One of the key aspects of learning to manage and even overcome our anxiety requires us to bring others into our fight. God calls us to do life deeply and authentically with other Christ followers, so we can experience the hope found only in community. What does it look like to invite others into our pain and fears so that we never have to battle alone?
1. Who is someone who has helped you find more courage, hope, or motivation than you could’ve on your own because of your deep connection with them?
2. Read Acts 4:24-29. What can be difficult about being completely open and honest with others about what’s painful, hard, or scary in your life?
3. In difficult circumstances, do you tend to focus on what’s going on or on who God is in that experience and how He has helped you in the past?
4. What has been your experience with praying with other people out loud? Is it something you desire to do, or do you have hesitations?
5. Read John 16:33. If you pray about your difficult experiences, what do you ask God for? Do you only ask Him to make all the pain disappear, or do you also ask for the courage and strength to endure with hope?
6. How do your friends and family respond to whatever you’re going through? Does any key person in your life point you back to God’s power and love, even while validating and offering compassion?
7. What step of faith do you need to take today to create deeper connection with other Christ followers? Jumping into a Serving Network, a Life Group, asking someone in your life group to coffee, or something else?
Acts 4:24-29 – When they heard the report, they lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.
John 16:33 – I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
As you look to dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, consider checking out the Relationally Engaged outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:
In the final days of Jesus’ life, he offered a prayer….His prayer was for the unity, the oneness, of his followers. Jesus was not naive to the challenges his followers would face and how our unity would be challenged time and time again. But this did not prevent him from asking for it, and for giving us the implicit exhortation that those who follow Christ are to be called together into a unified community. Jesus did not envision a collection of strangers who happen to believe the same doctrines. Jesus envisioned a unified family when he said, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35). The authentic follower of Christ is one who treasures God’s family, seeks to know and be known in that family, and works toward the unity of that family. This takes energy and effort as all relationships do. There is little to no gain for the person who claims to follow Christ, sits anonymously in a church service periodically, and then retreats to his or her “real” friends. The authentic follower of Christ knows there is power and importance in unity and invests the relational time and energy to be connected and unified with fellow followers of Christ.
To complete this outcome in its entirety, go to gatewaychurch.com/spirtual_outcomes/relationallyengaged
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/relationally-engaged