Life Groups // Fall 2021 // Week 9
Posted November 5, 2021 — Lincoln Berean
Faithful In Blue Jeans // Acts 20:1-16
After our breathtaking ride through Acts 19 the last 2 weeks, we come to a gentler trek along Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey in Acts 20. We discover that ordinary days can be filled with meaning and impact when we stay in step with Jesus.
To get the most out of your group time, we invite you to look over the questions below and write your thoughts down before you meet with your group.
Warm Up (Suggested time: 30 min)
Here are some suggestions to get your conversation started:
1) We’re doing our Life Group end of session survey a bit different this year. We’d love for you to take about 5 minutes during your group meeting to tell us how participating in a Life Group has influenced your walk with Jesus. Here is a link to the survey: https://forms.office.com/r/N52hMg4mZ0 Or use this QR Code:
2) Once you are finished with the Survey, take a few minutes to share with your group about the following questions:
- How has God used this group in your life?
- How have you seen God at work in the lives of others in this group?
- Is there anything you would like to change about this group?
Transition into group discussion.
1) Open group discussion with prayer. Here are a few potential prayer items:
a. For the Spirit of God to lead you in truth
b. For the fruit of the Spirit to be cultivated in your lives
c. For grace to hear and apply what the Spirit says to you
2) Invite someone to read the passage in the group.
Study Questions (Suggested time: 40 min)
1) Most of our study in Acts has been a highlight reel of big events in the early Church. Why might it be important to observe the ordinary activities we see in Acts 20?
In what ways do you struggle with thinking the Christian life is “supposed to be” dramatic when it actually seems ordinary most of the time?
2) In Acts 20:1-6 the word exhorted literally means “to call alongside of”, we might use the word encourage these days with the idea of building relationships to influence and share Jesus with others. What are some ways you see that happening at Lincoln Berean?
How has your Life Group been a place of exhortation already? And how might you build new relationships that encourage others in the months ahead?
3) This portion of scripture spans nearly 2 years of time with little dramatic detail, until verses 7-12 jump in with a dead-raised-to-life miracle! Why do you suppose Luke chose to highlight this event?
4) Tucked into the record of Paul’s travels, an interesting note appears in verse 13 about how he arranged to walk ahead of the group. What are some possible reasons for Paul to seemingly travel alone at this time?
How have you made it a priority and arranged to be alone to focus your attention on Jesus and His plans for you?
If you have been encouraged in a time alone with God, please share with the group.
5) As we come to the end of our passage, we learn that Paul has a plan to return to Jerusalem on Pentecost. Read Leviticus 23:10,15 – What was the original purpose in celebrating Pentecost?
Now read Acts 2:1-5 – What added significance would compel Paul to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem during this journey?
What might we learn from Paul’s example about being intentional with times of worship and remembrance?
Prayer (Suggested time: 20 min)
Prayer opens us up to the leading of the Holy Spirit which makes it an important part of the Christian life. We realize that everyone has their own comfort level with group prayer, and we want this to be a time of safety and care. You may verbalize your prayer or pray silently to yourself; that way everyone is a participant in sharing this time before God together.
Some things to consider during prayer time:
- What did the message or group discussion cause you to notice about your relationship with Jesus?
- How can you express gratitude for what God’s teaching you?
- What questions are stirring that only God can answer?
- Are there troubling things in your life that need to be confessed to God?
- Is there an unmet need that only God can fulfill?
Personal Spiritual Exercises
Each week we’re suggesting a couple of spiritual exercises. These are not required, but they may help us to actually live our faith and grow as followers of Jesus. Feel free to practice one or both of them. If a certain exercise is very helpful for you, maybe you can figure out a way to incorporate it into your daily life. Next week in your Life Group, take a few moments to share how either of these exercises may have changed your outlook on your daily life.
Travel Like Paul: In the history of the Jewish people, Psalms 120-134 (the Psalms of Ascent) were sung by travelers as they approached Jerusalem to worship God in His Temple. Being raised as a devout Jew, Paul would have known all these psalms by heart and his journey to Jerusalem would include refreshing his heart with them. Choose to read one of these psalms each day, as you do, notice the characteristics of God; write them down, repeat them back to Him, or form them into a prayer of gratitude.
Practice Exhortation: Choose one or two people to “call alongside of” this week. Send an encouraging note, share appreciation over coffee, help them by serving a need. The most important thing is that you share the love of Jesus with them. (Bonus points for choosing to focus on someone you would like to invite to join your Life Group next session)