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“Story of God” Reading Plan

Act 7 – The Spirit

(Weeks 32 – 37)

Week 32

The Holy Spirit

(April 8 – 14)

Day 1:  Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:1-11

Why do you think it was so important for Jesus to make sure the disciples knew what they had just experienced (his death and resurrection) was the fulfillment of scripture?

What result does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will have on them? Has God’s Spirit had this effect on you?

How would you have been feeling standing, looking up at the cloud after Jesus left?

Day 2:  Acts 1:12-26

Why do you think Jesus’ followers and family “met together and were constantly united in prayer” (verse 14)? Why might this have been important?

If you had been one of the disciples, how would you have felt toward Judas? Have you ever had to forgive and move on after someone betrayed you?

What was the purpose of choosing a new disciple in Judas’ place?

Day 3:  Acts 2:1-13

What would your reaction have been if you had been sitting in the room when the Spirit came?

What has your experience been with the Holy Spirit showing up in your life? What difference has it made?

Why do you think God’s Spirit gave them the ability to speak these other languages instead of some other “ability”? Why do you think people thought they were drunk (verse 13)?

Day 4:  Acts 2:14-41

Why do you think Peter teaches the people in Jerusalem (mostly Jews) that this Spirit (who they are experiencing) and Jesus (who they had experienced) was predicted by Prophets and King David?

If you had been there that day, what would you have thought of Peter saying “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” (verse 36)? What is their response?

What would we do as a church if 3000 people decided to be baptized and join the church in one day?

Day 5:  Acts 2:42-47

Of the things that the “believers devoted themselves to,” which do you think you would most benefit from in life right now?

How would our community be different if we all “shared everything” we have?

What about this description of the early Christians seems most foreign to how we experience church today? What’s one thing you could do this week to live more into this model?

Week 33

The Spirit in the Disciples

(April 15 – 21)

Day 1:   Acts 3:1-26

The man begging never even thought to ask Peter and John to heal him. Are there any parts of your life that you have given up hoping for healing in?

When you think about what you have to offer someone (like Peter and John), what are the first things that come to mind?

If you had been in the crowd listening to Peter after the miracle, what part of his speech would have amazed, frustrated, confused you the most?

Day 2:  Acts 4:1-22

What do you think has changed for Peter, going from a few weeks ago denying Jesus 3 times to now standing in front of the people who had him killed and speaking boldly?

If you had been one of the council members, how would you have felt seeing these ordinary guys who had followed Jesus now doing the same miracles he had done?

Have you ever had to stand up to authority in order to live out who God was calling you to be? (verse 19)

Day 3:  Acts 4:23-37

Why do you think the first thing the “believers” did when Peter and John returned was pray? And why pray for boldness in the face of these threats?

If you had to describe what the Holy Spirit is doing in these first few chapters of Acts, what kinds of things would you say?

Why are the ideas of “sharing everything” and there being “no needy people among them” so central to this new community of “believers”?

Day 4:  Acts 5:1-16

What was so wrong about what Ananias and Sapphira did? Why might it have been so serious to this first small community of people following Jesus?

Do you think their deaths were a punishment? Something else? If so, does God typically punish people this way?

What effect did this incident have on the other people of the church?

Day 5:  Acts 5:17-42

What would you have done as one of the “high council” knowing Jesus’ followers had just escaped from a locked prison cell?

What is the wisdom in Gamaliel’s words in verses 38-39? Have you ever found yourself fighting against God?

Have you ever “rejoiced” because God “counted you worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus”? Why or why not?

Week 34



(April 22-28)

Day 1:  Acts 6:1-15

Do the challenges going on here in the early church reflect your experience of church? In what ways? What does the apostles response show about their understanding of their own purpose? What is the importance of the criteria they set out for who they will choose to step up and take on the feeding program?

How does the response to Stephen’s teaching reflect how Jesus was treated? Have you ever had someone lie about you and cause you harm without you doing anything wrong?

Day 2:  Acts 7:1-60

Why do you think Stephen goes through a whole recount of the Old Testament in his defense? (especially in light of the accusations – verse 6:13-14)

Who does Stephen end up comparing his accusers to? What’s the significance?

On a scale of 1 (like Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit’s boldness, forgiveness, and peace) and 10 (the high priest – against the Holy Spirit at work, trying to silence it) where would you be today?

Day 3:  Acts 8:1-40

What is the result of this wave of persecution? What does this show us about how God can work through even the worst of circumstances?

How do we sometimes approach God like Simon the magician? What is the result?

What does the interaction between Phillip and the Ethiopian show us about how the news of Jesus was spreading and bringing about change in people’s lives?

Day 4:  Acts 9:1-31

Why do you think Jesus showed up to Paul the way he did? Why leave him blind for 3 days?

If you had been Ananias (knowing who Paul was), how would you respond to God’s direction to go find him because he will be His “chosen instrument”? Have you ever felt God leading you to help someone who was (or seemed like) an enemy?

What’s the most dramatic difference you’ve seen God make in someone’s life? What’s the biggest transformation you’ve seen God do in your own life?

Day 5:  Acts 9:32-43

How are the miracles happening through Peter  (and the way he does them) similar and/or different to what Jesus did when he was teaching and healing?

How would you have reacted if you had been one of the townspeople seeing Tabitha alive again? Do you think it would strengthen your faith in Jesus? Why or why not?

When you think of the power of the Holy Spirit to heal, transform, and even bring life again through those following Jesus, how does that make you feel? (inspired? challenged? hopeful? inadequate?)

Week 35

Spirit to the Gentiles

(April 29 – May 5)

Day 1:  Acts 10:1-33

How would you have responded if you were Cornelius to the angels instructions to go find a Jewish guy you’ve never met (who you know will see you as “unclean” and shouldn’t associate with you)?

Knowing that Cornelius’ men were on the way, why do you think God gives Peter the vision he does? Why doesn’t he just give him a vision about Cornelius directly?

Has God ever led you to go somewhere beyond what’s comfortable or to cross a boundary that you’ve held strictly to? Is there somewhere (or someone) that he would lead you toward in your life this week?

Day 2:  Acts 10:34-48

What is the “good news” according to Peter here? How might this be different from what he’s thought in the past? How would you describe God’s “good news”?

If you had been one of the other Jews with Peter (who were still probably under the assumption that God reserved his presence for “his people”), how would you have felt seeing His Spirit poured out on these foreigners?

Have you ever seen God work in or through someone that you didn’t expect it from? Is there anyone in your life who God might work in or through if you were willing to help them see it?

Day 3:  Acts 11:1-18

How would you have felt if you were Peter, following God to new places, seeing him do amazing new things, and then getting home only to be criticized for it?

What is it that convinces these other Jewish believers that this event was actually God at work? What is their response?

Have you ever been critical of someone only to find out later that what they were doing was right? Can you think of anything God might lead you to do that could bring criticism (possibly even by some people in the church)?

Day 4:  Acts 11:19-29

How is what begins to happen in Antioch a result of what Peter has just experienced? 

Why does the church in Jerusalem send Barnabas? If you had been a leader here, how would you have responded to the tension going on?

What are the early results of this new movement of God among these non-Jewish “Christians”?

Day 5:  Acts 12:1-25

What would you have been thinking after the death of John and imprisonment of Peter? How would you have responded?

How would you have reacted if you’d been in the house when Peter came knocking on the door after his escape? How about after you saw him in person?

Is there anything going on in your life right now that just seems beyond the possibility of God to work in? How might you trust Him more with that today?

Week 36

Paul’s Journeys

(May 6 – 12)

Day 1:  Acts 13:1-52

Why do you think the Holy Spirit lead the church to send Paul and Barnabas out on this journey? How does the Holy Spirit work through Paul in this story?

Are there any places in your life right now where God’s Spirit might be leading you to go to new places, or step into new situations for whatever God wants to do?

Even though they seem interested at first, why do some of the Jewish people in Antioch of Pisidia ultimately turn on Paul (and his message)?

Day 2:  Acts 14:1 – 15:35

Have you ever experienced strong opposition to doing what you feel God has called you to do? What had been the biggest obstacle?

If you had been Paul, after being stoned and left for dead, what would you have done? What does Paul do?

What does the “council at Jerusalem” reveal about what God is up to at this point in history? Why is their decision so important?

Day 3:  Acts 15:36 – 16:40

How does God provide people to help Paul and his companions on their journey? Who are the people who’ve been supports in your journey with God?

What would you have done if you’d been in prison with Paul and Silas and an earthquake opened the doors and set you free. What is the result of how Paul and Silas handle the situation?

Have you ever seen God bring a really good thing out of what seems like only a trying situation?

Day 4:  Acts 17:1 – 18:28

Why do you think Paul continues to go to the synagogues first to talk to the Jews, even when this continues to cause him problems?

How does the way Paul presents the news of Jesus to the people in Athens differ from the way he presents it in the synagogues to Jews?

What signs of God’s Spirit leading do you see in this section? How does Paul respond? How do you tend to respond when you feel God’s Spirit leading you?

Day 5:  Acts 19:1 – 20:38

What is the difference between the “baptism of John” and the “baptism of Jesus”? What difference does it make?

What are the results of Paul’s message? How does this impact the surrounding community in Ephesus (verses 19:23-40)?

How do Paul’s comments in verses 20:22-24 reflect Jesus’ “way”? How would you have been feeling, knowing that God’s Spirit was leading you toward suffering?

Week 37

Paul’s Arrest, Trial

(May 13 – 19)

Day 1:  Acts 21:1 – 22:29

Why do you think Paul continues to head toward Jerusalem when people are prophesying against it and it seems clear he is going to be arrested? What do you think gives him the strength, courage?

Why are the Jewish people in Jerusalem so angry at Paul? Why won’t they even let him finish his story?

If you had been Paul in this situation, what would you have said to the crowd? Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew the truth might get you in more trouble?

Day 2:  Acts 22:30 – 23:35

What do Paul’s actions and words before the council show about his passion, character, courage, etc.?

If God showed up to you and gave you the message he gave Paul in verse 23:11, how would you have felt? (discouraged?, encouraged?)

How do you see God working in this section of the story, even in the middle of what seem like terrible circumstances for Paul?

Day 3:  Acts 24:1-27

How does the Jewish leaders’ presentation to Felix compare to Paul’s in his own defense? What does each show about their purposes and what they are willing to do to get what they want?

Why does Felix keep Paul in custody, but allow him some freedom (verse 24:23)? 

What kinds of questions would you have been asking if you were Paul stuck here for 2 years? Have you ever had a time in life where things just seemed stuck?

Day 4:  Acts 25:1 – 26:32

So far, Paul has been able to share the story of how Jesus had transformed his life with 4 of the most powerful Roman rulers in the area. What would you have shared if you’d been in this position?

What do Festus and Agrippa’s reactions (verses 26:24, 28) show about how God might be using this situation?

What kinds of opportunities has God given you to share about the difference he’s made in your life?

Day 5:  Acts 27:1 – 28:31

If you had been one of that passengers on the ship with Paul, how would you have felt about his vision (verses 27:21-26) of being shipwrecked? How about after it had happened?

Does it seem to you that Paul’s imprisonment has helped or hurt his ability to do God’s work?

When you think about what God’s spirit has been able to accomplish through these early Christians in just a few years, what might that mean for what he could do through you or your community?