Week 6: Giving Thanks
Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants share five things they are thankful for right now.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: Ephesians 5:15-20
- Why and how do commercials and advertisements try to create within us a constant need for more products? [Otherwise, we won’t see a need for the products. Advertisers promise our lives will be better and happier, once we obtain these products. The improvement is only temporary, since a better version of the products will appear soon to create more desire. On and on the cycle continues of people not being satisfied to being temporarily satisfied, and back to not being satisfied.]
- How might listing things we are grateful for on a continual (daily) basis be a beneficial spiritual practice?
- What might it look like for you to be “careful” about how you live? How might mindful or spiritual practices like prayer, Scripture reading, journaling, and other practices develop a “careful” or attentive way of living?
- What might Paul have in mind by observing that “the days are evil” (v. 16)? [This probably includes things such as not living carefully or being inattentive to God and what God is doing in the world. To be wise, then (v. 15), is to live more attentively to the values of God’s kingdom.]
- How might intentionally noticing and expressing gratitude be a core discipleship practice that builds up us as individuals and becomes a unifying feature of our community life in the church? [We would become more aware of how grateful we are for one another in how we support and challenge one another to be more intentional in our care for one another and for the needs of those around us.]
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
Loving God, you invite us to a new way of being – a way of self-giving and generosity that seems scary. It is a way of life that radically trusts your provisions. Help us to experience true life in giving instead of through getting. Help us to live in such a way that others experience new life that comes solely by your grace. Amen.