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THE WAY--Prevailing Wisdom is not Always Wise

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Discussion Guide – The Way- Prevailing Wisdom is not Always Wise. Pastor Tony
Questions by Pastor Ric
July 23, 2017 

If we want to understand the history of the church, Acts is our book.  This study will continue to give us a picture of how the early church handled its beginnings, struggles and subsequent growth in a culture not unlike our own—somewhat hostile but open to spiritual things.  We need this.

Feel free to use more or less of these questions.  They are here to move us from knowledge to obedience as God’s Spirit speaks to our hearts.  Share what God is doing in your heart as a result and have others you trust hold you to account for the life-change God is working in you.

Text: Acts 27:1-44

  1. Disagreements are common. However, sometimes we limit our options and put new ways aside to preserve the “we’ve always done it that way” philosophy. How can we better respond when new ideas (even those that don’t appear to make sense) are presented? What are some good ways of entertaining new ideas instead of simply dismissing them out of hand?
  2. Another common element in disagreements is not listening. Many of us have taken speech courses, but how many of us have taken a course on how to listen? How does James 1:19  help us?  What inner character qualities help us be better listeners?
  3. Paul’s calm confidence in God along with personal experience (in the midst of the storm) led him to passionately communicate a different perspective to his ship mates. Have some conversations about how a life challenge has increased your faith and how you feel God spoke to you through it.  As Paul shows us, a life lived by faith dependent upon godly wisdom, is an incredibly powerful testimony to others. Later, Paul’s advice was accepted.  Why did his ship mates now trust him and how does Paul’s model speak to a better way of leadership? 
  4. Majority rules but is not always right. Paul’s advice was ignored by the majority (“experts”), however, he was right and the majority was wrong! What biblical principle does this support?
  5. Discuss how one determines whose wisdom to trust and if it comes from God? (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Living by faith with respect to how we handle our money is a great challenge. We live in a culture of consumerism.  Author/speaker Alan Hirsch says, “…Consumerism is the secular religion of our day”.  As Christ-followers, how do we decide how the life of faith affects our daily life with Jesus when it comes to how much we spend on ourselves vs. investing in Kingdom work?
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“The Way—Changing the Hearts of Leaders” Pastor Tony

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Discussion Guide – “The Way—Changing the Hearts of Leaders”  Pastor Tony

Questions by Pastor Ric

July 16, 2017

If we want to understand the history of the church, Acts is our book.  This study will continue to give us a picture of how the early church handled its beginnings, struggles and subsequent growth in a culture not unlike our own—somewhat hostile but open to spiritual things.  We need this.

Feel free to use more or less of these questions.  They are here to move us from knowledge to obedience as God’s Spirit speaks to our hearts.  Share what God is doing in your heart as a result and have others you trust hold you to account for the life-change God is working in you. 

Texts:  RO 13:1-7; ACTS 25:23-27; 26:1-32

            Silence/Solitude, Sabbath Rest are spiritual disciplines.  Pastor Tony’s introductory remarks about our teens reminded me of my own reticence to take regular time to be with God and away from the distractions of media and culture.  What is your habit of “getting away” and hearing from God?  In our Life Groups, this is something we can help one-another with.  Talk about how this could happen more intentionally in your group.

  • We live in a divided culture. There are many people with diverse world-views.  How do we, as Christ-followers, relate well to those who have radically different perspectives?  What is our responsibility on social media?  Apart from dialog, how does our personal speech with others reflect respect, especially for leaders with whom we differ?
  • We were reminded that God is ultimately in control, however, dismissing leaders who differ with us is a fairly common response. But, if we truly have God’s heart for those leaders who are “not yet Christ-followers”, our responsibility is to not only respect but to pray for them.  Are we convinced that the power of prayer can really change those in authority over us? (Are we willing to play, “the long game”?)  Why don’t we do it more?
  • Clearly, the heart attitude is in play here. The discussion of abortion is one of the most divisive in our culture. Making the case for life in a loving/clear way to someone who disagrees will take a respectful/loving heart.  Discuss the ways we struggle with our heart attitudes and why.  How can we better allow the Spirit to control us when it comes to political and cultural disagreement? 
  • How does your “defense” (winning the soul v. winning the argument) of godly principles in an ungodly cultural context have the best chance of changing someone? (See Pastor Tony’s application re: our “attitude of disagreement”.) The testimony of our lives is the best defense.  How, specifically, is that accomplished by each one of us?
  • While Romans 13 challenges us to respect and obey our leaders, what should we do when these leaders are responsible for laws that violate godly principles (e.g. American Revolution)? (Also, keep the King Agrippa/Paul context in mind as you discuss.)  What are the implications for the local church and its relationship with an increasingly secular government and culture?
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