The Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Meditation (Psalm 1, Mark 6:30-32)
Pastor Dan talked about his experience in learning the “rhythm of the woods.” He compared this to learning the “rhythm of life”. The rhythm of life that God calls us to is very different from that of the world. Discuss some of these differences. How can mediation help us to discover the rhythm of life from God’s perspective?
Based on the message, share some of the differnces between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation. Remember “detachment” versus “attachemnt” as well as “emptied” versus “filled”.
What are some obstacles to the practice of meditation in our lives?
Review Psalm 1. Discuss the following -1. What does it mean to meditate on God’s word “day and night”?2. The image of our lives like trees “planted by streams of water.”3. The importance and meaning of the phrase, “yields its fruit in its season.”4. The importance and meaning of the phrase, “its leaf does not wither.”
What is the difference between the Bible and the “living Word of God”?
How does meditation help us to hear the living word of God rather than simply understanding the truths and precepts found in the Bible?
The Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Prayer (Luke 11:1-4)
- Ask group members to share their experiences with prayer. What are some times God has answered your prayers? Do you have a regular prayer time? Why or why not? What are some of your questions about prayer in the life of a Christian?
- Pastor Dan noted that “to pray is to change.” Discuss the following passages and how they relate to this idea of change – James 4:3-6, John5:19-20, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans8:26-29.
- The second truth about prayer is that we learn to pray by praying. Pastor Dan was careful to point out that this involves a learning process. It takes time and we must allow ourselves to learn about prayer. What are some things you have learned about prayer?
- Luke 11:1-4 is a simple prayer that emphasizes the transformational nature of prayer in our lives. Review this prayer both noting and discussing the transformational phrases found in it.
- What does Exodus 32:14 tell us about the power of prayer to change things? How is our prayers and God’s will different from a fatalistic view of God and our world?
- What do you think it means to be co-laborers with God? (Cor. 3:9)
- Read Matthew 6:5-6. Discuss the fact that prayer is private and deeply personal in our lives. What does it mean that our Father who sees in secret will reward us?
- Pastor Dan talked about the importance of the imagination in prayer. What are your thoughts on using your imagination when praying?
- Share prayer requests and spend time praying for each member of the group and their practice of the spiritual discipline of prayer.
The Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Experiencing Christ (Psalm 42:1-2)
1. Read Psalm 42:1-2. What does this passage say about David? What are the implications of David’s realization?
2. This week Pastor Dan introduced the topic of his upcoming sermons on the Spiritual Disciplines. Would you say that spiritual disciplines have been an important part of your spiritual journey?
3. According to Colossians 2:20-23 the spiritual disciplines are not about will power. What does this truth free us from and what implications does it have?
5. Pastor Dan talked about the laws of the harvest. Discuss the spiritual implications of these laws.
a. We reap what we sow.
b. We reap after we sow.
c. We reap more than we sow.
6. Pastor Dan used the term “disciplined grace”. Discuss what this means. What are some Bible passages that explain the meaning of this term?
Journey of Faith – End of the Journey ( Hebrews 11:8-16 and Hebrew 12:1-2)
What are some ways we are “hinderered” from running our race of faith? See Galatians 5:7.
Hebrews 12:1 speaks of the “sin which clings so closely”. What does this say about sin in our lives? Why is it important to focus on the “root” nature of sin, rather than just the “fruits” of sin in our lives?
What are some ways we can “look to Jesus”? Pastor Dan mentioned a couple. What are others?
Read Hebrews 11:13-16. How important is it that we “acknowledge” that we are strangers and aliens on the earth? See verses 14-15 for help with the answer.
What do you think it means when it says that God is “not ashamed to be called their God?”?
Go for It
Paul’s reference to God “taking hold” of his life indicates that he was certain of his calling and purpose. What about you? What is your purpose and calling in life?
In this passage we are reminded to “forget what lies behind”. What are some experiences in your life you need to forget? What does the phrase “holy amnesia” mean to you?
What are the dangers of NOT forgetting both our past failures and successes?
Pastor Dan often quotes Proverbs 24:16. What does this passage mean to you?
What motivates you to “strain towards the goal of the high calling” in Christ?
In Philip. 1:21 Paul says “For me to live is Christ”. Does this describe your life? Why or why not? What challenges do you face in living for Christ
Journey of Faith: Landmarks Part 2
Pastor Dan spoke of two kinds of landmarks – those that result from our return (repentance) from detours, and those that are the result of unique experiences in our lives. Spend some time talking about these landmarks in your group. Take time and share some of the landmarks that mark your journey of faith.
Read Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4. Discuss the relationship between trials, detours, and landmarks. Is it fair to say that many of our detours are the result of not handling our trials well? (Remember Abram’s detour in Genesis 12:10 was the result of a trial – the famine in Canaan.)
How much easier is it to recognize spiritual landmarks as we look backwards at our journey of faith?
How has this series on our journey of faith encouraged you in your walk with Christ?
Journey of Faith: Landmarks
In last week’s message, we talked about detours that lead us away from the journey to which God has called each of us. What are some detours in your journey? What circumstances led to those detours? How did you find your way back and join God on the journey?
“Repentance” is the Biblical term for returning after a detour. It involves three things – (1) Leaving the place where the detour led us, (2) Returning to the place of the detour, (3) Calling on the Lord. How does this help you to understand the nature of Biblical repentance? What are some other ways to understand repentance?
Landmarks are also a part of the journey. Landmarks include repentance from detours as well as other significant events in our faith journey. What are some landmarks (significant events) you have experienced on your faith journey? How do those landmarks help you in your faith walk today?
Journey of Faith: Part 3
- Pastor Dan stated that, “Faith is not static. Faith is dynamic.” What do you think he meant by that.
- Our faith is continually moving and growing. Faith is a journey not a moment in the past. Unfortunately some people believe that faith is a ticket “in” and once you have it you’re set. How does this mindset hinder faith?
- If faith is continually moving and growing, how do we move forward in our faith?
- Read Isaiah 42:3. The journey is tough. Sometimes our faith burns dim. It flickers and fades. It has mountain-tops and valleys. How can we encourage each other when we see someone who is struggling?
Journey of Faith: The Beginning
- Pastor Dan talked about faith being a journey. When you think about your life as a Christian so far, would you agree that faith has been a journey for you? What were the circumstances of the beginning of this journey for you?
- The journey involves commitment and sacrifice. In Genesis 12, what are the sacrifices that God asks Abram to make? What sacrifices has God asked you to make in your journey?
- Ultimately God was asking Abram to trust him. How have you struggled with this question that God asks to all of us?
Journey of Faith
- The journey of faith must have a beginning point in our lives. Share with group members about that beginning point in your life. When? Where?
- The journey of faith is a journey. How does this statement help you understand the nature of Christian faith?
- The journey of faith involves detours. Can you think of Biblical examples of faithful people who were detoured on their journey of faith? What are some examples from your life?
- How does the idea of “detours on the journey” help us in relating to and encouraging brothers and sisters who are struggling spiritually?
- How does understanding the journey of faith as both a personal/individual journey and a corporate journey that we all make together help you understand the meaning and purpose of the church?