HOMECHURCH GUIDE


Sanctuary Church

Week of Nov 27

Opening

  1. Welcome and spend a few minutes catching up on life. If you have new folks do introductions.
  2. Set vision: Our church is built around the call to be a family following the path of Jesus in greater Providence. HomeChurch’s are the primary way we live this out…

Family

As the family of God, we take time each week to eat together, pray together, and share life together. It is in this ordinary rhythm of life in community that we become transformed to look like Jesus.

Following the Path of Jesus

As disciples of Jesus, we make it our aim to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus did. Through teaching, practice, community, and the Holy Spirit, we are learning what it means to be a disciple, or apprentice, of Jesus.

In greater Providence

As missionaries to our city, we demonstrate and announce the Gospel. As we live and work in the city and share life, we join with God to see the Kingdom of God come in Providence as it is in heaven.

We believe that to be follower or apprentice of Jesus is to order your life to journey in 4 directions:

Upward Path / learning to be with Jesus
Inward Path / becoming like Jesus
Outward Path / doing what Jesus did
Withward Path / following Jesus in community
*read more about our directions here

It’s here in HomeChurch where we walk these paths together by engaging in spiritual practices. We don’t want to be people who just hear the Word without putting it into practice, allowing deception into our lives. Our dream is that in becoming a faithful church we would live by faith, be known by love, and be a voice of hope for our region.

Announcements

  • Heart, Dec 6
  • Gala (Monday is the last day to register)
  • Mens Dinner, Dec 12
  • First Seek Tuesdays – join us for prayer at 8 or 9am online and commit to praying through our guide / inourtime.co
  • Christmas Offering – Foster Children gifts / Future Builders Fund
  • New Sanctuary Music single is out


BEGIN WITH PRAYER (5 MINUTES)

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

BREAK UP & DEBRIEF 

If you are in a HomeChurch of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender). Spend a few minutes catching up on life… 

Then talk through the following debrief questions:

  1. Did you listen to the teaching on God as guest – God knocking on the door – waiting to be welcomed in?
  2. Did you have a moment of conviction or encouragement with Jesus during the listening prayer exercise in service?
  3. We have spent the last few weeks on the subject of biblical hospitality – what have you learned? What practices have you engaged in?


Come back together


READ THIS OVERVIEW

As we continue this collection of talks on one of our church-wide commitments (Our Path), HOSPITALITY through Advent we want return again to Jesus words and actions towards others. Jesus said the second most important command in all of the Torah (the Bible of his day) was Leviticus 19v18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

We usually generalize neighbor to mean anybody, and that’s fine. Jesus himself said the word is so wide it encompasses our enemy. But if our neighbor is everybody, then it’s kind of nobody. 

What if Jesus meant our actual neighbor? As in the people who live on our street? In our apartment complex or condo tower? In our regular rhythms of life? What if he intended for them to be the primary recipients of our love? 

In week three of our practice of hospitality, we explore the idea of recapturing the home as an outpost for the kingdom in our neighborhood and the table as a tangible expression of neighbor love. 

WITHWARD PRACTICE (40 MINUTES)

Here’s the Practice for tonight and the coming week (you may not get to it all):

Exercise #1: Block Map

The following is an exercise from artofneighboring.com

bt_ptw_eating_graph_.jpg
  • The center square is your home or apartment. The eight squares around it are your eight closest neighbors (literally or metaphorically). Do the following for each neighbor:

    • On line A, fill in their name. Ideally first and last, but just put down what you know. If you don’t know their name yet, just put down question mark, or leave it blank. Do the same for the next two lines. 
    • On line B, fill in any facts you know that you couldn’t get from waving across the street: where they work, where they are from, how long they’ve lived there, what they do for fun, etc. 
    • On line C, see if you can fill in any in-depth information: their dreams for the future, relationship status, their faith (or lack of it), experience with God or church, their childhood story, any pain, etc. 

  • As a general rule, only 10% of people can fill in line A, only 3% can fill in line B, and less than 1% can fill in line C. The point here isn’t guilt and shame; it’s simply to plot out just how well you know (or don’t know) your neighbors, to get you started on the journey to loving them. 
  • If you want to take this exercise even further, head to artofneighboring.com for more info or resources such as their block party kit, which is a great primer on how to throw your first block party.

Exercise #2: Brainstorming Session 

  • Get out a whiteboard, journal, notes file, or your word doc of choice, and brainstorm a list of creative ideas for neighboring (i.e., how to love your neighbors well by creating an environment of hospitality). 
  • Feel free to do this by yourself via listening prayer or over in smaller groups.
  • Here’s our list to get you started:
    • Prayer walk your neighborhood and ask Jesus for his eyes and heart for your place
    • Go meet one of your neighbors that you don’t know yet
    • Invite all eight neighbors from your block map over for dinner over the next few months
    • Throw a block party on the next major holiday
    • Plan out holiday parties: 4th of July, Christmas, Super Bowl Sunday, May the 4th, etc. 
    • Run a weekly neighbor night or BBQ through the summer 
    • Start a Sunday dinner or sabbath dinner, where your table is open to family and friends 
    • Do whatever you like to do, but withyour neighbors: Into sports? Watch football. More of a reader? Start a book club. Like to cook? Start a supper club. Etc. 
    • Make your home the hang out place for your kids’ friends. Invite kids over for a movie night. Have a special snack box in the pantry. Etc. 
    • Redo your budget and schedule to make room for hospitality
    • Set up a “Christ room”
    • Practice reverse hospitality, where you bring food to someone – a sick neighbor, or a neighbor with a newborn, or somebody out of work, etc. 
    • Bring back Taco Tuesday!
  • Once you have your list, pick out a few ideas and implement them in the coming weeks and/or months. Be intentional. Put it into your calendar! 
  • As you practice hospitality, remember why we eat and drink with our neighbors, to“welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” (Romans 15v7)

A FINAL QUESTION FOR THE ROOM 

  1. Any thoughts, creative ideas, or feedback on this Practice? 
  2. How do you feel about viewing your neighborhood as one of your primary callings from Jesus to love well?

CLOSE IN PRAYER (10 MINUTES)



Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)

Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your HomeChurch to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the passage of scripture we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11v23–26)


SERIES CONTEXT

*Repeat the context section only as needed. This is for folks who have missed the last few weeks. If you skip it begin reading at the “Debrief” section.

To kick off the season of Lent we began a collection of talks that will lay a foundation for the next decade of our church. Many of you have a rule of life or are familiar with what that is (no worries if you don’t – we’ll get there). Quickly put a rule of life is set of practices to guard our habits and guide our lives.

What we have never done at Sanctuary until now is create a rule of life for our whole church. As Andrew put it – a “common way that we roll together.” :) Establishing marked out practices that define the way we will live together as a church. A doctrinal statement and general affinity for specific programs cannot be the only things that bind us together – a shared path has to be at the center.

So… for the next month we want to bring our Sanctuary rule of life/way of life and our personal ones together.

We need a Pathway (a rule of life) because…
The rhythms of our lives (what we do)
Form the desires of our hearts (what we want)
Which shape the directions of our lives. (who we are becoming)

Over the 6 weeks of Lent we’ll spend time together exploring different aspects of our shared rule of life. The intention is that you can take your time considering what Practices you’re already engaged in, what is life-giving for you, and what would help move you closer the way of Jesus.

It’s been said that we achieve inner peace when our schedule is aligned with our values. Remember that a rule of life is simply a tool to that end. Rather than a rigid, legalistic to-do list, it’s a life-giving structure for freedom, growth, and joy.

Read this Overview (5 Mins)

The American experience and western culture in general are rooted in radical individualism. We are trained to look out for our own interest above all others, constantly pushing to get what we want or “deserve” and pursue our own desires over those of others. Yet, the way of Jesus and our experience show us that while looking out for our own interests and living in extreme independence—while it may be easier in the short term—leads to unhappiness in the long term. For better or worse, we need each other.

In Romans 12, Paul paints pictures of the people of God as inextricably intertwined: both as a family of brothers and sisters, as well as a body with many parts, all of which need one another. That said, if you keep reading the New Testament, and honestly if you pursue any relationship beyond the surface level, you will discover depth and community to be challenging. To stick with community for the long haul, it becomes essential to learn to do three things:

  • Forgive each other for not being God. We bring high expectations to our HomeChurch at times, don’t we? We want our wounds healed, to be bound up, to be pursued, to be seen, known, to be loved unconditionally. And these are not bad things to want! But we are all human, and we all fail each other at times. When that happens—when, not if—we have to make the hard choice to love each other anyway.
  • Listen in love. Give relational space for each others’ stories, joys, and hurts. Share the deep stuff of your person, not just the facts of your life. Rejoice in one another’s successes, and grieve one another’s sorrows.
  • Stay. This may sound simple, but anyone who has been in relationship with anyone else long term (whether your HomeChurch, a best friend, your children, or your spouse) can tell you that sometimes, simply sticking it out is the hardest part.

During this series, we’ll each be crafting (or revisiting) a working Rule of Life to help create structure through which Jesus can grow and shape us to be more like Him. This week, we’ll be focusing on how to grow in practicing Jesus-centered community.

Debrief this Sunday’s Direction (20 Minutes)

With that in mind, work through the following discussion questions as a Community:

  1. In your life, where do you see tendencies toward individualism? (Perhaps at work, in your family life, etc.)
  2. As you consider the three calls to forgive each other, listen in love, and stay, which (if any!) feels the most challenging for you in this season? Which (if any!) feels most natural?
  3. What fruit or blessing have you experienced from choosing to stick with relationships (community or otherwise) for the long haul?
  4. As we come to the end of HomeChurch season one consider a couple of these questions:
    1. How have you been impacted by life in community this past season?
    2. What are some ways we can grow deeper and healthier as a HomeChurch next season
    3. What are some hopes or dreams for seasons 2 of HC together?

Encouragement & Blessing (15 Minutes)

[Split back up into groups of 3]

Encouragement is essential if we are going to live out the call of God on our lives. If confes- sion is accountability for what we don’t want to do, encouragement is fuel for what we are called to do.

To encourage is (literally) to put courage into someone. In our culture, we are often beat down, criticized, and challenged with discouraging circumstances and situations that cause us to lose heart, turn back, or give up. This is a time to call out the gifts, passions, and vision that God has placed in our hearts to see his fame and deeds renewed and known in our time.


SHARE WITH ONE ANOTHER:
What do you sense God doing in you that you need to respond to? What do you sense God doing around you that he is inviting you into? What do you sense God doing through you that you need courage for?

PRAY FOR EACH OTHER:
Consider laying hands on each other and commissioning each other for a new week. Here is benediction you could use:
Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honor everyone;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


[March 27 – Outward]

Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)

Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the scripture we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing.

Isaiah 58v 6 – 9
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.


SERIES CONTEXT

*Repeat the context section only as needed. This is for folks who have missed the last few weeks. If you skip it begin reading at the “Debrief” section.

To kick off the season of Lent we began a collection of talks that will lay a foundation for the next decade of our church. Many of you have a rule of life or are familiar with what that is (no worries if you don’t – we’ll get there). Quickly put a rule of life is set of practices to guard our habits and guide our lives.

What we have never done at Sanctuary until now is create a rule of life for our whole church. As Andrew put it – a “common way that we roll together.” :) Establishing marked out practices that define the way we will live together as a church. A doctrinal statement and general affinity for specific programs cannot be the only things that bind us together – a shared path has to be at the center.

So… for the next month we want to bring our Sanctuary rule of life/way of life and our personal ones together.

We need a Pathway (a rule of life) because…
The rhythms of our lives (what we do)
Form the desires of our hearts (what we want)
Which shape the directions of our lives. (who we are becoming)

Over the 6 weeks of Lent we’ll spend time together exploring different aspects of our shared rule of life. The intention is that you can take your time considering what Practices you’re already engaged in, what is life-giving for you, and what would help move you closer the way of Jesus.

It’s been said that we achieve inner peace when our schedule is aligned with our values. Remember that a rule of life is simply a tool to that end. Rather than a rigid, legalistic to-do list, it’s a life-giving structure for freedom, growth, and joy.

Debrief last week’s practice in triads (5–10 min)

If you are in a HomeChurch of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).

  • Spend a just few minutes catching up on life… then talk through last weeks invitation (we’ve posted it here:
    • The Practice for this week is two fold: 1) to take a day and practice Sabbath (ideally, this would be a 24 hour period of time), and 2) to decide on what you will do, what your specific practice will be in this next season. Remember do as you can not as you can’t.
  • Be brief so everyone who wants to can go and then come back together

Read this Overview (5 mins)

This week we talked about the Outward path:

OUTWARD / Do What Jesus Did 

We believe that Jesus is God in human form and that the Church is God’s ongoing presence in the world. Led by the Spirit of God, we are passionate about relieving suffering and fighting injustice, joining God in demonstrating and announcing the transforming message of the resurrected Jesus. Jesus calls his Church to be a compelling force for good in the world, and we believe that the Church is at its best when it serves, sacrifices, and loves, caring about the things God cares about. We were created to live for something larger than ourselves.

All over the Gospels, we find Jesus, who is the exact representation of God, engaging the world’s brokenness. As we pay close attention to what he says and does, we learn how important justice, mercy, and faithfulness are to God’s heart. 

In our world, it’s expected that we put ourselves above others; but Jesus instructs us to lay our life down for others. In and through the life and teachings of Jesus, we learn that in God’s Kingdom the last will be first. The question we want to lean into in this season is: How can we help make the last first today? Not just in the future. And not just as a one time act of charity. How can we invite people, through relationship and life together, into the family of God? To start orienting our hearts towards people on the margins is through OUTWARD practices. One of the main teaching texts was

Mathew 23:23-24

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

Jesus critiqued the Pharisees for narrowly debating the ceremonial requirements of the law while they neglected more important aspects to pursue justice, show mercy, and live lives of faithfulness, missing the heart of God. They were blinded to what was important. They lacked the ability to discern the difference between minor and major things. And their efforts to be holy actually carried them further away from the heart of God for the world. We are just as vulnerable to those same traps today. In a world that asks “Where’s Jesus?” we need to be examples of mercy, justice, and faith in equal measure. To be disciples of Jesus, we need to be like Him and weigh with the actions of our lives and our motivations against His words, and make sure we can see clearly, discern, and practice the things that truly matter to the heart of God.

Practice reading & responding to the word read aloud (20min)

This week’s scriptures referenced:

  • Mathew 23:23-24 (warning)
  • Amos 5:21-24 (prophetic rebuke)
  • 1 John 3:16
  • Luke 10:25-37 (good samaritan)
  • James 1:27
  • 1 John 6:2
  • John 13:1-17 (foot washing)

Choose one or two of the passages to read aloud in the group and ask any of the following questions:

  1. What words or phrases stand out amongst the rest?
  2. How is God using this text to teach you about outward path?
  3. How does this passage illuminate the idea of justice for you? How can we see mercy being practiced?
  4. As you listened to the teaching ad hear these passages read aloud, did anyone (person or people group) come to mind who you feel called to serve or have at your table (literally or figuratively)? What’s one step you could take toward that person or persons this month?

Discuss our outward practices (15min)

In triads or all together discuss these two practices and how you might incorporate them into your rule/way of life.

  1. GENEROSITY

Materialism, consumerism, and the constant need to accumulate more for ourselves are easy temptations to give into. However, the spiritual practice of generosity compels us to turn our attention toward our neighbor, especially the poor and marginalized, to bring about the loving-justice God desires for this world.

BASE: Inventory how you spend your time and money with an earnest reflection on how much you invest in yourself versus others, especially the poor and marginalized.

STRETCH: Committed to proactively valuing generosity, set up weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for how you will give generously of your time and finances. This might look like giving generously to the church as well as local organizations, missionaries, and unhoused neighbors.

2. HOSPITALITY 

As followers of Jesus, we are called to live counter-culturally to that of the world. We seek to welcome the stranger in a spirit of kindness, kinship, and love. Hospitality is the spiritual practice of moving away from hostility and living into our calling as peacemakers for the Kingdom of God.

BASE: Keep a prayer list of those you feel led to reach out to or come to know Jesus. Connect one-on-one with them monthly in a casual setting, like a walk.

STRETCH: In addition to a prayer list, invite someone into the spiritually-rich tradition of fellowship around the table, sharing a meal and welcoming them into your home.

  • Take some time to consider and pray through what your next step in justice and mercy might be, and what God is inviting you into in this season of your life. Remember, aim to start where you are, not where you think you “should” be.

Prayer (10 Minutes)

Spend a few minutes praying for God’s grace over each other, that we might become a people who seek to be like Jesus: pursuing justice alongside mercy, and creating invitation to family wherever we go. Pray there might be a sweeping renewal of the Holy Spirit in our city. Ask that God would stir up within us a desire to be with him in prayer and to serve him, one another, and our neighbor in love.


(Y(OUR) INWARD PATH)

DEBRIEF LAST WEEKS PRACTICE IN TRIADS (5–10 MINUTES)

If you are in a HomeChurch of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).

  • Spend a just few minutes catching up on life… then talk through last weeks invitation (we’ve posted it here:

1) to take some time to actively engage the idea of margin and limits as it pertains to your life and 2) to decide the specifics of how you will incorporate prayer and worship into your Rule Of Life. Remember, your Rule of Life will be a work in progress, and you will likely adapt it more than once along the way.

  • be brief so everyone who wants to can go and then come back together

READ THIS OVERVIEW

This past Sunday Andrew shared about the Inward path (becoming like Jesus). Here is how we talk about this direction at Sanctuary:

INWARD / Become Like Jesus

We believe that God wants to bring about a new humanity by redeeming every part of us. We embrace the salvation Jesus offers as the only hope for the healing of our relationships with God, each other, ourselves, and creation. We believe that all of life is spiritual, and that all of our fears, failures, and brokenness can be restored and made whole. We value the inner journey because we want to be fully integrated people–mind, body, and soul, emotions and experiences all offered together to God. This leads us to follow Jesus in the way He invested in the relationships around him.


Here are the 2 shared inward practices we introduced on Sunday:

Sabbath

Especially in a time such as this, we need to set aside time to rest, practice gratitude, and delight in God. A typical Sabbath starts on Friday evening and ends Saturday evening. If this is not good timing for you, feel free to choose another day.

  • Base: Practice just a Sabbath meal. Rest intentionally during this time, delight in God, and practice gratitude for things in the last week.
  • Stretch: Do a 24-hour Sabbath without any work, and don’t be on your phone or any other screens.

+ Your Practice: ___________

Silence & Solitude

This world is full of noise, and we can often be tempted to use this noise to drown out our own anxieties, worries, or fears. Unfortunately, this also keeps us from finding the deep peace God offers. The spiritual practice of solitude and silence invites us to turn down the noise and connect to God, our source of peace.

  • Base: Set aside 5-30 minutes daily for being alone with God in silence – without screens, books, or audio.
  • Stretch: In addition to the daily rhythm of solitude and silence, devote a day or weekend once a year to take a silent, solo retreat. This could entail going to a retreat center, camping, or simply removing the usual distractions and staying home.

+ Your Practice: ___________


continue reading together

Ultimately nothing in this life apart from God can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase desire. But to what end? A chronic state of restlessness? An underlying anxiety driving us increasingly into a life of hurry? Thankfully, there are practices from the life and teachings of Jesus to fight against the chronic restlessness of our condition and culture and to tap into the deep soul rest Jesus offers.

Silence & Solitute and the practice we are going to drill down into today at HomeChurch called Sabbath.

In the book of Genesis we read that God, the creator, worked for 6 days and on the 7th day, he rested. He rested. An infinite God, and yet he rests. In his provocative and prophetic act of resting, God builds into the DNA and fabric of his creation an intrinsic need to stop and cultivate rest. 

In our current world, the concept of Sabbath may feel a bit outdated or disconnected. It certainly doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense when set against the backdrop of our 24/7 culture. But the reality is that this practice is the baseline remedy for the chaos of the day to day grind that we live in.

When it comes to the Practice of Sabbath, there is no perfect formula. Sabbath will demand varying rhythms, times, and implementation for each person — and will likely change as you move through life. However, we do believe there is a blueprint or a set of rhythms, that help practically provide space for us to experience the true gift of Sabbath. These rhythms are: Stop, Rest, Rejoice, and Worship.

Stop working. Rest in God’s provision. Delight in the gift of rest. And worship God, who gives the Sabbath to us as a good gift. 

In the Practice of Sabbath, each of us has the opportunity to lay a foundation in the story of our lives that is rooted in rest, limits, and communion with God.

DO THIS PRACTICE AS A HOMECHURCH RIGHT NOW (15–20 MINUTES)

In triads, talk through the following questions. Document your answers somewhere as we will come back to them at the end of this series.

  • Rest is essential to our spiritual formation. It’s very hard to tempt well-rested, healthy, happy people. Even more, when we’re well rested, love comes easily out of our inner being. From page two of the Bible (the sabbath story) onward, rest is an essential component to living well in God’s world. What practices and rhythms of rest are built into your life? 
  • Is Sabbath a practice you have already incorporated into your life, or no? If so, what does it currently look like?
  • What are some of the challenges you face or have faced in practicing Sabbath? What gets in the way of this rhythm?
  • If you are new to this practice, take some time to identify what day of the week, time frame, and rhythms you would like to establish in this practice. (ex: Bible reading, naps, eating a nice meal, etc…)
  • If Sabbath is something you already practice, share how you would like grow in this area, and in what ways you’d like to grow in your intentionality.

DISCUSS THE COMING WEEK’S PRACTICE (5–10 MINUTES)

The Practice for this week is two fold: 1) to take a day and practice Sabbath (ideally, this would be a 24 hour period of time), and 2) to decide on what you will do, what your specific practice will be in this next season. Remember do as you can not as you can’t.

This week, take time to do the following:

  • Identify a day of the week to practice Sabbath. Figure out what day and time frame works best for you and/or you and your family. Set a modest goal and then do it.
  • Under the framework of Stop, Rest, Delight, and Worship, think through a few ways specific to your life and season, to practice each. Identify any obstacles that may keep you from actually following through with these ideas.
  • In the Rest section of your Rule of Life workbook, begin outlining what will become your rule for Rest. Be as specific as you can and strive for reasonable goals (e.g., If you aren’t able to do a full 24 hour time period, start with 12 or 6 hours). Consider what life-giving practices you can incorporate into your Sabbath rhythm.

Here are some ideas to consider, adapt, or inspire:

Below is list of best practices for Sabbath specifically based on various seasons or stages of life. Take a minute to look through the list and identify the season to which you most relate.

Keep in mind that the following lists do not contain prescriptive Practices – they are simply suggestions from our church community.

Young Families

  • Put together a box of special toys with your kids, that they get to play with on the Sabbath
  • Plan a special meal (like a pancake breakfast) or dessert (like donuts and ice cream)
  • Read a story from the Bible (e.g. from the Jesus Storybook Bible, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, or The Big God Story)
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood or to the park
  • Watch or go see a movie together
  • Go to the zoo or the Children’s Museum
  • Commit to not doing chores
  • Parents: Let the kids take a nap or watch a movie while you take a nap or have sex
  • Parents: Take turns taking time doing your own thing
  • Single Parents: See if someone in your HomeChurch is willing to hang out with your kids for a bit, so you can have some time alone

Single People

  • Listen to worship music
  • Spend time with Jesus in meditative, listening, or contemplative prayer
  • Read the Bible, poetry, or a book of blessing
  • Read (fiction or non-fiction)
  • Meet up with a friend for coffee or tea
  • Watch or go see a movie
  • Explore a museum or art gallery
  • Go for a hike with friends
  • Have a nice meal with friends
  • Take a nap
  • Make art

Married Couples (without kids)

  • Make a meal together or go out
  • Take a walk
  • Have sex
  • Read the Bible and pray together
  • Get a couples massage
  • Watch or go see a movie together
  • Go for a drive
  • Go for a hike
  • Hang out with friends
  • Take a nap

Parents with Teenagers

  • Sleep in (and let them sleep in)
  • Limit the amount of screen time (in conjunction with your teens)
  • Watch or go see a movie together
  • Explore your teen’s hobbies with them
  • Ask an intentional set of questions like: What was the hardest part of your week? What was the best part of your week? Where did you see God this week? What do you need from this day? Plan and make their favorite meal or dessert together
  • Invite their friends over to play (hang out) and participate in part of your Sabbath or let them hang out with their friends for a set amount of time

Empty Nesters

  • Have and host an intentional family dinner (if family is not close by, then invite friends, neighbors, etc.)
  • Have sex
  • Take a nap
  • Explore your spouse’s hobbies
  • Find a hobby to do together. (e.g. cooking, pottery, watercolor, art museums, etc.)
  • Go to the coast
  • Read the Bible and pray together

WORK THROUGH SOME OF THESE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU CALL IT A NIGHT (5–10 MINUTES)

  • Which day of the week will you Sabbath? Ideas:
    • Friday night to Saturday afternoon, starting and ending twenty minutes before Sundown. This is the traditional Jewish Sabbath
    • All day Saturday or Sunday
    • Saturday night through Sunday evening
  • What needs to change in your normal, weekly routine to make Sabbath happen?
  • What activities will be restful and worshipful for you?

CLOSE IN PRAYER (5 MINUTES)


Last weeks guide:


CONTEXT

*It is especially important to listen to the past three Sunday talks

To kick off the season of Lent we began a collection of talks that will lay a foundation for the next decade of our church. Many of you have a rule of life or are familiar with what that is (no worries if you don’t – we’ll get there). Quickly put a rule of life is set of practices to guard our habits and guide our lives.

What we have never done at Sanctuary until now is create a rule of life for our whole church. As Andrew put it – a “common way that we roll together.” :) Establishing marked out practices that define the way we will live together as a church. A doctrinal statement and general affinity for specific programs cannot be the only things that bind us together – a shared path has to be at the center.

So… for the next month we want to bring our Sanctuary rule of life/way of life and our personal ones together.

We need a Pathway (a rule of life) because…
The rhythms of our lives (what we do)
Form the desires of our hearts (what we want)
Which shape the directions of our lives. (who we are becoming)

Over the 6 weeks of Lent we’ll spend time together exploring different aspects of our shared rule of life. The intention is that you can take your time considering what Practices you’re already engaged in, what is life-giving for you, and what would help move you closer the way of Jesus.

It’s been said that we achieve inner peace when our schedule is aligned with our values. Remember that a rule of life is simply a tool to that end. Rather than a rigid, legalistic to-do list, it’s a life-giving structure for freedom, growth, and joy.

THIS WEEK

This past Sunday Andrew shared about the Upward path (being with Jesus). Here is how we talk about this direction at Sanctuary:

UPWARDS / Be With Jesus

We believe that having a deep and connected relationship with God is the best possible way to live. We celebrate the divine in the daily, pursuing lives of hope, gratitude, and worship. We believe worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose — all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.


Here are the 2 shared upward practices we introduced on Sunday. The Third will be place for you add an additional upward practice of your own if you desire.

  1. UPWARD PRACTICE 1 / SCRIPTURE

Base practice: Seek to spend at least ten minutes each day in the scriptures, with BREAD as a guide –– journaling if you’re able.
Stretch practice: Give as much time as you’re able to BREAD each day for M-F – incorporate deeper study — and do it before or after you turn your phone on.

2. UPWARD PRACTICE 2 / Prayer & Worship

Base: Regular weekly P.R.A.Y. and committing to Sunday morning worship
Stretch: Daily Morning P.R.A.Y and Evening Examen and committing to a quarterly Altar or Heart gathering.

3. UPWARD PRACTICE 3 / _______ personal practice ________

Something else that emerged from your story

Your Base:
Your Stretch:


DEBRIEF THE TEACHING & PRACTICES IN TRIADS (15-20min)

If you are in a HomeChurch of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).

1. What, if anything, resonated with you from the teaching about the Upwards direction? What challenged or moved you?

2. What practices make up your current rule of life (official or unofficial)? How would it feel to make these an “official” part of the way you live your days and weeks and months?

3. Based on your personality and preferences, which practices do you find easiest? How about most challenging?

4. Based on your life circumstances (such as, single with no roommates, new parent, working in a demanding job), which categories fit most easily into your routine? Which might take more creative planning?

DO THIS TWO PART PRACTICE AS A HOME CHURCH RIGHT NOW (20min)

“But how does this all fit in my life?  I don’t have any more room for something else!” If that’s you, you’re not alone. Crafting a Rule of Life takes intention and attention, and that can feel daunting at times. But building a Rule of life does not just mean adding more things; it also means figuring out what needs to be subtracted to make room. 

Apprenticeship to Jesus invites us not only to take on countercultural Practices, but to consciously and intentionally take stock of our life and practice editing. Much as has been the heart behind this Practice, the goal is not to get it all right the first time around, but to make space and work slowly towards shaping our life to match the person we want to become. This journey will require us to shift what isn’t working and to try different things until something starts producing the fruit you’re looking for.

As we work to finish our first draft of our Rule of Life, we want to hold in mind the principle of margin. Margin, the space between our load and our limits, is something that many of us aren’t conscious of. But if we ignore it, we burn through it with extra activities and are always on the edge of what feels like burnout or exhaustion. The best way that we can fight this ‘normal’ of a time-obsessive tiredness is by receiving the gift of our own limits and letting them build for us healthy margin. Whether these limits are natural (having a family, needing to sleep, only having 24 hours in a day) or chosen (no phones at the dinner table, HomeChurch every _____ night, weekly Sabbath), they can help us begin to reclaim our lives from the tyranny of the urgent.

Tonight we will have a conversation about margin and the talk about finishing our first drafts of our Rule of Life for next week.

  1. In triads, talk through the following questions.
  • How well do you maintain margin in your life? Are you better or worse than you were last year? 
  • What currently impacts your inability to maintain margin? What helps you maintain it?
  • The physician Richard Swenson talks in his book, Margin, about many different kinds of overload. From sample below, which of the following forms of overload feel the most relevant to you right now?
    1. Activity overload
    2. Change overload
    3. Choice overload
    4. Commitment overload
    5. Debt overload 
    6. Expectation overload
    7. Information overload
    8. Media overload
    9. Noise overload 
    10. Fatigue overload
  • What’s one limit you struggle to accept?
  1. Imaginative Prayer

This can feel a bit funny to some people but go with it. The point is spirit led reflection.
Holding in mind your answer to that last question, transition back to a large group and work through the following imaginative prayer activity. (If you have questions on imaginative prayer, you can go back and listen to this imaginative prayer teaching.)

  1. Have everyone get comfortable and then invite the Spirit to speak to you and to silence all the other distractions.
  2. Spend a minute or two in silence, calling to mind the limit in your life that you struggle to accept. As you do, let your mind turn that limit into an object of some kind that you could hold in your hands. It could be anything – a stone, a stuffed animal, an empty cup, a piece of paper, etc.
  3. Next, imagine Jesus walking up to you. What he looks like isn’t particularly important, so don’t get bogged down in getting it ‘perfect’. What he’s like is what we hold onto. As the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1v3), we know that Jesus is compassionate and gracious,  slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34).
  4. As Jesus approaches, imagine yourself presenting the object – and with it, your limit – to Jesus. 
  5. What happens when you hand the object/limit over to Jesus? How does he respond? Perhaps he hands you something in return; maybe he gives you a big hug; maybe he smiles and says something to you. Whatever his response, begin to feel the love of God towards you as you hand this object over. 
  6. Spend some more moments in silence together. Then, thank the Spirit for speaking.

DEBRIEF: There’s no pressure to do so, but invite people to share their experience and the images that did or did not come to mind in that exercise with someone this week. If you have time, it could be helpful to process these experiences back in your triads or as a whole group.

CLOSE BY SHARING THE COMING WEEK’S PRACTICE

The Practice for this week is two fold:

1) to take some time to actively engage the idea of margin and limits as it pertains to your life and 2) to decide the specifics of how you will incorporate prayer and worship into your Rule Of Life. Remember, your Rule of Life will be a work in progress, and you will likely adapt it more than once along the way.

CLOSE IN PRAYER


[MARCH 6 PRACTICE]

INWARD / telling your story

The way we want to start this process of creating a personal and communal rule of life is by identifying the ways that we have been formed and the patterns (both good and bad) that are present within us by telling our stories.

NOTE: Split up into groups of 3. Most of your time will be spent silently thinking and writing.

  1. REFLECT ON YOUR STORY

If you didn’t take time this week before meet in your HomeChurch to think through your story take some time before you proceed to the next step: Reflect on the significant people, places and events of your life, both positive and negative. Go through this task prayerfully and thoroughly.

2. MAP YOUR STORY

Physically write out your story on a timeline. Choose either your whole life or the past year. Place positive experiences above the line and more challenging ones below it. The higher or lower you draw the line represents the degree to which that was a positive or negative experience.


3. SPOT THEMES, PATHS, AND PATTERNS

As you look back over your story, do you notice any themes developing? Do you see patterns of behavior emerge? Are there common threads of ways of thinking? If so, note them. 

Some questions that might help

  • Where are you?
    • God asks the question ‘where are you?’ in the garden as an invitation to relationship. When God asks where we are it is a revelation of his heart that we would live in the knowledge that we are seen and known in the depths of our being and that God meets us exactly where we are. 
  • What do you want?
    • God invites us to cultivate a life with him and others by being honest and forthcoming about our desires. Our desires are a doorway to God. They show us longing for eternity and reveal the unique way we are called to bear Gods’s image in the world.

WITHWARD

4. TELL YOUR STORY

Each person in the group takes a turn to tell the rest of the group their story. This is a vulnerable thing to do, so make sure to create a safe and secure environment in which to do this where everyone feels listened to and never judged. It can be helpful to give each other permission to ask questions as well. After each person has shared their story, pray for them to be filled by the Spirit, and for any areas of their story that they might specifically want prayer for.  

NOTE: Don’t rush this. We’ll extend this into next week if we need too.

5. END

Close in prayer in your triad.

ADDITIONAL LEADER NOTES





ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

PATH COMMUNITY GUIDE

The goal for a Path Community is to gather regularly with 3-5 people of the same gender, to press in together as disciples of Jesus, and to practice the most neglected commands, disciplines, and practices of the Christian life on off HomeChurch weeks or in the everyday rhythms of life.

We don’t want to be people who just hear the Word without putting it into practice, allowing deception
into our lives. We believe the following 4 practices with a few friends, often overlooked, can produce disproportionate spiritual fruit for the time and context in which we are called to follow Jesus.


RESOURCE: EXTENDED COMMUNION LITURGY

R1
We come to celebrate who you are, to acknowledge your greatness, and thank you for your love.

R2
Come to the table, not because you must, but because you may. Come to testify, not that you are righteous, but that you sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ and desire to be his true disciple. Come not because you are strong, but because you are weak and that you stand in constant need of God’s mercy and help. Come not to express an opinion, but to seek God’s presence and pray for the Spirit.

R1
Hear the words of CONFESSION

“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have “mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.”

R2
words of ASSURANCE:

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.”

R1

Therefore we proclaim our faith

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

R2

We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray,

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one”

Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ as they are delivered by the apostle Paul: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

Let us eat

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 

Let us drink

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

R2
May we, throughout our week remember Jesus Christ – given for the complete forgiveness of all our sins. May we Remember his presence with us. May we Remember his blessing upon us all.