Living Word: Joy (Luke 2:21–40)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — These are announcements specific to the Moscow Campus.

  • Curriculum Note: Curriculum will not be published the weeks of December 18 and 25.
  • We Are Church
    Ovations 2017
    January 29, 6:00–8:00 pm at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    Ovations is a time to celebrate you, our awesome volunteers, for all the great work you do.
    RSVP at liferotp.com/ovations.
  • Holiday Services
    December 24
    1:30, 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00 pm in Moscow.
    December 25
    No services.
    January 1
    Regular services in Moscow.

WELCOME — Don’t read through the list; this is something that you model.

  • Help new believers, visitors, and members feel valued and welcomed.
  • Start at the moment someone arrives and don’t end until everyone is gone.
  • Establish a foundation for relationships.

OPENING PRAYER — Don’t read through the list; this is something that you model.

  • Invite God’s Holy Spirit into our presence.
  • Prepare our hearts for what God has for us.
  • Shift our attention from individual fellowship to the group.

PURPOSE/VISION CASTING — Don’t read through the list; say them in your own words.

“The purpose of this group is…”

  • to mature in our relationship with God.
  • to have the people we need around us to disciple and encourage us.
  • to be here for others in the group; to encourage and disciple others.
  • to live life together; we are here for each other in the joyful and difficult moments of our lives.
  • to invite other people into a relational environment, which means our group will branch at some point; when that point comes, if you would like to lead or host a group, please let me know.

GROUND RULES — Cover all the ground rules.

  • Confidentiality: What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  • Listen: Let’s value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Try to avoid thinking about how you are going to respond or what you are going to say next.
  • Pause: Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares to give the person sharing a chance to finish and give the group an opportunity to consider what was shared before responding.
  • Silence: It is important to allow silence in the group as it provides an opportunity for someone to share and for members in the group to process the topic or question being considered.
  • No Cross Talk: Be considerate of others as they are sharing. No side conversations.
  • No Fixing: We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that. Give encouragement, speak truth, and point to Jesus. Don’t try to fix each other.
  • No Rescuing: When people are sharing something deeply personal, there can be a tendency to make them feel better about themselves or the situation by providing immediate condolences. This will often cause them to stop sharing. Resist the temptation to rescue people.
  • Sharing: Be sensitive about the amount of time you share.
  • Use “I” statements: It’s easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use “I” statements rather than “they,” “the church,” “us,” “we,” etc.
  • Household Rules: We appreciate those who open their home up to CARE Groups and out of respect to them we need to… (e.g., take shoes off, clean up toys afterward, put chairs back, leave by 8:00 pm, etc.)

OPENING CONNECTION — Use the following icebreaker.

  • Discuss your group’s Christmas break plans (special get-together, travel plans of individuals and families, next meeting date, etc.).

STORY PREPARATION — Introduce today’s story.

  • “Last Sunday Paule continued our Advent series with a message about joy. Today we will be looking at Luke 2:21–40 which picks up where we left off last week. We will consider how the Advent message brings joy, even in the midst of hard things.”

TELL THE STORY — Story the passage from memory.

  • Luke 2:21–40
    • Tell the story as accurately and convincingly (passionately) as you can from memory.
    • Relax and have fun—you do not have to do this perfectly.
    • Make eye contact with the group and use positive body language.
    • Avoid making personal comments during the story.

REBUILD THE STORY — Have someone read the passage.

  • Luke 2:21–40

SERMON IMPLICATIONS — Summarize these for the group.

  • If Jesus came as the light to help reveal God’s true intent to us, and what we learned is that God is working to restore peace to His world, then we can rejoice because He has arrived.
  • Advent invites us to trust that God will show up, His promises are not empty, and His arrival will be exactly when He intends it. There is a time for fasting, but not now. There is a time to mourn, but not now.
  • The bridegroom expects us not only to be expecting His arrival, but also to ensure the festival is full. He will make the preparations, and we are to prepare the bride.
  • Advent declares the time for rejoicing is now. Our King has arrived, light has broken the darkness, chaos is overcome, death will be defeated, and mourning will fade into joy. Our bridegroom has arrived.

DEBRIEF THE PASSAGE — Ask the questions.

  • Which sermon implication meant the most to you? Why?
  • The third week of Advent is joy. In your mind, what is the difference between happiness and joy?
  • When have you recently experienced happiness? When have you experienced joy?
  • Joseph and Mary were poor, away from home, and faced social and religious ostracizing (by some). In the midst of it all, what do you feel Anna and Simeon’s message meant to Joseph and Mary?
  • What does the pursuit of joy look like in your own life?
  • When you are in a hard place, what passage of scripture helps you return to joy?

CLOSE IN PRAYER — Don’t read through the list; choose a way to close in prayer.

  • Take prayer requests.
  • Pray about the conversation that you just had.
  • Break up in smaller groups to pray as an option.

NEXT WEEK’S STORY — Curriculum will not be published the weeks of December 18 and 25.