Clean Slate: Week 3 Discussion Guide

CoreGroup Guide | Clean Slate - Week Three
Written by Jenny Huffman and Sherrill Wall


We all have a rhythm to our life, a routine, parts of our day that always seem to happen whether we plan for them or not. Sometimes these routines are beneficial, but sometimes they are not! Sometimes we need a change, and change does not just happen. Meaningful change happens when we create new habits and work to keep those habits in place. This requires continued focus, effort, persistence, prayer, and sometimes even a little help from our friends.

Like an athlete training for a big event, there is power in creating a routine to train for our best lives. This week we will dig into that process and discuss how God uses our small efforts to make meaningful changes, one habit at a time. 

Opening Prayer

Lord, thank you for this group and for bringing us together again. Some of us are here today because we are excited to learn and eager to jump into the discussion. Some of us are here because we are lonely and longing for time together with each other. And some of us are here simply because this is a part of our weekly routine. Regardless, we are thankful for the ways that you are working in and through this group. Bless our conversation today, Lord. Guide us, shape us, challenge us, and renew us. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.

Ice Breaker

What part of your daily routine is the most important to you and why? Perhaps it’s a cup of coffee first thing in the morning or a relaxing bath just before bed. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite podcast on the way to work or sharing about your day at the dinner table. It could be a group text thread or checking in with a family member. What one routine really makes your day?

The Head

In the New Testament, there are two letters written by the Apostle Paul to a companion and colleague named Timothy. In the first letter, Paul offers Timothy encouragement and support for his ministry in Ephesus. Over the years, this letter has been used to guide Christian leaders, providing both practical advice and pastoral wisdom. Read this passage from 1 Timothy 4.

(6) If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. (7) Have nothing to do with profane and foolish tales. Train yourself in godliness, (8) for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (9) The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. (10) For to this end we toil and suffer reproach, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

[1 Timothy 4: 6-10, New Revised Standard Version]
  • As you think about incorporating new habits or routines into your life, what are the “words of faith” and “sound teaching” you turn to in making that decision? (v. 6) In other words, what nudging from God or other people led you to this point?
  • What does it mean to “train yourself in godliness” (v. 7)?
  • In verse 8, Paul mentions both the present life and the life to come. What would this distinction have meant to original readers of this letter? What does it mean to you today?
  • How do the promises God has for us – in both the present life and the life to come – impact your desire for change?

The Heart

One of the most important steps in creating lasting change in our lives is establishing new routines and sticking to them. The Bible sometimes calls this discipline. Proverbs 12:1 speaks to one aspect of Biblical discipline.

From the New International Version:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

From the New Living Translation:
“To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.”

From The Message: 
“If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it – how shortsighted to refuse correction!”

  • How do knowledge and learning impact your desire to start new habits or routines? 
  • Do you consider yourself to be a “disciplined” person? What does that mean to you?
  • Which is more difficult, creating a new habit or eliminating an old one? Share an example. 
  • As you reflect on the routines and habits in your life – both old and new – what is one area that comes to mind that could use a little prayer?

The Hands

James Clear, author of the bestselling book Atomic Habits, offers four practical tips for building new routines and habits in our lives. Take a look at the following questions and do some brainstorming with your group. Make a plan to circle back next week to follow up.

  • Create your habit – What is one new routine you would like to add to your life?
  • Track your habit – How will you keep track of this new routine you hope to begin?
  • Reward your habit – What incentives will you put in place to stick with this new routine?
  • Share your habit – Who will you invite to hold you accountable to your new routine?

Closing Prayer

Sometimes when we start to make plans for new habits and routines we lose sight of God’s presence, power, and purpose in our lives. Close your group discussion this week by reading through these verses from Psalm 16. Meditate on the ways that God guides us, protects us, teaches us, and blesses us as we strive to be the best versions of ourselves.

Psalm 16:7-11
I will bless the Lord who advises me;
    even at night I am instructed
    in the depths of my mind.
I always put the Lord in front of me;
    I will not stumble because he is on my right side.
That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;
    yes, my whole body will rest in safety
    because you won’t abandon my life to the grave;
    you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit.
You teach me the way of life.
    In your presence is total celebration.
Beautiful things are always in your right hand.


Additional Resources

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

CoreGroup Announcements

As you may have seen, The Gathering’s Wellness Ministry offers small support groups and special events centered around life changes, challenges, relationships, and other topics related to our emotional well-being. At the beginning of February, the Wellness Ministry will be offering a special half day workshop titled Shift Happens: Navigating Life’s Transitions. All are welcome!

Date: Saturday, February 3, 2024
Time: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Location: McCausland Site Multi Purpose Room

To learn more and register for the event, click here: Shift Happens: Navigating Life's Transitions.

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