Weekly Reading Plan – July 5-12, 2020 – Acts 24-28

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 24-28

DAY 1 – Acts 24 – Pray for peace and justice

DAY 2 – Acts 25 – Pray we’d be more concerned about being right rather than looking right

DAY 3 – Acts 26 – Pray for opportunities to share your testimony

DAY 4 – Acts 27 – Pray for victims of natural disasters

DAY 5 – Acts 28 – Pray we’d preach wherever we are.

While we are not gathering in our usual way in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.

  1. Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
  2. What is Paul accused of doing? Which of these accusations are true? Is Paul a troublemaker? Is it wrong to cause trouble like Paul? Who creates similar trouble today?
  3. Tertullus contrasts Paul’s troublemaking with the “peace” Felix has provided. What kind of “peace” are they enjoying and trying to protect? Where do you see yourself longing for this false peace that cannot stand hard questions or disagreements or protests? Peace preserved by injustice is not worth having.
  4. What is Paul’s defense? What is “The Way” Paul mentions? How is “The Way” connected to the Israelite faith and the God of the Israelites’ ancestors? Why is it important for us to preserve this unbreakable connection to the Jewish faith?
  5. What is Felix afraid of? What gets in Felix’s way of faith?
  6. Why does Festus go to Jerusalem first? What political mechanisms do you see preventing justice? How do political implications and appearances still prevent justice? In your own life are you more preoccupied with what is right or what appears right to others? How can we die to the desire to please others and appear right?
  7. Why does Paul appeal to Caesar? What is he trying to accomplish?
  8. Paul is trying to be loyal to Jesus and God of Abraham, but he is accused of being “un-Jewish” or “anti-Israel”. Those are huge claims that seem appropriate to the vast majority of people listening to the trials, but what do those accusations specifically amount to? In the same way, what would it mean to be “anti-America” or “un-American”? What specific things are non-negotiably “American”?
  9. Acts 26 is my favorite chapter. What stands out in Paul’s speech? What does Paul talk about? Why are his accolades noticeably absent from this defense? Where are his defense witnesses?
  10. What role does God’s promise play in Paul’s defense and his willingness to die? How does Paul identify with his accusers and their fears? Does Paul hide his past sins? Why not?
  11. Why does Paul tell his story again? Why does Scripture record every word of it again? What does this show us about testimonies? What is yours? Who have you told your testimony to? What did God save you from? What road were you on when Jesus interrupted you? Where would you now be without the interruption? Where would you be in 10 or 20 years on that road?
  12. What is the gospel according to Paul? What transformation happens in believers according to Acts 26:18? Does it seem that drastic to you?
  13. What can we learn about God in Acts 27? What do we learn about the world and our lives in it? Why do natural disasters occur? How does God use this one?
  14. When have you failed to turn around after many warning signs appeared?  

Weekly Reading Plan – June 28 – July 5 – Acts 21-23

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 21-23

DAY 1 – Acts 21:1-16 – Pray you’d have to be “torn away” from the Church and never give up easily

DAY 2 – Acts 21:17-36 – Pray for women ministers

DAY 3 – Acts 21:37-22:22 – Pray for other Christian Pastors (especially those you are prone to mistrust)

DAY 4 – Acts 22:23-23:11 – Pray for torturers and those tortured

DAY 5 – Acts 23:12-35 – Pray for USA to be a more just society

While we are not gathering in our usual way in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.

  1. Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
  2. Paul and Luke have to “tear themselves away from [the church from Ephesus]”. When have you had to tear yourself away from church? Who have you had to tear yourself away from? Pray for that kind of connection with your congregation.
  3. What patterns do you see with Paul in each city on the way to Jerusalem? Why does he “seek out believers”? Have you ever done such while traveling? What ministries or churches would you like to seek out in the future? Who do you want to learn from?
  4. Why does Paul want to go to Jerusalem against so much advice? When have you had to go against the advice of wise believers? How do we know the will of God when others can’t see it?
  5. Why is it so instructive that Phillip has 4 unmarried daughters who are prophets? How should this change the way we think about women in ministry?
  6. How do the church leaders respond to Paul? What do they celebrate with him? What are they afraid of? Why?
  7. Why would Jewish Christians assume bad things about Paul? When Christians assumed bad things about another pastor or Christian teacher? How can we give the benefit of the doubt to folks’ faith?
  8. What are the mobs so mad about? When have you seen people respond violently out of fear and misunderstanding? Why does the commander save Paul’s life?
  9. Why does Paul address the crowd? Why does he tell them his testimony? Do you know your testimony? Who have you shared it with lately? What things does Paul emphasize in this re-telling?
  10. Why do people get so angry at this point in his story? Was it the reminder of Stephen’s murder or that Paul went to the Gentiles that angered them so much?
  11. What is it that you “have been assigned to do” (vs 10)?
  12. What things do Americans hate to be reminded of? Christians? Why?
  13. Both the Roman commander and the High Priest command people to hurt Paul? Why do they use violence? In what ways does our justice system still follow this distorted thinking? Should Christians ever use or allow torture?
  14. Why does it matter that Paul is a “Roman citizen” and a “Pharisee”? What privileges do these afford him that would not be given to other people? Which prisoners in our justice system are treated worst? Non-citizens? Uneducated? Poor? What can Christians do to better the justice system?
  15. To help think through the trials here in Acts, perhaps watch Just Mercy, to see how justice is miscarried and still so.
  16. This is a lynch mob working coordinated with complicit government. What do you know of America’s history of lynchings? Painful as it is, it will help you understand what happened to Paul? This is how people often try to get justice.
  17. Who saves Paul’s life? Who much are you investing in your nieces and nephews? Do they know your faith? Do they know your testimony?
  18. Why doesn’t Claudius Lysias let the Sanhedrin assassinate Paul? How can we work to prevent the miscarriages of justice in America?  

Weekly Reading Plan – June 21-28 – Acts 18-20

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 18-20

DAY 1 – Acts 18:18-28 – Pray for Teachers to explain to us the way of God more Adequately

DAY 2 – Acts 19:1-22 – Pray against half-measures and for full surrender

DAY 3 – Acts 19:23-41 – Pray for professions contrary to the Gospel

DAY 4 – Acts 20:1-12 – Pray for Next Generation Leaders

DAY 5 – Acts 20:13-38 – Pray for a faith worth dying for

While we are not gathering in our usual way in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.

  1. Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
  2. Why does Paul leave Corinth or Ephesus, when there still seems to be work to do? What give him the courage to decline the Ephesians’ petitions to stay longer? When have you made a similar decision?
  3.  What stands out to you about Apollos? Who does he remind you of? How should we imitate Apollos? How should we imitate Priscilla and Aquila?
  4. Who is the Holy Spirit? How do you know if you have been given the Holy Spirit? Is it necessary to speak in tongues to be filled with the Spirit?
  5. What is the difference between John’s baptism and Christian baptism?
  6. What do you learn of the power of Jesus’ name? When have you seen people without faith invoke the name of Jesus to become more powerful or convincing? The sons of Sceva show us half-hearted faith, while the sorcerors burn their tools in full submission. What prices have you paid for half-measures? What would full submission look like?
  7. Why are Demetrius and the silversmiths so upset? Who does the gospel of Jesus threaten? Which businesses would be hurt if large numbers of people converted to Jesus in the U.S.A.?
  8. What can we learn from the city clerk (vs35)? How can we imitate him, during this time?
  9. Why does Paul keep so many companions as he travels to teach? Why does he pick someone from nearly every province to become his traveling companion? Who are you travelling with and inviting along the way to learn from you and prepare for leadership? Who are you discipling? When are you with them? What else could you invite them to do with you?
  10. What does Eutychus teach us? Why is this story in the Bible? What does it show us about church? About God? About Preachers?
  11. What does Paul believe God is calling him to do? Why does he share this with the Ephesian elders? What would you have done if you were the elders? If you were Paul?
  12. What advice does he give the elders? What warnings?

Weekly Reading Plan – June 14-21 – Acts 16-18

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 16-18

DAY 1 – Acts 16:16-40 – Pray for Worship during Suffering

DAY 2 – Acts 17:1-9 – Pray against Jealousy

DAY 3 – Acts 17:10-15 – Pray Verse 11 for Oakland

DAY 4 – Acts 17:16-34 – Pray for Cultural Touchpoints

DAY 5 – Acts 18:1-17 – Pray for divine appointments

While we are not gathering in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.

  1. Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
  2. Why is Paul annoyed? What kind of spirit is this? Do you believe spirits like this exist still? Is this spirit a blessing or a curse to the woman?
  3. Why do the woman’s owners get so angry? What have Paul and Silas just destroyed? How does God destroy businesses today? Should we as a church seek the closure of exploitative businesses?
  4. What do you imagine this beating looked like? What I the closest thing you have seen to this extrajudicial beating by policing authorities? Why do the officials/magistrates try to hush this up and send the men on their way quickly? Where do you see misjustice hushed up for the sake of “getting back to normal”?
  5. How in the world can Paul and Silas worship in jail after being beaten nearly to death? When have you worshipped after a literal (or metaphorical) beating? What gave you the desire or ability? Why are they praising God? What do they have to praise God for?
  6. Vs. 25 says all the other prisoners were listening to them. When has your praise during suffering influenced people around you? Why is worship during suffering so powerful to non-believers?
  7. Why did the jailer come to faith? Who was baptized? Why so much joy?
  8. Paul reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue from the Scriptures. Do you feel capable of doing so? Could you demonstrate that Jesus was the Messiah from the Bible to a friend? Why or why not? What would you need to do so? Where can you seek out that kind of training?
  9. Riots are common practice both then and now. Peaceful protest is always a miracle of God. Why are people rioting in vs 5? Could the church be accused today of “causing trouble all over the world”? Would it be good trouble or sinful trouble? Where is God calling Oakland to “cause trouble”? Where are you?
  10. What is so noble about the Berean Jews? Do you “receive the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures to see if what [Andrew] said was true?” When you disagree with someone do you search the Scriptures for insight or trust your feelings?
  11. What does Paul do with his time in Athens while he is waiting on Silas and Timothy? Where does he preach? Why does Paul always start in the synagogues? Why does he not preach only in the synagogues? How can you and I imitate this?
  12. How Athens like your community? Are you a scoffer or an inquirer when you hear new ideas?
  13. What local ideas and cultural items does Paul use to explain the gospel? How can we do the same? What cultural symbols around us provide gateways into sharing Jesus?
  14. Why are verses 26-27 so important for “people who’ve never heard”? How is the place you were born a blessing? A curse?
  15. Does it surprise you that such a powerful preacher is a construction worker? When has God used a surprising person to pastor you? What divine appointments have you had with people?
  16. When should we shake the dust off and leave people? When should we stop preaching to people who’ve rejected the gospel multiple times and focus on people who’ve never heard it?

Weekly Reading Plan – June 7-14 – Acts 14-16

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 14-16

DAY 1 – Acts 14:21-28 – Pray for Courageous Church Leaders who have been attacked

DAY 2 – Acts 15:1-21 – Pray for Church leaders to listen to each other well

DAY 3 – Acts 15:22-35 – Pray for us not to make it difficult for non-believers turning to God

DAY 4 – Acts 15:36-16:10 – Pray for a New Generation of Church Leaders

DAY 5 – Acts 16:11-15 – Pray for women believers and leaders

While we are not gathering in our building every week, it is the perfect time to reconsider what is the Church? We’ll start by reading in the book of Acts.

  1. Before reading, what has God been teaching you this week about the church? About yourself? About justice?
  2. Paul and Barnabas have already been to Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra; and were nearly killed in each place. Why do they return? Why do they go back to such dangerous places?
  3. How do you strengthen and encourage believers? Who is strengthening and encouraging you? Who are you strengthening and encouraging? How is this connected to appointing elders? Why does Paul appoint elders rather than congregational election?
  4. What is Paul’s relationship with Antioch Church? Why does Paul give a report? Is he bragging? How can we tell testimonies of God’s ministry through us without bragging?
  5. Why are Paul and Barnabas in “sharp dispute and debate” over circumcision? What do the opposition want happen and why? Why can Gentiles be saved without being circumcised and becoming Jewish, if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Christianity really just the fulfillment of Judaism?
  6. What kinds of “laws” do people try to require of Christian converts today if they are “really saved”? What is the role of obedience in salvation? Why do Christians not obey all the Old Testament regulations? Why do Christians obey Christ’s commandments?
  7. If you are a parent, how did you make your decision to circumcise or not circumcise your sons?
  8. How would you summarize Peter, Paul, and Barnabas’ arguments that the Gentiles do not need to be circumcised in order to be acceptable to God? How do you recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in others? How can you tell if God has accepted a person?
  9. What should we NOT do as a church according to James (vs 19)? What things does Oakland do right now that “make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God”? What traditions, programs, events, etc. make it difficult for non-believers who are turning to God to enter in and belong at Oakland?
  10. Why does James still tell Gentiles to abstain from 3 things in verse 20? What would these hurt?
  11. What does the Church leadership do to share their decision? Why do they send extra people and a letter? Verse 28 says “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us”? How are these things different but connected? How can you tell what seems good to the Holy Spirit? Is it just a democratic vote or is there something more supernatural than that?
  12. Don’t you want to be part of the Antioch church?
  13. What do 15:36-41 teach you about the church? Is she perfect? Who was wrong?
  14. What stands out to you about Timothy? Are both of Timothy’s parents believers? How might this encourage you if you’re in a mixed-faith marriage? How might Timothy encourage you if you are a child of mixed-faith parents? Should Christians intermarry with non-believers? What do we sacrifice by doing so? Should people who become believers after marrying, divorce their unbelieving spouse?
  15. Who kept Paul from preaching in Asia? When have you been kept in check by the Holy Spirit? How did you know it was the Holy Spirit? How is the Spirit related to Jesus (vs7)? Does the Spirit still do these kinds of things?
  16. Why does Paul head for a leading city? Should Christians focus extra effort on metro areas? Why do they go to a “place of prayer” instead of a synagogue?
  17. What can you deduce about Lydia? How wealthy is she? Who opens her heart? Who opened your heart? Who opens anyone you share with’s heart? How can this humble and encourage us?