Welcome to week four of our series Finding Peace in a Culture of Anxiety. This series helps us understand ways our obedience can transform our anxiety into peace. This week we discuss how we can refocus our thoughts and take control over what we think about to transform our hearts over time and begin to minimize our propensity toward anxiety.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
What’s your holiday schedule like and how can your group be praying for you during the holidays?
Share part of your story
What’s one of your favorite holiday traditions?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back to Philippians 4:8-9. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.
Think about what you think about
Paul tells the Philippian believers how to think. Have someone read Philippians 4:8 aloud. What specifically does Paul say to think about?
We usually understand we are responsible for our actions, but how often do we think about taking responsibility for the patterns of thoughts we allow to run wild in our heads? What are some of the thought patterns that often lead to anxiety in your life?
If we can pause when negative thoughts run through our mind, we can choose a new way to think. What makes this work? What inhibits our ability to be aware of our thought patterns? Discuss one thing you can do this week to help you pause and become more aware of your thoughts?
How Do I Think About It?
Paul tells the Philippian believers to put into practice the things they saw him do. When Paul was in Philippi, what did they see him go through and how did he respond (see Acts 16:16-40)? What negative thoughts could Paul and Silas have chosen in these moments?
Accepting Jesus’ gift of life means our future is secure. We aren’t limited to the present but have a future with God to look forward to. How should this influence the way we think?
Discuss this statement, “Reminding yourself of the suffering Jesus went through and his willingness to die on the cross can help overcome fear and anxiety even in the midst of difficult situations.” How is this true? Have you ever gone through a difficult situation where the hope of the gospel encouraged you and helped you get through difficult circumstances?
Who Is With You?
In three verses, Paul twice mentions that we don’t just receive peace, we receive God who brings the peace into our lives.
Senior Pastor Jeff Manion explained that Paul was careful here to emphasize the gift of God and His presence with us. What is the difference between receiving peace—and receiving God himself and His peace?
What Do You Feed Your Brain?
Once we take the step to notice our thoughts, we can identify the negative ones and start taking steps to get rid of them.
Senior Pastor Manion gave the analogy of a dual faucet. We not only have thoughts we need to turn off, but thoughts we should turn on as well. What does Paul tell us to focus on in Philippians 4:8? What are some real-life examples of these things?
Senior Pastor Manion challenged us to find one thing in our life that we should stop doing, turn off and give up for seven days. What are you giving up? Pair up with someone from your group to encourage them during this time. Follow up with them throughout the week to encourage them and see how it is going.
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
As we refocus our minds on good things this week, what is one act of kindness you can do for someone during this holiday season?
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PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Sermon Discussion Guide for the sermons on December 23–24 and December 30-31. It will resume January 5–6.