Finding Meaning In The Struggles.

Day 1

Read Philippians 1:1-11

This is a pastoral letter to a church that Paul, clearly has a lot of heart invested into.  He genuinely cares about their growth and advancement in being disciples of Jesus, while he also refers to himself in that same role.  Like we talked about in the first sermon, he sees them as partners in the ministry, but he is also a partake of grace.  This is a beautiful picture of what a pastor’s heart should look like.  But I wonder if this is not a heart that each of us in the church should not experience as well.  Maybe not to the same extent, but certainly to some extent these themes are what can help build the community in the church.  

How have you experienced the kind of love and care for others around you to the point where you have been concerned with their growth in being a disciple?

What are ways that you can help other people grow that is born out of a love for them?

What do you think Paul means by verse 6?

How does this idea fit into your prayers today?

Day 2

Read Philippians 1:12-30

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the church in Philippi.  He was missing the people, but at the same time, was encouraging himself with the idea that what he was going through, even though it seemed to be a dead end in life and in the ministry, God was still using it to spread the gospel and build the church.  For Paul, that was the reminder that he needed to see that his ultimate purpose was not selfish, but rooted in the desire for God’s kingdom to grow.  The benefit of what was happening to him is that the gospel was being preached in the prison by many people.  Not only that, but back at Philippi, his example was going to serve to encourage and help so many people.  That must have been the thing that gave him the fuel and fortitude to wake up and make every day count, even when the days seemed so wasted.  

How have you seen God use what you have been through to advance the gospel?

How can you understand and take on Paul’s perspective of seeing your circumstances as not all the things keeping you from everything you want or desire, but rather as being able to be used for the gospel?

How have you been encouraged by watching someone in the church go through situations and how has that helped increase your faith?

Why not take some time to share some specifics from the above question on the app in the “5 Day Study Group?”

Day 3

**Today’s devotion written by Jenna Altom**

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
We have looked at Paul’s suffering in prison and how the church encouraged him while he was imprisoned. Today’s Scripture from1 Coringhtians was also written by Paul and he is talking about the importance of the church working together as one body. In my opinion, this is one of the main ways we can encourage each other. I have always heard this Scripture preached from the perspective of everyone’s talents and gifts being used in the body of Christ. I do think it means gifts, but I also think it is talking about sharing our personal stories and backgrounds and struggles and the things God has taught us with each other. As we see Paul being encouraged by the church during his imprisonment, so we should be doing the same for our brothers and sisters in Keystone. Part of being the body and the church of Christ is to share one another’s burdens. Share your testimony with your brothers and sisters in Christ and share the wisdom you’ve discovered in those situations. I might not be able to speak into what it is like to be an empty nester, but I do know what it feels like to miscarry a child. I might not understand what it feels like to lose a job or to suffer with an illness, but there are others in Keystone who have experienced it. We should be able to humbly and openly come to our fellow believers, take their hand and say, “I know where you are because I’ve been there too.” That is being the church. We are called to live life together and bear one another’s burdens. You have been adopted into the family of God. Be willing to lift each other up and carry another’s burden. This life is too much for any one person to try to carry it alone.Paul was so encouraged by the church praying for him that he felt confident going forward with the gospel, even if it meant he would die for it. Imagine how that kind of encouragement from each other could bolster our everyday lives!

Who is someone you can call to just check in on them and pray over them?

Who could benefit from hearing your story?

Perhaps you are afraid you have nothing to offer in this area? Pray for Jesus to show you the people who need to know what God has taught you in your personal journey..

Day 4

Read Acts 16:1-15

The origin stories of how a church just starts are fascinating to me. I have been on the inside of this process in the modern day in being a part of starting Keystone Church.  I am certain you have all heard at least pieces of that origin story.  This chapter in Acts gives us a glimpse into the start of the church at Philippi, which is who Paul is writing to in the book of Philippians.  We are introduced to Timothy, who is the co-author of the letter as well.  We are also told the story of what seems to be the first convert and pivotal person that the church planters met here, Lydia.  

Lydia was “a worshipper of God”, but yet responded to the gospel that Paul was preaching.  What do you think this means and what happened here?

Macedonia is a part of Philippi, but this text tells us the story of a call to Macedonia.  How does this fit into the story of the church at Philippi?

What does this text teach you about how God may be directing your life?

How can this be a part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Acts 16:16-40

We are still reading in the backstory of the church at Philippi.  If you will remember, Paul and Silas were preaching in Philippi and had met a lady that seemed to be pivotal in the story, Lydia.  Her and her family start to follow Jesus and Paul and Silas are staying with them. That is where this story picks up.  They are put in prison and interestingly enough, the letter we are studying, Philippians, is written from prison.  It is not the same prison visit, but yet another one. It is the context that helps us work through all of the backstory for what we are reading as Paul is encouraging people in Philippi.  

As Paul was leading the people of Philippi and starting this church, what were the main things the people learned about Paul in this story?

How does this kind of a real life lesson impact a church and the culture of the church going forward?

Now imagine you are in this church and watched Paul and Silas go through this imprisonment, then later on, you get word that they are back in prison again and there is no miracle walkout that seems to be happening.  How does that impact people and how does this impact the dynamic of the church?

Remember in the sermon, we talked about how Paul was confident that what he was going through was going to serve for their growth as a church, their majority in being disciples.  How do you think that happens?

How does this become your prayer this week?

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