By Cameron Silsbee 

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment in silence, in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Matthew 12v46-50 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching from Nov. 5

  1. What stuck out to you about the teaching?
  2. What are the things you are most committed to in your life?

Read this overview

We live in a culture that prizes efficiency, entertainment, and excitement. Unfortunately, the work of spiritual formation and the relationships that our formation takes place in is certainly not efficient, at times boring or mundane, and often aggravating rather than exciting. But suppose we choose to be consistently present and open to others. In that case, we have the profound opportunity to be formed into the image of Christ rather than having our fleeting preferences catered to.

Discuss the following questions and prompts

  1. Go around the group and have each person share their favorite parts of Community from the last year (if your group is less than a year old, then share from the beginning). Also, retell some of the things that were the most challenging, disruptive, or disappointing. What themes begin to come to the surface? Where are their significant differences in perspective? (e.g., one person thought the summer was a blast, whereas another felt it was pretty disjointed, etc.)
  2. Go around the group and have each person share their definition or an idea about commitment as a part of a Van City Community as you share how you’ve succeeded and struggled to live into this definition or idea about commitment.
  3. How might a shared commitment level contribute to a person’s growth? How do you make it something that isn’t simply about following a rule but is instead a tool that helps a person grow toward being a more committed person?

Talk over this coming week’s Practice:

This week, practice Lectio Divina as you read Philippians 2v1-11. Keep this week’s group discussion in mind as you prayerfully read this text. You can utilize the following guide as you practice Lectio Divina:

Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken through the text and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.

Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention uniquely. When your focus draws to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.

Reflect: Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read again. On your second journey through the text, allow it to connect with you. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment? Ask, “What do I need to know, be, or do in light of the text? What does this mean for my life today?”

Respond: Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. Compelled to worship? Worship. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God.

Rest: Pause in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words or allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God.

Close in prayer

End in prayer by having one person read the Nicene Creed over the group.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.