the Holy Spirit

Long Live the Revolution - Part 7 - Holy & Happy

Jesus has called us to be holy and happy, and sometimes it feels like we have to choose between being holy and being happy. As he says goodbye to some friends in Ephesus, Paul models what a holy and happy person looks like.

Small Group Discussion Questions
• What was most interesting or encouraging to you?
• What was most challenging to you?
• When you hear Paul say something to the effect of, “I don’t care about anything but Jesus”, does it bother you at all? Is it wrong that we care about things besides Jesus—that we care about family, and friends, and jobs, and sports, etc?
• How do you negotiate the tension between holiness and happiness?
• Can you give any examples from your life in which you thought you had to choose between holiness and happiness, but God gradually transformed your desires so that holiness made you happy?
• Action Step: ask God to make you holy and happy, so share with the group a particular area in which you feel you’re being forced to choose between the two.

Long Live the Revolution - Part 6

Paul's presence in Thessalonica incites a riot and he is accused of turning the whole world upside down. This is one instance of a pattern in The Acts of the Apostles: faithfulness to the gospel constantly gets the early Christians into a good kind of trouble.

• What was most inspiring to you?
• What was most challenging to you?
• The church shouldn’t be partisan, but the church must be political. Discuss.
• Read Romans 13:1-7.
o How do we reconcile the fact that the Paul who wrote Romans 13 and told us to submit to and honor the authorities is the same person who is constantly getting into trouble with the authorities in the Book of Acts?
• Action step: get into some good trouble…which is clever but vague, so what are some ways that we, as Christians, might find ourselves getting into some good trouble if we are faithful to what Jesus has asked us to do?

Long Live the Revolution - Part 5

As the gospel goes to the Gentiles a question is raised by the Jewish believers regarding what is necessary for salvation. Is faith in Jesus enough, or is it necessary to obey the Jewish laws and customs also? In Acts 15 they hold the first church council meeting to decide this issue. Essentially, it's a question many still ask today. What is necessary for Salvation? Is it just Jesus, or Jesus plus something else? How do we maintain unity in the church when the church is made up of different groups of people with differing views?

Series: Long Live the Revolution (Part 5)

Text:

Acts 15:1-12

Eph. 2:8-9

Acts 15:28-29

Big Ideas:

* Grace in Christ alone is what saves you. It’s not Jesus plus anything…. It’s just Jesus.

* The grace killers (the pharisees) need grace too.

* Unity is really important in a church family. We should be willing to sacrifice in order to attain it.

* Unity doesn’t mean uniformity. We don’t ignore or avoid our differences, we love each other in spite of them.

* As recipients of the grace of Jesus, we should seek to be grace givers rather than grace killers.

Questions:

1. What was most interesting or encouraging to you about the sermon this week?

2. What was most challenging to you about the sermon this week?

3. As recipients of the grace of Jesus, we should look to show grace to others. What are some specific ways that we can do that?

4. Unity is really important in the church. How can we maintain unity in the midst of diversity?

5. In order for the church to have unity, often a certain degree of compromise is required. Of course we can’t/shouldn’t compromise in all things. So with that in mind, what is one position that maybe you used to strongly hold to, but not so much anymore? In other words… Is there something that used to be a closed handed issue for you, but now is more open handed in your mind? How do you decide what issues belong in what hand?

6. The grace of Jesus alone is what saves us. Why do we seem so prone to always try and add something to the gospel? Why do we have such a hard time believing that Jesus is enough?

Long Live the Revolution - Part 4 - Stephen

As the early church continues to grow, seven men are chosen to help minister and serve the growing congregation. Acts 6 tells us that Stephen is one of the seven chosen and he turns out to be a very important part of the revolution that is the church. His life and death stand as a transitional part of the book of Acts. After his death, the church falls under a lot of persecution. However, rather than bringing the revolution to a halt, it has the opposite effect. The church rapidly expands from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria and ultimately, the whole world.

Sunday Recap 

Series:  Long Live the Revolution (Part 4)

Text:  

Acts 6:1-15

Acts 7:51-8:3

Big Ideas:

* The church is growing rapidly and needs to organize it’s leadership.  So 7 men are chosen to help the Apostles serve and minister to the church.

* Stephen is the first one chosen… a man who is full of faith and the Holy Spirit.

* Persecution is also ramping up against the church as it grows. 

* Stephen has good character in a world full of shady characters

* Stephen is committed to truth in a world full of lies

* Stephen makes a lasting impact in a world where everything fades away.  

Questions:

1.  What was most interesting or encouraging to you about the sermon this week?

2.  What was most challenging to you about the sermon this week?

3.  Read the texts above about Stephen.  What stands out to you most about him from these passages?  What aspects of his character do you find most admirable or noteworthy?

4.  Stephen was a man of good character.  How do we grow in our character… or how do we allow God to grow our character?  

5.  Stephen was absolutely committed to truth and it cost him his life.  Has there ever been a time in your life when being committed to the truth cost you something?  How might being committed to truth cost us?  

6.  Stephen’s life and death made a lasting impact for the sake of the gospel.  How might our lives also make a lasting impact for the sake of the gospel in our world?  

Long Live the Revolution - Part 1

The book of Acts is all about the launch of the church... the people of God, empowered by God, for the mission of God. In Acts 1 we see Jesus lay out the power, the purpose, and the plan that his followers will need to accomplish the mission. What follows is a revolution that changed the world. Today, we (the church) are continuing that revolution. The mission of God is not finished. He continues to use His church to accomplish his purpose in the world. Long live the revolution!

Consider a specific way that you can be a witness for Christ in your neighborhood this week.

Sunday Recap 

Series: Long Live the Revolution (Part I)

Text:

Acts 1:1-14

Big Ideas:

* The Church is God’s vehicle to reach the whole world… The church is the people of God, empowered by God, for the mission of God.

* Our own willpower is not sufficient to be, and accomplish, all that God asks us to be/accomplish. We need a greater power… the Holy Spirit.

* God’s purpose/mission for the church hasn’t changed… That others may know of Jesus and what He’s done for them. We are His witnesses.

* The plan is that it start locally, and then expand like ripples in a pond outward to the whole world.

Questions:

1. What was most interesting or encouraging to you about the sermon this week?

2. What was most challenging to you about the sermon this week?

3. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer? What does it mean to live a Spirit filled life?

4. According to Acts 1:8 we are to be His (Jesus’) witnesses. What does it mean to be His witness? How do we do that in our day to day lives?

5. Jesus seems to lay out a plan, or a strategy for the church when he tells the apostles that they should start in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. What does this strategy look like for us today? What’s our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and ends of the earth? How have you been able to be a witness for Christ in one or more of these areas?

6. The action step this week was to consider a specific way you can be a witness for Christ in your neighborhood this week. Have you been able to do this? If not, what are some possible ways you can do this?