November 18–19, 2017 Gratitude & Contentment

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Nov 18–19, 2017 Gratitude & Contentment

Welcome to final week of our fall series Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure. Paul wraps up his letter to the first-century church in Philippi by expressing his gratitude for their regular gifts. They have been his friends and faithful supporters for ten years. They are experiencing internal and external pressure while he is chained to a Roman guard—yet Paul writes to them to thank them, weaving in life-giving themes of contentment, consistency and the cycle of care.


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.

Care

Caring for each other is important. Over the last year, when you have been thankful for the care of your small group?

Share part of your story

What is one of the most generous or over the top gifts you’ve ever been given?


PURSUE GOD

Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Look back to Philippians 4:10-23. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.

The School of Contentment

Philippians 4:10-13

In the midst of saying thanks, Paul says he has learned to be content. Look back on what you know about Paul’s life. How do you think he learned to be content?

Do we live in a culture that values contentment? What are some of the things our culture tells us will make us happy or make our life complete?

“It” is the thing that when you finally get, then your life will have peace, joy or be full. What is the “it” for you? Does getting “it” usually lead to a lasting contentment? Why or why not?

Paul says he learned to be content. Why do we need to learn this value?

Sometimes we can graduate with honors from the School of Contentment only to have to re-enroll later as life changes. Why do we have to re-enroll in the School of Contentment from time to time?

Paul says he is content because God gives him the strength. Have you ever been in a situation where you are content and know it is only through the strength of God? Tell the story.

What do you think is the relationship between God giving you strength and finding contentment?

Given what we’ve learned about this passage and the letter to the Philippians, what is a good way to understand verse 13? Is that different from how people sometimes use it?

The Dynamic of Repetition

Philippians 4:13-16

Paul expresses his gratitude to the Philippians for their repeated gifts. They have served him over and over for the past ten years. Where is Paul when he writes the letter? How big of a difference do you think the Philippians’ support made for Paul?

Paul thanks them for their faithful repetition. What is the importance of doing something, though sometimes small, over and over?

Some things just take time. What is one thing you would like to do more faithfully? What step can you take this week to do that?

The Cycle of Care

Philippians 4:17-20

Paul says he is thankful for their gift but also thankful for what it means to God. How do you think God receives our generous service and gifts to him?

What do you think he means when Paul says “all your needs?” (v. 19) What is the difference between God supplying needs and wanting God to supply our “it”?

Paul understands the Philippians repeatedly made incredible sacrifices to support his ministry financially. He knew they probably couldn’t afford to give what they gave (2 Corinthians 8:2). He is saying, “You trusted God with your past. Can you trust him with your future?” He doesn’t want them to be afraid. How can fear of tomorrow paralyze generosity today? Has fear ever influenced your generosity? Tell how.

Review the definition of joy that Senior Pastor Jeff Manion gave us early in this series.

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.

Why do you think Paul chooses joy as one of the themes of the letter given his circumstances and theirs?

Where has the series, Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure, challenged you? What is a Next Step you are taking or want to take to choose joy?


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.

Service

Faithfulness and service are directly related. If you have someone in your group who serves faithfully, make sure your group thanks them for their faithful service.


Download a printable PDF here.