Find Your Stride, Week 3

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Journey Church

  • All of us have a story. You might think yours is common. But your common story can have uncommon impact
  • “And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” – 1 Peter 3:15 (851)

TEXT: Acts 26:4-23 (779)

  1. My life before I was a follower of Christ (vs. 4-11).
    • “As the Jewish leaders are well aware, I was given a thorough Jewish training from my earliest childhood among my own people and in Jerusalem. If they would admit it, they know that I have been a member of the Pharisees, the strictest sect of our religion. Now I am on trial because of my hope in the fulfillment of God’s promise made to our ancestors. In fact, that is why the twelve tribes of Israel zealously worship God night and day, and they share the same hope I have. Yet, Your Majesty, they accuse me for having this hope! Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead? “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
    • Paul is describing his life “BC”
    • What was your story “BC”? How would you describe your life before you became a Christian?
    • What made you consider your need for Christ in your life? Was there a situation or an event (or series of events) that made you feel: “There is something missing in my life”?
    • What are some words, phrases, events that encapsulate your BC life?


2.  My moment of decision (vs. 12-18)

    • “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyesand turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
    • Paul tells Agrippa and Festus about the moment he decided to become a follower of Jesus
      • You can get the full story in Acts 9 (765)
    • The crux of our story is this moment. Without it, our story is just a story of trying to do better. Of trying to change on our own.
    • So when was that moment for you? When was the moment when you said, “God I need You.” When you asked for forgiveness and became a follower of Christ.
    • Where were you? What were the circumstances? What did you do? What did you say?

3.  My life now as a follower of Christ (vs. 19-23)

    • “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
    • Paul: King Agrippa, my life is different now. Instead of attacking Christianity, I am proclaiming Christianity. Instead of trying to make myself good with God by keeping rules, I am trusting in Christ for a right relationship with God. My life is different.
    • How is your life different? What is the hope that you have that people notice and ask about?
    • What words or phrases would you use to describe your life after you became a Christ-follower? What’s an example of the difference Christ has made in your life?
  • Helpful hints:
    • Write it out
    • Make it natural
    • Shoot for short
  • Your everyday story has eternal potential

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