Weekly Belong Group Lesson
Title: Stay Joyful In the Fight
Icebreaker: What is one thing that makes you happy and why?
This Sunday our Bishop delivered an encouraging message on how to receive and maintain our joy. The Bible makes it clear that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and we definitely need strength if we plan to win any battle we face. The key is recognizing that Jesus is the source of that joy and strength; our Bishop made it very clear that we must take inventory on our relationship with the Lord to ensure we are not forfeiting our joy.
I. True Joy
a. There is a significant difference between joy and happiness; happiness is determined by external circumstances. When things go well we're happy, and when problems arise that happiness fades to frustration.
b. Joy, however, is independent of external circumstances. Joy is a deep sense of pleasure or delight that can only be developed by the Holy Spirit.
c. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. We are guaranteed to encounter trials and difficult circumstances in this world, but God provides us with his joy to strengthen us in the fight to overcome the world. So it is only by pursuing the things of God that true joy may be produced in our lives.
What factors influence a plant's growth, or lack thereof? If you want joy to grow in your life, what factors might influence or hinder that growth?
II. Abide In Him
a. Jesus informs us in John 15:5 that we can only be fruitful if we abide in him. Since joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is only by abiding in Christ and walking by the Holy Spirit that we may be fruitful.
b. To abide simply means to stay connected. Oftentimes we wander off from the Lord and think that we can only enter his presence during a designated prayer time. We fail to realize that we can pray and connect to Jesus at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).
c. By praying at all times and remaining in the presence of the Lord, we find that difficult situations still arise, but he goes through them with us.
d. It is then the Holy Spirit that guides us through the appropriate way to navigate each day. When we connect with Jesus throughout the day we receive instruction from the Holy Spirit (Psalms 16:11).
What are some practical ways that we can connect with God?
Why would our relationship with Jesus be the primary source of our joy? Can other things help us to maintain our joy?
III. Joy Flows from Relationship
a. The relationship that is built with the Holy Spirit by constant prayer and communication is what begins to produce joy in our lives. However, we must choose each day to obey those instructions and the commandments of God if we want that joy to be sustained. We forfeit our joy when we choose to live according to our own will and desires; the instruction of the Lord provides guardrails to keep us on course.
b. The commandments of God can be found throughout scripture. In fact, if we don't engage with the scriptures we miss out on a huge part of our connection to Jesus since he is the living word. If we wish to recognize the voice of the Lord and obey his commandments we must build a foundation in scripture.
c. As we develop our relationship with God through scripture we find a template for our own prayers. When we connect and pray to the Lord through his own words we find our prayers answered accordingly (John 15:7). Answered prayers are a huge source of encouragement and strength when our joy begins to feel depleted.
d. Our relationship with the Lord will also influence our relationships with others (John 15:12). As we commune with, reflect on, and pray for the people God has sent to our lives we cannot help but experience joy and appreciate the encouragement that comes from fellowship with others (Philippians 1:3-5).
Grow Classes: Grow classes are now available online! You can join our instructors virtually to begin your next steps in Christ. Please visit citychurchnola.life/growworkshops to register.
Wednesday Morning Prayer: You can participate in corporate prayer every Wednesday morning at 7 AM on Facebook. Join us each week as we continue to pray for our church, our city, and our nation.
Family Time: Join us every Wednesday at 7 PM for Family Time with our Bishop & Pastor Tammy, along with Pastors Harvey and Leslie Campbell. You can join us each week on Facebook or YouTube by searching City Church of New Orleans.
City Life TV: You can watch our Bishop deliver thoughtful messages throughout the week. Tune in to WHNO, channel 20, Monday-Friday at 7:30 PM.
Please continue to report your virtual group meetings!
By using the same email you would normally receive, you may update your group information and report your weekly meetings.
If you need help with reporting, please contact your district pastor.
Have an amazing and spirit-filled group!
College & Young Adult Lesson
There will be no college lesson this week. Please follow along with the general lesson and have a powerful, spirit-filled group!