Weekly Reading Plan – April 26 – May 3, 2020

Weekly Reading Plan on Acts 3-5

DAY 1 – Acts 3:1-10 – Pray for Chances to Pray For Healing With Others

DAY 2 – Acts 3:11-26 – Pray for Stories of Transformation to Open the Way for Sharing the Gospel

DAY 3 – Acts 4:1-21 – Pray for Oakland to be Acts 4:13 People

DAY 4 – Acts 4:21-37 – Pray Acts 4:29-30 for Oakland. For bold words and miraculous wonders from the Holy Spirit

DAY 5 – Acts 5:1-11 – Pray for reverent fear of sin and God’s holiness.

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, consider the following: what did you learn about church last week? How is social distancing changing your understanding and appreciation of the church?
  2. What are Peter and John doing? Why? Why is it important for us to remember that these men were Jews and thought of the gospel as Jewish good news and the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews? What happens when we divorce Jesus from Israel?
  3. How would you describe Peter and John’s interaction with this man? Do your interactions with beggars look like this? Why? Why does the Bible emphasize eye contact in verse 4? What does this teach us generally about church? How can you “look straight at” people and let them look at you?
  4. Why don’t Peter and John give money to the man? What do they give him? What does it mean to always give “what I do have”? How can you imitate them? Do you have courage to pray for/with people? Do you believe God heals? When has God healed you physically, emotionally, spiritually?
  5. In Acts 2, the disciples went to the temple everyday, but it is only on this day that they heal him. How many times do you think they had passed him? What does this show us about God’s healing time and decision?
  6. How did people respond to the healing? How should this motivate us to seek healing and recount stories of personal transformation?
  7. What doe Peter and John preach? How is this like Peter’s sermon in Acts 2? Why would Acts record this sermon, when it’s so similar to Acts 2, instead of just saying, “Peter told them about Jesus”? How does Peter jump from the healing to the cross and resurrection? How can you transition from an everyday moment to the cross?
  8. What is so threatening to the Sadducees and guard? When have you seen Christians villainized for helping people?
  9. What is the crux of Peter’s comments to them? What does verse 12 mean? This is the 3rd “sermon” in Acts. What have we learned about preaching from these 3?
  10. What did the leaders notice about Peter and John in verse 13? These are the people that make church powerful. Do you resonate with them?
  11. How did the apostles respond to this confrontation and command? What did the church do together? How can we do this? What do the apostles pray for? Safety or boldness? Which would you rather have? Would you rather be part of a safe church or a bold church?
  12.  Pray Acts 4:29-30 over Oakland.
  13.  What do you learn about church from Acts 4:32-37? How does it make you feel?
  14. How do you feel reading about Ananias and Sapphira? What was there sin? What does this teach us about the holiness of God and his Church? Why are we so uncomfortable with this kind of holiness that hates sin? Why is lying so despicable? Would you join the church if you heard this story? Why did people?

Weekly Reading Plan – April 19-26, 2020

Weekly Reading Plan for our new Sermon Series

DAY 1 – Acts 1:1-11 – Pray for New Understanding of Church and her Mission

DAY 2 – Acts 1:12-26 – Pray for a Bible-loving, Bible-studying Church

DAY 3 – Acts 2:1-13 – Pray for more Holy Spirit filling to reach all kinds of people

DAY 4 – Acts 2:14-41 – Pray for yourself, your children, and people you are close to that are far from God to be “cut to the heart” and repent.

DAY 5 – Acts 2:42-47 – Pray for true DEVOTION

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, consider the following: What is The Church? A church? How does Oakland qualify? Can we be a church during this time? How?
  2. What makes the Church different from any other philanthropic group or social club?
  3. What is the point of the church? Why does the church exist? What does a church do?
  4. Acts is Part 2 of Luke’s gospel. What does “all that Jesus began to do and to teach” imply about the church’s actions? What does this teach us about Jesus’ relationship with his Church?
  5. Jesus has already had 3 years with the apostles, why does he spend another 40 days with them? What can you tell about the resurrection from these verses?
  6. According to Acts 1:8, what is the Holy Spirit for? Who has the Holy Spirit? How can you tell?
  7. What was the first priority of the disciples after Jesus’ ascension (Verse 14)? What does this look like? This is the first thing churches should do. When have you seen a church “all joined together constantly in prayer”? How could Oakland do so?
  8. What can we tell the apostles have been doing in prayer time based on Peter’s teaching in verses 15-22? Where do the disciples expect God to answer their prayers and show them the next right thing to do? What is the connection between Bible study and prayer?
  9. Why do the disciples replace Judas?  Why do they lead by “committee” even if Peter seems to lead the committee?
  10. “Pentecost” is a Greek word that means 50, and the Greek name for an Israelite holy day. What did Jews celebrate on Pentecost (Deut 16:10)? Why would God give the Holy Spirit on this day?
  11. What does the Holy Spirit empower the disciples to do? Why? What is the Spirit’s goal? To whom does the Spirit of God speak? What does this teach us about the ethnic composition of the Church? Why has the church then become repeatedly racist and self-segregating?
  12. How does Peter explain Pentecost? When has God done something you could not explain? Where does Peter explain from?
  13. What is the heart of Peter’s sermon? What does the resurrection prove for Peter? What does the Holy Spirit prove? How is the Holy Spirit connected to the Resurrection?
  14. What is the message of the Church? What is the offering of the Church?
  15. What is the response to this message (vs 38)? When was your heart cut to the quick? When was it last cut and powerfully convicted?
  16. What is the movement of the gospel in Acts 1:8? Acts 2:39? Have you accepted these promises? Are you sharing them with your family? Are you sharing them with all who are far off?
  17. What do the new disciples immediately begin to do (verses 42-47)? Why don’t they follow Jesus alone? Why doesn’t the gift of the Holy Spirit allow it to be “just me and God”?
  18. What did this collection of disciples do? What does it mean to be DEVOTED? DEVOTED to the apostles’ teaching? DEVOTED to fellowship? DEVOTED to breaking of bread? DEVOTED to prayer? Are you DEVOTED or what word would describe your relationship to each of those? Is Oakland DEVOTED? Which are we most/least devoted to?
  19. What happened when the disciples DEVOTED themselves? Are we expecting the awe and the wonders and the added numbers without devotion to God and to one another?
  20. What would true devotion look like? Devotion to Bible, fellowship, sharing, and prayer look like for you? For Oakland?

Is local Church Membership Biblical?

Since becoming a pastor I have found that certain questions crop up more than others. These questions are not always more important, but rather more indicative of our culture malaise. One common conversation concerns “formal” church membership. Over the previous 18 months, I’ve talked with many people concerning membership at Oakland, what it is, why we do it, what privileges and responsibilities come with it. Sometimes these questions arise in New Members Classes, but other times they happen over coffee or bbq.

CathedralHonestly, most of these conversations begin with someone’s concerns or hang-ups or past hurts regarding Church Membership. I hear things like, “My dad and granddad were both members of a church for a long, long time, and they served faithfully for years, until they eventually got burned out. I’m afraid if I become a member, I’ll be taken advantage of or taken for granted, and church will become more work than worship.” Others plainly state, “I don’t need to be part of a church to be a Christian,” or “Church just isn’t for me.” Some people are hurt when I suggest they join the church, saying, “I thought I was already part of the church, why do I need to need some slip of pater to make me part of the church.”

Like all things, our answers to these questions and concerns must come from the Scripture. So does the Scripture endorse or at least encourage some sort of “formal” membership in a specific church community rather than just general membership in The Church Universal? Does the Bible command us to participate in the life of a congregation?

I recently read an awesome article by a pastor in Texas, to whom I listen regularly. It answers so many of these questions and challenges both members and pastors to take membership more biblically and seriously. Check it out.

Is Church Membership Biblical?  by Matt Chandler