex Van Riesen, wrote for his congregation. Alex is the lead pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. His questions are meant to help in reviewing 2013 and moving forward into the New Year.


  • What was the biggest triumph of 2013?
  • What was the biggest loss of 2013?
  • What were the spiritual themes of 2013?
  • What was the greatest life lesson you learned in 2013?
  • Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life in 2013?
  • What is your biggest piece of unfinished business from 2013?
  • How did you clearly hear from God in 2013?


  • What are the areas of your life in which you most need to receive from God in 2014?
  • How is God inviting you to respond to his initiative in your life in 2014?
  • What will be a big risk for you in responding to God’s initiative in 2014?
  • Where would you like to see the greatest transformation in your spiritual life in 2014?
  • What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2014?
  • What advice would you like to give yourself for 2014?
  • What would you be most happy about completing in 2014?
  • What about your work (occupation) are you most committed to changing and improving in 2014?
  • What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2014?
  • Is there anyone you need to forgive, be forgiven by, and/or reconcile with as you move into 2014?
  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2014?

Last week I wrote about the challenge of being your same old self in the midst of trying to make new decisions in a new year. I believe that questions like these can help any of us actually put feet on our intentions and commitments. Think of this as a type of New Year examen….a spiritual practice that can help you notice God’s movements in your life and welcome what may be coming in the future. What if you took a half or full day in the next couple of weeks to spend some time with these questions? It could be a great took for your own growth.

I provided a pared down set of his questions, but Alex offers as a gift his complete sets of questions. He says:  This resource is intended to be a guide to help you reflect on your life in the coming year. To download or print the full guide, which includes the questions below, a blank calendar, and selected scripture, click here:  Looking Forward 2014

For the accompanying “Looking Back” reflection, visit download the reflection guide here:  Looking Back 2013

One Comment

  1. Thanks Janice. I am fortuntate to have many people in my life who will ask great questions like these. I’m also going to take advantage of the list and share it with my family and self. I have an “alone” weekend coming soon and think I will bring them along.

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