Peace

There is a part of my history with Scripture that makes me laugh at this passage. Back in my college and young adult days, the admonition was, don’t worry so much. It’s a sin! Which only made me worry that I was worrying too much, and then I realized that I was worrying about worrying so I was DEFINITELY sinning, which made me worry even more.

As adults with more life experience, we can laugh at that ridiculous cycle brought on by an immature reading and application of this passage (usually taught by an equally immature peer in a college or young adult group). It’s a necessary part of growing up.

Sadly, I’ve met more than a few adults and long-time church attenders who still try to live out this passage by putting all of their effort into “not worrying so much.” It can go much, much deeper than just our thought life. The secret to less worry isn’t about what we think about, but who we think about. I love the DBS questions that challenge us to think about God and how we relate to him, especially for this passage.

The songs this week are more than just sing-along songs! They can be powerful declarations of the one who gives us reason to be at peace, to be worry-free, even if we are in the middle of a worrisome circumstance. The peace of God that banishes worry is a peace that surpasses understanding . . . which means we have to be ok with not understanding. Sing these songs with those difficult situations in mind, declaring that you receive God’s peace—the peace that takes up so much of your heart and mind that it leaves no room for worry.

You can also take the lyrics of one of the songs and have your group speak them over whatever it is that has them worried. For example, the chorus of “It Is Well With My Soul” is just a few simple lines:

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

  • Have each person write a few words about what has them worried on a piece of paper.
  • Hold it in their hands and spend some time spiritually and symbolically giving it to the care of God, who knows every detail.
  • Then, say together (or whenever they are ready), “It is well with my soul / It is well, it is well with my soul.”
  • Have them imagine themselves putting the situation in a bag and handing it over to God.
  • Then give them time to receive back from God whatever he wants to give to them. Give them a few minutes to receive his gift to them, to process and enjoy that gift, and to thank Him for it.
  • Allow time for sharing if anyone wants to do so.

Quick reminders

The YouTube list contains videos with lyrics that are easily shareable during an online Life Group gathering, but the selection can be more limited because of licensing and copyright laws. YouTube also leans toward newer songs where publishers have been uploading new releases but haven’t created videos for older music. A lot of the older songs might not have official lyric videos (created by people who don’t own the rights), so we can’t officially share them here.

Spotify only has audio tracks (no lyrics), but the list is longer because licensing and copyright laws are easier to observe on this platform. What you use will depend on how comfortable your group is with engaging in worship in different ways (in other words, singing without words or simply engaging and agreeing while listening without singing along).

Please do not feel you have to use all or any of either list! These were inspired by one person’s study of the selected passage. You can choose one or two (probably all you will have time for in a weekly Life Group gathering) or you can create your own list! These are meant to be a springboard, a list of possibilities; this is not a prescription to be precisely followed.

You can also forgo music altogether in favor of another form of worship. A growing list of ideas is provided at the end of this post.

Beyond the Life Groups, feel free to enjoy the music throughout your week. Share the songs with anyone who might be interested. You may know someone who is going through something that is addressed in the lyrics and will be encouraged by a song.

This week

PASSAGE: Matthew 6.25–34

Other ways to worship

Worship is our response to God. Music inspires our worship but—in and of itself—music is not worship. If finding a worship leader or managing the technology in the era of online group meetings proves to be more challenging, allow your group to worship in other ways!

Any activity that causes our hearts to acknowledge the reality of who God is and the reality of who we are in Him is considered worship, whether it is singing in a group or working alone in the kitchen à la Brother Lawrence. Below is a list of just a few possibilities, but don’t be limited by a list! Let Holy Spirit whisper ideas to you about how God wants to be worshipped by your group.

  • A–Z: name something about God that you love beginning with each letter of the alphabet
  • testimonies: share something that God has done over the past week and allow yourselves to marvel at his goodness
  • found objects: ask group members to share something from around the house that reminds them of God
  • personalize a passage: choose a Psalm and read it slowly, allowing everyone in the group to imagine themselves as the writer and to take time to apply that Psalmist’s experience to a situation in their own lives (Psalm 23 is a good starter one to try this activity)

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