Small Group Guide:
Open with prayer.
Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?
If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.
Throughout this sermon series we are looking at characters that are typically overlooked in the Christmas story, and what their stories can teach us. This week, we’re looking at Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. Joseph was open to God’s leading, even in the midst of an extremely stressful situation. The Christmas season can be stressful for us as well. Yet, it is important that we remain open to God’s leading, just as Joseph was. By taking a look at this portion of God’s Word, we can learn how to be open to God’s leading, just like Joseph was.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
- 1. Love others intentionally and well
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
- 2. Don’t ignore God’s calling
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
- 3. Live by God’s Word
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
- 4. Give it all you’ve got
- Have you ever studied this part of God’s Word before? Did anything stand out? Did anything from Joseph’s story surprise you?
- Joseph was open to God’s leading in this passage. Of the 4 things that we pointed out about Joseph, which one(s) do you do well, and which one(s) do you need to work on?
- Do some reflecting. How well do you feel like you are open to God’s leading in your life during stressful and busy times?
- Looking at your answer from question #3, what practical steps do you need to improve how open you are to God’s leading?
- What is your biggest take away from this message? What did God teach you? Do you feel led to put anything into action? If so, what, and what practical step(s) do you need to take to be obedient to what God has led you to do? Who can keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.
Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:
Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?