Sunday Services 9 & 10:45am
Sunday Services 9 & 10:45am

Life Groups:
We are better together.

We were never meant to go it alone. God created us to exist in community with other people—to be supported, encouraged, and challenged along our journey of following Jesus. We believe that we grow better in circles of people than in rows of seats. We want you to find a place where you can truly say, “These are my people.” Why not start by joining a group today?

Life Group Discussion Questions

9.10.17 – Flexible

TEXT DRIVEN

Read Acts chapters 1 and 2.

TALK IT OUT

1. Remember a time when you had a clear goal but there were many obstacles between you and that goal. Did these obstacles intimidate or inspire you?

2. Look at the major obstacles that the early Church faced:
a. Their founder, Jesus, has left – Acts 1:1-8
b. New model of operation included men and women – Acts 1:14
c. Missing a leader – Acts 1:23-26
d. No Holy Spirit (yet) – Acts 2:1
e. Language gap – Acts 2:5
f. Cultural gap – Acts 2:7
g. This group was not a part of the power-base in Jerusalem – Acts 4:1-6

Which of these do you think was the most challenging for the disciples? Are some of the obstacles still in place for the church today? Which ones?

3. The first task of the Church was to wait and pray (Acts 1:4, 12-14). Do you think this was frustrating for the disciples? Look at the following verses:
a. Psalm 27:14, 37:7, 25:5,
b. Lamentations 3:24-26
c. James 5:7-8

What do you think God can do through your waiting? Is waiting a challenging for you?

4. Pastor Rusty challenged the church to not waste the wait. Notice how the disciples used this time:
a. Keep your friends close – “they went upstairs to the room where they were staying” – Acts 1:13
b. Keep in constant prayer – “they all joined together in constant prayer” – Acts 1:14
c. Keep planning for the future – “one must become a witness with us” – Acts 1:21-22
d. Be ready to move when God moves – “All were filled … and began to speak” – Acts 2:2-4

5. The final words of Jesus were a proclamation of the Church’s mission (Acts 1:8).
What are some ways that the church can lose sight of this mission?

LIVE IT OUT

1. Identify the time when you are waiting. Are you complaining while waiting? Why not hang out with friends and pray instead of complaining. Could you use the waiting time to plan for the future? Don’t waste the wait.

2. Identify an obstacle that keeps you from being a witness. Is it fear? Lack of knowledge? Apathy? Recognizing the obstacle is the first step to overcoming it.

9.17.17 – Radical Generosity

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts 4:32-37.

TALK IT OUT
1. Describe a time when a group you were a part of (family, church, work, sports, etc.) had a difficult time accomplishing a goal because of disunity. How did the disunity of the group make you feel during the process? How did the disunity affect the potential of the goal?

2. Rusty said that unity is a necessary agent in generosity. Why do you think unity was such a big deal for the early Church? (See 1 Cor. 12:13, Phil. 2:2, Eph. 4:3)

3. Remember a time when you needed help or direction. What feelings did you experience before you found help? What feelings did you experience after you found help?

4. Read 2 Cor. 8:1-9. What is Paul’s reaction to the generosity of the Macedonian churches, even during a severe trial? Paul says that “their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” Where did their joy come from (see 2 Cor. 8:1)?

5. Pastor Rusty said that radical generosity has a clear driver—it is grace. What does Paul say is the driver/example for why we should be generous (see 2 Cor. 8:9)?

LIVE IT OUT
1. Identify something you own that you could sell. What is it?

2. Identify something you own that you could give away. What is it?

9.24.17 – Different

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts Acts 8:4-40.

TALK IT OUT
1. Have you ever had to change homes, schools or cities? What was that change like?

2. The Apostle Philip was in a place of great excitement. Read Acts 8:4-8. Write down and discuss some of the exciting things that were happening in Samaria. Based upon the information here, how would you describe the gatherings that Philip led where these things took place?

3. When preaching on Philip’s move to Gaza, Pastor Rusty stated that “Following God more means you sometimes have less.” Recall a time when following God meant you had less in some way. What surprised you about this season of life?

4. When Philip reached Gaza, he changed his strategy for his location. What were the real differences between Philip and the Ethiopian? What different approaches did Philip use between the two situations?

5. Read 1 Cor. 9:19-23. How do you think Paul’s teaching is related to Philip’s strategy?

6. Philip baptized the Eunuch after he believed. Why is the timing of baptizing important? Read Acts 10:47-48. What does this event teach us about baptism?

LIVE IT OUT
1. God still speaks to us today. Identify where God may be leading you this week. Once you get there, be ready to speak about Jesus and your own faith journey.

2. Who at your work is extremely different than you? Take that person out to lunch or intentionally set up some time to get to know them. You may be surprised how God could use that conversation.

10.01.17 – Disagreeing Well

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts 15:1-18.

TALK IT OUT
1. Pastor Rusty talked about the differnece between a dispute and a debate. What was the distinction he made about the difference? Talk about ways that you can keep a disagreement from becoming a dispute.

2. Remember a time when you or the person you disagreed with had a difficult attitude. Did the poor attitude amplify or diffuse the disagreement and why? What kind of attitude would have made the discussion less stressful and more productive?

3. Rusty noted that when the church had a disagreement, they knew the value of meeting together in person. When discussing a serious topic, what are ways that meeting face to face is more beneficial than “meeting” on Facebook? In other words, what positives can a face-to-face meeting help achieve? What negatives can it prevent?

4. Silence and listening were both present (Acts 15:12-14). What role does listening play in a disagreement? Remember a time when it felt like the other person wasn’t trying to understand what you were saying. How did that make you feel?

5. Rusty mentioned that the lead position was in agreement with Scripture (Acts 15:15-18). What was a time when you had a disagreement and let something else (maybe even yourself) be the most important part of the disagreement?

LIVE IT OUT
1. Think of someone you’re having a disagreement with. The next time you talk with them, make sure you listen to what they’re saying and trying to understand their point of view. Schedule a face-to-face meeting if it’s a serious disagreement that you need to talk about.

2. Read Proverbs 1:5 and James 1:19-20. Pray for wisdom and patience. Start preparing a right attitude for when a disagreement takes place.

10.08.17 - Serve St. Louis

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:1-23; John 9:1-41.

TALK IT OUT
1. Did your family have special (maybe unspoken) rules about Sunday? Did the town in which you grew up have special “blue laws” that limited some activities on Sunday?

2. This Sunday we served instead of having a regular worship service. Talk with your group about how that felt different—maybe even weird.

3. In first-century Judaism, their special day of worship was on Saturday (the Sabbath). Describe in your words how most Jews felt about the Sabbath.

4. Jesus taught some different ideas about the Sabbath. Inside the gospel, there are five Sabbath controversies. In Luke 13:10-17, we see one of these controversies played out. Read the event in John and then answer these questions:
a. What did Jesus do that was good?
b. What did Jesus do that was controversial?
c. How did the person receiving the benefit or blessing fill about Jesus breaking some of the Sabbath traditions?
d. How did Jesus respond to his critics?

5. In the other four Sabbath controversies we see a similar pattern unfold.
a. Jesus encounters a need (not an emergency or an ox in a ditch kind of situation)
b. Jesus meets the need on the Sabbath
c. Jesus is criticized for His actions
d. Jesus responds to His critics resolutely
How does Jesus’ response parallel with our actions on Serve St. Louis? How should Jesus’ actions and teachings impact the church?

LIVE IT OUT
• Do you consider Sunday a day of rest? Jesus explains that He is Lord of the Sabbath. In Matthew 12, Jesus told his followers that what He desired is
“not sacrifice” – θυσία (thusia): the thing sacrificed
“but mercy/compassion” – : ἔλεος (eleos): compassion for the afflicted

• How can you use your next day of worship as a way to show compassion for some else? Talk about ways you can serve in the church even on your day of REST.

10.15.17 - Persecution

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Luke 4:16-30; Acts 6:2-6, 8-15; Acts 7:51-60; and Ephesians 5:15-20.

TALK IT OUT
1. Have you ever been singled out or felt judged because of your faith? Talk with your group about those circumstances and how that felt.

2. Ben said that we are promised persecution if we choose to follow Christ. What troubles you or scares you about that promise? What areas of your life (work, school, family, friends) might you be judged, persecuted or looked down on because of your faith?

3. Persecution isn’t pointless. What did Ben say was God’s purpose for persecution? Do you agree or disagree with those reasons? Why else might persecution be beneficial?

4. What was the Early Church’s response to persecution? One of the responses was forgiveness. When is it most difficult for you to forgive someone who puts you down because of your faith?

5. Read Ephesians 5:15-20. Do you sense the urgency in this passage? What stands out most to you about these words?

6. There are lots of commandeds in Ephesians 5:15-20. What is one of those responses that you need to improve on?

LIVE IT OUT
• Who do you have the opportunity to share you faith with this week? Could there be pushback or a negative response from that person? Pray for that person, that they would be willing to listen, and pray about your response if you’re put down because of your faith.

• Spend time together as a group to pray for believers who are in areas where it’s dangerous (and even life threatening) to be a follower of Jesus.

10.22.17 - Speaking to the Culture

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts 17:16-34; Romans 9:2-3, 10:1.

TALK IT OUT
1. Who was the first person to talk to you about becoming a Christ-follower? Were they nervous about it? Are you glad this person shared his/her faith with you?

2. What are some of the fears you have when sharing your faith? When was the last time you talked to someone about:
a. Your relationship with Jesus
b. Coming to church
c. Your own faith struggles/story

3. Pastor Rusty stated that first-century Athens was
a. Renowned as an intellectual center
b. Pluralistic in its outlook
c. Spiritual without a reference to Theism
d. A free city that governed itself and paid no taxes to Rome
How is the St. Louis region similar to Athens? How is neighborhood similar?

4. Read Acts 17:16. What inside our city or community “greatly distresses” you? How have you responded to this?

5. Luke records that Paul reasoned (διαλέγομαι, dia lego mi) with the people of the city. This term means to converse, discourse with one, to discuss or ponder, or revolve in mind. Does this describe your interaction with someone who is not a believer yet?

6. Luke identified two clear worldviews in the city of Athens—the Stoics and the Epicureans. What various worldviews can you identify in your community?

LIVE IT OUT
Read Paul’s prayer of Romans 9:2-3. Here it is:

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself
were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,

• Are you sorrowful over folks that do not know Jesus?
• Start a list of things you are willing to give up to see people in your community come to know Jesus.

10.29.17 - Elders

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts 20:28-34; Eph. 5:31-33; 1 Tim. 3:4-5, 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:2-5; Heb.13:7.

TALK IT OUT
1. Talk about why you think it is important for senior pastors to have a group of men (elders) around him. What are some of the unique challenges or temptations that senior pastors face?

2. Why is leading with a group of people better than leading alone? Read the following verses about the position of elder: Acts 14:23, 20:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Pet. 5:1-2. Is the role of elders expressed here singular or plural?

3. Briefly read over Acts 20:17-35. Here Paul highlights some characteristics of the elder position as he was not only an elder himself but also a trainer of elders. Based upon this Acts description of the role, write down and discuss some of the challenging parts of being an elder.

4. Read through 1 Peter 5:1-5. Respond to these words that Peter gives to church about elders. What is the mental picture that comes to mind with each of these phrases?
a. Be shepherds…watching over them
b. Not because you must…willingly…eager to serve
c. Not lording it over them…
d. Be an example…

5. Paul set out the personal challenge to finish the task (Acts 20:22-24). Talk for a moment about what it would like for you to finish your task that God has given you.

LIVE IT OUT
• Pray for Concord as we seek to adopt this biblical model of church leadership and care. Pray for biblical unity and care for one another

• Consider the two key questions Pastor Rusty asked at the end of the service:
– Could I be an elder?
– Who do I know who could be an elder?

11.05.17 - Two Ladies at Philippi

TEXT DRIVEN
Read Acts 16:11-24.

TALK IT OUT
1. During the message, we were presented with two different types of women—Lydia and the Slave girl. Which one of these can you identify with the most? Why?

2. Pastor Rusty said there are two wrong attitudes when it comes to salvation:
a. I’m pretty good, and I deserve to be saved.
b. I’m so bad that I’m beyond being saved.
Talk about why one is incorrect. Could you support your view with Bible verses?

3. Read Acts 16:13-15. Can you trace the steps involved in Lydia becoming saved?
a.
b.
c.
Can you see the same process explained in Eph. 1:13?

4. Pastor Rusty stated that “Maintaining acknowledgement, reverence, and/or respect for God is not the same as possessing salvation.” Respond to this statement. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

5. Read Acts 16:16-21. How is this slave girl’s situation similar to those who suffer through human trafficking? How should the church respond?

LIVE IT OUT
Write out your story of how you came to faith.
• Identify if you were more like Lydia or more like the slave girl
• Identify who was speaking the gospel to you (preacher, tract, Bible, etc.)
• Identify where you were in life when you were listening to the gospel
• Identify the moment God opened your heart to this message