Monday, April 19, 2010 Acts 10:1-33
In this passage, God leads people to share the gospel with everyone. God’s plan is to bless people everywhere. What is unusual about Cornelius and his encounter with God? (See Leviticus 11: 4-7, 13-19 and 29-30.) How do you think Peter feels when he is told to eat these animals? Why is it repeated three times? What does the principle in verse 15 mean to him? How do Cornelius’ story (1-10, 23-34) and Peter’s story fit together? How do you think Peter felt as he entered Cornelius’ house? Imagine what verse 28 meant to Cornelius. Why is this story important to each of us, and to our church, today? Is our church a place where all people are welcome to share the gospel? How about us? Do we have beliefs or opinions that limit our ability to reach out? Pray for a willingness to reach those who desire to know God.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 Acts 10:34-48
Conflict between the Jews and Gentiles was a barrier to spreading the gospel. Many early Jewish believers thought it was unacceptable to associate with Gentiles. But God told Peter to take the good news to a Roman, and Peter obeyed. Read these verses with the understanding that God tells each of us what he told Peter: the good news of Christ is for everyone. Peter and Cornelius need each other to discover how God works. Peter needs to know that Gentiles are included in God’s plan, and Cornelius needs to hear the good news. Ask God to reveal where you should share the gospel, so that you might understand how God works.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Acts 11
Peter explains his actions in 1-18. Of what importance is the gift of the Holy Spirit? Peter brings six witnesses to back him up (12). Why is this important? The lesson in 10:34-35 and 11:18 is not easily learned, even by Peter. Consider our community and our church (ethnically, socially, politically, and so on). Have we decided that our church is just not for some of the people in our midst? How do we remove barriers, soften hearts, and reach out? Pray for our church and how we share the gospel.
Thursday, April 22, 2010 Acts 12
King Herod continues persecuting the first Christians, and Peter is in jail because of his faith and preaching. Why would Herod’s choice to arrest Peter please the Jewish leaders (2-4)? God reveals himself through miracles; an angel appears and rescues Peter (7-8). Would you have believed Rhoda if you had been there (13-15)? Who do you think truly had the power: Herod or the Lord? How can this chapter help Christians deal with persecution and suffering? What worldly forces seem overpowering to you? How does this chapter put them into perspective? Why is verse 5 such an important part of this chapter? Do you believe that prayer changes things? What do you need to lift up in prayer so that God’s miracles might occur?
Friday, April 23, 2010 Acts 13:1-25
The focus turns to spreading the gospel around the world. What was setting when the Spirit speaks to the leaders a Antioch (2-3)? The inspiration of the Spirit enables followers to understand God’s will in events of their lives and in the plans for their lives. How does the Spirit speak to you? Put yourself in Elymas’ place (8). Why would you oppose Barnabas and Saul? Have people ever tried to turn you from faith? How did you respond? It was about 350 miles from Cyprus to Pisidian. What does that say about their willingness to travel for the sake of the gospel? What does 15 tell us about their audience? Compare 22-23 and 36-37 with Romans 1:3 and Acts 2:29-31. What is the connection between David and Jesus? Why is this so important to Peter and Paul? To you and I? If you were to emphasize one thing about the gospel, what would it be? Why?
Saturday, April 24, 2010 Acts 13:26-52
Jesus fulfilled the intention of God’s history with Israel and the scriptures (27-41). According to Paul, what is the central meaning of the resurrection (38-39)? Compare 39 with Romans 3:20-24 and 8:3-4. What does Paul mean by being “justified?” Describe the feelings and emotions created by this sermon (42-51). Why are there so many different reactions? How would Paul respond to today’s critics who describe Jesus as something other than the Son of God or the risen Savior? Should the Old Testament still play a role in his answer? Read Romans 1:16. Paul was bold about his faith. Are you bold or embarrassed? Ask God to rekindle your passion to obey him and to tell others about the good news.
Sunday, April 25, 2010 Psalm 131
Reflect on the importance of humility. Here humility is described as an act of our will, allowing us to be content with God’s leading in our lives. How do you still your soul? Ask God to let humility and trust give you the strength and freedom to serve God and others. Out of that contentment, live in the discovery that you no longer need to prove yourself to others. Thanks be to God!