Welcome to the first week of our new series, Making Sense Out of Life. This week’s conversation discusses the four unsettling truths that can help us live with joy.
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.
Share Part of Your Story
What’s your favorite snow activity and why?
As your group gears up for the New Year, what are some of the commitments you need to make to each other to get the most out your time together?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read Ecclesiastes 1:1–11 aloud. What do you notice in this passage? What’s the tone of these texts? How familiar are you with Ecclesiastes? What do you hope to gain from this series?
One of the messages of Ecclesiastes is that life can be fleeting like a breath. Do you feel like this is true? When have you experienced that feeling? What are some things in life that you recognize as fleeting?
How do the first eleven verses in Ecclesiastes provide perspective for our life? What is the message of our culture about this?
Pastor Jeff Manion encouraged us to use this fleetingness as motivation to get about the business of living. What do you think he meant by that? How could that play out in your life?
There is a lot of redundancy and sameness in our world. What examples does the author of Ecclesiastes give? How does your life feel redundant or mundane?
Inside of the sameness of life, there is also variety. Why do you think it is important to notice the variety in the midst of monotony? What are some of the beautiful or meaningful elements of variety in your daily life that you need to appreciate more? What happens if you begin to stop and appreciate them?
We can have a tendency to always chase after the next new thing. What does Ecclesiastes have to say about that kind of motivation?
Have someone read James 4:13–16 aloud. What’s the main idea of the passage?
Between James and Ecclesiastes, we should get the picture that we aren’t the center of the universe or even our own life. Do you feel like most people act this way? Why or why not?
The author of Ecclesiastes says no one will remember us, or the people who come after us. How does that make you feel? Does that ease the pressure of life or make it worse? Why?
Surprisingly, joy is a theme in Ecclesiastes. What does it mean to find joy in the process of our work or the details of our life? Do you feel like that is something you are good at or struggle with? Why?
Have someone read Ecclesiastes 5:19 aloud. What are your reactions to that verse? How does it relate to finding joy in life?
Where would you like to find joy in the coming week? What are some things that you do where you feel God’s pleasure?
This week our conversations focused on four unsettling truths we can learn from the meaningless nature of life: meaning, monotony, novelty and memory. Which of those truths resonated the most with you this week? What’s one step you can take to focus on that area this week?
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.
This January, our Invest in Others section is focusing on service. We are considering how our group can work together to serve someone or another family. There are people around us who may need someone to step into their story and fill a need. Take some time to think about who your group could help. Identify who in your group will take the lead on making it happen.
Download a printable PDF here.