Conversatio Divina

Part 4 of 7

Experiential Knowledge of the Trinity

John Ortberg

01.  Before You Lead

For the best experience in leading your small group, it’s very important to preview session four of the video and, if possible, follow along in chapter four of the book, Living in the Presence of Christ. Familiarize yourself with the session outline and gather the necessary materials.

02.  Session Outline

  1. Introduction (4 minutes)
    1. Welcome and Opening Prayer (1 minute)
    2. Talk About It (3 minutes)
  2. Video Teaching (50 minutes or if you choose to divide this session into two parts, 36 minutes for the lecture and 14 minutes for the conversation between John and Dallas)
  3. Video Discussion (12 to 15 minutes)
  4. Closing (3 minutes)

03.  Introduction

Welcome participants to the study and briefly pray. Ask if anyone has a question from last week’s lesson and reflections, then introduce the overall theme for this week: “Experiential Knowledge of the Trinity.”

Ask participants the following question: “What difference would it make in how you live your life if you believed that you were created to live in a continuing, transforming conversation with the Trinity.”

04.  Video Teaching

Show the video segment for this session. Students may wish to have a notepad and pen or pencil for taking notes.

05.  Video Discussion

Following the video presentation, explore the topic further by allowing the group to consider the following questions.

  1. What do you think life among the members of the Trinity is like? How does that vision challenge you as you live in communities of family, friends, and work?
  2. John Ortberg stated: “You have been invited into the fellowship of love through the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit at enormous cost to every member of the Trinity.” What are some of the ways you have found to live in a greater awareness of this reality?
  3. On a scale of one to ten, how true is it that you are routinely restful and joyous in serving and ministry?
  4. Share some ideas for arranging your life so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy, and confidence in your everyday life with God.
    NOTE: If your group has decided to take two sessions to complete the first topic, ask the following questions after viewing the conversation between Dallas and John.
  1. How would you describe to someone what Dallas Willard called the “practical presence of the Trinity” in a person’s life?
  2. Read Philippians 2:5–11 (the “Hymn of Christ”). How should a person go about imitating Christ in being willing to “empty” oneself (to use Dallas’s translation) of the desire for reputation?
  3. What are some practical suggestions for churches (and people) to get beyond separation and competition?

06.  Closing

Before wrapping up, encourage the students to read and reflect the following passage before next weeks group meeting.

  • Ephesians 4:1–6 The Unity of the Spirit
  • John 13:34; 1 John 2:8 A “New Commandment.”
  • John 14 What happens when the Trinity comes to live in us.
  • John 17: 21–24 The outcome is a growing community of supernatural love, in constant interaction with the members of the Trinity.

Close with a time of prayer. Pray that each participant will be willing to personally experience God’s invitation to know the Trinity as a community of love.

07.  Additional Reading

Johnson, D. W. Experiencing the Trinity. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2002.