Here and Now: Wherever you are, be there

Key Passages: Acts 16:25-34

Writer: Casey Fiore

Big Idea: Paul and Silas found themselves in prison again, but that did not stop them from paying attention to those around them.  As we have already seen, a transformed life transforms community and when the Gospel shapes our lives, it enables us to bring light wherever we find ourselves.

Discipleship Focus: Serving in our Community

Being a Christian in Christian college is a strange experience. For instance, it wasn’t until post-grad that I realized not everyone gets married at 22 yrs old. (It turns out I wasn’t woefully behind in life!) Another statistic skewed in Christian college life is the number of people choosing vocational ministry. It seemed every other person I talked to was doing an overseas mission year or jumping in full-time with our campus ministry. I had a couple hardcore friends do the World Race, where you travel to eleven countries in eleven months.

My last weeks in college consisted of staring at a blank resume, making the painful decision to move back to Minnesota and wondering why I wasn’t gifted in engineering instead of English. I watched my friends start raising financial support, weigh their backpacks and sell their belongings, “I won’t need this in Turkey!”

I felt so discouraged and conflicted about my plans until one of my friends who was going overseas said to me, “I can’t imagine going to work every day, earning a paycheck and stewarding it well. That’s such a huge responsibility, and I trust you can do it.”

Wherever we are, we have influence. We have time, resources, and the most important thing of all, the Gospel. Could I have raised support and gone to Africa for a year? Definitely. My giftings, preferences and circumstances, however, led me to start a normal job to gain a sphere of influence in my home state. I was even able to support a couple of my friends financially as they took the Gospel around the world!

When Paul and Silas found themselves in prison again, they didn’t allow their circumstances to dictate whether they were sharing the Gospel. They sang hymns, prayed, and carried on living their lives to the glory of God. They had a captive audience (pardon the pun), and they made the most of it. When an earthquake opened the doors and the jailer was about to kill himself, Paul had a choice: He could let the jailer die and escape, or he could reach out in God’s love. Paul chose the latter. He cried out, stopping the jailer’s hand. The jailer recognized the goodness of God in Paul and asked what he needed to do to be saved. Then he cared for Paul and Silas, bringing them into his home and showing them hospitality. His whole household was saved, just because Paul and Silas continued to preach the Gospel and serve those around them regardless of where they were or who surrounded them. This story from Acts 16 provides an example for us: We can influence those around us for the Gospel when we choose to love God’s people more than we concern ourselves with our circumstances.

Discussion Questions:

  • Share a time someone influenced your life, behavior or faith just by living his or her life.
  • Read the whole story in Acts 16:25-34. Is there anything that stands out to you as you consider your current circumstances?
  • Can you think of a time someone blessed you unexpectedly, even if he or she was experiencing trials? How did this make you feel?
  • Who is someone in your sphere of influence you can bless, encourage, or pray for this week? (Remind yourself to do it no matter what comes up!)

 

Daily Reading:

November 5– Acts 23:12-22 (pg 134-136)

November 6– Acts 23:23-35 (pg 136-138)

November 7– Acts 24:1-27 (pg 138-142)

November 8– Acts 25:1-22 (pg (142-146)

November 9– Acts 25:23-27 (pg 146-148)

November 10-11– Acts 28:1-16 (pg 158-162)

 

Weekly Prayer Focus:

Pray for our church to listen and respond to the needs of our local community.