GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of April 24, 2016
Hard Truths, Hairdos and Fighting Fair - John Ray
00:00 / 00:00

THE SET-UP

 

When a cult of personality threatens the Church at Corinth, Paul fights back with the bold truth of the Gospel.

 

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Can we speak the truth and

remain a unified church?

 

What are the things that can

threaten to divide us?

 

How do we learn to

disagree in healthy ways?

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

Consider the people who have the greatest influence over you: those you know personally, as well as celebrities, theologians, athletes or politicians you’ve never met. What do they have in common? Why do you identify with them? Do they affirm your convictions, or shape them? How?

 

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • The Church at Thessalonica showed us this sequence of events: after Jesus came, died, was resurrected and ascended, the Holy Spirit came, and there was transformation. With the believers in Corinth, we get the same sequence but a very different ending: the Holy Spirit came, and there was division. Paul’s truth-telling wasn’t very well received there; based on what you read in this week’s texts — Acts 18:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 — why do you think that was the case? In general, what is it about hearing provocative truth that causes tension? Puts believers in the same church at odds with each other? Do you think it’s possible for a church to speak truth and remain unified? Why or why not?

 

  • We live in a culture that is built on, and fueled and ruled by, competition and consumption. How do you think this influences our approach to Church? Does it divide communities of faith? If so, how? Why is it tempting to rally behind a particular leader rather than behind Jesus? In our culture, “church-shopping” is common; what do you think Paul would say about that? Can you name other behaviors that are common to modern church dynamics but that stand in contrast to the Gospel? With so much potential for division, how do we learn to live into the Gospel Way, to remain a vibrant, healthy, cohesive Church, while living in this world?

 

  • As believers, how do we learn to disagree in healthy ways? When we walk out our beliefs in community, our choices always have relational consequences; so how do we work all this out together? Understand and practice the truth? Two things we know the answer is not: each person arguing their own point of view in a competition to “win” over everyone else, and everyone ascribing to a herd mentality despite their convictions. But what’s the alternative? How do we come to conclusions that are healthy for the whole of the community?  

 

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

To fully understand the meaning of what we’re studying this week, we have to practice it. But we have to be ruthless in keeping this from becoming another “to do” list of moral behaviors. This contributing to the health of the community, this giving up of competitive, consumerist, isolating behaviors and identity for a Gospel-fueled Kingdom identity is not just something we do, it’s something we become. Spend time this week contemplating that. Pay attention to what you’re doing, and why. What do the things you do say about who you are?

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS

 

  • Paul grew in God’s grace as he learned the fundamental difference between “effort” and “earning.” Dallas Willard helps us understand it, too, in “Live Life to the Full,” from Renovare.

  • At Bible Odyssey, New Testament scholar David G. Horrell describes the cultural context of Paul’s ministry in “Corinth.”

  • John Wesley defines the identity that sets Methodists apart in “The Character of a Methodist,” from Global Ministries: The United Methodist Church. Wesley wasn’t the first (and won’t be the last) to try and strip away layers and try to get to the core of what it meant to be a Christ-follower.

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT


In this week’s blog post on gracechurchnwa.org, Kendra Stuart finds where the rubber meets the road in “Does God Know You?” Read it! Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Facebook it! Post it!

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

 

If your relationship with next week’s text could be summed up in All I Really Need to Know About 1 Corinthians 13 I Learned At Weddings, stay tuned: This well-worn passage has profound implications for the Church. Take a look and see what you can find.

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of April 17, 2016
Faith That Echoes - John Ray
00:00 / 00:00

THE SET-UP

 

When the Holy Spirit comes upon the Apostles, they begin imitating Jesus in thought and deed. Some believers, like those in the church at Thessalonica, also become imitators of Christ. Their behavior is like a sonic boom: an unnatural response so loud that it echoes throughout the world around them.

 

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

How did the believers in Thessalonica

imitate Jesus?

 

What was so different about the way they lived

that their behavior “echoed” throughout the region?

 

What does their example say to us?

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

What’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard? What do you remember about it? What was the effect? And think about the people you’ve sought to imitate during your life: Why did they make an impression on you? In what ways did you want to adopt their attitudes or behavior? Why?

 

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • Read both sections of our text this week, Acts 17:1-13 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (extra points and fuller context if you read all eight chapters of 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians). We don’t get a lot of specifics about how the Thessalonian believers were imitating Christ. But when you combine their story with the background from Acts, can you name some specific ways you think they mirrored Paul, Silas and, ultimately, Jesus? Pay special attention to how they responded when they received the Gospel: Clearly, they believed it — so how were they able to understand and apply it? Did the Holy Spirit play a part? If so, what was it?

 

  • Paul uses a form of the word execheo to describe how their imitation of Christ spread; like a radio transmission, according to Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament. What do you think that looked like? Why do you think it was significant enough to echo through an entire region of the country, when it’s likely none of them physically traveled very far at all? Paul says they “received the word in much affliction,” or thlipsis: this implies persecution, distress, “coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there’s no way of escape.” Do you think this made a difference in the impact of their testimony? Why or why not?

 

  • What are some specific things we can learn from the Thessalonian believers? Based on their example, how do you think we’re meant to imitate Christ? What are some specific ways we’re meant to incorporate the Gospel in our lives? Do you think we ever anchor in false “gospels,” or only in things that reflect Him? Why? What, basically, does our “echo” say about Christ, and how loud is it?  

 

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

Whether or not our testimony “echoes” is not really a matter of dispute; the big consideration for us should be what it’s telling the world about Jesus. So pray this week for a clear sense of what your testimony says, for conviction when it doesn’t reflect Christ and for a deep desire for continual transformation into the very image of Him.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS

 

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

 

 

 

GRACE IN THE MOMENT

Hey, look here: It’s the latest Grace Church blog post! Read it! Leave comments! Share it! Tweet it! Facebook it! Post it!

LOOKING AHEAD

 

Paul makes tents to pay his way as he shares the Gospel with Jewish and Gentile converts in Corinth. Next week we’ll follow his journey to help bring new believers to Christ under one tent, recorded in Acts 18:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18.

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of April 10, 2016
Adventures in Apostleship: What Now? - Randall Waldron
00:00 / 00:00
Key Text: Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)

THE SET-UP

 

The disciples-turned-apostles experience the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time as they begin to interpret and live out the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

What’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit?

 

What difference did it make for the disciples?

 

What does it mean for us?

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D

 

When we think about the Trinity, somehow it seems easier to get a visual on the Father and Son than on the Holy Spirit. Why do you think that’s the case? Based on what you’ve read or thought or been taught, how would you describe the Holy Spirit? Do you get a different picture of the Holy Spirit from our text this week? If so, how’s it different? Would you be prepared to share your insights with your Grace Group?

 

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • When we think about the Trinity, somehow it seems easier to get a visual on the Father and Son than on the Holy Spirit. Why do you think that’s the case? Based on what you’ve read or thought or been taught, how would you describe the Holy Spirit? Do you get a different picture of the Holy Spirit from our text this week? If so, how’s it different? Would you be prepared to share your insights with your Grace Group?

 

  • It was Jesus’ message interpreted and lived out by the apostles that carried the gospel forward from Mount Olivet. What role do you think the Holy Spirit played in that? Do you think the disciples on their own could have kept the gospel alive? Based on what we know about Peter and John, what are some specific ways their behavior changes from the time of Jesus’ ascension to here in Acts 3? What does that tell you about the Holy Spirit’s power to transform us? Do you think the presence of the Holy Spirit made the apostles’ lives easier or more difficult? How?

 

  • Do you ever feel like the Holy Spirit is a “consolation prize” for believers? As in, Jesus was here and now He’s not; but cheer up — we get the Holy Spirit. Do you think we have the same Holy Spirit the apostles did? Why do you think we don’t regularly see the Holy Spirit move the way they did? Verse 5 says the beggar expected something from Peter and John; do you think that made a difference? Would it make a difference if we expected the Holy Spirit to act? How much of what we believe about the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is based on what Jesus said in John 14? How much is based on particular outcomes of our circumstances? In the first century, people knew the gospel because of the way the apostles lived. In general, is that true of believers today? Why or not?  

 

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

In the power of the Holy Spirit, we can carry the gospel message out into the world every single day. Or not. When you pray this week, ask for a fuller understanding and appreciation of the gift we have in the Holy Spirit. Pray for sensitivity to what your life teaches others about the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and energy and enthusiasm to follow the apostles’ example.

 

 

 

DEEP CUTS

 

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

LOOKING AHEAD

 

In the power of the Holy Spirit, the first Thessalonican Christians demonstrate that you can’t keep a good church down. Read all about it in next week’s text, Acts 17:1-9 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

Grace Church Teaching Guide / Week of April 3, 2016
Can I Get a Witness? - John Ray
00:00 / 00:00
Key Text: Acts 1:1-11 (NET)

THE SET-UP

 

The Kingdom is here, and Jesus is the King! When we embrace His saving Gospel, He enlists us as its messengers and makes us ambassadors of His Kingdom.

 

 

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

What happened during the disciples’ forty days

with the resurrected Christ?

 

What does it mean today to be Jesus’ witness?

 

How are we empowered as witnesses

by remembering, experiencing and trusting?

 

 

 

GRACE IN 3D


Imagine you’re a new believer who came to know Jesus in the weeks or months following His ascension. There’s no institutional church to join. You have no Bible, no formal religious education; once in a very great while, you might hear an itinerant apostle share the Gospel. And being recognized as a follower of Christ could get you killed. How would you sustain, grow and spread the Christian faith? Consider this scenario, and be prepared to share your insights with your Grace Group.

 

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

 

  • Considering the way Jesus’ message spread and grew, He obviously packed some powerful teaching into the forty days He spent with His disciples following His resurrection. Based on what you’ve learned during our synoptic study, what do you think He said to them? What happened that unified them? Energized them? Gave them courage? Reading through the Gospels, we’ve learned in vivid detail about their time with Jesus during His earthly ministry; why do you think there’s no in-depth account of that pivotal forty days?

 

  • Jesus’ promise and instruction to the disciples in verse 8 extends to us, as well. So what do you think it means to be His witness in 2016, in northwest Arkansas? The United States? The world? What does it mean for you, specifically? Think about how we share Christ today: How are we like the early apostles? How are we different? How can we engage as a community of witnesses at Grace Church to equip and come alongside each other?

 

  • The disciples’ experiences with Jesus were powerful, and so were their memories. Their trust was based on what they knew to be true. Each of these — their experiences, memories and trust — shaped and empowered their witness after Jesus’ ascension. Can you name some specific ways your experiences, memories and trust grow your faith? Embolden you as a witness for Christ?  

 

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

In The Divine Conspiracy, author Dallas Willard says, “The early message was, accordingly, not experienced as something its hearers had to believe or do because otherwise something bad — something with no essential connection with real life — would happen to them. The people initially impacted by that message generally concluded that they would be fools to disregard it. That was the basis of their conversion.”

The Gospel is transformational, and it speaks for itself. As Jesus’ apprentices, we have the honor and mandate to live it out and share it until all have heard. When you meditate on our text this week, pray to recognize opportunities you have to bear witness for Jesus Christ. And ask God to give you the courage and excitement that energized the very first apostles.

 

 

DEEP CUTS

 

 

 

 

THE MASH-UP

LOOKING AHEAD

 

In our text next week, Acts 3:1-10, Peter begins to share healing — both physical and spiritual — in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel message starts to spread.