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Christian Discernment

Small Group Insights, Tips and Video for Leaders
Tips for Leaders regarding the various components of the small group meeting
Getting the most out of Discernment, God‘s Will & Living Jesus
Chapter One: The What and Why of Discernment
Chapter Two: Hearing God
Chapter Three: Whose are you?
Chapter Four: Who are you?
Chapter Five: Be Free
Chapter Six: Be Aware
Chapter Seven: The Will of God
Chapter Eight: The Role of the Holy Spirit
Chapter Nine: The Role of Scripture
Chapter Ten: Christian Discernment Insights
Chapter Eleven: Christian Discernment: What does it look like?
Chapter Twelve: Discernment of Spirits
Chapter Thirteen: Decision-making: Pros and Cons
Chapter Fourteen: Imagination and Christian Discernment
Chapter Fifteen: Your Four Aces of Christian Discernment
Chapter Sixteen: Adult Faith
Chapter Seventeen: Extrapolation
Chapter Eighteen: Community and Christian Discernment
Chapter Nineteen: Desire and Motivation
Chapter Twenty: Heart and Head
Chapter Twenty-one: Making God Laugh

Small Group Insights, Tips and Video for Leaders
Leader/Facilitator

Begin by watching video - http://vimeo.com/192570703

Keeping the group safe is your number one priority. A safe group fosters deeper sharing, greater vulnerability and increases the likelihood of growth and transformation.

How?

• Give absolute freedom to share or not share – stress the value and benefits of both.

• Set up rules which do not allow for cross-talking. No one is free to comment on what has been shared by another.

• After someone has shared, hold them and their words silently up to God in silent prayer for a few moments.

Here is one way this could be communicated:

“We are going to give anyone who would like to, a chance to share. If you would like to briefly share, please do. It can encourage the rest of us. It can sometimes help us to put words to our own experience. Also, naming your experience can help reinforce it, give it strength. It’s less likely to float away and be forgotten in your mind if you’ve said it out loud.”

“There’s one important rule I need us all to follow. When someone shares, there is no cross-talking. That means that no one comments on what another person shares. We listen and give the person sharing our full attention. When someone speaks after an experience like this, they are sharing a deep part of themselves. It’s not our place to comment in any way, during or afterwards. Receive their words like you would a fragile gift. Hold them gently. After someone has finished speaking, we will sit in silence praying for them and holding them and their words up to God.”

It is important to create a group atmosphere that allows people to show and share their experiences freely and honestly and without fear of attack, judgment or even correction. This is your responsibility.

Group Covenant (an optional tool to help foster a safe group)

A group covenant provides a means of setting up the ground rules that will govern a group. It will help to create boundaries that promote ongoing growth and health within the group and with individuals in the group. Once you have crafted your covenant, I would suggest you take time to process through it as a group so that everyone is on the same page as you begin your journey together


As an individual in this group, I will practice:

Loving Acceptance – I will embrace each other’s sameness and differences with equal enthusiasm affirming that each individual is a one-of-a kind masterpiece of God.

Attentive Companioning – I will affirm and care for one another through active listening.

Honest Sharing – I will honor my own boundaries in terms of how deeply I share and I will honor the boundaries of others.

Personal Authenticity – I will share/speak in the first person, claiming my thoughts and experiences as my own, and avoiding generalizations like, “the problem with the church is…,” "everyone needs to be doing…,” "God just wants all of us to…,” etc.

Commitment to Growth – I will endeavor to spend the time in the materials I have committed to while also realizing, for myself and others, that life is crazy.

Commitment to Faithfulness – I will endeavor to attend all group meetings and come prepared and ready to share openly and honestly.

Steadfast Trust – I will entrust myself, other group members, and this group to God, acknowledging that it is God who will bring growth and transformation to my life and the lives of others in this group.

Gracious Patience – I will be gracious and patient with others and myself as we enter into the messiness of journeying and growing together as a group.

Sensitive Interaction – I will not offer unsolicited correctives, directives, or “helpful” advice after someone shares, but rather receive their words as a gift to our group and to God.


Liberal Grace – I will seek to believe the best about each person and what they share and say while acknowledging that we are all 'works in progress.'

Healthy Relationships – I will respect each member of the group and deal sensitively with conflict if necessary.

Absolute Confidentiality – I will not speak directly or indirectly with anyone outside our group about anything someone has shared within our group.

Sign and Date:

_____________________________________________


Additional Tips:

1. Do not allow “shoulds” to be uttered in the group. When we use the word should it has a weightiness to it and can even convey moral obligation. Help others to not use the word should. Create a no should zone within the small group.

2. Do not let people use the word just. This is often a minimizing word. I just did the exercise twice. Instead have them restate it; "I did the exercise twice" and then celebrate that.

3. Be quick to celebrate and name incremental growth. This is so important and helpful.

4. Take time to read through the small group handout for the night and even watch the video. The preparation you do ahead of time helps you to be more present to what is actually happening during the gathering giving you the best opportunity to partner with what God is doing during that time.

5. Resist the temptation to take responsibility for making the experience a positive one for all attending and judging what transpires during the time based on what people said or what you personally felt. Trust God and trust the process. This is a journey and each week builds on the previous one. You are called to be faithful offering your loaves and fish to God.

6. Pray for the member of the group throughout the week—lifting them up before and praying as God leads you to pray. You could divide the group up so each day you are praying for one or two of them. As you are praying for the individuals in the group be open as you pray for God may lead you to text, email, write a note to them.

7. Remember to be you and not the person/leader you think you should (this is a no should zone) be but be you. This is the gift you bring, you being you, and as you are you it frees others to be the person God has created and called them to be.
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Tips for Leaders regarding the various components of the small group meeting
Prior to meeting print out the handout for that meeting—go to b-ing.org and click on Christian Discernment—this is also where you will locate the video for the week.

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (slow down) This is designed to help people move from there day into this time – letting go of that which weighs them down so they are be present to the God, themselves and one another..

Gently guide the people through this time – reading the prompts part distinctly, gently and slowly. Your demeanor helps people transition. When you have reach the end of the transition practice end that portion by simply saying amen or by offering a short prayer for the night.

There are various prompts so feel free to choose one to your liking or make up your own.

Brief Check–in
This helps people to feel seen and heard. Keep this time safe by not allowing crossing talking. You can open up the sharing time yourself or wait until someone else is ready. Once someone shares let them choose who will go next – this helps the process along.

If you have not prayed this can be a good time to do so – offering all that has been shared as well as the rest of the evening to God.

Review of Daily Practice (if there was one from the prior week)
This is a time to allow whoever wants to share (not everyone needs to share) regarding any daily practices from prior week. Remember we are there to encourage and support one another. You could ask if anyone would like to share their experience with the daily practice – was it difficult, easy, what did you enjoy what did you not enjoy? Again no cross talking and it is okay if no one wants to share. Just move on. Also always feel free to share your own experience.

Video Reflection: Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

As people share invite them to also share what was it about the truth, sentence, insight that caught their attention and likewise what was it about the truth, sentence, insight that surfaced resistance. These questions are encouraging people to pay attention, to be aware and pay attention to what is going on within them—a key skill when it comes to Christian discernment and recognizing the communications of God in expected and unexpected places.

Reflection on Chapter Exercises
There will be suggested exercises from the chapter to focus on but feel free to choose a different exercise from the chapter if that it seems that it would be more helpful for your group.

As people share encourage them to use I statements and not seek to “correct” someone who has previously shared. Also do not let people monopolize the conversation.

Scripture Reflection
When discussing the scripture passage help the conversation focus on how this passage adds to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps
What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week? Have the people write down their answers - this will help them remember and possibly be something they can share during the prayer time. This can but does not need to be share in the larger group – your call. If you have the time and choose to let people share then have open sharing beginning that not everyone needs to share.

Prayer
I encourage you to try different configurations for prayer together. The large group, groups of two or three, split the group in two…. Ask yourself; given the material presented tonight and the tenor of the group what might be the most help way to arrange the groups tonight. It can be helpful to have a time frame for sharing and praying. Each person has 2 minutes to share and then they are prayed for and then the next person shares. This helps move this forward.

Daily At-home Practice
This is a time to remind then of the reading and practices for the following week.
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Getting the most out of Discernment, God‘s Will & Living Jesus
https://vimeo.com/191997135

As you begin this journey please remember to give yourself grace and extend yourself patience. This is a slow and deliberate journey of being and becoming and cannot be rushed. As you make your way through the book do so slowly and thoughtfully. Be aware of and pay attention to those things you are drawn to and resistance toward. Being aware and paying attention to are two important skills to develop as you make your way through this book. When you are drawn to or resistance toward something pause and ask yourself what is behind what I am feeling—take some time to explore and ponder that question. Begin to see resistance is a gift that when opened and explored can lead to a deeper knowledge of God and/or self.

Read slowly. Spend a week on each chapter. Take your time working through the exercises. Once you work through an exercise take a break then come back later and work through it again. The second time through God may take you to a deeper place.

When a chapter offers a daily practices to incorporate into your life please pay attention to your initial reaction—are you drawn to or resistance toward this invitation/challenge? As you begin to do the daily practice focus on celebrating success rather than focusing on what you are not doing. One day a week is better than no days a week. So celebrate incremental growth.

Finally take some time to read through the following prayer paying attention to the words and phrases you are drawn to or resistant toward. This prayer is a timely reminder that this is a journey you are embarking on—a journey that takes time and cannot be rushed. May this prayer enable you to give yourself grace, allow you to be where you are and trust in the slow work of God.

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability-

and that it may take a very long time

And so I think it is with you.

your ideas mature gradually-let them grow

let them shape themselves, without undue hast.

Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow

Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you,

and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.
-Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

As you make your way through this book do endeavor to embrace the unforced rhythms of God’s grace seeking to live freely and lightly.
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Chapter One: The What and Why of Discernment

Video: https://vimeo.com/193480984

Chapter One: The What and Why of Discernment

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What 3-5 words describe how you are doing?


Video Reflection (7 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (25 minutes)

· Using the exercise on p. 27 share three presuppositions that you feel are most important regarding Christian discernment. Share one that you are resistant toward.

· Use the question number one on p. 28 as a prompt to discuss and share your observations regarding the definition of Christian discernment. If time allows move on to the second question number two.

· What do you think it means to "live Jesus"? What characteristics, attributes, behaviors, or beliefs might you find in someone who is "living Jesus"? Does this idea of living Jesus resonate with you or stir any new desires in you? Why, Why not?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Galatians 2:20.

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?

· What does this passage tell us about who we are and who God is?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· Which of the four component critical for the ongoing cultivation of Christian discernment—knowledge of God/self, uniquely living Jesus, attending to the Holy Spirit, desiring God’s greater glory—do you feel is most challenging for you? Why? Share this as a prayer request.

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Begin your day reflecting on Galatians 2:20. Each morning, pick one phrase that stands out to you and write it on a post-it. Carry it with you or put it in a place you will see it often to remind you to stop and meditate on the phrase.

· In the evening, re-read Galatians 2:20. As you reflect back on your day and the phrase you choose, what did you notice or observe about yourself, God, or the world?

· During the week, read chapter 2, Hearing God in Discernment. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Two: Hearing God
Video: https://vimeo.com/194453515

Chapter Two: Hearing God

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breathe in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What color or colors convey what you are feeling?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What was your experience of the Daily Practice last week: Galatians 2:20, meditation throughout the day and nightly reflection?


Video Reflection (11 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (25 minutes)

· Regarding the difficulties of hearing God listed on page 34, which one or two of them are true of you? Why? Or please feel free to share any other reason not listed.

· How does God speak to you? Using the chart on p. 39, share which two ways you tend to “hear” God and which two ways you view as undependable ways to hear God? Why?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read John 10:3-4 and Romans 8:14.

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· How can we pray for you to more easily hear God?

· How can the group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Each morning ask God to guide and direct you throughout the day (see last paragraph on p. 36).

· Each evening ask God to show you the moments when God was seeking to speak to you or leading you. Were you aware? Did you hear and follow? Did you hear and not follow? See Daily Practice p. 38.

  • During the week, read chapter 3, Whose are You and work through the included exercises OR depending what you decided

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Chapter Three: Whose are you?
Video: https://vimeo.com/194454110

Chapter Three: Whose are you?

Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) seemed to elude you today?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· During the past week, were you more sensitive to God’s lead throughout your days? Did you “hear God?” What did you notice? Remember to celebrate incremental growth (no condemnation); we are just beginning this slow journey of trust.


Video Reflection (11 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (25 minutes)

· Do you feel like you are in a time of orientation, disorientation or reorientation? Why?

· Read the poem on p. 54. Which words seem to speak most deeply to you? Which words do you feel resistance around? What invitation does this poem have for you?

· Read the five statements on p. 55. Which one is the most difficult for you to embrace? Why?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Jeremiah 9:23-24 and John 17:3.

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?

· Why is it important to experientially know God?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What do you need from God in order to put into practice what is stirring in your heart?

· How can the group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Begin your day by declaring 5 things for which you are thankful (Daily Practice, p. 57).

· End each day by reflecting on your day and acknowledging the gifts God gave throughout your day. (Daily Practice, p. 57).

· During the week read chapter 4, Who are You? and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Four: Who are you?
Video: https://vimeo.com/194454975

Chapter Four: Who are you?

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breathe in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What season do you see yourself currently in--spring, summer, fall or winter?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· During the past week, were you more sensitive to God’s lead throughout your days? Did you “hear God?” Remember to celebrate incremental growth (no condemnation); we are just beginning this slow journey of trust.

· What was your experience of beginning your day with thankfulness and ending with reflection and acknowledgement of God’s gifts? What did you notice?


Video Reflection (6 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· Which of the seven core identities listed on page 62 most resonates with you? Which one do you feel some resistance around? Why?

· Which one of the seven identity truths listed on page 62 do you sense God inviting you to embrace more fully? Why might this be?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Romans 8:15-17 (see page 65 – two translations).

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· As you seek to more fully embrace the seven core identities, which most needs prayer?

· How can the group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection (appendix p. 215). Focus on one of the seven declarations each day, seeking to recall it throughout the day, while remaining open and sensitive to the communications of God in expected and unexpected places.

· Continue to seek to be open and sensitive to the communications of God in expected an unexpected places.

· Optional: Each morning continue to practice naming five things for which you are grateful.

· During the week read chapter 5, Be Free, and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Five: Be Free
Video: https://vimeo.com/194456166

Chapter Five: Be Free

Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)
• Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.

Brief Check-in (5 minutes)
• What 3-5 words describe how you are doing?

Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.
• This past week were you able to begin your days with the Prayer of Recollection? What did you notice?
• Do you feel you are becoming more open and sensitive to the communications of God in expected an unexpected places? Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

Video Reflection (15 minutes)
• Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

Reflection on Chapter (25 minutes)
• What is Holy Indifference?
• Why is Holy Indifference critical to Christian discernment?
• Which of the five characteristics of freedom listed on p. 79 is most difficult for you? Why?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)
• Read Philippians 4:12-13 and Matthew 6:33-34 (p. 78).
• What in these passages are you drawn to and/or resistant toward? Why?
• What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps (10 minutes)
• What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?

Prayer (10 minutes)
• How can the group pray for you as you seek to focus on Jesus and become free of disordered attachments?
• How can we pray for you as you seek to more fully embrace your true identity?

Daily At-home Practice
• Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection. Choose to focus on one aspect of your identity each day and try to recall it occasionally throughout the day.
• Continue to seek to be open and sensitive to the communications of God in expected an unexpected places.
• Optional: Each morning continue naming five things for which you are thankful.
• During the week read chapter 6, Be Aware and work through the included exercises.

OPTIONAL Closing: conclude time by singing together “I’ve Got No Strings” (lyrics below)


I’ve Got No Strings On Me

I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings
But now I'm free
There are no strings on me
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That's the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me







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Chapter Six: Be Aware
Video: https://vimeo.com/195405303

Chapter Six: Be Aware

Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and

Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)
• Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.

Brief Check-in (5 minutes)
• What animal would best depicts your current disposition?

Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.
• This past week were you able to begin your days with the Prayer of Recollection? Were you able to focus on and recall one aspect of your identity during the day? Did you notice a change in your attitude or interactions?
• Are you finding yourself more open and sensitive to the communications of God in expected an unexpected places? Remember — celebration not condemnation.

Video Reflection (15 minutes)
• Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

Reflection on Chapter Exercises (25 minutes)
• With which of the 3 S’s of awareness—slowing, solitude, silence—are you most comfortable? Least comfortable? Why?
• Discuss the difference between affect consolation/desolation and volitional consolation/ desolation (p. 92-93)?
• Why is being aware so critical to Christian discernment?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)
• Read Acts 17:28, Revelation 2:7, and 2 Corinthians 4:18.
• What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?
• What do these passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps (10 minutes)
• What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?

Prayer (10 minutes)
• Which of the three S’s of Awareness—slow, solitude, silence—will you be seeking to incorporate into your life this week?
• How can the group pray for you as you seek to more fully embrace your true identity?

Daily At-home Practice
• Choose one of the S’s of Awareness—slow, solitude, silence—and seek to make it a part of your life this week. It doesn’t need to be everyday, but periodically throughout the week.
• Begin to cultivate an internal awareness of the feelings your circumstances and interactions are birthing within you (affect consolation/desolation), and then pay attention to where these feelings take you—toward God or away from God (volitional consolation/desolation).
• Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.
• During the next week read chapter 7, The Will of God, and work through the included exercises.

 


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Chapter Seven: The Will of God
Video: https://vimeo.com/195406048

Chapter 7: The Will of God
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)
• Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.

Brief Check-in (5 minutes)
• What are you feeling as we get ready to begin?

Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.
• Which S of awareness did you choose, and were you able to incorporate it into your week? How did it feel?
• Were you able to identify the feelings caused by your circumstances or interactions (affect consolation/desolation)? Were you able to discern if they led you toward or away from God (volitional consolation/desolation)? Did you notice your feelings at the time?
• Are you beginning your day with the Prayer of Recollection? If so, are you more able to embrace your true identity in Christ? If not, why do you think that might be?

Video Reflection (15 minutes)
• Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)
• Do you tend to see God’s will as a bullseye or a meadow? Why?
• What are your thoughts regarding God’s individual will for your life? Why?
• Do you believe God still uniquely guides and directs us, or is the Bible all we need to live a God-honoring life each day? Why or why not?
• Have you experienced the personal guidance of God? If yes, how did you know it was God?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)
• Read Col 4:12, Ephesians 5:17, 6:6
• What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?
• What do these passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps (10 minutes)
• What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?

Prayer (10 minutes)
• What specific prayer would help you hear more clearly hear God and embody God’s will in your life?
• How can the group pray for you as you seek to more fully embrace your true identity?

Daily At-home Practice
• Continue to practice one of the S’s of Awareness—slow, solitude, silence.
• Continue to cultivate an internal awareness of the feelings your circumstances, interactions are birthing within you (affect consolation/desolation) and then pay attention to where these feelings take you—toward God or away from God (volitional consolation/desolation).
• Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.
• During the week read chapter 8, The Will of God, and work through the included exercises.
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Chapter Eight: The Role of the Holy Spirit
Video: https://vimeo.com/195407801

Chapter Eight: The Role of the Holy Spirit
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)
• Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.

Brief Check-in (5 minutes)
• What are you hoping to receive from our time together?

Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.
• How did you do incorporating your chosen S of Awareness into your week? What did you notice?
• Were you better able to identify the feelings caused by your circumstances or interactions (affect consolation/desolation)? Were you able to track where they led, toward or away from God (volitional consolation/desolation)? What were your feelings?
• Is your daily use of the Prayer of Recollection impacting your internalized sense of identity?

Video Reflection (15 minutes)
• Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)
• What is your level of comfort with the stated role of the Holy Spirit in Christian discernment?
• What, if any, are your concerns regarding the central role of the Holy Spirit in Christian discernment?
• What are your responses to the quote on p. 110? What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)
• Read John 16:7, 12-15; 14:26 and 1 Corinthians 2:11-14
• What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages? Why?
• What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps (10 minutes)
• What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?

Prayer (10 minutes)
• What help do you need from God in order to be more fully open to the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit?
• How can our group pray for you as you seek to more fully embrace your true identity?

Daily At-home Practice
• Begin practicing the Prayer of Awareness at least once each day.
• Continue to practice one of the S’s of Awareness—slow, solitude, silence.
• Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.
• During the week read chapter 9, The Role of Scripture and do the included exercises.
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Chapter Nine: The Role of Scripture
Video: https://vimeo.com/195409186

Chapter Nine: The Role of Scripture
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)
• Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breathe in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.

Brief Check-in (5 minutes)
• What is something you are grateful for today?

Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.
• Have you been praying the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day?
• Are there aspects of the prayer with which you struggle? What are you noticing?

Video Reflection (15 minutes) – two Exercises on Video.
• Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?

Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)
• When the writers of scripture speaks about the living and dynamic aspects of God’s word, what feelings surface within you? Why?
• How do you feel about using meditation, Lectio Divina and imaginative prayer as means to open our hearts to God through scripture?
• What are the possible positives and negatives to these approaches?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)
• Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12 and 2 Corinthians 4:18
• What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?
• How do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?

Next Steps (10 minutes)
• What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?

Prayer (10 minutes)
• How can God help you put into practice what has been stirring in your heart?
• How can the group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?

Daily At-home Practice
• This week experiment with each of the three ways of interacting with the scripture (see exercise #2 on p. 128). The gospels are an excellent place to make use of imaginative prayer.
• Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once each day.
• Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.
• During the week read chapter 10, Christian Discernment Insights and work through the included exercises.
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Chapter Ten: Christian Discernment Insights
Video: https://vimeo.com/195411917

             Chapter Ten: Christian Discernment Insights

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What are you feeling as we start our time together?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· How did experimenting with the various ways of interacting with the scriptures go for you

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· What can be helpful when it comes to labeling a potential decision as changeable or unchangeable?

· Which two of the 5 bullets listed on the bottom of page 135 do you find most helpful when it comes to Christian discernment? Why?

· What changeable decisions have you made that you are treating as unchangeable? Why?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Eph 5:15-17

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Take time to review your changeable decisions that you have not considered fro a while seeking to being open to the possibility that God may be inviting you to make a change.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.

· During the week, read chapter 11, Christian Discernment: What Does It Look Like? Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Eleven: Christian Discernment: What does it look like?

Video:https://vimeo.com/198767971

Chapter Eleven: Christian Discernment: What does it look like?
Discussion Guide

The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.

Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What 3-5 words describe how you are feeling?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· As you took time to review your changeable decisions seeking to being open to the possibility that God may be inviting you to make a change what did you notice?

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· What is your response to the author’s question on page 137; “Who initiates the discernment process—you or the Holy Spirit? Why?

· If it is, as the author indicates, the Holy Spirit who initiates the discernment; what are the implication for how we are to live life?

· Which of the two mode of Christian discernment are you most comfortable with? Why?

· Regarding the mode of Christian discernment you are not comfortable with what about it makes you uncomfortable?

· What are your thoughts and feelings around what the author refers to as Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read John 5:30, 8;28-29, 12:49-50

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.

· During the week, read chapter 12, Discernment of Spirits. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Twelve: Discernment of Spirits

Video:https://vimeo.com/198789160

Chapter Twelve
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What are you sensing/feeling in your heart, your soul as we begin our time together?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What was your experience regarding of endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness as you journey through your day? What did you notice?

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· Which insights found in this chapter seem to be the most helpful to you? Why?

· Which insights found in this chapter did you have difficulty understanding or appreciating? Why?

· Why is the practice of Christian discernment important not only when making an initial choice but afterwards as well? Do you practice ongoing Christian discernment? Why or Why not?

· Can you think of a time in your life when you started out doing something that you thought God was leading you to do and eventually realized that was not true? If yes, how did you come to realize it was not God who was leading you?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 John 4:1-2, 1 Thes 5:21

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Take some time this week to consider those things you have said yes to because you believed God was leading you to say yes seeking to discern if indeed this is still a God honoring endeavor or has it gone a little sideways.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.

· During the week, read chapter 13, Decision-making: Pros and Cons. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Thirteen: Decision-making: Pros and Cons

Video:https://vimeo.com/199723129

Chapter Thirteen: Decision-making: Pros and Cons
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What would be the current weather report of your soul (sunny, rainy, cloudy, chance of snow...)?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What are you noticing about your sensitivity to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit?

· What are you noticing about your desire and willingness to respond to those inner promptings of the Spirit and/or the communications of God? What is changing about this for you?

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· On page 156 the author quotes Thomas Green regarding the different modes of discernment; “It is, to put it quite simply, the difference between guessing what my friend is thinking [Mode Three – pros and cons] and hearing him say what he is thinking [Modes One and Two].” What is your reaction to this quote?”

· Why is the use of pros and cons so readily used by people who are making a decision?

· What are the strengths and draw backs of using pros and cons for making decisions?

· If someone is choosing to make a decision using pros and cons, based on the reading, what are a couple of things that you would urge the to keep in mind when doing so?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read 1 Corinthians 1:25, Proverbs 3:5-6

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.

· During the week, read chapter 14, Imagination and Christian Discernment. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Fourteen: Imagination and Christian Discernment

Video:https://vimeo.com/199728709

Chapter Fourteen: Imagination and Christian Discernment
Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What color or colors convey what you are feeling?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What are you noticing about your sensitivity to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit?

· What are you noticing about your desire and willingness to respond to those inner promptings of the Spirit and/or the communications of God? What is changing about this for you?

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· What do you think are the positives and negatives of using your God-given imagination as a tool in the decision-making process?

· Which of the suggestions for using your imagination do you think might be most helpful for you when it comes to the decision-making process?

· How might the use of the imagination lead a person back into Mode One or Two of the Christian discernment process?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Colossians 1:9-10,

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· Continue to begin your day by praying the Prayer of Recollection.

· During the week, read chapter 15, Your Four Aces of Christian Discernment. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Fifteen: Your Four Aces of Christian Discernment

Video:https://vimeo.com/199740880

Discussion Guide

NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What 3-5 words describe how you are doing?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What are you noticing about your sensitivity to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit?

· What are you noticing about your desire and willingness to respond to those inner promptings of the Spirit and/or the communications of God? What is changing about this for you?

· How is praying the Prayer of Awareness daily going for you? What are you noticing?

· How is praying the Prayer of Recollection daily going for you? What are you noticing?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· How might the truth of these four aces of Christian discernment, if embraced, free a person to make a decision?

· Which one of the 4 aces do you believe would be most helpful in creating the internal freedom for you to freely follow the promptings of the Spirit? Why?

· Which one of the 4 aces do you find least helpful in creating the internal freedom to freely follow the promptings of the Spirit? Why?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Romans 8:28, 8:38-39

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Spend time meditating on the 4 aces of Christian. Choose one to read in the morning and endeavor to bring it to mind throughout your day and then move on to the next ace the next day and so on and so forth until you have carry each of the aces with you throughout a day.

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· During the week, read chapter 16, Adult Faith God. Do the exercises contained in the reading.


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Chapter Sixteen: Adult Faith
Video:https://vimeo.com/199745065

Chapter Sixteen: Adult Faith

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What do you desire to receive from our time together?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What was your experience of meditating on the 4 aces of Christian discernment? Which of them was more impactful for you? Why?

· How are you doing at being open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day?

· How did you see Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness play out this week?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· Are you more drawn to and comfortable with the independent adult faith described on page 172 or the dependent, “eyes-wide-open” adult faith discussed on page 174? Why?

· What might be some drawbacks to holding to the traditional view of adult faith? Why do you think people readily accept it?

· What internalized truths would help a person live out eyes-wide-open adult faith? Which of these truths do you need to cultivate in your life?

· How might your process of discernment change if you embraced dependence on God for wisdom, insight, and understanding as you seek to embody God’s will?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read 1 Cor. 13:11, John 5:30, 6:38, 8:28

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Spend time meditating on the 4 aces of Christian discernment. Choose one to read in the morning, and try to revisit it throughout your day. Then move to the next ace the following day; carry each of the aces with you for a day throughout the week.

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day, endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day.

· During the week read chapter 17, Extrapolation, and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Seventeen: Extrapolation
Video:https://vimeo.com/199748080

Chapter Seventeen: Extrapolation

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What is something you are grateful for?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What was your experience of meditating on the 4 aces of Christian discernment during the past week? Which of the aces was more impactful for you? Why?

· Are you gradually becoming more open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day?

· How did you see Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness play out this week?

· How has focusing on gratitude made an impact in your life?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· Why do you think people are so quick to extrapolate? Are you prone to doing it yourself? If so, why? If not, how do you avoid it?

· Do you have a tendency to judge the validity of your decisions based on their perceived and immediate results? How might that keep you from experiencing God in those very realities? How might the truth that God is above all we can think, ask or imagine enable us to view results differently and, in turn, be open to God in all circumstances?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Matthew 6:33-34

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What does this passage add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Spend time meditating on the 4 aces of Christian discernment. Choose one to read in the morning, and try to revisit it throughout your day. Then move to the next ace the following day; carry each of the aces with you for a day throughout the week.

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day, focusing on step three: Is what I am experiencing throughout my day taking me toward God (volitional desolation) or away from God (volitional desolation)?

· During the week read chapter 18, Community and Christian Discernment, and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Eighteen: Community and Christian Discernment

Video: https://vimeo.com/200738992

Chapter Eighteen: Community and Christian Discernment

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What is something you experienced that surprised you since we last met?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· Is it becoming easier for you to be open to the promptings of the Spirit?

· How have you seen Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness play out this week?

· Describe your experience of paying attention to your circumstances and interactions and where they led you internally—toward God (volitional consolation) or away from God (volitional desolation).


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· What are some of the author’s concerns regarding communal discernment?

· Reflect for a moment on the the wise counselors in your life? What characteristics set them apart in this way?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Proverbs 12:15, James 1:5

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day, endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day, focusing on step three: Is what I am experiencing taking me toward God (volitional consolation) or away from God (volitional desolation)?

· During the week read chapter 19, Desire and Motivation, and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Nineteen: Desire and Motivation
Video: https://vimeo.com/200746682

Chapter Nineteen: Desire and Motivation

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What is currently fostering joy within you?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· How are you doing at being open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day?

· How did you see Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness play out this week?

· Describe your experience of paying attention to your circumstances and interactions; were you internally taken toward God (volitional consolation) or away from God (volitional desolation)?


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· To which of the three questions found on pages 189-190 do you find it more difficult to say yes? Why?

· Reflect on the C.S. Lewis quote, “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because she cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” As you reflect on the level of your desire to follow God, do you see yourself as more of a mud-pie maker or a holiday-at-the-beach person?

Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Psalms 73:25-26, Philippians 2:21

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· Seek to be open to the promptings of the Spirit (mode 2) as you go through your day, endeavoring to practice Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness.

· Continue to practice the Prayer of Awareness at least once a day, focusing on step three: Is what I am experiencing throughout my day taking me toward God (volitional consolation or away from God (volitional desolation)?

· During the week read chapter 20, Heart and Head, and do the included exercises.


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Chapter Twenty: Heart and Head
Video: https://vimeo.com/200748664

Chapter Twenty: Heart and Head

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What are you feeling within your heart as we begin our time together?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· What is your daily experience of being open to the promptings of the Spirit? Are you becoming more aware of God’s voice?

· How have you seen Spirit-inspired-spontaneous-incisiveness play out this week?

· Describe your experience of paying attention to your circumstances and interactions and where they led you internally—toward God (volitional consolation) or away from God (volitional desolation).


Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· When it comes to Christian discernment, are you more comfortable with the emphasis on heart or head? Why?

· What was your reaction to the author’s mathematics of faith equations?

· How have you seen or experienced Jesus turning the 2 + 2 = 4, the common-sense way of looking at the world, upside-down? Take some time to construct some additional mathematics of faith from your own life.

· How do you feel about the mandate to pay attention to your heart as you seek to embody God’s will? Are you open to your head and heart working together as you follow the Spirit’s lead? What might keep you from allowing your heart to play a more significant role in discernement?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read 1 Corinthians 2:15, Proverbs 3:5-6

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· This week endeavor to insert the X factor of Jesus into your life — your interactions, view of circumstances and decision-making. Reflect on the difference this practice makes each day.

· Seek to pay attention to your heart and head as you journey through your days, letting both form and shape your decisions and interactions with others.

· During the week read chapter 21, Making God Laugh, and work through the included exercises.


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Chapter Twenty-one: Making God Laugh
Video: https://vimeo.com/200750748

Chapter Twenty-one: Making God Laugh

Discussion Guide


NOTE: The discussion prompts below are meant to invite openness to God and to one another, not to cause pressure. These prompts are simply a guide for Spirit-led-conversation. That said, I believe the group will benefit from the Transition Time, Check-in, Review of Daily Practice and Closing Prayer, as these particular components are intended to celebrate and deepen each person’s group experience—knowledge of self and one another. The times listed below are SUGGESTIONS. You may find yourself spending more or less time in a section or even skipping a part of or an entire section
.


Transition Time (5 minutes)

· Open with a moment of silence. Be still. Close your eyes. Notice the rhythm of your breathing, in and out, in and out. As you breathe out, release whatever you want to let go of, leaving space in your lungs to breath in the presence of God. As you breathe, pause to consider your desire for God's presence and rest in the assurance that God desires to be present to you.


Brief Check-in (5 minutes)

· What 3-5 words describe how you are doing right now?


Review of Daily Practice (10 minutes) Remember this is about celebration not condemnation.

· During this past week, were you able to factor Jesus into your interactions, view of circumstances and decision-making?

· What did you notice as you intentionally sought to pay attention to your heart and head each day?

Video Reflection (15 minutes)

· Watch the video. What is one thing you were drawn to or resistant toward from this week's video or chapter?


Reflection on Chapter Exercises (30 minutes)

· What is your reaction to James 4:13-16, and the view taken by the author? Why?

· Why is it so natural even for Christ followers to make plans? What are the possible pitfalls?

· When making plans, how can you hold your plans loosely, while continuing to be open to the leading of the Spirit?


Scripture Reflection (20 minutes)

· Read Proverbs 16:1, 9; 20:24

· What are you drawn to and/or resistant toward in these passages?

· What do these passages add to the conversation regarding Christian discernment?


Next Steps (10 minutes)

· What is one thing you sense God is calling you to consider or re-consider this week?


Prayer (10 minutes)

· What help do you need from God in order to put into practice what God has stirred in your heart?

· How can our group pray for you as you seek to "live Jesus" this week?


Daily At-home Practice

· This week I am inviting you to intentionally turn to God when your plans do not go as intended. If an appointment is canceled, try to see it as an opportunity to be with God instead of immediately filling the time. Remain open to the prompting of the Spirit; see if God will now direct you. I have experienced some amazing “divine appointments” that would never have happened if my original plans had not fallen through. You can trust God to make the most of unexpected circumstances.

· During the week, read chapter 22, Timely Obedience, Circumstances and Open Doors, and do the included exercises.


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