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 your favorite thing about autumn?
For homework last week we read the introduction of the book, which told us that this book will be teaching us how to live as Jesus taught us to live, and how to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
We also read the section on How to Get the Most Out of This Book which included preparing, reading, completing the weekly exercise, completing the written reflections, interacting at group and encouraging each other.
Chapter 1 was called What are You Seeking?, in which we learned that transformation happens not through willpower, but by training our souls. We read about the “triangle of transformation” which involves four basic elements:
- Changing the stories in our minds,
- engaging in new practices,
- in reflection and dialogue with others who are on the same path, and
- all under the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Our soul training excercise was sleeping until we couldn’t sleep any more at least one day this week.
Were you able to practice the discipline of sleep this week? If so, what did you do and how did you feel about it?
What, if anything, did you learn about God or yourself through the exercise?
If you didn't get to practice the discipline of sleep this week, how can you make a plan to try it this week?
What stuck out to you in the chapters we read? Look at the questions sprinkled throughout each chapter and discuss anything particularly helpful or challenging.
Have you ever tried to change something about yourself? What process did you use? How successful were you in changing?
The author gives us a diagram for transformation (p. 24). It is made up of personal narrative, soul-training exercises, community and the Holy Spirit. Have any of these helped you change in the past?
Our narratives are stories that shape the way we live. To help you understand the concept of narratives better, think of a story from your life that defines "success" for you.
Many people are tempted (and have been taught) to practice spiritual disciplines to please God, when in fact they are a means of transforming the soul. How does that alter your approach to the practices you already do? If spiritual disciplines aren't a part of your life right now, does seeing them that way make you more likely to try them out?
When has a small group of people spurred you on and encouraged you in a difficult season, or when you were trying to accomplish something hard?
From the section on the work of the Holy Spirit (p 28-31), what insights did you gain about the Holy Spirit and how he impacts our narratives, soul training or sense of community?
- Chapter 2: "God is Good"
Soul Training: SILENCE & AWARENESS OF CREATION
- Find 5 minutes a day to sit in silence and take a walk outside. Pay great attention to nature, then reflect on those times of silence and awareness.
How can we be praying for each other throughout the week?