Leader’s Community Group Study Guide
For the week of November 22, 2020
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
⇨STF Couples’ 30-Day Prayer Challenge Sign up to receive daily prayer prompts via email or text, and use them to pray together with your spouse/significant other. The Prayer Challenge runs from Sunday, November 22, through Monday, December 21, and you can register any time during the 30-day period. Register for Couples’ Prayer Challenge
⇨STFKids is back! On December 6, elementary children will re-gather at Ballast Point, for the 11 a.m. service only. And at the Davis Islands Campus, our kids will re-gather on December 13. We request that you pre-register your kids at the link below. Pre-Register for STFKids
⇨ On December 6, Tampa Bay Rays’ star Brett Phillips will be with us at South Tampa Fellowship to talk about baseball and his faith in Christ. Brett won the Major League Baseball Legendary Moment of the Year award for his outstanding performance in Game 4 of this year’s World Series. This will be a great Sunday to invite your friends!
⇨ Women’s Night of gathering, Dec 6 – Our gathering will include worship, a message from biblical counselor Michelle Horton, a Q & A session, and more. As in past years, we’ll be blessing one of our local schools by collecting donations for teenagers in the after-school program. If you would like to participate, please consider bringing a cash donation of any amount or one or more Walmart gift cards, valued at $5, $10, or $15. (This is completely optional.) Register
⇨ LAST WEEK OF COMMUNITY GROUPS – The last week of Community Groups is Nov.29-Dec 5th. Our last week of CG, we will take communion together. Please be thinking of your social as well.
Submit your group’s attendance by replying to the email you receive on the day of your meeting.
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. Where is gratitude expressed most clearly in your life? Can you think of any areas where gratitude is harder to see?
2. God is continually at work in our lives as followers of Jesus (Philippians 1:6). As you look back on this quarter, what are some things you’re thankful for in your own life and your Community Group experience? (It can be a specific way God encouraged you, time spent together in your group, how your group has helped you to continue to live your life for Jesus, something new you learned, a service project, spiritual breakthrough, challenged you to grow or anything else.)
1. In Philippians 4:4-14, Paul gives us a game plan for God’s will no matter where we are in life. Read the passage and jot down three or four things that catch your attention that we can do to be grateful regardless of our circumstances.
Philippians 4:4-14 New International Version (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
2. This week we focused on the fact we are called to thank God in everything. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. What does this look like in your life?
3. One reason we can struggle with gratitude is because God isn’t working the way we want or expect him to. Often, God’s will unfolds very differently than we expect so we miss what he’s doing in our lives. One example of this is found in 2 Kings 5:1-15. After reading the story, answer the questions below.
How do Naaman’s expectations of how God would heal him compare to how it actually happened?
Naaman came to be healed carrying rich gifts in fine chariots; Elisha had no such finery, just the power of God. Naaman’s pride was almost his undoing: too proud and stubborn to follow the prophet’s simple instructions, he almost bypassed the blessing that God had in store. We, too, should obey the Word of God, even when God’s way does not make sense to us.
Why do you think he was so angry at how God chose to heal him?
Elisha did not even come out to greet Naaman. Instead, he sent a message to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed. “Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11–12). Naaman’s servants urged him to reconsider, and Naaman wisely did. After dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times, he was completely healed as Elisha had said. In fact, “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (2 Kings 5:14).
What is the impact of his response to his healing on his “attitude
Before he left for home, Naaman gave evidence that his heart had changed, as well as his body. He said to Elisha, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15). Naaman gave up his pagan idols then and there. He asked that he be allowed to take back two mule-loads of dirt from Israel on which he could offer sacrifices to Israel’s God, promising that he would “never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord” (verse 17).
What can we learn about how we and others respond to God’s will from
The reality of illness/hardships/broken-hearts/degenerative disease makes us long for our heavenly home. Disappointment can also remind us of the great hope we have in Christ. When a degenerative disease, for example, becomes part of our personal reality, we can be angry and despair, or we can be reminded of what is truly important, press into the truth that we serve a God who loves us, and make the most of every opportunity we’ve been given because we realize in a unique way that our time is limited. A degenerative disease will change your life and the lives of those you love. It will be challenging; it will require perseverance. But take heart, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Enjoy the gifts He has given, rejoice in today, and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). He is faithful to sustain you and to complete His good work in you (Philippians 1:6).
TAKING IT HOME
The theme of the 100-year-old hymn “Count Your Blessings” echoes what we heard this weekend about gratitude. The chorus goes like this; “Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done!” Take some time to do just that. Take out a pen and a piece of paper and count your blessings by writing down what you are thankful for.