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 Isaiah 6v1-8 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching and previous Practice

  1. Based on your conversation as a Community last week, is there anything that needs to be discussed this week?
  2. How prominent have the ideas of heaven and/or hell been in your discipleship to Jesus? (e.g., fairly absent, a large hurdle to get over in order to start following Jesus, etc.)
  3. When you think about the future renewal of creation (popularly referred to as heaven), what do you typically feel? (e.g., reticence about the unknown, fear about what will be missing, comfort about coming healing and restoration, peace, etc.)

Read this overview

As humans, we are stuck in the present. We can generally remember the past and imagine the future may, but the present moment is where WE are grounded – body, mind, and spirit.

A common experience is to feel difficult emotions when thinking about the past or future. Feelings of regret or shame for past events and feelings of anxiety or despair about the future. Our own brokenness can rear its head as we think about the past or future; a desire for control or perfection, a propensity towards cynicism and mistrust, or entitlement and self-centeredness. 

Yet the Scriptures encourage us to think about something the future in order to ground our present with perspective. With perspective we can examine our present and shape the way we choose to live, aligning our lives with our values and ultimate future as followers of Jesus. Perspective isn’t escapism or avoidance of the present, but something that allows us to focus our decisions on how to spend our time, day by day.

Discuss the following questions

  1. How does your future as a follower of Jesus impact how you live your life in the day-to-day?
  2. Spend a moment reflecting on the last week or two. How does the way you spend your time reveal what is actually most important to you? 

Talk through this week’s Practice

This week, take time to prayerfully reflect on how your life is ordered based on your future, as a follower of Jesus. Choose at least one of these three options to do this week. If you’re up for it, feel free to try them all.

Updating your Rule of Life: Spend at least 30 minutes thinking about your life context and how your Rule of Life is impacted by your season of life. Use this previous Practice as a guide to think about your Roles, Gifts, Desires, Vision, and Mission. End your time by inviting God to speak over your season of life. 

Focusing on Your Physicality: We follow Jesus with the understanding that our bodies are a gift from God and that we’re also mortal and fragile creatures. Spend time this week taking concrete steps to take care of your body (e.g., make a doctor’s appointment, set up a realistic exercise routine, commit to a healthy sleep schedule, etc.). You can use this previous Practice as a guide to thinking through how to take care of your body as part of your Rule of Life.

Time audit: How we spend our time often reflects what we value most. At times what we say we value most is not reflected in how we spend our time. Map out the next five days and write out how you assume you’ll spend your time each day. It could look something like this:

Wednesday: 8 hours of sleep, 9 hours at the office, 20 minutes of focused Bible and prayer time, 1 hour watching a show, 40 minutes of reading, 2 hours commuting/listening to a podcast while commuting, 1.5 hours eating meals, 1 hour on the phone with a friend, 30 minutes of miscellaneous

Thursday: 7 hours of sleep, 1 hour working out, 9 hours at the office… etc.

Friday: 7 hours of sleep, 7 hours at the office, 2 hours of commuting… etc.

Saturday: 9 hours of sleep, 2 hours at coffee shop with friend… etc.

Sunday: 7.5 hours of sleep, 1 hour of listening to a podcast… etc.

At the end of each evening during the 5 days you’ve mapped out, take about 5 minutes to compare how you anticipated you’d spend your time and how you actually spent your time. 

After the 5 days, take an account of how you actually spent your time. Does anything surprise you? Are you disappointed with how you spent your time? Glad? Do you feel how you spend your time reflects your values?

Be prepared next week to debrief with your Community what you chose to do for your Practice and how it went.

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.