This week we are studying Acts 16-20. We are reading one chapter a day, Monday through Friday. This blog post is for those who either join our group late or would like more information on the book of Acts.
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Today, we are reading Acts 16. The focus of this chapter is still on Apostle Paul. How amazing is he as a person and a follower of Jesus. It was funny that we are reading this chapter today because my Pastor was just speaking about it yesterday at Church as part of his sermon. Did you know that Paul actually wrote the majority of the New Testament? And he didn't just do that but wrote it from a jail cell. Paul was a true evangelist, even in the worst circumstances.
I chose the following verse to focus on today:
Acts 16:31 "Believe in The Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household."
Paul had many trials and ran into problems constantly throughout his ministry. He didn't run into these problems by living life the way he wanted but by choosing to obey God and to be led by him. When we become a Christian, we sign up to be warriors for God, rather that be spreading the good news to others or simply having to deal with criticism from others about our lifestyle choices.
Paul was publicly flogged and thrown into jail for defending his faith and sending out a spirit in a slave girl. Even when put in jail, his faith did not waiver and instead of dwelling in his horrible circumstances, he decided to Pray and speak Gods word to the prisoners. God showed up with a powerful miracle by shaking the ground and unlocking all of the prisoners chains and unlocking the jail. Those prisoners were saved that day but also a guard and his entire Family. Because of Paul's unwavering faith that Jesus is Lord, many people were saved that day. I don't know about you but when I die and go to Heaven, when being judged, I want lists upon lists of those who I was able to touch through my ministry, and by the way I lived. In the end, that's all that matters. We live simply to serve God and to bring glory to him. If we have this mind set than anything is possible and God will give us everything!
Today's Discussion Question:
Today we are in Acts chapter 17. It is a continuation of Paul's ministry and how he dealt with problems that arose as well as a great big chunk of his teaching. The scripture that I chose is:
Paul knew that he was getting ready to be imprisoned and was giving his last speech to the disciples. This chapter shows a lot about Paul's character and his view on life itself. For this chapter I am going to do things a little different by going through the 5 verses that I chose and then going a little more in depth on each one.
Acts 20:2 "He traveled through Macedonia, speaking many words of encouragement to the people."
Paul was encouraging and helpful to others. He always tried to speak and live in a way that would make people crave to be closer to God. He subconsciously motivated others to strive to know and be more like Jesus. Is this what your life shows? For me an easy change is stopping and thinking before posting on social media. Use this question in your mind every time, Is this bringing glory to Gods kingdom?
Acts 20:19 "I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested."
Paul was humbled by and convicted to God's causes. Paul didn't care about worldly treasures, about his wellbeing, or about his goals in life, he understood that God's cause is the only cause and that we should always give everything we have to it. What is getting in your way? Do your goals align with God's goals for you?
Acts 20:24 "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
Paul was focused solely on spreading the gospel to others. What we need to take from this is that Paul was a simple man just like you and me. God didn't make him King or task him with a special assignment. God tasked all of us to focus solely on him and to spread the gospel. We need to stop putting the apostles at a higher standard than ourselves and step up to the task that God has set for all of us. What makes you feel unworthy of the cause? Is it something that I can Pray for you about? Just know that God loves you so much, no matter what you ever do and that you are worth being a disciple of Jesus Christ! You were actually born to be one!!!
Acts 20:28 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God, which he bought with his own blood."
Paul was very concerned and devoted to the wellbeing and growth of other followers and the Church. He always made sure they were taken care of. Church is a powerful way to connect with other Christians but also bring non-believers to Christ. We are a family, all of us, not just those who go to my physical building every Sunday. We should be concerned with the growth and wellbeing of our fellow siblings in Christ. We should be encouragers and a place where other feel secure to come when hurting or praising! Small groups are a great tool to connect to other Christians and develop deeper relationships with them. Everyone needs help at one point or another. And I know most of us need someone who will be there to keep us on track, you guys are mine every day!!! I am so thankful for all of you and am so humbled that I get to write to you every day!!!
Acts 20:35 "It is more blessed to give than it is to receive."
Paul was a very giving person. He took care of his followers monetarily and made sure that everyone else was taken care of before himself. What is your next step to be more giving? Mine is opening my home up more to not only our youth ministry leadership but also to some of our youth as well. I want to use the home that God gifted Matt and I as a tool to bring comfort, healing, and growth to everyone.
GMG Discussion Question:
^^ I believe my post goes in to that in depth :D
I love you all and please please please share! We don't have too much longer with each other and I would love to hear everything you have to say!!! We all bring so many different personalities and thought processes to the group. Please share today!!!
Walk Gracefully with God,