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 the Shepherds’ story. Lowey and despised by society, an Angel came to these Shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. By taking a look at their story, we learn some essential truths about who God is, how we can know Him, and what our reaction to Him should be.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
- 1. God uses all sorts of people and events to bring forth His will
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
- 2. It is through Jesus, and only through Jesus, that we can have peace
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
- 3. Our reaction to experiencing God should be to experience Him more, and spread the good news
- Have you ever studied this part of God’s Word before? Did anything stand out? Did anything from the shepherds’ story surprise you?
- In the story of Christ’s birth, God uses the actions of godly people, as well as the actions of ungodly people, to bring forth His will on earth. Through realizing this, we can have peace when our world seems like it is falling apart. How can you better remember this truth and hold onto God’s peace?
- Read Matthew 2:14. It is through Jesus, and only through Jesus, that we can have peace. In what ways do people try to obtain peace, but ultimately fail because it lacks Jesus?
- Looking at your answers from question #3, which one of the ways of obtaining peace without Jesus are you guilty of trying?
- Looking at your answers from question #4, how can you replace those failed attempts at peace, with trusting in Jesus for your peace?
- The shepherds’ reaction to experiencing God is to experience Him more, as well as to spread the good news of Jesus. How can you do the same?
- 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?