Speaker: Greg Holder
Group leaders- welcome your group and ask the question Pastor Greg asked at the beginning of the service- "what's one thing you are grateful for? Give the group a few minutes to share.
We will both open and close our time together with gratitude, - take a moment to pray for the group before diving into the Scriptures.
Have someone read Philippians 1:3-9 aloud.
Review with the group the background behind the letter to the Philippians:
- Paul planted this church in Philippi (the first church in Europe.)
- Paul wrote the letter while under house arrest in Rome.
- Written as a thank-you letter to the church, for the monetary support.
After reading the passage and considering the context and background of the letter, encourage the group to share verses or phrases that jump out or seem particularly meaningful.
- If you were in prison, communicating only by letter, what might your letter say? How might it differ from Paul’s letter? Give an example.
- What evidence can be derived from these passages that showed that Paul did not see imprisonment as a significant obstacle to his mission of preaching, teaching and encouraging the church? What can we learn from this to apply to our own lives?
A theme running through the book of Acts, that also appears in Philippians is expressed in the Greek word Koinonia, which carries the meaning of fellowship, with God and amongst fellow believers. Koinonia was also used in Philippians 1:5, translated as “partnership.” How did the church in Philippi “partner” with Paul’s ministry and how does that apply to us today?
Paul was grateful for more than just monetary support while he was in prison, revisit Philippians 1 to see how deeply Paul expressed his gratitude to the Philippians. What about us- how frequently, specifically and deeply have we expressed gratitude? How many times have we thought about someone, and how grateful we are for them, but may never have told them?
We are entering a season that not only focuses on gratitude but encourages it. If your group has been together long enough, or is comfortable enough with one another- give space for anyone to express gratitude within the group (can be for the group as a whole or a specific person). IF the group is not quite "there" yet- spend a few minutes talking about how to nurture an attitude of gratefulness this week. Exchange ideas of "small steps." Start somewhere. Consider the option in "Going Deeper" and watch the Advent Conspiracy video together.
Close in prayer with the focus on "counting your blessings."
Philippians 4:14, 17
What does "start somewhere" look like for you?
Take a tangible step to express your gratitude to someone in your family...To someone in your workplace...To someone whose only relationship you have is that they served you in the grocery store, or restaurant, or at school. Do it verbally or in a letter.
Pastor Tim gave a brief review of our involvement with Advent Conspiracy dating back to 3 pastors in 2006 and where that stands now. If possible- watch the Advent Conspiracy video. https://youtu.be/2yfnlhvmr-k
Consider how you and your family (or small group) might participate during this holiday season.