This reading group guide forDivine Alignmentincludes a Q&A with author SQuire Rushnell. The questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
A Conversation with SQuire Rushnell
1. What prompted you to write Divine Alignment?
I have found that God, often through my readers, leads me to each new evolution of my journey as an author. Divine Alignment became the next evolution of the godwink thesis.
2. How would you describe what you mean by “Divine Alignment”?
Divine Alignment is the principle that we are all connected by invisible threads—godwink by godwink—on a grand GPS, God’s Positioning System.
3. How is “mapping your destination” (as mentioned in chapter 3) different from spiritual consumerism?
“Mapping your destination” is aligned with the popular principle that we must establish goals for ourselves; as described by the Alice in Wonderland character in chapter 3, who said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
I find no relationship to “spiritual consumerism.” I have always been fascinated with the manner in which different churches worship God, with varying forms of music and formats, and consider the concern that anyone would “shop around” to find a form that fits themselves, as probably non-relevant to God.
4. In the majority of the stories you share in the book, there is an element of healing, restoration, and celebration. Has there been a time in your life when you have experienced a “godwink” in the midst of a situation that didn’t have a “happy ending”?
To me, an “unhappy godwink” would be like an “unhappy smile.” There are situations where someone can experience a godwink in the midst of an unhappy situation, but inasmuch as a godwink is often another word for “answered prayer,” we must consider each a blessing from God.
5. Have there been spiritual guides or mentors in your life who have helped you cultivate the kind of communication with God that you describe in chapter 1? If so, can you share what you learned from them?
My wonderful wife Louise is my most important spiritual guide. Her understanding of the scriptures is much, much deeper than mine. As well, I can say that such spiritual leaders as Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Dr. Charles Stanley, both of whom I have been honored to know, were powerful mentors for me. Then there was a sweet, lesser known pastor, Ralph Lankler, who taught me to write a letter to God, every day, during a difficult time in my life; he too was a hero.
6. In chapter 2, “Listen to Your Inner Compass,” you introduce readers to a woman who demonstrated incredible courage during World War II. She says, “One’s first steps are always small” (p. 55). Can you share a time in your life when you took a small step toward listening to your inner compass?
The heroism of Irene Gut Opdyke in chapter 2 is so extraordinary that I could never imagine anything I have ever done as even being in the same ballpark.
As it relates to my own journey, taking the small steps of doing speaking engagements, wherever and whenever, just to get the experience and to develop my topics, led me to becoming an author. In talking about “so-called coincidences” in our lives—little experiences that happen to everyone, and which many of us have concluded could have come only from God—was a thesis that seemed to strike a chord with my listeners, which opened the pathway for my first book, When God Winks.
7. What was it like for you to write about your very personal story about the debt and shame that accompanied your “downsizing” from ABC? In these difficult economic times, what kind of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who has recently lost his or her job?
In sharing that story about a dark and desperate time in my life, I realized I was allowing God to shine the light on a sin—exposing my sin of pride. Prior to that writing, my pride caused me to “cover up” my being “fired” as a badge of dishonor.
The first step when you face anything catastrophic in your life, including the loss of a job, is to Talk to the Navigator, allowing God and your personal God’s Positioning System to guide you in evaluating two important questions: What have I always wanted to do? How can I map my way there?
8. Have you ever experienced a “godwink” that prompted you to lay aside a personal dream or plan for the benefit of someone else?
I perhaps have. But, to tell you the truth, I am such an “obnoxious optimist” that I’ve always found the way to find the “positive” in any difficult situation.
One could build a case that the birth of my brain-injured son stymied my career growth at the ABC television network by limiting my time, focus, and freedom to travel for the company. On the other hand, that experience singularly brought me into a close walk with the Lord, kept me closer to home, and provided the opportunity to develop this series of books examining the thesis of how God speaks to us through godwinks.
9. Your biography on your website says that becoming an author and an inspirational speaker have always been “lifelong dreams.” How do the principles you describe in Divine Alignment relate to the fulfillment of your dream?
The principles of Divine Alignment allow everyone to chart their own courses through life, arriving at a state of absolute contentment. It is only through the experiences in my own rearview mirror that I have the confirmation that these principles work. Simply put: When you step out in faith, heading for what you believe to be your destiny—or, as I’ve said to my son, “Your Job for God”—your pathways are certain to be lined with godwinks; people and events who are Divinely Aligned to be there, to help you get where you are going.
10. What is the main thing you hope people take away from reading Divine Alignment?
Hope. Hope is such a dear commodity in so many lives. People have faced so many hardships and tragedies that hope seems to be nowhere in sight. But if through these simple principles—that God is speaking directly to you, out of seven billion people on this planet, every single day, through godwinks and people who are divinely aligned to help you along—if that can help you have just a little hope to get you going, I am doing my “Job for God.”
11. You have been described as the “American Encourager.” Where do you personally go to for encouragement?
I follow my own advice in chapter 1: I Talk to the Navigator. And if I’m not encouraged enough, I talk to my wonderful wife Louise. I sometimes suspect that she has God’s personal phone number; when God doesn’t answer me directly, I usually hear from Him through her.
1. Divine Alignment is a collection of powerful stories. Who is one of your favorite storytellers?
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, was a model for me.