Alive in Christ. Transformed for Mission.

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday,December 1)

The Book of Isaiah describes God’s plan of grace and transformation for His people, and for the world. Those who are lost and in exile, the LORD reminds them of his love, his comfort for those who are broken-hearted. This passage reminds us of the hope found in Christ, and the power of his coming glory.

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 27-31

From your personal study on this reading, what specifics jump out to you? Do you have any questions that need clarifying about this passage?

As you reflect on this reading, are there any larger themes or ideas that occur to you? What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you through this reading?

The Advent season prepares our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Why do you think it’s important to begin with a reading about being in exile? What thoughts and fears do you think God’s people had at that time, and can you relate to them?

What are some readings, music, Scripture, or similar that bring you the most comfort when you need it? Why do you think these things resonate so deeply within you?

What’s one way you might find new energy and renewal this Christmas season, rather than depletion and weariness? How can your House Church be a time of sharing God’s strength in your life?

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, November 17)

Still ministering in Macedonia, Paul and Silas would be confronted with a new challenge. After freeing a slave girl from a spirit which possessed her, they were captured by her masters and accused of spreading unlawful customs and teachings. The local magistrates had them severely beaten and imprisoned, where God continued to use them in unexpected ways.

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:16-34

From your personal study on this reading, what specifics jump out to you? Do you have any questions that need clarifying about the setting or the events?

As you contemplate the passage as a whole, are there any larger themes or ideas that occur to you? What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you through this reading?

Though the slave girl spoke the truth about Paul and Silas’ identity and mission, Paul was angered, and so commanded the spirit to leave her, removing her fortune-telling ability. Why do you think Paul did not want her endorsement? What do you think his concern would have been?

Rather than praying to God, Paul commanded the spirit to leave the slave girl himself. How is this consistent with what you’ve read earlier in our study of the Book of Acts? Do you find it easy or difficult to believe that Christians have this same power today? How might you be more aware of this power in your life?

Severely beaten and wrongly imprisoned, Paul and Silas’ response was to worship God in prayer and singing hymns. How does this image translate to your life? What do you think allows us to praise God in the midst of suffering? Have there been times when you’ve been able to do this? What about times when you wanted to, but found it too difficult?

The earthquake shook the prison so violently that every door was opened and every chain was loosened. It sounds like a dramatic jailbreak is about to occur, but what’s surprising about what comes next instead? What does the outcome of this story reveal to you about God’s heart?

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, November 10)

Through divine intervention, Paul and his followers were led each step of the way on their journey. Through a vision of a man from Macedonia, Paul concluded they were to preach the gospel there, and eventually, they came to Phillipi, “a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia.” There, they met, not a man, but a woman instead, named Lydia.

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:6-15

From your personal study on this reading, what specifics jump out to you? Do you have any questions that need clarifying about the setting or the events?

As you contemplate the passage as a whole, are there any larger themes or ideas that occur to you? What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you through this reading?

It must have seemed logical to Paul and his companions to preach the Gospel in every city or region they came to, and yet, through the Spirit of Jesus, they were prevented from doing this in specific places like Bithynia and the province of Asia. It might also seem logical for us to conclude that these places were somehow chosen to be passed over by God, but take a look at 1 Peter 1:1-2. Thinking on this, why do you think it might be better to ask the question: “what is Jesus now saying?” rather than “what would Jesus do?” How might this change your perspective on your faith journey?

Paul came to this region because he saw a vision of a man from Macedonia. When he got there, the first thing he did was share his message with a group of women gathering to pray. Do you think this is significant, and if so, why?

“The LORD opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” As Christians, we are called to share the Gospel, but only God is responsible for changing hearts. What comes to mind for you as you reflect on this? How might this impact you the next time an opportunity to share Jesus comes up?

The course of Lydia’s life was changed after an encounter with Jesus, and her first response was to open up her home. Why do you think hospitality is such an important component of faithful living?

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, November 3)

At Lystra, a local man named Timothy joined Paul on his journey. Timothy had a mixed family background – his mother was Jewish and his father was Greek – and so Paul first circumcised Timothy prior to his joining him in his mission. Then, they made their way through the cities, and the “churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily” (Acts 16:5; ESV)

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:1-6

From your personal study on this reading, what specifics jump out to you? Do you have any questions that need clarifying about the setting or the events?

As you contemplate the passage as a whole, are there any larger themes or ideas that occur to you? What might the Holy Spirit be saying to you through this reading?

Why do you think Timothy’s family background led Paul to circumcise him before accepting him as a partner in his mission? Why would it impact those who would be receiving their message?

Paul and Timothy helped spread the message to churches asking them to observe the decisions made by the council in Jerusalem. These decisions were related to what Gentiles should and should not be expected to do after converting to the faith. How do you think you have decided your own “non-negotiables” when it comes to your personal beliefs as a Christian? Can you think of a particular belief you have now that has grown over time, or maybe changed altogether? What do you think has led to this?

This passage actually describes Paul’s return trip to Lystra. The first time, he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 15:19). This time, Timothy is there waiting for him. Think of a time when God brought new life to you out of a painful experience. What did you learn about Him, or you, through this experience?

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