Joy in the Midst of Stress

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

In Dickens’ Christmas Carol, the bitter old accountant Scrooge provides a memorable illustration. Tight-fisted and greedy, he lives in a universe so calculating and cold that no one escapes his suspicion. He is haunted by dreams of death, and dreads its approach. The dreams open his eyes and he sees a way out: “The time before him was his own, to make amends in!” No longer consumed with his own needs, he is free to love, and vows to dispel “the shadows of the things that would have been.” And as he runs from one old acquaintance to the next, he rediscovers the world around him with the contagious joy of a child.

The older we get, the more jaded we are by life, the joy of Christmas is often something that we reach for, but it’s not the same. I want to remind all of us that the magic, the joy of Christmas is not in the lights, decorated trees, or gifts under those trees. The joy of Christmas is found in Jesus. Instead of the stress and busyness that we tend to focus on, let’s remember that the season is about joy. Jesus didn’t come to live on earth so we could be stressed about celebrating his birth. Jesus came so that we could experience joy.

In Luke 2:8 we read, “In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.” Verse 10 says, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Finding joy in life can be hard, no matter where we are. We could be financially secure for life, yet have no joy. We could be surrounded by family and friends and still have no joy. We could be involved in the things we love to do, yet still feel a lack of joy. What do we do?

Jesus was addressing His disciples in Luke 6:22: “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven…” Jesus also said in John 15: 9-11: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

How important is finding joy in our lives? It’s everything. Fortunately for us, joy was born in Bethlehem. This is why the heavens rang out with “good news of great joy.” He has come for us. We did not deserve it, we could not earn it, but God loved us so much that He sent His Son for us. The truth is we can’t manufacture the joy of Christmas within ourselves. We can’t stir it up like a batch of Christmas sugar cookies. We can only accept it as a gift: the gift Jesus offers us if we would only stop long enough to hear His voice and accept His invitation. And when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we will find joy in something every single day – through people, through experiences, through adventure, but always through Christ.

I’ll close with Peter’s words in his letter to the early church; my prayer for everybody who attends Northstar or reads this devotional is that we hold these words close this Christmas; “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1 Peter 1:8)

Discussion Questions:
1. What is the difference between joy and happiness? How can we increase God’s joy in our lives? Why is joy an essential quality for believers?
2. In your own words, define what joy is in your life?
3. Why did the angel describe the news about the Savior as “great joy?”
4. Do you typically find joy at Christmas?

Peace in the Midst of Frenzy

“And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. – Micah 5:4-5.

“Peace on earth” is a phrase you see and hear everywhere during the Christmas season.

For many of us, we have to wonder where that peace is. It wasn’t here last Christmas. It didn’t appear at Thanksgiving. And whether it be trying to find peace in the chaos of our own lives or trying to wrap our heads around hope for peace on earth in a political or military sense, “peace on earth” seems elusive again this Christmas.

That is not all that surprising when you consider that we are struggling to struggle to find peace with ourselves. We regret past mistakes, struggle with our present weaknesses, and worry about the future. We try to “find ourselves” in different ways and search for our purpose in life through relationships, work, leisure and travel pursuits. We seek and long for peace in our relationships with others. And we struggle with the uncertainty of tomorrow and the turmoil going on in the world around us.

All that sounds familiar. Read Luke chapter 2 at home today and really think about what was happening in Mary and Joseph’s life at the time. The census was handed down. Joseph and his very pregnant wife had to made a long trip to Bethlehem. Traveling by donkey while pregnant does not make for a peaceful experience. They get there and there is no rooms for them. No peace there.

But look at Luke 2:6-7, “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” It sounds better when children recite those lines in the Christmas play. But I think the reality was somewhat different. If you have been in a labor and delivery room when a child is born, it is not a peaceful, serene place. Especially for the woman giving birth. Now replace the ultra sterile, technology filled delivery room with the dirty, noisy environment of a stable and think about the peace there.

In Luke 2: 8-15 we have the story of the shepherds. Shepherds had a hard life. They were hard men with a hard job and peace was not part of their job description. Then an Angel appeared. They were freaked out. I think most of us would have been as well. But then, the angel’s message. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy…” Then a whole group of angels appear and praise God. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (vs. 14)

So what does all this mean? Peace to men. Peace to you. Unfortunately, earthly “peace” will always change. Earthly peace is always short-lived. Christmas meals bring some peace, but just hours later you are hungry again. Happy relationships bring peace, but can you guarantee that even for one fleeting year, your solid relationship will never face arguments or problems? Christmas presents bring a little peace, but the very same gadgets that cause a hearty, “thanks” are soon broken or forgotten. And how many people ever get everything on their Christmas lists? And even if they did, would they have lasting peace?

Jesus came to bring you peace. Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Peace is found in the person of Jesus. Immanuel, God with us. Isaiah 9:6 reminds us: ”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus brings peace, regardless of the circumstances you face. You’re at peace because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the One who brings peace on earth to men.

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you understand by the word “peace”?
2. Do you think Christmas is a time of peace? Why or why not? Should it be?
3. How would you rate your life? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, and there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
4. What does peace with God mean? How do we have this kind of peace?

Christmas is a Time of Adoration

The re-do of the song Hallelujah with a Christmas theme by Cloverton is a moving summary of the Christmas message. Christmas is a simple story that is reflected in the lyrics of this song. A couple going to Bethlehem expecting a child, no room, born in a manger, angels, shepherds and wise men, a Savior that came to rescue us from our sin. The last lyrics are so powerful: “My sins would drive the nails in you, that rugged cross was my cross too.” Despite the immensity of the universe of stars, galaxies and planets, the birth of God with us is reason for praise and adoration. He is with us to save us from our sin.

I love Christmas music. I just can’t get enough of Christmas songs, with one notable exception: The twelve days of Christmas. Maids milking, lords a leaping and three French hens doesn’t put me in the Christmas spirit. I love the classic songs, the more traditional songs as well as some of the newer songs such as the one I included in this post.  These songs help remind me that Christmas is solely about God. Christmas is about God fulfilling His promises, saving His people, coming to us — as one of us — in Jesus. The truth can be so easily missed: Christmas is nothing but Jesus. And if Jesus is not in Christmas, then Christmas is nothing at all. We should be singing the lyrics from O Come All Ye Faithful; O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Or the opening lyrics from the song of the same name: Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of Glory, Lord of love. 

Our teaching series during December is called “Christmas Classics.” In this series we will look at the classic songs of Christmas and their application to our lives.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is your favorite Christmas song? Why?

2. How can Christmas music help us refocus on the message of Christmas?

3. What if our church decided to “Skip Christmas?” What impact would that have on people or on you?

 

 

Christmas is a Time of Personalization

It isn’t necessary for me to speak at any length about the commercialization of Christmas. We have seen it. We have experienced it. For some time now, the true reason for Christmas has been steadily slipping away from the world’s focus. The word itself, Christmas, has become harder to find in greeting cards and business advertisements.

For 2,000 years, however, Jesus has not been forgotten. Nor has the story of His birth. But, why did He come? Why did the Son of God leave the splendor and beauty and glory and holiness and wonder and perfection of Heaven to come to the dirt and sin and trouble and sadness of earth?

If you asked the average person on the street why Jesus came to earth, you would get different answers. Some would say that it has something to do with peace and good-will on earth, to teach us to forget hostilities and to renew our hopes for mankind. Others would say that it has something to do with giving us an example on how to be better people. I’m sure there are any number of possible answers.

So why did the Son of God come to this world two thousand years ago? The answer is simple: Jesus came to earth for you and for me. Christmas should be very personal to each of us who are followers of God.

That is why we as Christians make such a big deal out of Christmas. It is Jesus’ birthday, true, but it is also the beginning of the big event of the Christian story. We are not just celebrating the fact that Christ came as a baby. We are celebrating that He came and brought redemption to our world. In other words, He came to redeem you and me and all who believe on His name.

Here is how Paul answered that question in I Timothy 1:15? “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Paul was contemplating the grace of God shown to him. He could not get over it. He goes on to say that God’s purpose in doing all of this was to show His grace which leads people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

We too should be amazed. We too should not be able to get over it. We too should be in awe of God’s grace and mercy that began for each of us on that first Christmas night.

I want to challenge you to take the step to read the Christmas story, pray with your family and focus on Christ coming into the world for and to you. As you read, keep in mind that you are not just reading recitations of the familiar events of the first Christmas night. The passages are intended to understand what “unto you is born a Savior” really means. Think about that for a few moments. You have a Savior: Jesus Christ.

Discussion questions:
1. What is your favorite part of the Christmas story and why? Do you ever feel like God came to earth to save you?
2. Do you feel like your family captures the heart and the integrity of the Christmas
season? If so, how have you done that successfully?
3. What would you suggest are a couple of practical ways to help refocus on the true meaning of Christmas?
4. Pray for  those in our communities that they will attend church on Christmas.

Christmas is a Time For Salvation

As much as I like to plan ahead, I still need someone to save me at Christmas. It always seems, while I have a plan, I either wait too long to order Christmas gifts on line and have them delivered in time for Christmas, or I simply forgot one person on my Christmas list. I really don’t like going to malls, especially in the last few days before Christmas because I probably won’t find what I am looking for and may have to wrestle somebody for one item that multiple people are trying to get. Yes, usually I need someone to save me from over scheduling and trying to be in too many places at the same time, from overspending and a myriad of other things during the Christmas season.

Fortunately for all of us, Christmas is really all about salvation.

God knew that the world’s people would one day need rescuing. Sin would enter the human race and cause a break in our relationship with the heavenly Father. As a result, all people would die and experience eternity apart from Him.

The Bible says that “before before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:18-20), a plan for our redemption was already in place. This plan has been revealed through the ages and testified to in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation: ”But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Luke 2:11 (NASB) says, “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Notice that this savior is “for you” for all of us. When people think of salvation, they often have a very narrow concept of it: they think that salvation is being saved from hell. But God had so much more in mind than just fire insurance when He sent Jesus to be our Savior.

And Christmas is so much more than the celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus. Christmas is experiencing a Savior through grace. Jesus came to save you from sin and all of the hurt and guilt. Jesus came to save you for the purpose of significant living. Jesus came to save you by His Grace. Christmas was, is and will always be until Christ comes again, a season of salvation to everyone who is willing by faith to ask Jesus to become their Lord and Savior.

If you’ve never heard this story before, it’s what Christmas is all about. But if it is familiar, you might be like many other people who no longer realize just how powerful this holiday really is. Whatever the case, as we walk together through each detail of Jesus’ birth story, observing the Father’s wisdom, I pray you’ll come to realize just how great and mighty our God is.

Discussion Questions:
1. To you personally, is Christmas about the birth of a baby or the birth of a Savior?
2. Is Christmas about garland or grace?
3. What do you need to be saved from this Christmas? (Worry, Fear, Debt, Addictions, Loneliness…)

Christmas is a Time For Celebration

Reflecting on Christmas reminded me of The Pursuit of Joy/Philippians teaching series. Why? Because Christmas has become a time to focus on joy and happiness. Philippians tells us how to unlock joy and find contentment in our lives.

Remember Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

The word rejoice appears over 200 times in the New Testament. What is rejoicing? It can be different things to different people but I believe there are some principles that we can apply in general. Rejoicing is acting like you have something to be happy about. If your sports team wins the championship, you might shout, dance or even sing. If someone gives you the ultimate gift on your wish list, you would be sky high and tell everyone how excited you are. Jesus gave us the gift. He paid for it with His life. At Christmas, we celebrate the event that set that gift into motion.

My prayer is that you view the Christmas season as a time to rejoice, to celebrate what God did for us on that first Christmas night. Begin to rejoice for that gift even in the midst of the stress and pressure of the holidays. Rejoice for that gift even if you are not able to do all you would like or if you are separated from those you love. Rejoice in the Lord for He will never leave nor forsake you. Let this rejoicing seep into your daily life. Rejoice in the Lord right in front of the world. It ‘s the one time of year they won’t think you are strange. Well at least they’ll think your are less strange.

As you do, you will tap into the Joy of the Lord. That joy will change your outlook on the season and it will spill over to those around you. Rejoice and let your rejoicing spread joy to those around you. You may be surprised at the results for you, your family and even the world you live in.

The more meaningful a season is, the more reason to do things that help us experience the fullness of that season. So, unsurprisingly, this season has grown into one of the busiest times of the year – with so many options for doing and giving than any one person could not possibly expect to do them all. So, between all the things we do in and through the church, and all the opportunities available through work, the community and with family, celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions:
1. What is the best part of Christmas? What is the worst part?
2. What impact do you think that all the “merchandizing, stress, commercialization, etc. has had on Christmas?
3. What’s the one thing you would like to change about Christmas?
4. How do you rejoice in the Lord on a daily basis?

Christmas is a Time of Reflection

The holiday season always starts off with a bang on Black Friday, although this case it was Thursday, as crowds of people shoved and fought their way through Walmarts, Targets and other stores in hopes of landing some low-priced deals. Watching the pushing, shoving, arguments and even fights, makes one wonder where the jolly people are. Then you have the effort to remove the word Christmas from the holiday lexicon because it offends people who are not religious or are atheists. People blurt out happy “holidays” as if Thanksgiving and the New Year is as significant as Christmas. Then you have people who are worried about how to buy gifts without going into more debt, not to mention attending all those Christmas get togethers with family members you do not find very interesting. If you are not careful, Christmas can become stressful and a hassle you don’t need.

Our hectic lifestyles has diminished our ability to pause and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. Look at two Bible passages: Colossians, 2:6-7 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 adds, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The apostle Paul asks us to enter the Christmas Season (every season) with our hearts truly slowing down enough to reflect on and to give thanks to God for the child who was born to die for our sins, our Savior Christ Jesus. Doesn’t that fill you with wonder, that Jesus came to the earth for the purpose of becoming the Lamb of God who would take all our sins away.

No one minds losing the stress that Christmas can create. And most people would not miss a few less gifts or worry that much whether a person says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. But where we would be without Jesus? I do not think it would be a pretty picture. Because of Jesus’ birth, we have the promise that God loves us far more than we can begin to imagine. Yet, we don’t stop to reflect on that incomprehensible truth.

A truly meaningful Christmas comes not by what we say or do. It isn’t anything we can produce or purchase. It isn’t reckoned by the number and value of presents given or received. A truly meaningful Christmas happens only when we realize that without Christmas, none of life would have meaning.

Christmas becomes meaningful when we quit trying to bend it into our own shapes and instead let it shape us. Having a meaningful Christmas means having the knowledge that nothing we can give God could ever match His Gift to us — all the while seeking new ways to offer our thanksgivings by offering ourselves to Him in thought, word, and deed.

How will you celebrate Jesus’ birthday this year? Hopefully it will include some reflection.

Discussion Questions
1. What in your mind constitutes a meaningful Christmas? What is the best way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday?
2. What would Christmas be like without Jesus?
3. Pray and reflect each day during the Christmas season about the cross of Christ not just a baby in a manger.

Too Blessed To Be Stressed – A Summary of Philippians

We just finished our teaching series on Philippians we entitled The Pursuit of Joy. Every book of the Bible is important because each one is inspired by God. Certain books draw us close to God time and again because of their strong encouragement, powerful teaching and practical wisdom. Philippians is one of those books. I hope you enjoyed the series and if you missed any of the sessions, I encourage you to go to http://northstar.cc/thepursuitofjoy/ and listen to the message you missed.

In this devotional I want to give you a summary of the series and of Philippians.

The Apostle Paul had this attitude: “I can’t lose for winning!” I can just hear him, “Heads I win, Tails I win!” Philippians is a book about joy, even though it is estimated that Paul spent at least twenty-five percent of his life in jail.  All that jail time coupled with other well-documented bumps in the road and yet his joy was contagious. I wonder if Paul’s ministry was today, if he would be sporting a “Too Blessed To Be Stressed” t-shirt under his prison overalls. Maybe we should sell those at Northstar.

When you peak behind the curtain of Paul’s life the thing that is easily detected is his laser like focus: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14.

As Paul urges the Philippians to move onward and upward, he does not do so without including himself or giving his personal testimony as inspiration and motivation. Paul gives us some insight as to what we must do to reach our goal. He uses the personal pronoun “I” implying that we must make our relationship with God personal, and the keys or steps for moving onward and upward are in Philippians 3:13, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” I hope that you will gleam from our study of Philippians that each of us who are followers of Jesus have to keep realizing, keep forgetting, and keep reaching.

Keep realizing that we have not yet arrived. Paul lets the Philippians know that no matter what knowledge, skills, or accomplishments or status that he has already accomplished in this life, he considers them all garbage that he may gain Christ. Our accomplishments should not hinder us nor cause us to “get a big head” thinking that we arrived or reached our plateau in life. Nothing should keep us from growing – moving on in Christ.

Keep forgetting those things behind because it is a continual process of not allowing past failures nor achievements to keep us from moving onward and upward. Yes, we remember the past. The process of forgetting means that we are not resting on past laurels neither are we pulled back by the guilt of past failures. Let the past be in the past.

Keep reaching forward to the things which are ahead. We must continue to strive and make every effort to reach for the things that are ahead of us. Keep pursuing a relationship with God. The goal is be more like Him as we read in verse 14 above.

My prayer is that members and regular attenders of Northstar Church will be straining and stretching forward for the upward call of Christ Jesus. And to know the joy that results.

In 2015, Northstar will be working as a church to press toward the same goal. Let us move forward together and be a group of believers that is too blessed to be stressed.

Discussion Questions
1. What is the basic theme of Philippians?
2. How can we receive and experience the peace of God?
3. What has God promised to supply?
4. How is singleness of mind expressed?
5. What are some of the ways that Jesus displayed humility? How many of those do we display?
6. Paul is in prison, potentially facing the death penalty, yet he remains positive and hopeful. Think about a time when you had bad news or a bad experience actually turn out for the good. What happened to change “bad” into “good?”

A Living Prayer Life

We completed The Pursuit of Joy teaching series this week. In this series we have been studying the book of Philippians.  As we pointed out several times in this series, Paul wrote Philippians from prison. It’s a letter written to the church at Philippi and as you read it’s words you can’t help but notice the joy that was evident in Paul’s life and the joy he desires to see in the lives of those he is writing to. In examining some of the keys to Paul’s joy, we noted that one obvious truth was that he was concerned about others and was in the practice of praying on their behalf.

That’s what we see in Philippians 1:3-4:”I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Then there is Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

I want to zero in on one thing in that passage of scripture that is needed in all of our lives as followers of Christ and gives us a great example of the types of requests we can and should make on behalf of each other through prayer.

I want to call your attention back to verse 9. Paul begins by praying that their love would abound still more and more. Paul is not praying for them to start their love. The Philippi church showed their love for Paul by their support of him and his ministry. This was a church that was already doing pretty well. What he was praying for was for their love to grow and overflow, and spill over into the lives of others.

And it wasn’t just their love for others. Paul also wanted them to increase in their love of God. As Christ followers, our goal should be to love God and love people more tomorrow than we do today. To do that it needs to be a daily prayer request. And as long as God has us here on earth there will always be room for us to grow in our love. We will always need more love in our homes and in our churches. I’m thankful for the love that is displayed at Northstar. But, let’s make it our aim to increase our love for God and each other. And, let’s be in prayer for one another that our love will increase more and more and for our church that God will continue to have His hand on our ministries.

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is a beautiful example to us of how we should be praying for one another. Do you want to energize your prayer life? Do you want to experience true joy? Follow Paul’s example and pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ that God would be glorified in their lives and in the lives of those far from the heart of God.

Discussion Questions:
1. What are the references to prayer in verse Philippians 4:6. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.? How is prayer different from supplication? How does thanksgiving fit into making our prayers?
2. How often should we pray? Why is it that God hears our requests?
3. Read Paul’s Prayer for the church (Philippians 1:9-11). Summarize what he prays for. What part of the prayer do you want someone to pray for you? Why?
4. What part of the prayer for contentment is the hardest?

Worrying For A Living

Peace of mind is something that we all want. We all want to be able to rest, to not have to worry, and to feel free to enjoy life, family, friends, work, church, hobbies, entertainment, etc. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened down with worries that rob us of vibrancy, life, and most important, our joy. But what we want and what we get can be two different things.

The solution is to stop worrying. Many have tried. Every time I stop worrying about one thing, something else seems to rise up to tempt me to worry anew. Some people suggest that you can stop worrying just by the exercise of will power. There is only one Alfred E. Newman: “what me worry?” Paul talks about worry in two passages in Philippians 4.

“…I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” – Philippians 4:11. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.. – Philippians 4:6.

I am always drawn to the words “in every situation.” That means there is nothing too small or trivial to bring to Him. Martin Luther once said to, “pray and let God worry.” Everything is small and important to God, so take everything to Him in prayer. Prayer is the expression of our dependence upon his promises. It isn’t necessarily on your knees, or in the closet, but it can be simply that quiet, recognition that you need to lean back upon his grace and strength in everything.

God is not saying we should ask for everything we want. Instead, we’re to ask for everything we need. And what we need is His grace, his strength, insight, wisdom, patience, love and compassion.

So, let our requests be made known to God, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7.

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you tend to worry about most often – money, physical problems, your children? What exceptions do you usually make for your worries? How does this affect your daily walk with God?
2. Is anything wrong if we do worry? How do you know?
3.Turn to Matthew 6:25-34. In this one passage, Jesus exhorts his listeners four times not to worry and uses two examples from nature – birds and lilies – to show that His Father is intimately involved with the world. What does that passage say to you about worry?
4. What are some areas of worry you can take to God this week?
5. List some breakthroughs you have had with worry. Pray and ask God for more success in finding joy.