Week #1: Stay at Home Order
Begin in Prayer (5 minutes)
Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the hearts and minds of each person in your group. Ask for eyes to see, ears to hear, and the wisdom to know what to do next.
Read: Acts 1:1-8
(NOTE: Consider having your group read the passage in a few different versions)
Overview: [For Leaders]
If we are to be the Church that Jesus intended–a faithful presence, a bold witness, a united body–in the difficulties of our present moment, then it’s worth a look at how the first expression of the Church navigated their moment. Times of uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity are not new, especially for followers of Jesus. Don’t forget, the first Christians faced a seemingly impossible task. Jesus charged them to take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. To do that, though, they would have to contend with the hostility of their own people, the Jews, as well as the greatest empire in human history, Rome.
The disciples had questions, which is understandable. Interesting, though, that Jesus doesn’t really answer their questions. Instead, He offers them a promise–they will not be alone in their task. Once the Son takes His seat of authority over heaven and earth at the right hand of the Father, He will send the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, comfort, and empower these witnesses on their mission.
Today, you and I are the current expression of a movement 2000 years in the making. It began with about 120 Jewish men and women in the city of Jerusalem and it has expanded into a worldwide, multi-racial, multi-national, multi-ethic movement. This movement has survived empires, persecution, plague, apathy, language changes, culture clashes, and challenging philosophies. We are the people of God, the followers of Jesus, a new creation, and a living temple. Yes, this is a moment where it seems like the world is collapsing: global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social/racial division. We have questions, of course we do. But this is our moment. In a time of great uncertainty, hardship, and loss in our world, we are the people of God empowered by the Spirit of God, with a unique opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God.
Questions for Discussion (20-30 Minutes)
- As we jump into this series, what arrested your attention/heart/mind from the weekend talk or overview above?
- What has been the hardest thing for you to deal with personally over the last few months? Why?
- What does it mean to you that we have the very same Holy Spirit in us that Jesus promised to the disciples in Acts 1?
- What issues or problems do you think the last few months have exposed that specifically apply to followers of Jesus or the Church in the West? What opportunities do you see on the horizon in light of what has happened in the last few months?
- If you could write the script for the next 12-18 months, what would it look like for disciples of Jesus to “seize our moment”?
This Week’s Practices (10 Minutes)
Briefly choose one or more of the following takeaways from the weekend message and discuss. What seems most important for you? Why? How can you practically apply it to your life before we meet again?
- Find Creative Ways to Worship: For many of us, the time away from Sunday gatherings has exposed how dependent on them we really are.
- Find Creative Ways to Connect with God’s Family: In our present moment, it’s easy to access great Bible teaching and spiritual content (apps, internet, podcasts, etc.), but much harder to build great relationships.
- Find Creative Ways to Love and Serve Your Neighbors: Now, more than ever, the people in our spheres of influence need to know how much they are loved.
- Find the Strength to Embrace the Moment: Fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, and a bevy of other potentially crippling emotions are completely natural in a moment like ours. Do you need to talk to someone? Do you need to bolster your prayer life? Do you need to lament?
Close in Prayer (5-10 Minutes)