Session 4: Study Guide

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola

The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as “Christians” will become disciples—students, apprentices, practitioners—of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.
–Dallas Willard
Trevor Hudson Part 10 of 14

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Table of contents

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Welcome

Welcome to session 4 of Another Kind of Life DVD Experience. Each of the six sessions in this study is designed for completion in 60 to 90 minutes, with additional activities that can be done at home.

This session accompanies chapter 4 of Another Kind of Life (pages xx-xx). Watch the video, discuss the questions, and complete the key activity as a group as time allows.

Note to Leader: You and your group will need to decide whether you would like to catch up with each other around the homework and Scripture reading experiences before you watch the video together for this week’s lesson.

Video Notes

As you watch the video, use the space below to take notes. We have included some key points to get you started.

  • As part of your core self would you identify as a disciple or “apprentice” of Jesus Christ?
  • Only those who are disciples access the life God wants to give us, “another kind of life.” The availability of life in the kingdom and the invitation to discipleship go together.
  • Discipleship is not the hard part of the Christian faith. Discipleship is life’s greatest opportunity. The cost of non-discipleship is far greater.
  • We have followed St. Ignatius from the crisis experience of Pamplona to his repentance at Montserrat. Now we follow him to his discipleship experiences at Manresa. It is in Manresa that he begins to wrestle with what it means to follow Jesus, to become a disciple.
  • In the second week of the Spiritual Exercises, we are drawn into the heart of discipleship with the invitation to ask God to give us the grace to come to know Jesus Christ intimately, to love him more deeply, and to follow him more closely.
  • For Ignatius the heart of discipleship is “knowing” Christ.
  • Interactive knowledge: To know Christ is to interact with him. There is a knowledge that is information. But information alone is not transformational. It is knowledge through deep personal interaction with the crucified and resurrected Lord that is transformational.
  • The best way to get to know Christ is to keep company with him in the gospels, interacting with Him not as a dead hero but as someone who was present in the gospels and is present with us now.
  • Three recommendations for getting to know Jesus:
    • Become part of the community of faith
    • Get in touch with those who are suffering
    • Begin to keep company with Christ in the gospels
    • Note: In the book Trevor adds two further ways of interacting with Christ: (1) sharing intimate conversation with Christ and (2) keeping him in our mind.
  • Ignatius suggests that when we keep company with Jesus in the Gospels, we should learn to pray the gospels imaginatively, that is to inhabit the gospel story, to allow the story to come alive and place ourselves within the story.
    • We place ourselves in the story with the prayer, “Lord, I want to know you.”
  • Life’s greatest opportunity is coming to know Jesus Christ, and in that knowledge, to fall in love with Him more deeply.
  • Questions for Trevor’s Small Group:
    • What thoughts and feelings are evoked in you by the invitation to come to know Jesus more deeply and more personally?
    • What thoughts and feelings are evoked as you think about praying the gospels imaginatively?

Discussion Questions

Silent Reflection

For each of the six sessions, we encourage you to listen to both Trevor’s talk and the interviews of the participants in Trevor’s small group. We want you to feel that you are in the room with Trevor, an extended part of the group you are watching. At the end of the DVD session, invite your group into a time of silence (at least a minute or two) to engage with the following reflection:

  1. Reflections from the Silence: What thoughts and feelings are evoked in you by the invitation to come to know Jesus more deeply and more personally?
  2. Reflections from the Silence: “What thoughts and feelings are evoked as you think about praying the gospels imaginatively?”
  3. How would you define your relationship to Jesus (e.g., distant, admire, “we talked once at an altar,” student, disciple, apprentice, friend?)
  4. What is your reaction to the notion that the offer of discipleship to Jesus is life’s greatest opportunity?
  5. How would you describe the difference between knowing Christ by information, by inspiration, or by interaction?
  6. What are your favorite gospel passages for getting to know Jesus?

Key Activity

Putting More Manresa Moments into Each Day

 

Ignatius believed that the heart of discipleship is “knowing” (interacting with) Christ.

In the exercise below please take some time as a group to brainstorm ways for keeping company with Jesus through the course of each day. Then, consider which of these practices you may try during the coming week.

First, take some time to reflect on a list of things you can do each day to make yourself more aware of God presence in the world and in your life. Try to come up with at least 10. We will give you a few to get you started.

 

Before Getting Out of Bed

  1. Breathe the 23rd
  2. Remind yourself that the Lord is with you and will be with you throughout the day.
  3. (Your idea here . . .)

 

Before 9:00 AM

  1. Say to the person in the mirror, “You are an unceasing spiritual being with whom God likes to hang out.”
  2. Resolve to do everything through the day with Christ.
  3. (Your idea here . . .)

 

Noon

  1. Leave an empty chair at lunch and imagine that Jesus is sitting there.
  2. When you wash your hands, remind yourself that Christ loves you.
  3. (Your idea here . . .)

 

Before 5 PM

  1. Give thanks for another day of work and the hope for a red light on the way home to give you a chance for a 60-second conversation with God.
  2. Place all that you have done through the day in his hands.
  3. (Your idea here . . .)

 

Before Going to Sleep

  1. Pray the prayer of Examen you learned in Session 1.
  2. Say sorry to Christ for anything you did which gave him a bad reputation.
  3. (Your idea here . . .)

 

After completing your list above, you may wish to consider some suggestions from Frank Laubach’s Game with Minutes (see below), to add to your list. Then make a game out of seeing how many of these “reminders” of Divine presence you can do today.

Some Suggestions from Frank Laubach for Practicing God’s Presence:1

  • Read selections from the life Jesus recorded in the Gospels thoughtfully and prayerfully each day.
  • Ask God for awareness of His real presence with you throughout the day.
  • Pray for people you pass along your way.
  • Walk on the right side of the pavement or hall, leaving room for our unseen Friend.
  • Whisper a blessing as you glance at every person near.
  • When eating, keep an empty chair at the table as a reminder of God’s presence.
  • While reading a book, glance at an empty chair and visualize Him.
  • When opening email or surface mail, read it together with Jesus.
  • When watching a sunset, hum, “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings. . . .”2
  • In each circumstance, ask, “Dear Father, what are you telling me through this, and this, and this?”
  • Put a picture of Christ, a Bible, a cross, or some other sacred object where it will be one of the last things you see as you fall asleep.
  • While washing and dressing in the morning, whisper thoughts to God.
  • As you work, pray for each customer and coworker with whom you interact.
  • When reading and studying, pray, “God I have just forty precious minutes. Help my wavering thoughts to concentrate so that I may not waste a moment. Show me what is worth remembering in this first paragraph.” Read the passage to God, instead of reading it to yourself.
  • Have a picture of Christ near so you can glance at it frequently.
  • Place an empty chair beside you and imagine that your Unseen Master is sitting in it; you may even reach your hand and touch that chair as though holding God’s hand.
  • Hum to yourself a favorite prayer hymn, for example, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”3
  • Whisper inside, “Lord, put Thy thoughts in my mind. Tell me what to say.”
  • Repeat short Scripture phrases such as “Christ live in me.”

 

Putting This into Practice:

After completing your brainstorming and discussion session with your group, agree to put a few “Manresa Moments” into your daily schedule this week.

Homework: Recognize and Respond

In addition to spending more time each day interacting with Jesus, Trevor also referenced the importance of getting to know Jesus through following him across the pages of Scripture.

You will find below a way of stepping into a passage of Scripture taught by St. Ignatius. It is a form of Ignatian contemplation referred to as the “Application of the Senses.” You will find it in the “second week” of the Spiritual Exercises.

Application of the Senses

With this approach you step inside the verses of each passage below and experience the scenes using one or more of your five senses. First, read any of the following passages several times, becoming very familiar with the words, so that you can let the scene play in your mind, like a movie. Then, as you step into the “images, notice what you see, hear, smell, feel (touch), or taste.

We offer nine passages of Scripture taken from the life of Jesus. These passages have been chosen based on the “fruit of the Spirit,” because we believe these “fruit” represent the very character of Christ.

Perhaps you will want to step inside one of these passages each day this week as a way of spending time with Jesus.

 

LOVE

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead (John 11:32–43)

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

 

JOY

Jesus Changes Water into Wine (John 2:1–11)

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

The Little Children and Jesus (Mark 10:13–16)

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

 

PEACE

Jesus Calms the Storm (Matthew 8:23–27)

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

 

PATIENCE [& HUMILITY]

Imitating Christ’s Humility (Philippians 2:1–11)

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

The Crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 23:26–34)

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’

For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

 

KINDNESS

Jesus Arrested (Luke 22:47–53)

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

 

GOODNESS

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep (John 10:1–11)

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

 

FAITHFULNESS

Jesus Heals Many and Prays in a Solitary Place (Mark 1:26–39)

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

 

GENTLENESS

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King (John 12:12–19)

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

 

SELF-CONTROL

Jesus on Trial (John 18:19–40)

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Additional Scripture for Reflection

The following passages of Scripture were either referenced by Trevor in his talk or suggested by Dallas Willard to help us focus on some aspect of God’s offer of another kind of life. As your read each passage this week, notice if there is a word, or phrase, or sentence that connects deeply with you. 

 

Come and Follow Me (Matthew 4:19 New International Version)

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

 

The First Step Toward Knowing God (Psalm 46:10)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

The Only Place Where Jesus Defined Eternal Life (John 17:3)

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

 

Attention and Presence (Psalm 16:8)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ (Colossians, 3:1–3)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

 

The Unchanging Christ (Hebrews 13:8)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

Friendship with Jesus (John 15:15)

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

Fruit of the Spirit: The Character of Christ (Galatians 5:22–23)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish (John 21:4–14)

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.”

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

 

Jesus Reinstates Peter (John 21:15–19)

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Footnotes
  1. Frank C. Laubach, Game with Minutes. Westwood, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1956.
  2. Maltbie D. Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World” (1901).
  3. Adelaide A. Pollard, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” (1906).
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All Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
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