Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28.19)
Like every gospel driven church, we believe that Jesus has commissioned us to make disciples. We strive to make disciples who are developing the mind of Christ, who are obeying the commands of Christ, who are being transformed into the image of Christ, and who are participating in the mission of Christ.
We believe that each disciple needs to be sinking deep roots in the marvelous grace of Christ in order to grow eternal fruit. We grow in our faith by practicing the spiritual disciples of corporate worship, daily bible reading, meditation, scripture memory, and conversational and intentional prayer. To encourage the development of these disciplines, we challenge each member to be part of a Discipleship Group (D-Group)
D-Groups are groups of three to five people who meet weekly for the express purpose of becoming disciples who are making disciples.
D-Group Reading Plan - Spring 2023
1 Samuel 1-5
1 Samuel 6-10
1 Samuel 11-15
1 Samuel 16-20
1 Samuel 21-25
1 Samuel 26-31
Discussion Questions - Spring 2023
Week 1 (Acts 1-5)
After reading Acts 1:6-8, in what ways does the church still live with this mentality. Would you say that you are more focused on the return of Jesus than the mission that Jesus gave us? How can we use the return of Jesus to put our focus on sharing the Gospel? What “power” does the believer receive with the gift of the Holy Spirit? How are those powers used for Gospel advancement?
What do you think Peter meant when he said “God has made him both Lord and Christ” in Acts 2:36? What do these two words mean? What would this convey to those who were listening to Peter’s sermon?
Read Acts 2:42-47. What stands out to you about these verses? In what way(s) do you want to be more devoted to these spiritual disciplines with the church? Apostles teaching (scripture), Fellowship, The breaking of bread (some think this refers to Communion, some think this also refers to eating meals together, or both), and Prayers. How was the way the early believers “lived life together” so radical and different than how believers live today?
Acts 1:8 speaks of the power that we have as believers through the Holy Spirit. Look closely at when Annas, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander came to question Peter and John in Acts 4:5-12. Peter and John were asked “By what power or by what name did you do this?”. Discuss as a group why the answer was both power and name. How does this truth encourage you to share the Gospel? How should the power and authority of God encourage us in our weaknesses in sharing the Gospel? What are some lies that the enemy uses to keep us from sharing the Gospel with others?
What was the wisdom of Gamaliel in Acts 5:33-39? How did his advice prove to be true? How can we use that same wisdom today in our lives when false teaching arises?
How is suffering viewed among many Christians today? How did the early church view it? Hint Acts 5:40-41
Week 2 (Acts 6-10)
When Stephen is seized in Chapter 6 of Acts, scripture tells us that men “stirred up” the people, priests, and elders who set up false witnesses against Stephen’s preaching. In what ways do we let our culture that has been stirred up against the Gospel influence God’s message? Or do you feel that most preaching in the church is done to please those listening so they aren’t stirred up? Is the church more worried about the reaction than the message?
Read Acts 7:48-50 as a group, then read Revelation 21:3. Discuss the link between God’s dwelling place and who builds it. How does the Garden of Eden and God dwelling with Adam and Eve before sin entered the world point to what God is restoring and building for those who love him in and will live with him in heaven for eternity? Why was the temple or tabernacle not intended to last forever?
Look at Acts 8:1-3 as a group and think deeply about the phrase “And Saul approved of his execution.”. What comes to mind reading about Saul at this point in the story knowing what you know about who Saul became? How does this encourage you about who the Lord can save? Who do you look at and struggle in faith that God can save? What do you think of Paul and how God used his testimony in the early church?
The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts chapter 8 was returning from worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem. Read Isaiah 56:3-5 as a group. Think about the fact that the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading from Isaiah which contains this promise to eunuchs. Think about the fact that the very place he was allowed to worship at the temple was the outer courts where Jesus had driven out the money changes as recorded in all four gospels. What does this story teach you about the love that God has for the lost? Can you look back on your salvation and see God’s hand drawing you to himself through specific events or people?
When Saul asked “Who are you, Lord?” on the road to Damascus, why did Jesus respond “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Why did he not say “I am Jesus, you are persecuting my people.”? What does Jesus' response say about the connection he has with his people? Why does Jesus take persecution of Christians personally?
Week 3 (Acts 11-15)
The death of Herod in Acts 12 is an odd story in a book full of odd stories. Why was this story included in scripture? What can it teach us? How did Peter react to public worship in Acts 10:25-26 versus how Herod reacted to public worship? What is the contrast of “voice of a god” and “word of God” in this story?
Don’t you wish you could rebuke people sometimes like Paul did to Bar-Jesus in Acts chapter 13? If scripture didn’t tell us that Paul was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and that Bar-Jesus lost his sight, would we believe this rebuke was the work of God and not just Paul’s anger? Are there times today that Christians should rebuke people? Why and in what situation or why not?
Throughout the book of Acts we see the early church “praying and fasting” before God does miraculous acts of salvation, healing, calling people to ministry, and repentance. Is this practice at the heart of many churches today? Why or why not? What would happen if fasting and prayer was at the heart of the church today? Would you as a D-Group commit to spending set aside time this next week to fast together and pray for specific things?
In Acts 15, Peter rebukes the Pharisees who sought to circumcise the Galations who had chosen to follow Jesus. Peter asks them “why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” Do you think there are “yokes” that we place on believers' necks today that they are unable to bear? What are some yokes that come to mind? Do you expect believers to live like Jesus immediately after salvation? What do you think this expectation (yoke) does to believers? Do our actions sometimes take time to catch up to our hearts? For example we have a conviction about something but God is working to refine that sin or behavior out of our lives.
Week 4 (Acts 16-20)
Acts 16:40 tells us that after Paul and Silas were released from prison they went back to their community of believers and were encouraged before they departed to Thessalonica. What role should the church play in encouraging believers as we go out each week into the work that God has called us to? What do you think was said amongst that group after knowing what Paul and Silas went through in chapter 16? How would this encourage the believers and how would the believers be empowered to be strong and courageous?
Do you think people view today as a time of ignorance God overlooked (Acts 17:30)? What sin and behaviors does the church teach that God will overlook and we don’t need to be repentant of? What is the danger of this thinking and what does it do to the heart of the unrepentant individual?
What do you think of how Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos to the side to talk to him about his teaching in Acts 18:24-28? Are there people who know about Jesus that teach but do not know Jesus? What is the danger of having head knowledge of Jesus but no relationship with Jesus?
In Acts 19:1-7 Paul notices some disciples lacking the Holy Spirit. After baptizing them the Holy Spirit came upon them. Why do you think Paul knew they didn’t have the Holy Spirit? What do we know about what happened after they received the Holy Spirit? Thinking back to Acts 1:8 what does the promise of the Holy Spirit offer to the believer? What happens when we try to live without the Holy Spirit?
Paul who wrote a large part of the New Testament is considered to be a giant of the Christian faith yet we see in Acts 20:9 that his preaching put Eutychus to sleep to the point that he fell out of a 3rd story window. If you consider yourself to be boring or have a testimony that you don’t think people would want to hear, what encouragement is this story for you? What lie does the enemy tell you about people being interested in what God is doing in your life or your testimony?
Week 5 (Acts 21-25)
In Acts 21:19-20, Paul tells of all the things God has done through his ministry. Is celebrating the movement of God in the lives of church members missing today? How can we share what God is doing in our lives in a way that encourages and excites others to glorify God? What can you share today in your D Group that God is doing in your life that would encourage someone else to give glory to God?
What can we learn from Ananias and his reaction to Paul’s salvation from Acts 9:17 and Acts 22:13? How should we receive and respond to those who were once enemies of God now saved by God? What would've happened if Ananias did not obey the Lord’s instruction to seek out Saul when he was blind?
Why did Paul wait until the very last minute to say he is a Roman Citizen (Acts 22:25)? Paul never seemed to use his Roman citizenship as a get out of jail card but rather as a way to fulfill his calling in ministry. Paul is a great example of someone who remembers who they were before Jesus but no longer claims their past as their identity. What are some things Christians today hold on to as their identity?
Why do you think God included the story of Paul’s custody and trials at the end of Acts? What purpose would it serve the church knowing what Paul went through? What did you learn from reading about Paul’s trials?
Week 6 (Acts 25-28)
In Acts 26, Paul gives testimony to Agrippa about his life prior to Christ. For those that knew Saul the Pharisee to witness him as Paul the Christ follower was a powerful testimony of his conversion. How does your life pre-conversion and your life now as a Christ follower bear witness to the powerful work of God in your life? Why is being honest of where we were when Jesus saved us assist in us sharing the gospel with others?
Why do you think God included Paul’s shipwreck story in Acts 27 and 28? Does what Paul went through in life and ministry encourage you in any way?
What was your one big takeaway from reading the book of Acts? Why was it impactful?
Week 7 (1 Samuel 1-5)
Throughout the bible, scripture speaks about making a vow and not keeping it (Numbers 30:1-5, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6, James 5:2). What do you think about Hannah’s vow to the Lord in 1 Samuel 1? Why do you think the Lord answered her prayer through a vow? Have you ever made a vow to the Lord? Did you keep it? What happened?
What sticks out to you about Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2?
In 1 Samuel 3:1 we read that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days”. Why does it often seem like it is darkest before God does something really big? Can you think of a time when it seemed so dark in your life right before God showed up and did something powerful?
The story of God calling Samuel is sometimes viewed as comical and funny. What did you learn from Samuel’s calling? Why did God not just tell Eli of Samuel’s calling? What was Eli’s response to Samuel?
When reading the story of the Ark of the covenant in 1 Samuel what comes to mind? What did the Ark of the covenant represent in the Old Testament? Where does God dwell with man after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus on the cross? Talk as a group of why you are thankful that God dwells in each of us individually. Why does the Holy Spirit living in us give us hope and encouragement?
Week 8 (1 Samuel 6-10)
What was the Philistine’s priests and diviners advice for returning the ark of the Lord? What are your thoughts about their “guilt offering”? What did the deaths of the 70 men from Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:19) reveal and remind the Israelites about God?
In 1 Samuel chapter 7 we see God restore to Israel all that was lost when Eli’s son’s judged poorly. Samuel turns Israel back to God and we see miracles and the hand of God work in and through Israel once again. How does this chapter encourage you? What does it remind you about God moving among his people?
Israel demands that Samuel appoint them a king. They had forgotten that God was their king and the very thing Israel demanded of a king, someone who would “fight our battles”, was the very thing that God did for them. What are the dangers when we look to worldly positions, plans, or things to solve problems that God is already in control of? What have you sought from the world that the Lord has already given you or promised you? Why do we hope in that which is temporary over that which is eternal?
It’s no surprise that Israel, who wanted a king like the rest of the world, would get a king who would look good to the rest of the world (Saul was Mr. tall, dark and handsome - 1 Samuel 9:2). One of the things God was teaching Israel was that they were focused on the outside appearance, but God cares about our heart. In what ways in your own life do you focus more on what the outside world sees about you versus the matters of your heart? We might fool others into thinking we are someone we are not, but God sees and knows our heart. Why should believers be honest and transparent about our own heart, sin, and struggles? How does God use us being honest about our heart to heal us and refine us?