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Defiant Joy: Laugh It Up, Live It Out

Defiant Joy: Laugh It Up, Live It Out

When God Shows Up and Things Blow Up… In a Good Way!

My life changed when I put on a Chewbacca mask, cracked up at myself, and over 160 million people laughed along with me. I still have not figured out exactly what was going on that day in my van. I don’t fully understand what happened the next few days when I was invited to appear on TV shows and interviewed by people I

had only seen on a screen up to that point in my life. But here are a few things I am learning through this experience.

We were made for laughter, joy, and fun… more than we realize. Our hearts and souls long for joy. I believe there is a God who delights when we laugh and celebrates when we play.

God has a destiny for each of us. It is better than we dream. And He will move us toward our destiny in surprising and shocking ways. God might not use a Star Wars mask and the internet to unfold your destiny, but He has a plan and it is going to be a fun ride, if you are willing to jump on.

To be totally honest, I’m still figuring out what all of this means for me. God is still unfolding His plan and I am having a great time figuring out where this is all going. I am excited to have you join me on this journey of life, laughter, joy, and discovery.

Think About It, Talk About It

Tell about a time God pulled back the curtain and gave you an exciting and unexpected glimpse of His plan and destiny for your life. What did you see and how did you feel?

How have you experienced joy and excitement in surprising ways as you walk through life?

Joy beckons us to a place of carefree laughter, smiles, and peace in the simplest moments.

Watch the Session One Video

Feel free to reflect, jot down your thoughts, listen, laugh, and even ask questions!

One Big Thought… Joy is a daily decision.

The God who made you wants you to experience delight, drink in joy, and actually have fun. He really does. This means we are partners with God in experiencing and living with joy. So, how do we engage with joy? Here are some ways we can partner with God in our journey to invite joy into our lives:

Do all things without complaining.

Change your attitude.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Focus less on ourselves and more on others.

Joy skips when others sulk; she takes risks when others cower; she works overtime looking for ways to pierce the darkness with effervescent hope.

Be Honest

Take time to talk about any of the questions, statements, and Bible passages below, choosing what works best for your group. Have fun and be honest.

1. When you think of “Defiant Joy,” what pictures, images, people, or life experiences come to your mind?

Tell a story of someone you have met who is a living example of Defiant Joy.

2. Sometimes Joy feels so far away that when she knocks on the door, we are reluctant to turn the knob and invite her in. What are some of the reasons Joy can feel like a stranger?

Why do some people push Joy away rather than embrace her?

3. The Bible tells us that God’s desire is for us to have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). What pictures come to your mind when you think of your life being lived to the fullness of what God wants?

4. What are some practical ways we can resist and overcome the temptation to be negative, grumble, and complain? How can we invite Joy into times when there is a temptation to be negative?

Read (together or ask a volunteer) Philippians 4:6–9 in e Message.

6–7Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8–9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

5. What attitudes and ways of living are celebrated in this passage?

6. In Philippians 4:6–9, what are we told will happen when we make these shifts, and how have you experienced the truth of these promises?

7. List the eight specific things we are encouraged to think about, ponder, and meditate on in this passage:

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

✦ Whatever is_______________________

What are real-life, practical ways we can think about keeping these things in the center of our mind?

8.How did Jesus live as our perfect example of not focusing on self but sacrificially serving other people? (Try to come up with some examples from His life and ministry as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and even Philippians 2.)

9.Tell a story about someone you know who lives a life of consistent service and care for other people. How does their lifestyle of service unleash joy?

10.What is a way you can serve someone in need as a group or as an individual? How could this become a lifestyle and not just a one-time action?

Say yes to Joy. Jump in. She is waving at you to join the fun.


Spend time as a group or on your own talking with God about any of the following topics:

✦ Thank God for the people in your life who have been an example of self- sacrifice and humble service to others.

✦ List ways to show gratitude to Jesus for His powerful and eternity-changing sacrifices for you.

✦ Pray that you will notice when God is revealing your destiny, and ask for courage to follow His leading. Simple joys can carry us in a significant way.

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Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on defiant joy with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!