In this space we let go of anything from the day that needs to be left behind. These failures or offenses are burned up with the setting sun. We also use this time to receive more deeply anything from the day that God has spoken to us through our various interactions. This is a time to pray what is known as the prayer of Examen, which is a prayer of surrender, to be searched and known by God. It often involves becoming aware of the presence of God, reviewing or remembering your day with gratitude, recognizing your need for God and receiving his love and power, and finally, looking forward to the coming day with hope. We are reminded of the words of Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” One example of the prayer of Examen is written by Richard Foster in his book Prayer. “Precious Savior, why do I fear your scrutiny? Yours is an examen of love. Still I am afraid… afraid of what may surface. Even so, I invite you to search me to the depths so that I may know myself – and you – in fuller measure. Amen.”

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SEE IT // BE IT

(WEEKLY COMMUNITY GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE)

Title: Rooted Renegades: Fire // Scripture: Psalm 139

ARRIVAL / SOCIAL TIME 15-20 minutes Spend the first 15 minutes or so of your time together catching up and socializing with one another. Also find time to catch up together on how the assignments from last week turned out.

SERMON REVIEW 5-10 minutes
Throughout the last several weeks we have been leaning into our identity as “Rooted Renegades” by looking at four crucial practices that make this identity come to life in our lives. These practices derive from the ancient Celtic way of life and are things we believe are important for each of our lives as well. We have talked about the Cave (the personal space in our relationship with God), the Road (the way our lives impact the lives of others) and the Table (the space for community). This week we added to these practices the Fire. The Fire is the place where we join with God in examining the way we live our life each day. It is the secret to a well-lived life. A well-lived life is a well-examined life, because it is in examination that we learn from the experiences we have each day. Howard Hendricks said, “Experience is not the best teacher. Evaluated experience is.” Too many times we live too much of our lives without examination or evaluation. In the practice of the Fire we learn to examine and evaluate our lives each day with God. This week Aaron Keyes led us through Psalm 139 as we participated in the Prayer of Examen that we see modeled in the life of David throughout the Psalms. Aaron challenged and invited us to join in this practice in our lives as well.

THE MAIN THOUGHT keep this in mind as you facilitate discussion.
The secret of creating a well-lived life is a to live a well-examined life.

SEE ITQuestions 10-15 minutes
Picture (What is the story saying?): What is the most impactful conversation that you have ever had around a fire? Why? What feelings does the picture of a conversation around a fire bring out in you? What do you think a fireside chat with God at the end of your day might look like? How does Psalm 139 inform your thinking about what praying through your day with God might look like? What things does David pray? Why do you think he prays these things? What are the five steps of the Prayer of Examen from Ignatius? (Light, Thanks, Feelings, Focus and Future)

Mirror (Where am I in the story?): What is your current practice of examination and reflection in your life? How do you normally respond to evaluation and examination in your life? Why? Why do you think we often avoid evaluation and examination? How does the Prayer of Examen invite us to bring our real selves and not our pious selves to God? When have you experienced health and healing through the practice of examination?

Window (How does the story change how I see those around me?): How might you regularly practice the discipline of the Fire in your life? What barriers stand in the way of you making this way of life a repeated practice in your life? What needs to change in your life to make this practice normal? Who might be able to help you do this?

BE IT – Practice 10-15 minutes
Change UP // Fire Up
Use the Prayer of Examen from Ignatius in order to practice the discipline of the Fire this week as a group. Follow the questions and layout that Aaron provided on the Grace Notes this week to work through the Five Steps of Examination—Light, Thanks, Feelings, Focus and Future. Lead your group through these steps together as a group, inviting each person to personally and privately reflect on their lives today.

Change IN // Fire In
Confession is the practice of prayer that takes our examined life and exposes it to those that can help us experience the grace, mercy, acceptance and correction of God in our lives. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When I confess to my brother it is as if I am confessing to God himself.” Practice confession this week as a group by taking time to share what you have discovered in your personal examination together. Invite your group to get in small groups of three or four people to confess to one another and to receive each other’s confession. Encourage those listening to the confession to be a conduit of God’s heart and touch through receiving their brother or sister’s confession with grace and mercy and love.

Change OUT // Fire Out
Practice the Prayer of Examen for five out the next seven days. Come back next week ready to talk about what God revealed to you through the practice of this discipline this week.

CLOSING PRAYER 5 minutes
Take a few minutes to gather any prayer requests and pray for each other to SEE IT and BE IT this week.

Aaron Keyes

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