September 23–24, 2017 Stuck

September 23–24, 2017 Stuck

Welcome to the third week of our fall series Philippians: Choosing Joy Under Pressure. In this series, we learn about how best to live life through Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi. This week, we hear Paul’s update about his circumstances to his friends in Philippi. He’s stuck waiting. His present situation is uncomfortable, and his future is uncertain. How he describes his situation challenges us when we find ourselves stuck waiting.


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 with the group a spiritual goal you have for this season of life and how they can be praying for you as you work toward that goal. Write the request on page 17 of your journal so you can be praying for it this week.

Share part of your story.

Tell about a time when you felt stuck in a waiting room. What happened?


Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Look back to Philippians 1:12-26. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.

Present Opportunity

Philippians 1:12-18a 

Paul writes to not only update the Philippians about what is going on his life, but to give them a strong model on how to react and respond in their struggles. Share about someone you have seen model handling adversity well. What made their response stand out to you?

In the midst of a difficult situation or a time of waiting, the questions we ask ourselves are important. When we face these situations, what are some of the questions people often ask?

It is very evident that in his current situation, Paul asked an extraordinary question: How can the name of Jesus be known and how can God be honored while I’m stuck in this waiting room? How is that different from how people typically approach difficult situations? How does Paul’s desire help reorient the way we approach times when we are in a waiting room situation?

Pastor Jeff Manion defines joy as the focus on the generosity of God that expresses itself through gratitude and praise even in seasons of extreme pain and deep disappointment. How is Paul choosing joy while imprisoned?

Though Paul is stuck waiting, the gospel isn’t. What evidence does Paul give for this? How is Paul’s situation a confidence and courage builder for other believers?  How can chains bring contagious confidence?

How can your group be a place of contagious courage to share the Good News of Jesus with others?

Future Possibility

Philippians 1:18b-26

Paul waits in prison never knowing if today is the day of his trial. He could go from trial at ten to beheaded at noon. He faced a fork in the road he didn’t ask for. What types of feelings do you think Paul experienced while waiting in Rome?

Though Paul is waiting and his future is uncertain, he knows whatever happens he will be all right. In verse 21 he writes, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” What do you think Paul means by “to live is Christ”? What does he mean by “to die is gain”?

Paul’s life is focused on helping others see Christ. Often our lives are focused on something else, like sports, entertainment, wealth, prestige, recreation or happiness. What are some ways people would answer “to live is…” if they were being honest? How would you answer if you were being honest?

Paul focused on the “who” of heaven and not the “what”. How does focusing on the who of heaven help reshape our view of death and what’s next?

Because for Paul, “to live is Christ,” no one could take the most important thing away from him. Whether he lived or died, Christ could never be stolen from him. How can focusing on Christ, the thing no one can rob us of, help us when our present is uncomfortable or our future is uncertain?

Paul doesn’t let his suffering go wasted. He uses his suffering to share the gospel and to encourage others who are suffering. What does it mean for us to not let our waiting go wasted? What does pain—with a purpose—look like in real life?


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.

Group Growth.

Last week, we asked you to take a few minutes to consider if there is someone outside your group who would really benefit from what your group has to offer. Revisit that conversation today. What next step do you need to take to get that person connected?

Relational Investments.

If your group is going to be a place where the courage to share what God has done in your life with others is contagious, one great way is to start by praying for each other. Take a few minutes to share with each other someone you want to courageously share with. Jot those names down in your journal on page 17 and pray for them this week.

Download a printable PDF here.