The Community Guide below is based on Sunday’s teaching for Pentecost Sunday. As your whole Community gathers (online or socially distanced), use the Community Guide below to give shape to your night together.
Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)
Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the scripture we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing.
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
‘Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Joel 2v28–32 (quotes in Acts 2v17–21)
Emotional Health Check-in (20-30 Minutes)
We want to continue to create space for checking in on each other, but doing so in a shorter amount of time. Take a few minutes to do an emotional health check-in with your Community, creating space for each person to answer the question below:
- What in your life can we celebrate with you right now? What can we be praying over and holding with you?
If the need arises, spend a few minutes praying for one another, asking God to meet needs and help each person carry what feels heavy right now.
Read this Overview (5 Mins)
The book of Acts mirrors the structure of the book of Luke, with six parts: a birth, prophecies, proof of those prophecies, trial, tragedy, and then resurrection. As we come to the closing of Acts, most readers find the ending to be a bit anticlimactic, ending in what seems like tragedy (Paul in prison, facing an uncertain future). But as we look deeper and understand the structure, we find much more at play. The Gospel of Luke ends with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead — meaning that God did not let death have the final word. So, as we read the ending of Acts, instead of seeing Paul under house arrest in Rome as the end of the story, we are invited to see and marvel at the fact that the gospel made its way to Rome. And even though we don’t see the effects of it taking root by the end of the book, we can be confident that it will. Just as we saw in the book of Luke, the seeds of resurrection were planted and, though not currently visible, resurrection was coming to Rome.
In our own lives, we may find ourselves wondering whether tragedy will have the final word. But, as apprentices of Jesus, we are invited to see things differently, to look through the tragedy and towards the light of resurrection. This week, we want to spend some time reflecting on the reality that resurrection is our inheritance.
Debrief this Sunday’s Teaching (20 Minutes)
With that in mind, work through the following discussion questions as a Community:
- Where in your life have you experienced or witnessed something that seemed like tragedy transformed into resurrection?
- Is there anything you’re experiencing now that feels like a tragic ending? Put another way, what in your life right now do you need God’s help to see with “resurrection eyes”?
- Even in prison, Paul experienced areas in his life and ministry where the Spirit of God remained unhindered, allowing the gospel and His goodness to spread. Where are you experiencing freedom, or a sense of God’s Spirit being “unhindered” even as you yourself may feel isolated?
Practice For The Week Ahead: Exercising Holy Imagination (5 minutes)
This week, we want to focus in on the reality that resurrection has the final word. With this lens of resurrection, we are invited to look differently at and to shift our perspectives on the tragedies in our life. This week, spend some time honestly engaging parts of your life where you encountered tragedy in this last season. Take some time to work through the following:
- Identify an area in your life in this last season in which you feel like God didn’t show up or meet your needs the way you wanted/needed him to.
- Share honestly with God (and maybe with a close friend) how that made you feel. Notice the ways it changed your ability to have faith or trust in him.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to give you a holy imagination around that disappointment, to ask him to help you think new thoughts about what happened or didn’t happen, and to look for evidence of his resurrection power at work.
Prayer (20 Minutes)
Spend a few minutes praying for God’s grace over each other, that we would become a people who are filled with resurrection hope and who view the season ahead with prophetic expectation. If there are areas that arose in discussion where you or another may need God’s help to see things with holy imagination or “resurrection eyes,” spend time specifically praying over those needs.