Paul & Silas

Connect to Community

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

“Changing the world” is a popular idea in America – from childhood, we were told we could change the world if we try hard enough. Of course, we learned early on that this wasn’t meant to be taken literally. No one person could actually make the entire world better, right? As representatives of God, that’s exactly what we’re called to do. Make our world better, one community at a time.

1. Discussion 

Matthew 5:14-16 [ESV] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

God’s plan for Christians is for us – collectively – to shine light & truth into the dark world around us.

Q. When you read these verses, do you normally hear the “you” as singular, or plural?

Q. Which problems in your community do you take an active role in trying to address? Which problems do you passively accept?

Q. What are 2 or 3 problems in your community that would improve if the people involved began living God’s way?

2. Challenge

Matthew 5:3-9 [ESV] “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the meek… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are the peacemakers.”

We impact our community by living with God’s character as our driving force. When we live a transformed life as a connected, active part of our community, we bring the creative, life-giving power of the Holy Spirit to every area, and with it, the greatest hope for change that the world has ever seen.

Q . When you edit your thoughts and actions to line up with God’s way, do you do it for the sake of God’s relationship with you, or His mission to reach the people around you?

Q . The brokenness of your community can be healed when people see the example of God’s power in your life. How does that impact the importance you put on living God’s way?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for filling your life with importance by making you part of His work to bring light to the world. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to live His way in the context of community.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Who Are You Chained To?

1. Power Verse

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

What’s Up: “I Will Choose Friends Who Will Lift Me Up!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Prison Break.”  In this lesson, we learn from the example of Paul and Silas.  We learn that each of us must be careful who we connect ourselves with.  We need friends who will be willing to “sing” with us even in the darkest hours of our lives.

2. Discussion

Acts 16:25-26 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a powerful earthquake. It shook the prison from top to bottom. All at once the prison doors flew open. Everyone’s chains came loose.”

Q. What did Paul and Silas do while in prison?  Were they sad and upset?

Q. What happened to Paul and Silas while they were in jail? 

Q. What did the earthquake cause to happen?

Each one of us have days where nothing seems to be going right.  The car won’t start, traffic is backed up and makes you late for work, and you get in trouble with your boss.  Those days are very tough.  It’s easy for us to get down in the dumps and feel like we are all alone.  It’s in those moments that true godly friends can step in to lift our spirits and remind us that God is in control.

3. Challenge

Q. Do you have godly friends to help you in tough times?

Q. Have you ever faced a situation where you needed godly friends?  

Q. Did you have friends there for you?

Q. Are there any friends in your life that aren’t godly influences?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray for your children that God would lead them to godly people.  Pray for them to pick the right friends that will direct them to God, not away from God.  Pray for them if they feel like they are in bad relationships that need to change.

Connect to People

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Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

Ever try to pull a large TV out of the box, set up a tent, or hang a ceiling fan by yourself? Some things in life are just easier with help from someone else. God created humans as social beings, and if we want to experience the full life He has for us, we need to experience it in community.

1. Discussion 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

The enemy of your soul doesn’t take a summer vacation. Life can be a constant struggle, especially when you’re walking against the grain of culture to follow God’s ways. You need people around you to pick you up when you stumble – and you need to be there for them in the same way.

Q . Who are the people in your life who pick you up when you need help? Who are the people you help?

Q . If you had a larger support group, would living for God be easier or harder? How?

2. Challenge

Ecclesiastes 4:8 [ESV] “…one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, ‘For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business.”

Because we were created to live in community, part of our sense of purpose and enjoyment in life is doing things to benefit others. When we isolate ourselves, we cut ourselves off from that sense of meaning and value in life.

Q . Think of a time when you did something selfless to benefit someone else, how did it make you feel in the moment? At the end of that day, did you feel a sense of purpose, or was it meaningless? 

Q . Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions in life, without any overarching direction? How do you think engaging in community to help others might change that feeling?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for the people in your life that you can lean on when times are hard. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you connect to people, not only to find help, but to find purpose.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

Singing In The Dark!

1. Power Verse

Psalm 34:1 “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.”

What’s Up: “No Matter What I’m Going Through – I Will Praise The Lord!”

This week, we continue our series called, “Prison Break.” In this lesson, we learn that even in our darkest times, we should worship God! In our Bible Story, we see a great example of this when the Apostle Paul and Silas find themselves in the middle of a very BAD day! They were taken to the authorities, beaten badly, and thrown in a dark prison! But that didn’t stop them from worshiping! They knew God would take care of them, so they began singing songs of praise to God!

2. Discussion

Acts 16:16-25 One day we were going to the place of prayer. On the way we were met by a female slave. She had a spirit that helped her tell people what was going to happen. She earned a lot of money for her owners by doing this. She followed Paul and the rest of us around. She shouted, “These men serve the Most High God. They are telling you how to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became upset. Turning around, he spoke to the spirit that was in her. “In the name of Jesus Christ,” he said, “I command you to come out of her!” At that very moment the spirit left the woman. Her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone. So they grabbed Paul and Silas. They dragged them into the market place to face the authorities. They brought them to the judges. “These men are Jews,” her owners said. “They are making trouble in our city. They are suggesting practices that are against Roman law. These are practices we can’t accept or take part in.” The crowd joined the attack against Paul and Silas. The judges ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped and beaten with rods. They were whipped without mercy. Then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  When he received these orders, he put Paul and Silas deep inside the prison. He fastened their feet so they couldn’t get away. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them.

Q. What were Paul and Silas doing? Who was following them?

Q. What did Paul & Silas do after the slave girl kept following them? What happened next? What happened to Paul & Silas?

Q. What did Paul and Silas do while they were in their dark prison cell?

3. Challenge

Troubled times are expected in life – even for Christians! Jesus said,“In this world you will have trouble.” But there’s no reason to quit when we face hard times. Jesus also said,“Take heart! I have overcome the world!” That’s a reason to celebrate! That’s a reason to praise God and worship Him for helping us, even in our darkest times!

Q. Have you ever had a really, really bad day? What happened? 

Q. When you’re facing tough times, what should you do? 

Q. How should you respond?

Q. Why should we worship God during our darkest times?

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your children won’t be surprised when troubles come, but that instead they will be ready. Pray that they will decide not to quit and to worship God, even in their darkest times. Spend some time in worship and thanking God together!