Acts: What happens when the Holy Spirit leads the way?
May 17th, 2018 | John Chandler
Our mission, our primary activity, as Austin Mustard Seed is to form communities of Jesus.
It’s not a new quest. It’s what followers of Jesus have been doing ever since Christianity first started. The book of Acts tells about these earliest communities of Jesus.
This summer, we’ll be reading stories together from the book of Acts. These are stories of new communities of Jesus forming in cities throughout the ancient world. The earliest Christians traveled around the known world, paying attention to what the Holy Spirit was doing as they came to new cities. They followed the lead of the Spirit, and communities of Jesus formed out of that faithful work.
As we read these stories together, we’ll pay attention to how they saw, and joined, the Spirit at work in each city. But most important, each week we’ll consider the question that’s still important today, “What happens when the Holy Spirit leads the way?”
Learn Why This Matters Sunday Evening
As a young church, Acts provides us a clear vision of how God leads his people. We’re so passionate about being an Acts-like church that we’re devoting our entire Family Meeting this Sunday evening to discussing this more.
To find out more about Sunday night, listen to the special podcast below. Also, take a moment to RSVP on Facebook. Children are welcome, but please send us an email so we can get a headcount.
Get a Head Start on Acts
This Sunday is Pentecost, so we’ll jump right into the thick of things by looking at Acts 2. To get some context for the series, take a look at these fantastic resources from The Bible Project.
If you’re a visual person you’ll want to watch the two “infographic” videos below. If you are more of an auditory learner, take a listen to their currently ongoing Podcast Series:
Acts E1: The Startup of Christianity
Acts E2: Pentecost and the Expected Unexpected Spirit
Acts E3: Global Christianos
Summer Teaching Series
5/20 The Church in Jerusalem: Beginnings (Acts 2)
In Jesus’ final moments with the disciples, he told them to wait. Soon, he said the Spirit would come, and after that they would go forward as his witnesses to the ends of the earth. Acts 2 tells the story of Pentecost — the day the Spirit came and the church was born.
5/27 The Church in … Everywhere (Acts 7)
A primary theme in Acts is that God is already active everywhere. Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 challenges the idea of ancient religious leaders that God fits only in the boxes or buildings they construct. And it challenges us in the same way.
6/3 The Church in Jerusalem: Throughout the Week (Acts 2:41-47, Acts 4:23-37)
From the very beginning, the church was a “throughout the week” enterprise. How should the life of the church in it’s first months guide the life we share together now?
6/17 The Church in Samaria: Spiritual Power (Acts 8:4-25)
As Jesus’ followers began to travel, they continued the ministry of Jesus with miracles. The message was initiated and spread through spiritual power. What should this look like for our modern rational worldview?
6/24 The Church in Damascus: Complete life change (Acts 9:1-25)
Paul experienced a spiritual awakening that changed his life and the history of the church. How was he received by the church in his hometown, and how might we expect God to keep doing the same kind of thing?
7/8 The Church in Antioch: Identity & Callings (Acts 11:19-30, 13:1-3)
In the first months and years, Christianity was seen as a movement within the Jewish faith. As it grew in influence and understanding, a new communal identity was formed and leaders were commissioned to continue the work.
7/15 The Church in the other Antioch: Turn to Gentiles (Acts 13:13-52)
In the earliest spread of the church to other cities, the “religious” people rejected the ideas. A new and interested audience was found in those furthest from the Christian faith.
7/22 The Church in Lystra & Derbe: Pointing to God (Acts 14:8-18)
The people of Lystra and Derbe were excited about what they saw they saw happening with the Christian travelers, but they gave credit and glory to their own mythological deities. Paul and Barnabas took the opportunity to give clear glory to God.
7/29 The Church in Jerusalem: Discerning Practices (Acts 15:1-35)
As churches formed in new cities and different cultural background, questions of right and wrong became more complex. The leaders in Jerusalem helped discern how to practice the faith in new cultural moments.
8/5 The Church in Philippi: Places of Prayer (Acts 16:11-40)
In Philippi, the church was formed in unlikely places as Paul and Barnabas joined people in prayer in public places. What opportunities do we have to join others in prayer who might not be ready to walk into our liturgy?
8/12 The Church in Athens: Cultural Connection (Acts 17:16-33)
Paul’s visit to Athens brought him toe to toe with the leading philosophy discussions of the day. His connection of Jesus into their inquiries offers us direction for our own discussions with the ideas of our day.
8/19 The Church in Ephesus: City Impact (Acts 19:1-41)
Paul’s teaching and community formation had so much impact in Ephesus that a riot ensued. Our goal isn’t to stir a riot, but what might we learn from the influence of the church’s work in Ephesus?
8/26 The Church in Rome: Unhindered (Acts 28:11-31)
Acts doesn’t end in a neatly tied up bundle, but it does end up on a hopeful note. Paul finds himself on house arrest in Rome awaiting a trial. Yet the final word of the book, and on the continued spread of Jesus’ message of life, is ‘unhindered’.