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Counter Culture Joy

Matthew 6:25-34; Psalm 139:13-24

  1. What did you like about this passage or find interesting? 
  2. What did you dislike about this passage or find difficult to understand? 
  3. What do you learn about God from passage? 
  4. What do you learn about mankind in this passage? 
  5. What instruction(s) are given in this passage for you to follow?

In his sermon, Pastor Kevin noted that worry comes when a legitimate concern begins to own us, and that worry can be used by the Enemy as a distraction.

Five things to know if you want to pursue joy:

  • Know what matters (v25)
  • Know your value (v26)
  • Know your source (v27-30)
  • Know what you seek (v31-33)
  • Know who holds your tomorrow (v34)

6. Do not be anxious literally means, “take no thought.” Everyone has worries, so what worries you? Why do you think these worries “take” you? Does the object of these worries have eternal significance? Do they matter? What does matter?

7. In what ways does God provide for the sustainment of his creation? What does this show you about God? How has God provided for you in big and little ways in your life?

8. Pastor Kevin noted that if we are fed by fear, it will lead to worry, but if we are fed by the Father, it will lead to worship. Why is fear such an effective distraction? What sources in your life feed you fear? What is it they say that leads to fear? What can you do to be more fed by the Father?

9. How much time do you waste worrying about things that never amount to anything? What is a more valuable use of your time? Do you think spending time worrying builds your trust in God? What are some tangible practices you could do to build trust in God?

10. Pastor Kevin took us to Luke 19:10 (“Son of Man came to seek and save the lost”) and Matthew 7:7 (“seek, and you will find”) to understand the fervent, consuming nature of this word seek in the original language. Describe someone who seeks first the kingdom of God – their priorities, habits, focus, activities, schedule, etc. As you look over this description, or hear other’s description if reviewing this in a group, which priority, habit, focus, activity, or schedule do you want to work on incorporating into your life this week?

11. Make a list of all the things in the future that worry you and why. Close your eyes, visualize putting each item in your open hand, and holding them out in front of you. Pray the following (or whatever the Holy Spirit would lead you to pray)… Father, I’m worried about (object of worry) because (reason for worry). I acknowledge that you are sovereign over all creation and that you are in complete control of the future. I give this worry over to you and put it in your hands. Let my heart no longer be troubled. Replace my worry with worship, my fear with faith, and my concern with confidence. I know that you love me as your own child and I trust that you will do what is best for my good and your glory. Amen.”

In reviewing Psalm 139, Pastor Kevin highlighted how King David shifted from focusing on the external to the internal and identified four words that will dictate our joy:

  • Identity – our source of validation, we belong to God
  • Integrity – our pursuit of holiness not to earn God’s favor but because we are His
  • Input – our influences that we permit to feed our souls
  • Intimacy – our relationship with God, and other believers, that breeds connection

12. Are there people in your life whose opinion of you (whether good or bad) really matters? Do you go out of your way to try and please them? What has been the result of you trying this? If you found your identity solely in Christ, what would change about how you interact with those people?

13. Have you had a time in your life where you acted one way on Sunday and another way the rest of the week or one way around believers and another way around non-believers? How did this duality make you feel? How can we avoid living a dual life?

14. Pastor Kevin showed the congregation a new feature on his phone that he recently discovered, the power button. What inputs in your life do you need to turn off? What voices/resources/influences are you consuming the most each day? Are they all leading to good outputs (holiness, worship, faith, etc)?

15. At what times, in what places, or during what activities do you feel closest to God? What is it about that time, place, or activity that draws you close? Does this tie into your personality and how God made you?

16. Well before the pandemic, isolation was a problem in the United States. Rate your intimacy with others on a scale of 1-10, 1 being complete isolation from others to 10 being there are trusted people in my life who know the true you, love you, and care for you. Are there other believers with whom you “do life”? What do you need most from other believers right now? Who do you know that needs connection and what could you do this week to connect with them?

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