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 over the group 1 Corinthians 12v12-14 and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Debrief last week’s Practice and the teaching
- Was there anything noteworthy or meaningful from the last Practice as you read and prayed through a Psalm?
- What is your current view of “stuff the Spirit does”? What has it been? (e.g., what you were raised to believe, what you believed about the Spirit when you first began following Jesus, etc.)
- What are you comfortable with when experiencing God’s Spirit? What are you uncomfortable, confused, or hesitant about regarding God’s Spirit?
Read this overview
It can be very difficult to follow Jesus in our culture. Not because of intense persecution or laws that make it challenging to gather together or access the Scriptures. It’s challenging in our culture to follow Jesus because the cultural stream we swim in is a materialistic worldview – the belief that what is most real is what we can experience with our five senses, study under a microscope, or explain via mathematical formulas. Anything that falls outside of these parameters is suspect at best.
If the way of Jesus were simply a philosophy or ethical treatise, we might be more comfortable embracing his way of life. However, the way of Jesus assumes there is more to reality than what fits within a naturalistic worldview. To follow Jesus as he intends is the invitation and challenge to embrace what Jesus says is true over and against all other claims to the truth. Embracing this worldview means embracing the Holy Spirit, including everything he does.
Do this Practice right now.
Spend a few minutes as a group reflecting on your life experiences or meaningful stories you’ve heard involving things that seemed to be from God’s Spirit – supernatural in origin, if you’d like to call it that. These could include physical or emotional healing, a need met miraculously, an impactful message shared by someone from God’s Spirit, or an experience of God’s presence that led to some type of change or transformation.
You don’t need to know or defend the veracity of these stories, especially if they aren’t your own (i.e., a story you read from a missionary, something your parents told you about when you were younger, etc.). These stories aren’t told in an attempt to prove God is real. These stories are shared to allow your Community to understand the kinds of stories that have captured your mind and imagination when it comes to God’s Spirit doing powerful things in peoples’ lives.
Talk through this week’s practice.
This week choose at least one of the following stories from the Scriptures to read through. These are stories involving God’s Spirit doing something miraculous.
Feel free to utilize Lectio Divina to read through the text. You can use the following guide:
- 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 is drawn 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 the text to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, or your person at 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 about that.
- 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.
Be prepared to share next week with your Community which passage you chose and anything meaningful to you about it.
Close in prayer
End your time together by having one person read Acts 4v23-31 as a prayer.