Loving Worship Series: EMPOWERED
June 9, 2019
Week 4 – Empowered
Fellowship – Snacks (10 minutes)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, discuss: “Name a time when you felt empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: Acts 2:1-21
- Pentecost, fifty days following Passover, was the celebration of God’s law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. What images in verses 2-3 recall stories from the first books of the Bible? [“Wind” from Genesis 1:1-2; parting the Red Sea from Exodus 13:18 and 14:21-22; “fire” like the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-3 and similar to God’s presence at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16-18.]
- Read Genesis 11:1-9. How is the Pentecost experience of the disciples a reversal of the Tower of Babel story? [Instead of confusion, people understand one another’s languages.] What might that mean for the response to the Resurrection and Pentecost? [It will be for all people.]
- What are the reactions of the bystanders (vv. 12-13)? [surprised, bewildered, sneered or made fun] Which reaction do you think you would have had if you had been there?
- Why do you think Peter cited Joel 2:28-32 in this sermon to his fellow Israelites (2:22)? [helps connect to God’s prior work; shows fulfillment of God’s promises]
- Why is it important that the first acts of the New Testament church as reported in the book of Acts are so strongly tied to the stories of the Old Testament (the images of wind and fire, echoing the stories of Babel, the flood, and the giving of the law, and drawing on the visions of the prophets)? [shows continuity with who God is and what God has been doing; helps first Jewish believers to see these acts as works from God.]
- The Pentecost experience of the first believers was more than an ecstatic encounter with the Holy Spirit. Who is reached by the Pentecost experience? [people from many languages, cultures, and ethnicities.] What might that mean for our experiences with the Holy Spirit?
- How are you empowered by the Holy Spirit for loving God and loving neighbors?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following together:
God of Pentecostal fire, enliven us to embody your love to all people. Open our hearts, ears, minds, and mouths to be people who praise in all circumstances, who hear the cry of the needy, and who see the needs of those we encounter. Use us as instruments of your love that we might glorify you with our entire being. Amen.
Apprenticed to Jesus: Discipleship Practices for Growing Christians by Thomas R. Hawkins, Discipleship Resources, 2014.
Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations by Junius B. Dotson, Discipleship Ministries, 2017.
Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People by Junius B. Dotson, Discipleship Ministries, 2019.
Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org
See All the People, www.seeallthepeople.org