Following Jesus:
Common Rule

February 14, 2021 - Stephen and the God Story (Acts 7:1-53)

Eat Together (30 min) Please practice current safety measures if gathering in-person, seeking to enjoy the devotion of sharing a meal. Consider how to safely eat together (try to have each family bring food for their household, etc.).

Worship & Prayer (20 min)
“Worship is the acknowledgment of, agreement with, and yielding to lordship, wholeheartedly offering attention and affection to ascribe worth.”
Follow this LINK for this week’s Worship Resource that also has practical instructions on how to worship together on Zoom.

Give
We are going to pause for 2 minutes to consider how we will give this week. For those that call Navah home, this is a time for you to give right now or review your giving to all God does in and through Navah. During this time, also listen and ask the Spirit if there is a need/person He wants you to bless. Let’s wait in silence for 2 minutes now. Give Online.

Announcements

  • Navah has exciting new rhythms of scripture reading and prayer together. These are the initial steps of a common practice, receiving the richness of formation in the Word of God and time with him. The reading plan and weekly Prayer Resource is underway! Print off a paper copy of the Navah website and join in:

Kids (time varies)
Consider how you integrate these kids’ resources from Navah Kids. Each home church will do this differently depending on the number and age of the children participating. Remember to include your kids as much as possible and have fun! You can access the resource HERE.

Care (20 min)

  • Hi/Lo or Good News Stories
  • Invite each person to share a brief Hi/Lo (gratitude and prayer need)
  • Consider having the next person who shares pray a short blessing over the previous person who has shared.

Commentary and DBS Questions - Acts 7:1-53
“Do not be afraid when they drag you before the rulers and magistrates…the Holy Spirit will give you the words to speak.” 
This was the encouragement from the Lord Jesus while He lived amongst His friends here on earth. Just as Jesus had faced false accusations before the Sanhedrin, the followers of Jesus would, again and again, be accused of violating the Jewish order and the religion of its people. In the Jewish mind, this message of faith in the resurrected Jesus was destroying Israel’s foundations given by God through Moses. Surely, this Jesus, who actually died, could not be the way of life. The way of life was Torah, God’s law already given, and must be protected at all costs.
It was this very argument that brought Stephen before the rulers of Israel in Acts 7, accused of speaking against God and His ways.
Stephen, a gentle servant yet full of the Holy Spirit, steps into this very moment with confidence. He does not waste any time defending himself but takes every moment to rehearse the story of God’s faithfulness to Israel, the prophetic word from Moses concerning the new Prophet, and ultimately God’s plan to deliver and dwell with His people always. Stephen simply shares the God story. The rulers know this story well. But when Stephen asserts that they have missed its fulfillment in the person of Jesus, it is more than they can bear. Stephen’s confidence in Jesus will cost him his life.
After finishing his testimony, he looks up to see the desire of his heart fulfilled. He sees the climax of the God story with his own eyes - the resurrected Jesus, next to the Father, in all of His glory. After this declaration to those standing by, he is chased from the city and stoned to death.
The story of God is not just Israel’s story, but His story of rescue and restoration for the whole world. Each of us is invited to not only know His story, but our own story as it sits in the greater narrative of the love of God extended to His world. As we all seek to know God more deeply and be shaped by His story through the ages, may our rehearsing of the Gospel always lead us to a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the satisfaction of every human heart and is the embodiment of God’s perfect love and wisdom revealed in the heavens and earth.

Application and Additional Questions

  • Read through the scriptures today as a community. Each person read 5-7 verses, with the next person reading aloud where the last person left off.
  • After each section of reading, consider pausing to reflect on God’s faithfulness over time spoken of in the text. If you like, try saying aloud a one-line response to each section of text. (Example: “The Lord has been faithful”)
  • After reading, try retelling this section of scripture in your own words as a community. This allows us to join in the gift of rehearsing the God Story, the Gospel that has transformed our lives, as it did Stephen’s life.
  • How can having an understanding of the Gospel, retold through the God Story, help us both to rehearse and retell it to others in our daily lives?
  • What are some practical ways this week you can make time to review and rehearse the God Story? (Example: take some time to search for and write down some key elements from the scriptures - where have the authors retold the story? How did they retell it?)
  • “Our own story in His” - has each member of the home church been able to share their own personal story with God amongst the believers in the home church? Where and how can we make time to listen to each other’s personal “God Story” in the coming weeks and months? 

Video - "The God Story" - Adam Cox

Communion (10 min)

  • Ask each person/household to prepare elements ahead of time - give them a few days heads up if possible
  • Read short passage - 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • Lead them in receiving the elements
  • Consider singing or reciting the doxology together (acapella)
16 May

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