Connect Recap Notes: December 31, 2017
Teaching: "How to Have Greener Grass NOW"
Text: Philippians 4:10-13
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. That saying embodies the philosophy that other people's circumstances are more desirable than our own. This attitude can be extended to where you live, the place you work, the one you're married to, the body type you have, and the income you require. Surely, others have it better than we do! Pastor Skip uncovered three basic principles to debunk that theory and, in so doing, helped add water and fertilizer to our own grass:
- Be Connected to God's People (v. 10)
- Be Content with God's Provision (vv. 11-12)
- Be Confident in God's Power (v. 13)
Be Connected to God's People
- The Philippian believers had supported Paul while he ministered in Macedonia. They reconnected when they sent Epaphroditus with money to care for Paul. Epaphroditus was their ambassador to help Paul.
- Here's the principle: when you connect with God's people, it produces joy and encouragement.
- There are many believers who are not belongers—they don't fellowship. But when you connect with God's people, it produces encouragement to go on and to flourish.
- Paul used key words that showed support: care and flourished.
- Probe: What group are you attached to consistently (church, Connect Group, etc.)? What outreach brings you joy?
Be Content with God's Provision
- Contentment isn't related to necessity.
- The Greek word for content means to be self-sufficient or satisfied and self-contained.
- Paul used the same word differently. His attitude was: if people didn't help him, God would still provide.
- Contentment doesn't depend on quantity.
- Paul experienced both contentment and need.
- The Greek word for full is used for feeding and fattening animals.
- Abased: essentially, Paul was saying, "I had status; I lost it all." He wrote this letter from jail.
- There's an illusion that more of something (money or material things, etc.) will bring contentment.
- Contentment is a learned ability.
- Note the phrase "I have learned." Paul was still learning.
- The Greek word for learned is manthanó, which means to learn and understand.
- Here are a few tips to learn contentment:
- Avoid comparisons: comparison robs us of contentment and promotes covetousness.
- Lower expectations: some people expect too much. This brings entitlement and robs you of thankfulness.
- Adjust to alternations: life won't always be great or horrible; there will be ups and downs.
- Develop convictions: contentment is related to what you believe about God's sovereignty. Do you believe God is in control?
- Probe: In what areas of life do you need to learn contentment? Why do you feel that you are not content in this area?
Be Confident in God's Power
- Philippians 4:13 was Paul's philosophy of life: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- The Greek word for I can do means to be strong, have power, have resources. Paul's motto was "I can," not "I can't." Spiritual success comes in "cans."
- Note it is "through Christ who strengthens." The Amplified Version reads, "I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency."
- Our attitude depends on where our resources lay: ourselves, people, or God.
- As we stand on the verge of a new year, here's the challenge: get connected, get contented, and get confident.
- In the end, a doctor may add years to your life, but Jesus adds life to your years.
- Probe: Take a moment to discuss these three areas. How do you plan on doing the following in 2018?
- Getting connected
- Finding contentment
- Building confidence
Connect Up: As you connect up to Christ in the coming year, remember the things Christ has fulfilled in your life this past year. Share about a time when you experienced God's power this year. How did He meet a need or fulfill a promise to you?
Connect In: Share about how you connected to God's people in the church in 2017. What were some of the benefits and challenges?
Connect Out: Were you able to see someone come to Christ this past year? If so, what were the circumstances? How does salvation show the following qualities: the use of people, God's provision, and His power?