By Cameron Silsbee 

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Mark 10v46-52 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief last week’s Practice and teaching 

  1. How did last week’s Practice go? Did you have anything noteworthy to share after reflecting on the statements that stood out to you?
  2. What stood out to you about Sunday’s teaching?
  3. Take a moment to think about the past week. What has occupied your mind the most? (e.g. work, your kids, a relationship, social media, entertainment, sports, etc.)

Read this overview

“I think therefore I am.” – René Descartes, 1637.

Each person’s subjective experience of existence is through the lens of their thoughts. A simpler way to put it would be to say: our thoughts interpret our day-to-day lives, striving to make sense of and understand the significance of what we experience. 

For followers of Jesus, our thoughts are something that God values. At the same time, what thoughts come into our minds aren’t entirely under our control – they are a combination of desires, emotions, fight or flight responses, habits, stories we believe about ourselves, and biological factors like hormones. It can often take effort to choose what to think about and what not to think about. But God has gifted humans with not only the ability to think, but the ability to think about thinking – the potential to choose what thoughts occupy our minds.

Discuess the following questions

We recommend that the Community split up into gender-specific groups when working through these questions. Doing this can encourage a greater degree of vulnerability when talking about thoughts.

  • What has worked for you in the past when choosing to avoid unwanted or unhelpful thoughts? What hasn’t worked for you? If you’re unsure about whether you’ve done this before, how does the idea of doing it sound to you?
  • In the context of this past year, how have your thoughts (e.g. doubts, practicing gratitude for small things in your life, feeling like there’s a lack of mental space to think about Jesus, listening/imaginative prayer, a season of intellectual curiosity that Jesus has spoken into, etc.) impacted your apprenticeship to Jesus? 
  • Over the past year, what Scripture texts have been helpful to you to think about?

Talk through this week’s practice

Set aside time once this week to prayerfully consider your thought life. Reflect on what thought patterns are unhelpful to you, your relationships, and/or your apprenticeship to Jesus. It could be something obvious or subtle. As you do so, ask Jesus to bring to the forefront of your awareness anything that he’d like you to notice about your thought patterns.

Once you’ve done this, find a verse or a section of the Scriptures that would be helpful to memorize and rehearse or simply to read when an unwanted thought or pattern of thoughts come to mind. If you’re having trouble thinking of an applicable text, reach out to a friend or someone in your Van City Community who could help you think of one.

Once you have the text decide whether to memorize it, write it down, set a screenshot of the text as your lock screen picture, or choose some other way of reminding yourself to set your mind on the Scripture when the unwanted thought comes to mind. Try doing this for a week to see what impact it may have on your thoughts.

Close in prayer

Have one person end your time together by praying over the group by reading Psalm 1.