Book 1: Encouragement
Read Acts 2:42-47
I remember reading this passage from Acts for the first time and thinking that the whole commune idea suddenly made a lot more sense to me. But I don’t think that’s really what it meant. I’ve later come to realize that this isn’t really what was intended by this description. I think that the whole idea is summed up in the statement, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
Now it’s important to remember that the believers being referred to here were very different from each other. This group was comprised of Jewish people from all over the known world who lived in different cultures, spoke different languages, and would have had different preferences, likes and dislikes. So what they had in common must have been deeper than cultural, political or economic views, opinions or preferences.
Have someone read Acts 2:42-47.
What images come to your head when you picture this community?
Are your feelings or images positive or negative? What makes it that way?
Do these feelings/images make you think of anything specific from your own life?
How do we, or don’t we, experience these things in our lives? (i.e. being together, having everything in common, selling our possessions and good in order to give what is needed.)
What did the people receive as a benefit of this lifestyle? (glad hearts, enjoying favor)
Thinking about what these believers received from their community, take a moment to share how you experience this in your own life?
This passage seems to describe a community where any individual is willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the whole. This was taken to the extreme where individual people were selling their own property and possessions in order to give to those who needed it. This kind of community can only be achieved by ignoring our natural inclinations.
What is it about us which acts against this kind of sharing/giving?
What could have been unique about these first believers which made this necessary?
Are we all called to give in such a sacrificial way? Why or why not?
Read Romans 15:5-6
According to this passage from Romans there are two main things which are essential for unity among the believers. What are these two things? How do you see these things in your life and in your church?
How do endurance and encouragement fit into creating and maintaining unity?
Have you ever experienced a time when ‘endurance’ was necessary to maintain a relationship? What did you learn from that experience?
According to this passage there is a purpose for acting together as a group in unity. What is that purpose?
How does ‘glorifying the father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ help us with Unity?
As we go trough CONNECT there is one ultimately glaring factor which will help us along… other people. We are better together because we can accomplish more, learn more, and grow more together.
1. Decide on someone to open and close the prayer time. The opener can start by giving praise to God for everything he provides for us. The closer can ensure that everything is covered
2. Take some time to take prayer requests from the group.
3. Make sure to pray for everyone who is participating in CONNECT.
Pray for: a) an encouraging spirit to enter the lives of the church, b) a conviction for the need of each other to grow, c) genuine feelings of connection and support