Community Guide for October 30th
Let your group know what to expect during prayer time, something like: “As we start our group time, I will open with a word of prayer, there will be a minute or so of silent reflection, and then I will read the scripture from Sunday and then close in prayer, and we will enter into our discussion time.”
- Open with a brief word of prayer: “God, we thank you for this time together. We open our hearts to how you might want to meet with us. Allow us to hear your voice and experience your spirit at work. Come, Holy Spirit.”
- Sit before the Lord in silent prayerful reflection for 1-2 minutes
- Read the scripture listed below aloud for the group to reflect on.
- Close in a word of prayer: “God, thank you for your word, come holy spirit and allow us to understand what it means for our lives, lead us in our time of discussion together. In Christ’s name, amen.”
Scripture from Sunday
1 Peter 1:6-9
Read this Overview Together
“Where are you hiding?”
We live in a time where culture is obsessed with the public space to be seen by others. Social Media has eradicated a private life. Every part of our life is encouraged and rewarded to be public. Living an attractive public life has been monetized and, for many of our generation, become the main motivator for purpose. Performance in the public place has become the cultural measurement of success in the West.
This encouragement was given:
“I want to invite and remind us of how we experience God and practice the presence of God so that we can be a witness in the world to something real and personal. Hide your life in God. Let God be our refuge and strength. Let God be our citadel from which we live, move and find our being”
In order to live out this way of life and faith sustainably, we must create space in our life for God to fan the flame of our hearts. This filling of grace typically starts as an organic experience of faith, initially driven by passion. As the passion fades, we need intentional practices to create that space needed for the flames of our faith to grow stronger.
Let’s dive into a time of discussion about the message and how we engage in this in our personal lives.
- Read this quote from St Teresa of Avila from her book “The Interior Castle”: “While I was beseeching Our Lord today that He would speak through me, since I could find nothing to say and had no idea how to begin to carry out the obligation laid upon me by obedience, (An overseer gave St Theresa the task of writing her books, it was not something she desired to do on her own merit) a thought occurred to me which I will now set down, in order to have some foundation on which to build. I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven, there are many mansions. Now, if we think carefully over this, sisters, the soul of the righteous man is nothing but a paradise in which, as God tells us, He takes His delight. For what do you think a room will be like which is the delight of a King so mighty, so wise, so pure, and so full of all that is good? I can find nothing with which to compare the great beauty of a soul and its great capacity.” What do you think when you hear about this experience of hers?
- Pastor Tim shared this: “When we are hiding in anything but the grace and presence of God, any other citadel becomes a prison. A secular citadel of the soul is a hopeless prison.” Where or what is our soul’s citadel or refuge? This question can expose a million idols of our humanity. Those idols are prisons that keep us from experiencing the liberation and fullness of life we were meant to live. What are some things or people we tend to find refuge in? Can you share an experience in your life where that has overtaken you or something that, over time, has begun to feel like a hopeless prison?
- Tim shared about the Identity Triangle. Finding our identity in our false self through appetites (stuff, money, food, sex, etc.), approval (people pleasing and acceptance), and ambition (power & self-importance). Is there one of these that you tend to be most vulnerable to? What are the circumstances that lead you towards them?
- Read this encouragement from the message and discuss what stands out for you or how this resonates for you presently: “The True Self is the freest, most liberated expression we can ever walk in. Where our appetites, ambitions, and need for approval have no power over us but only the abiding presence of the Spirit of Christ. This enables us and empowers us to live life in all its fullness.”
- Read Romans 8:35-39. Do our external pressures crush us or separate us from God? Or is there an inner sacred citadel in our soul, a fortress of faith that can withstand, endure and thrive in every challenge and pressure?
- Looking at our recommended Rhythm of Life: Life Together, Daily Office, Sabbath, Spirit Led Life, which one are you sensing an invitation to dive more deeply within?
- Pastor Tim also encouraged us to center our life around prayer to grow our inner citadel. What are some ways you’d like to grow in this?