Thanks again to everyone for coming out to this week’s study!
For our opening question, we learned how everyone would respond as a child when they were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Who knew that Renee considered being a modern jazz dancer, Rae wanted to be an airline stewardess, and Bethany was dead set on being a “donut girl”? Knowledge is power.
Penne provided some music on the big screen, Steve Green’s He who Began a Good Work in You. This song is based on Philippians 1:6, which was part of this week’s focus. We also learned Penne has a song for everything!
We read through Philippians chapter 1:1-26 together. (Click here to read it now!), and discussed what we learned from studying Philippians on our own this week. Linda was able to find joy in not being able to find her car, and Bethany found joy in seeing her baby boy laugh at a little mouse toy. We talked about how circumstances do not determine our joy, but following hard after God can produce joy in our lives.
I shared a testimony that I have felt inadequate to lead a Bible on joy while in the midst of postpartum depression, but found inspiration from 2 Corinthians 6:3-13, where Paul (who also wrote Philippians) talked about his struggles, including “hard work, sleepless nights and hunger” (v.5), and how he is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (v.10). Jon spoke in his sermon on Sunday about how faith can follow action, instead of the other way around. By the very act of disciplining yourself to love your spouse, read the Bible, or give to the church, when you don’t feel like doing so, will actually help you to “feel it” more. Sometimes, the only way to move beyond your sinful nature and want to do the will of God is to keep the doing the will of God over and over, even when its the last thing you feel like doing. In this way, faith can be 90% “just showing up”. If you keep doing the will of God, the desire to do the will of God will follow.
I recognize that a lot of us–myself included– are currently in business of “just showing up”. We saw that a Bible study was being offered about being joyful, and recognized that joy wasn’t something we’re naturally feeling right now. Each of us have many demands on our time, and some of us are even going through some serious trials. Finishing this workbook, reading Philippians, and showing up to the church basement on Thursday nights might feel like another burden sometimes, but I want to encourage you to keep showing up. Some nights, when you’re really not “feeling it”, you may have to force yourself to come. Those nights when you force yourself to come may be the most important ones of all. I believe that God will reward you for this effort. I believe that studying what God has to say about joy, sharing our studies with one another, and intentionally looking for joy in our lives will actually produce joy.
We went through the workbook and discussed many of the questions together. What does it mean to have joy? Rebekah shared how she and Christian were able to experience joy by holding a worship service after the death of their daughter Rachel. Gail shared how she was able to see her daughter learn obedience when she was a little girl when she almost threw a toy, but instead handed it to Gail. Don’t we all feel like throwing something across the room sometimes? There are so many temptations to resist joy and disobey our heavenly father.
Prayer Time: We ended our session with prayer time in small groups. I will keep these requests private since anyone can access this website, but please continue to pray for one another this week.
Verse of the night:
“he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6b)
For next session (5/8): Please read the book of Philippians and complete Lesson 2 in your Be Joyful book.