Note to leaders
This week we are launching what’s going to be a beautiful 21 days of serving. Our dream is to display 5,000 radical acts of compassion, showing our communities what radical love looks like. Encourage your group with Gene’s statement: “Sometimes the moment you step out of your comfort zone is the moment you allow God to work through you.”
Allow time after your discussion to brainstorm various ways your group members can serve this week, individually or together.
I know it when I see it
Joy and Goodness
Weekend in review
There are certain things you can try to define, describe, or explain. You can use metaphors and illustrations. You can wordsmith and try to paint a verbal picture. But some things are just better seen. For the next few weeks we’re going to look at the kind of character traits the Holy Spirit wants to produce in all of us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. When these traits are visible and tangible in our lives, people stand back and say, “Oh, so THAT’S what it looks like.”
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing. You can talk about whatever you’d like, but here are potential questions to get the conversation going.
- If you found a way to join in our 21 Days of Service this past week with an act of kindness to someone who has been impacted by COVID, tell the group about it.
- If you were the recipient of kindness this week, tell the group about it.
- What does St. Francis of Assisi’s famous admonition mean to you? “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary use words.”’
- Read Proverbs 11:17. This verse describes how when we are kind, we feel good inside, but when we are cruel, harsh, or apathetic, something shrivels up inside us. Mike explained that this shouldn’t be surprising because we’ve been created in the image of a good God who loves to do goodness. God designed humans to feel those things; we consider it abnormal when a person does not. Can you recall personal experiences that affirm what this verse declares?
- Read Ephesians 2:10. Is it difficult for you to believe that as a child of God, you are his workmanship, a masterpiece that God made? How does our understanding of that tie into our doing good works that God prepared for us to do?
- Read Proverbs 11:25. Mike called this a boomerang principle, pointing out that goodness and joy go hand in hand. When you refresh others, you feel refreshed as well. Sometimes it is easy and other times it might involve a difficult, or sacrificial effort. Even in challenging circumstances, when we give or bring relief to another out of love, we feel good. Have you experienced this?
- Read Proverbs 3:27. Andy Stanley advises, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” In other words, look for the one that God puts in front of you. What needs do you see in your daily life and community? What is one good thing you could do?
- Have you ever felt you were being prompted by the Holy Spirit to help someone? Share your experience. Did you shrink back or act on it? How did it feel?
- Look up Psalms 82:3-4, James 1:27, 1 John 4:19-21, Isaiah 58:7-8, wrapping up with Galatians 6:9. What do these scriptures tell us about God?
- Mike spoke about people chasing happiness and referred to studies revealing a connection between happiness, health, and selflessness. He spoke of the vast benefits of volunteering in some way that helps others. When you were growing up, were you involved in activities of that sort? If so, how did those experiences affect or shape you?
- Do you think of it as stepping too far outside of your comfort zone to engage in some of the activities Mike described or that you see as needs around you to be addressed? What would you feel capable of doing to help? It really starts with prayer.
- Do you see yourself as a person who regularly looks for opportunities to bring God’s kindness and goodness to others around you? Or is this sort of selflessness new for you?
- Mike shared that he would pray each day asking God to put someone in his path to show goodness to. He urged us to consider, “What is right in front of you? Who is right in front of you? Notice them. When it is in your power to do good, do goodness, and feel the smile of God and experience deep joy in your soul.” This week pray for such opportunities each day, keeping your eyes peeled and your heart ready with anticipation.
- Mike described the huge benefits that volunteering has on teenagers. If you are parent of a teenager, how can you engage your teen in serving others
- Discuss how you will participate in 21 Days of Serving as a group or individuals. This week we’ll be focusing on serving in our neighborhoods. Consider how you can help a neighbor, improve the neighborhood, or pay it forward. You can get more ideas at https://eastside.com/21days/. Please be sure to pin your activities.
Warm up & prayer
Share prayer requests and spend time praying for each other.
Pray that the outpouring of kindness and goodness in our neighborhoods this week will bring aid and comfort and encouragement to those around us and great glory and joy to God.