Welcome to the first 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. Following Thanksgiving holiday, this weekend we looked at the importance of refocusing our view from the things that are wrong in life to the many things blessings we have and experience.
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.
Prayer is a large part of caring for each other. What is one thing your group can be praying about for you in your spiritual walk as you navigate the holidays?
Share part of your story
What Thanksgiving traditions do you have or did you have when you were growing up for sharing what you are thankful for?
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.
The Meaning of Thanksgiving
Paul tells the Philippian believers to take their requests to God but to do it with thanksgiving. Where was Paul when he wrote this? Do you think it was easy or hard for him to be thankful?
How does realizing everything is a gift change our focus? What is the danger in thinking we did something all ourselves?
Pastor Jeff Manion defined thanksgiving as: Expressing gratitude to God for his goodness and generosity, which I did not earn and do not deserve.
What are the important parts of the definition? How is this different from some other thankfulness is often defined?
The Habit of Thanksgiving
Does our culture like to focus on what we have or what we want? Do you feel like you focus more on what you have or what you want?
In the weekend services, we were asked to write down three things we were thankful for. It was called a powerful heart transforming exercise. Why could writing down three new things we are thankful for and why every day be life altering?
Is your life on a trajectory where you will end up as a thankful person or a thankless person? What will it take to develop the habit of thanksgiving to work toward being a thankful person?
The Power of Thanksgiving
Thankfulness has the propensity to push out complaint, anxiety and envy. Complaint is a focus on what is going wrong, anxiety is concentrating on what might go wrong and envy is an obsession with what is going right with everyone else. Where do you think you struggle the most of the three? How can being thankful help push out those things?
Happiness researcher Shawn Achor says that people will be happier if they do these five things every day.
(1) Write three unique things you are grateful for. (2) Think over the last 24 hours and spend 2 minutes journaling about a really positive experience. This trains you to be able to see the good around you and you relive it. (3) Exercise for 15 minutes. (4) Meditate. Slow your mind, focus on one thing and shut out the noise. (5) Acts of kindness. Send an email of thanks and/or praise to someone. Thank them for what they did and/or praise them for who they are.
Why do you think these five things would lead to a happier life? How do these practices align with what the Bible teaches? How can you implement these five things into your life to start the happiness habits?
Thanksgiving can change your heart. How can your group help coach each other to be thankful through the 21-day challenge?
Our conversation centered on the importance of talking to God with thanksgiving. What’s one next step you want to take this week to practice what you discussed?
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 holidays are often a great time to serve. Maybe this is helping a needy family with Christmas gifts, providing a meal, serving as a substitute in Discovery Village or some other way. Take time today to determine how your group can serve this holiday season.
Download a printable PDF here.