Small Group Questions

Discussion Questions

Domino Effect - Week 1

How to use the Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Scripture is provided as a convenience to you and for those who may not have a bible.
  2. Excerpts are provided from Tom’s sermon to help the group remember the important parts of his message. Feel free to read these together as a group, or you may simply want to use them as a reminder to put in your own words. Don’t feel the need to read everything in this document as a group. Use what you need, skip what you don’t.


Scripture Passages:

Psalm 126:1-6 (NLT) 1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! 2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 

3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. 5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.


James 1:2 (NIV84) 2 Consider it pure joy. . . whenever you face trials of many kinds.


Isaiah 52:7–8 (NLT) 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! 8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the Lord returning to Jerusa-lem. 


Warm Up:

Pastor Tom’s message focused on the topic of joy. Just for fun what are some of your most joy-filled memories or moments?


Discussion:

1. This week as Pastor Tom kicked off the Domino Effect series and shared the main question of this series: Will what is happening today, lead me to where I want to be tomorrow? 

He then talked about the domino effect of experiencing an unshakeable joy today could impact us in the future. 

How would you define joy, and how might you know if you have “it?” How do you think an ex-perience of unshakeable joy might impact you downstream? 


2. How might someone balance honest feelings of sorrow or fear and an unshakeable joy?


3. Partway through his message, Pastor Tom shared the illustration of canaries in mines. He said this: Christian joy is like that singing, yellow bird for me. One of the first effects of sin or stumbling in the “with God” life, is that we lose our joy in Christ. When your heart stops sing-ing, that is a warning to pay attention to your soul.

What might it look like for your heart to stop singing? What connections do you see between joy and the with God life? 


4. Read Psalm 126:1-6. 

Based on these verses where do the people find their joy? What else can we learn about joy from these verses?


5. Read James 1:2. Excerpt from Tom’s message: Joy is not a requirement of the “with God” life, it is a consequence.

What do you think Pastor Tom meant by this statement? How might making this distinction impact the way we view joy? 


6. Excerpt from Tom’s sermon:

Joy flows out of the heart, like everything else; but joy is a choice. 

• We can decide to live in response to the abundance of God or we can focus on what we do not have.  

• We can decide to live in the environment of a loving God or we can focus on environ-ments that are less loving, even hate-filled. 

• We can decide to center ourselves in the God who generously gives or we can focus on what our selfish ego does not yet have.

Which of these choices comes most naturally for you? Why do you think that is? Which of these do you find the most challenging? What might someone do to build a more joyful per-spective in their life?


7. Excerpt from Tom’s sermon: Present joy has a past and a future. Reread Psalm 126:1-6. 

How do we see the past, present, and future of joy in these verses? What are some your pre-sent joys and how can you trace those joys to your past?


8. Toward the end of the message, Pastor Tom shared this quote from Eugene Peterson:

Joy is the verified, repeated experience of those involved in what God is doing.

What are some of your reactions to this definition of joy? How have you seen this definition play out in your own life or in someone else’s?


9. Toward the end of his message Pastor Tom shared this list of characteristics of Christian joy:

• Joy is what God gives, not what I manufacture.  

• Joy is the deep conviction that all things are working together for good to those who live the “with God” life.  

• Joy for people in the “with God” life comes from feeling good not about ourselves, but about God. We find him to be dependable. We find him to be trustworthy. It is not dependent on good health or avoiding pain. Christian joy is present, is real in the midst of pain, suffering, loneliness or loss.  

What else might you add to this list? What might it look like for this kind of joy to be a part of your life this week? 


Next Steps:

Excerpt from Tom’s message:

If the joy-producing acts of God are characteristic of our past, we can safely believe the joy-producing acts of God will be characteristic of our future...  


Maybe its times to start a joy journal. Make two columns on a page or on your fridge. On one side, remember the joy God has brought you in the past. On the other side of the page, imagine what joy God might bring in your future.


Take a few minutes to reflect. Write down a couple of ways God had brought you joy in the past and a couple of ways God might bring you joy in your future. Share a few of your thoughts with your group.