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Themes We’re Exploring in the Book of Acts

The Book of Acts tells the story of the Church being born as the Apostles tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and speak of rebirth and new life.  As the message spreads beyond the walls of Jerusalem and toward the ends of the earth, this new community of Christians face questions about growth, conflict, diversity, leadership, tradition — basically, how to structure and order their new lives as people who follow Christ.

Here’s a quick rundown of the passages we’ll be reading this summer in the Book of Acts, and the sorts of themes we’ll be exploring as a part of the process.  Acts has a whole lot to say, especially to a church like St. Lydia’s, for we are in the very midst of sifting through some of the same questions.

 

  • May 5, 2013
    • Acts 1:1-14

      Jesus ascends into heaven and tells the disciples to WAIT in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit.  We’ll hear from two congregants who have been doing one-on-ones as a part of the Season of Listening.  What does it mean to allow our actions to be guided by the Holy Spirit?

       

  • May 12, 2013
    • Acts 1:15-26

      Matthias is chosen to replace Judas as a leader of the newly forming church.  We’ll hear from two more folks who have done one-on-ones during the Season of Listening.  What structures need to be in place for the church to grow, thrive, and bring healing and justice?

       

  • Pentecost: May 19, 2013
    • Acts 2:1-13

      The Holy Spirit descends on the disciples in tongues of fire!  People from all different regions can suddenly understand one another, even though they’re speaking different languages.  The church was birthed in and through diversity — what does that mean for the church today and for our congregation?

       

  • May 26, 2013
    • Acts 2:37-47

      Three thousand people are moved to become followers of Christ after hearing the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  What is the relationship of the church to growth?

       

  • June 2, 2013
    • Acts 5:12-42

      The apostles are persecuted, but God breaks them out of prison.  What is the relationship of the church to those who hold power?

       

  • June 9, 2013
    • Acts 6, 7:54-8:3

      The breadth of the church widens and conflict is experienced for the first time.  How does new life and transformation occur in the midst of, and through conflict in a community?

       

  • June 16, 2013
    • Acts 8:4-40

      The gospel and the church begin to extend beyond Jerusalem, as Philip preaches in Samaria and baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch.  The gospel is for the whole world, and for all people — how do we live that out in the Church and at St. Lydia’s?

       

  • June 23, 2013
    • Acts 9:1-31

      Saul, a zealous persecutor of Christians, is converted on the road to Damascus.  His story of complete transformation gives us an usual leader for the Church.

       

  • June 30, 2013
    • Acts 9:32-43

      Tabitha is raised from the dead, and many more come to belief!  What role did women play in these early years of the Church?

       

  • July 7, 2013
    • Acts 10

      Cornelius has a vision that shows him the Gospel is for gentiles — and that don’t need to follow Jewish practices in order to follow Christ.  Are there times when we cling to certain practices as a way of keeping others out, or keeping something for ourselves?

       

  • July 21, 2013
    • Acts 15

      The Church weathers disputes with the Council at Jerusalem, and conflict continues to help them focus who they are.

       

  • July 28, 2013
    • Acts 16

      We meet Lydia for the first time, and Paul and Silas are broken out of prison once more after healing a slave-girl who’s owners are distraught after loosing the income she provided.  How does money and ownership play into these stories of conversion and transformation?

       

  • August 11, 2013
    • Acts 20

      We meet Priscilla and Aquila, two more women who were leaders in the early Church.  Why are their stories only told in passing, and what can we glean by reading between the lines?

       

  • August 18, 2013
    • Acts 21:17-23:11

      Paul faces the legal system in Jerusalem, and hears God’s call to Rome.  What role has Paul’s suffering played in the birth of the Church, and how does the next step of the growth of the Church reveal itself?

       

  • August 25, 2013
    • Acts 27

      Paul travels toward Rome and is shipwrecked along the way.  Almost to the finish line and disaster strikes!  Perhaps a familiar story.

       

  • September 1, 2013
    • Acts 28

      Paul lands in Rome and the Book of Acts ends with the Gospel being brought to “the ends of the earth.”  The Book of Acts tells a story of the “spread” of the Gospel.  What does that mean for progressive Christians?  How are we called to share this story, with who, and when?

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