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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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The Way--RSVP--Pastor Nicholas Todd

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Discussion Guide – “The Way—RSVP”  Pastor Nic

Questions by Pastor Ric

July 9, 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— hostile to Followers of “The Way” but also open to spirituality.  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:  MA 5:3-11;  Acts 24:22-27

  • Jesus’ amazing teaching in MA 5 was new, different and life-changing. The beatitudes are like the “Cliff Notes’ of Jesus’ teaching.  They are Jesus’ invitation to a life of righteousness (Blessed are you if):  Your poverty (your spirit) allows you to be “poured into” by His Spirit…  Vulnerability is losing and loving…  Gone are destructive instincts (the meek)… Mercy is given and received…  we are single-purposed…  Making peace brings maturity….  Persecution leads to a reflection of the grand story of God and a heavenly perspective…  Rewards can be here but are mostly in heaven… you  hunger and thirst for Righteousness which cannot be defined as moral only (behaving correctly)---It is connected to God through my pursuit of a relationship with Him—his presence is a powerful part of my desire to obey and is wrapped up in my loving relationship with Him…Paul’s connection with Jesus changed him forever.  It is all about relationship.  Discuss your relationship with Jesus and how it specifically impacts your life every day.  Talk about how some days, it doesn’t and why.
  • Being falsely accused is not fun. Paul’s situation landed him in prison for over two years.  How’s that for a resume builder? Would you hire this man? How would we respond if we were in this specific situation?  Talk about how Paul responded to this extended challenge and what ways you might struggle with this?  What are the keys to responding well?
  • Are there people in your life/Oikos you have given up on? Paul continued to share “The Way” with Felix and Drucilla for more than two years, with no response.  How do we wrap our arms around this kind of perseverance?
  • Felix was looking for a bribe…illegal but culturally acceptable. If I were Paul, I might be tempted to respond “culturally” to “help” Felix understand my desire to identify with him and perhaps move him closer to a response.  What would be the harm in that?  (hint:  what part does the Holy Spirit play in anyone’s response to Jesus’ invitation?)
  • Felix was not responding to Paul’s invitation (no RSVP).  In Paul’s teaching on Mars Hill, there were several responses…”some were saved, some departed saying he’s nuts, and some said, we will hear from him again.”  How do we decide who we spend our time with? 
  • What are the specific ways Jesus is asking you to respond to his teaching (see #1 above)?
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