A. After you decided to follow Jesus as your Savior and Lord, what changes happened immediately to you? (Actions, feelings, etc.)
B. What changes have taken place in your life over time?
C. Are you in the process of making another change currently?
Please share your changes, if you can, with the group.
Activity: Verse Scramble
Our conversion experience and spiritual walk are a bit like this verse scramble game. When the Gospel is first introduced and accepted, we have a lot of learning to do. God uses our relationships with other Christians to help us learn and grow in our understanding and then as we become more like Him, we shine as lights in our world. In this game, each person is given 3 random words from Col. 2:6-7, which is written below. These words represent the gospel as we initially understood it. Working together to understand the whole passage represents how our relationship with the church helps us understand the gospel more fully. If we live out this passage, we will shine as lights to a dying world.
Scramble the words of this passage and assign 2-4 words to each member of your group so that all words are assigned. Work as a group to put the passage together without looking at it in your Bibles. Give hints as needed to help move the game along. When the passage is unscrambled, read it aloud together as a group.
Col. 2:6-7: “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.”
This is an example for a group of 12 people:
1. then as have
2. Christ as continue
3. walk him rooted
4. built in and
5. in faith as gratitude
6. were and with
7. So just you
8 received Jesus Lord
9. to in being
10. and up him
11. established he just
12. you taught overflowing
1. Read Acts 9:1-9. A. Can you think of a modern-day former opponent of Christ who came to follow the Lord? These could be famous people or someone you know of. It could even be you! B. What are some ways that their coming to Christ encourages you?
(Intent: A. Some famous examples are C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and Josh McDowell. Others whose conversion seemed unlikely are felons and persecutors of Christians; there are many stories of such people who became Christians.)
2. Note that Jesus says that Saul is persecuting Him, not just His people. How does this make you feel when you are opposed or ridiculed for your Christian beliefs?
(Intent: It is comforting to know that the Lord is with us and it is Christ, ultimately, who is being persecuted. In persecution or opposition, we are able to identify with Christ, I Pet. 4:13. Additionally, Romans 5:3-5 tells us there is a good outcome for us: we grow in Christ.)
3. Read Acts 9:10-19a. Share a time when the Lord asked you to do something hard. What ended up happening? Did you obey?
(Intent: Responses might include descriptions of soul or flesh struggles before obeying. Consider asking second-level questions to get to thought processes. Obedience and faith are linked, Rom. 1:5.)
4. In Acts 9:10-19, we find that the obedience of believers plays a role in others “seeing” Christ. A. What are some different aspects of Ananias’ faith actions? B. Share an example of a way that someone else’s faith action helped you connect with the Lord and/or the church.
(Intent: A. Some answers may include: he answered when he was called, he went where he was told, fear did not ultimately impede his obedience, he was used to confirm Saul’s vision, he connected Saul/Paul with the local fellowship of believers. B. This could be their direct action in your life or something that you observed them do.)
5. Read Acts 9:19b-22. This remarkable story starts with the relationship between the Lord and an individual, Saul. Next, the Lord involves a disciple, Ananias, and "the disciples in Damascus." Finally, Saul preaches to the world. Of your relationships with the Lord, church, and world, which is the strongest? The weakest? Why?
Review Acts 9:23-31. The Lord chose Saul—soon to be named Paul—as a unique individual with a special purpose and calling on his life; see Galatians 2:8 and 1 Corinthians 1:1. Have your eyes been “opened” to see God’s distinct purpose for you in the world around you? If so, share it with the group and tell how you are accomplishing it. Ask them to partner with you in prayer for what you are to do over the next week. Tell them next week what happened. If you haven’t discovered God’s distinct purpose for you, seek the Lord diligently and serve obediently where you are in the meantime; see Ephesians 1:3, 5, 9, and 11.
(Intent: Paul had received much preparation as a religious leader, but was missing the key piece to the puzzle of God’s revelation of Himself—Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:3. When he spiritually saw Christ he was already prepared for action. In the same way, our current obedience can be preparation for a future calling. We should therefore be obedient to Christ in all things.)
Refer to question 4. Think of a relationship you have with a person, Christian or non-Christian, who might benefit from some action you could take. Spend some focused time in prayer before the Lord and ask Him to reveal something specific for you to do, and to give you the courage to do it.