>>> LEADER TIP: have some fun!
Our group time together is limited and often focused on all we have to discuss. Let’s incorporate some FUN! The end of October is the perfect time to start planning a social event that is all about getting together and simply enjoying each other. Get your calendars together and plan a “Friendsgiving” potluck around Thanksgiving or a paint night out or a BBQ at someone’s house. The bonding that happens over food and laughter is invaluable and something to savor, especially this time of year.
>>> LEADER TIP: Begin silence (even if you haven't yet)
Begin with 1-5 minutes of silence followed by a brief prayer to center ourselves towards God and to prepare us to listen to Him. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s still a great time to explain and try it!
We read this statement together before every group discussion. It helps transition the group to discussion time, it reaffirms our highest values, and sets a tone of trust, consistency, and safety for everyone in the group.
We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
What’s the most loving act anyone has ever done for you?
For homework last week we read chapter five titled “God is Love.” The main theme of the chapter was that God loved the world and came to save sinners. Romans 5:8 is quoted in the chapter, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” The author used the parable of the prodigal son to show how God much God loves us despite any wayward living. God loves us as we are, not as we should be.
The soul training exercise was Lectio Divina. We read 1 Corinthians 12:4-8 over and over, very slowly, and reflected on each word and phrase, all while paying attention to the impact the words had on our hearts.
From page 111, “Were you able to do the lectio divina exercise? If so, describe what you did and how you felt about it.
What, if anything, did you learn about God or yourself through the exercise?
What was your favorite line in the poem “Love (III)”? Explain why.
Pose as many questions of the following questions as you have time for, don’t feel like you have to get to them all.
What stuck out to you the most about chapter five on God’s love?
Have you heard something similar to the swivel-chair narrative in your life? Please describe it.
Has the performance-based narrative been part of your experience? Can you think of an example of this in your own life?
Do you sometimes feel that God’s love depends on your behavior?
If someone were to look at the kind of people you spend time with, what would they assume about your main narratives?
Have you ever been a position to love someone who rejected you? Or have you ever been loved by someone you have hurt? Describe.
Do you sometimes feel like the elder brother in the story who is reluctant to accept God’s acceptance of others or even yourself?
- Chapter 6: "God is Holy."
Margin. Margin is the white space on a piece of paper, the spaces on the top, bottom and either sides that we don’t write or type in. Sometimes we add so much to our schedules that we have no “margin,” no space for leisure and rest and family and God and health. This week’s soul training is all about creating margin in our lives to restore balance and restore our souls.
What can we be praying for you this week? What are some things for which we can thank our loving God?