1. Trial before Felix, governor of Judea
a) Acts 24:1–9, were any of these accusations against Paul true?
b) Acts 24:10–19, what impresses you about Paul’s response?
c) Acts 24:22–26, what do these verses reveal about governor Felix?
d) What is the danger of waiting for a convenient time to make a commitment to Jesus?
e) How long was Paul confined at Herod’s Praetorium in Caesarea? Acts 24:27
f) How do you handle times when God seems slow to hear and answer your prayers?
2. Appearance before governor Festus
a) Acts 25:1–5, what appeal did the Jewish leaders make to Festus, the newly appointed governor of Judea? Why?
b) What was Festus’ conclusion after interviewing Paul? Acts 25:25–27
c) Acts 25:6–12, after making his appeal before Festus, why did Paul appeal to Caesar?
d) Was this appeal to Caesar directed by God or was Paul following his own plan at this point? Might he rather have said, “I appeal to God”? Acts 26:32
e) What promise can we claim when we sense we might have made a poor decision? (see Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
3. Appearance before King Herod Agrippa II
a) Acts 25:13–22, great-grandson of Herod the Great
b) Acts 25:23–27, the confession of Festus
c) Acts 26:1–3, why did Paul begin his defence before King Agrippa with words of affirmation?
d) Acts 26:4–23, why did Paul share his life story, including his conversion, before King Agrippa? What new information is added, not found in Acts 9?
e) Why did Paul recount this additional revelation to King Agrippa? (see Acts 26:28)
f) Share a time when you were studying the Bible with someone and they were almost persuaded to become a Christian. How did the
4. Staying calm under attack
a) What accusation did Festus make against Paul? Acts 26:24
b) How had Jesus counselled His followers to respond in such situations? Matthew 5:11–12
c) How did Paul respond to the comment of governor Festus? Acts 26:25
d) Share a time when God enabled you to stay calm even when you were under attack as a Christian.
Friday, September 21, 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
I talk about resilience a lot.
Every time my 17-year-old daughter hears the word resilience, she says, “There’s your word, Dad!” So, in a nutshell, here what I know about building resilience in ourselves and our children.
Resilience is built in Relationships
Relationships are shaped by Reconciliation
Reconciliation is the skill of making things right
by saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”
It is much easier to say: “I’m sorry” and mean it than it is to say: “I forgive you” and mean it. And yet, without forgiveness, our world stops. A lack of forgiveness stops countries sharing resources, families sharing Christmas and partners sharing a bed. Being sorry people is natural. Being forgiving people is enlightened!
So, start by saying the words “I forgive you” more often. Squeeze them into as many conversations as possible. Let people know they are loved by embracing them with forgiveness. Welcome them home.
Alongside forgiveness, offer apologies more often. It’s much better to apologise and hear, “You don’t need to apologise!” than not to apologise and risk the other person harbouring a niggle that grows into hatred. Two families in a small town hadn’t spoken to each other for generations. When a new police chief was posted to the town, he couldn’t understand the hatred and searched for an explanation. He asked everyone, including the members of the two families and no one knew the reason. The same explanation came from both camps: “We never talk to them! Our families don’t mix! They are dishonest, hurtful, horrible people!” No one knew the reason, but everyone lived the hate.
Apologise early. Apologise often. It hurts no one. In fact, it makes you the bigger person because you are willing to own your actions and admit you make mistakes. Children struggle with both sides of forgiveness unless it is modelled to them regularly. Reconciliation is a constant choice of conscience.
Once you’ve put reconciliation into full swing, your relationships will become healthy, happy and numerous. People who treat others kindly have more friends. It’s like magic. Well, not really. Everyone loves being loved!
Friendships built on forgiveness and kindness turn into deeply trusting relationships. And that’s where resilience comes from. Social researchers say people who bounce back quickly from unexpected difficulties (resilient people) have at least five significant adult relationships. That’s five emotionally healthy adults you know you can trust to eat with you, listen to you and care for you.
Resilience is a team sport. We build it together as we do life together. Invest more in your relationships, practice reconciliation, and watch your resilience — and the resilience of your children — grow, grow, grow!
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
We’ve all answered this question a thousand times. In our hectic world, it’s a badge of honour to say, “Yes, very busy!”
“Busy” tops my list of least favourite four-letter words. Five years ago, I nearly destroyed my marriage and family. As we recovered, I recognised I had to prioritise relationships as the most important thing in my life. To actually put my wife and children first wasn’t easy. It meant I had to leave my busyness mindset behind. I had to change my purpose and my focus.
Now, I want people to know I am available to them – never too busy to listen or care. Of course, there are times when I have things to do. But, relationships lead to happiness and resilience. I want to be available to myself and others– even when I’ve got things to do. Pop your head into my office and no matter how ‘busy’ I may be, I remind myself that relationships come first, mentally press pause on my to-do list and invite you to come in, sit and chat for a spell.
Like busyness, availability is a state of mind. It takes a serious brain-retrain in our rush-around world to choose to be available rather than busy. But, it is possible – and highly rewarding!
Seek to be in a state of availability to self and others. Being available to others means being attentive to their needs when they show us those needs – not when we get around to it. Being available to ourselves means having awareness of our own needs and being willing to address those needs as they arise. A lack of self-awareness leads to anger, disinterest and disengagement. A lack of attentiveness to others leads to selfishness, loneliness and fragmented relationships.
When asked if I’m busy, I quickly answer, “Nope. I’m never busy.” While it isn’t always true – the quick answer reminds me of who I want to be. Then, if I’m living it that day, I offer my availability and say, “How can I help?”
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