Dec 8–9 Out of the Darkeness

Welcome to the second week of our December series, Focus For This Season. This week we look at the “Benedictus,” the song of Zechariah. Zechariah acknowledges the birth of his son is a part of the bigger plan of God.


SHARE LIFE

Building healthy and life-giving relationships.

Updates

What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.

Share Part of Your Story

What’s your favorite Christmas song/album?

Celebrate

Take a few minutes to come up with a plan to celebrate together this Christmas season.


PURSUE GOD

Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Have someone read aloud Luke 1:68-79. What words stand out to you?

The Benedictus

What has recently happened in Zechariah’s life? Why is it so surprising?

Zechariah uses the word “redeemed.” What events from Israel’s history would this bring to mind?

In a moment of great joy, Zechariah also remembers God’s previous provision for his people. What is one way God has provided for you in the past? Why might it be important to remember that?

What two important Old Testament names does Zechariah mention? Why are they significant to the Israelites? Do you think the average Israelite would have felt like God was moving in the time when Zechariah lived?

Zechariah doesn’t know exactly what role his son is going to play but knows he has a role. What does John end up doing?

Zechariah places what is happening to him inside of what God is doing. He recognizes it isn’t all about him and his wife. Do you think most people see their lives as a part of a bigger story? Why or why not? Why is this such a big deal?

Zechariah compares the birth of his son, John, to a sunrise. Why do you think he does this?

How does Jesus’ arrival in someone’s life today compare to a sunrise? What was it like for you when you experienced that?

Gratitude

How are you doing on the Focus For This Season journal challenge?

Have someone read Genesis 12:2-3 aloud. Abraham was blessed so God’s blessing would flow through him. Is there something you know about Abraham that is an example of how his choice to follow God blessed others?

How has the simple discipline of writing down three things every day influenced your life? How do you see this practice motivating you this week to be a blessing to others?

Filling

Have someone read aloud Luke 6:45. What do you think Jesus means?

When you are doing the filling exercise, is there a word you find yourself repeating regularly? If so, what is it? Why do you think it keeps coming to mind?

What Fruit of the Spirit did you write down today? How do you feel like it is going?

Identity

Have someone read Ephesians 1:4b-5 aloud. How does it make you feel to know God adopted you because he wanted to?

If God’s adopts us, what privileges does that afford us and what responsibilities do we now have?

What would it look like to pray this final prayer every day? “Dear Lord, please work in me, please work beyond me, and please work through me.” Pray this together as a group.

We discussed how Zechariah looked not only at what God was doing in his own life but also God’s larger plan. We also reflected upon our time so far in the Focus For This Season journal. What’s one thing you want to do this week to take a step in either of these areas?


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.

Invite

The Christmas season presents a unique opportunity to invite others to church. Have you been able to invite someone to join you for a Christmas service? Has God given you the opportunity to use the Christmas season to engage in Jesus-focused conversations with friends or coworkers?


PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Sermon Discussion Guide for the sermons on December 22/23/24 and December 29/30. It will resume January 5/6.

We hope you will gather together to celebrate, have some winter fun and continue to pray for one another.


Download a printable PDF here.