Welcome to the second week 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’s conversation looks at the incredibly difficult task of rejoicing always and the role a joyful heart plays in pushing out 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.
How can your group help each other rejoice, even in times of difficulty?
Share part of your story
What is one of your favorite childhood memories from Christmas?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back to Philippians 4:4-7. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.
What are some of the things that cause anxiety in your life?
Last week, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion gave us a 21-day challenge in being grateful by encouraging us to write down three unique things each day. How is this challenge going for you so far? What are some things you have written down?
A Joyful Heart Sees the Good Works Around Me
Being joyful is a habit. We can develop a joyful heart when we train ourselves to look at the world and notice the good elements. How did God respond in Genesis 1:31 when he looked at his creation? What are some of the good things about God’s creation that you enjoy?
Do you feel like it is easy for you to see the good things around you? Why or why not?
A Joyful Heart Sees God’s Work in Me
Where is Paul when he writes the instruction to “rejoice always”? What are some struggles the Philippian church is experiencing when they receive the instruction? Why is this important to what Paul says about joy?
How do you think you would feel if you were experiencing legitimate struggles and someone told you to rejoice always? Do you feel like our culture tells us it is ok to be miserable when things are bad? Where do you see or hear this message?
Spend some time discussing the definition of joy from our fall series, Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure. How has this definition been helpful to you since you heard it?
Joy is the focus on the generosity of God that expresses itself through gratitude and praise even in seasons of extreme pain and deep disappointment.
A Joyful Heart Sees God’s Good Work to Come
In Philippians 3:10, Paul says he wants to be like Christ by participating in his resurrection (eternal life) but also participating in his suffering. Paul knows suffering is a part of life, and he wants to face it as Jesus did. Why do you think Paul can defer his gratification like this?
How was the next life described in the weekend services? How can knowing there’s a better world to come because of Jesus help relieve our anxiety? What has God done, for you and in you, that can help you find joy?
A Joyful Heart Sees God’s Work for Them
Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice always. It is easy to rejoice when things are going well. It is harder when things are going well only for others. When have you struggled to be happy for someone when something good happened to them? Why can it be hard to be happy for others when things aren’t going well for you?
What is the key to having joy for others when you are struggling?
Pastor Bob King shared that the greatest birthday present he received was simply seeing his kids together enjoying themselves. Do you think God feels the same way about us? Tell why.
Our conversation centered on the importance of a joyful heart. What is one next step you want to take this week to find joy in the things around you, what God is doing in you, the promise of what is to come or when something good happens to someone else?
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.
The Christmas season is often a good time to invite people to church. Who would you like to invite to a weekend service and how can your group be praying for that person?
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