Decisions … Decisions … Decisions: Acts 15.36-16.15

This week we’re thinking about decisions. We make them more than ever, right? Decisions about scheduling and technology, rides and healthcare. Decisions about machines we can’t live without, but suddenly can’t use. More than ever, routine decisions are complicated and make us tired, don’t they?

In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas (then Silas) take off on what we’ve come to call their Second Missionary Journey. They’ll revisit places like Derby, Lystra and Iconium where they’d introduced Gentiles to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Only this time, they’ll carry with them the verdict of the Jerusalem Council, reached earlier in Acts 15: JESUS is enough! You don’t need to keep the law of Moses in order to be saved.

But, as clear as that message might be, there’s more questions that arise from the doing of their trip. They involve those bedeviling details about whether to trust their young, but unreliable companion, John Mark. They involve how to present their new, half-Jewish companion Timothy, in their ministry to the Jews. They involve where to go when the Spirit tells them not to go where they’d planned on going.

Who to trust? … What to do? … Where to go?

Any of this sound familiar? Do you think there’s something we can learn for our own decision-making as we consider this passage?

Yes, there is. And, as we prepare to gather together at Woodland this Sunday, here’s some other questions we might consider together.

Questions for discussion:

  1. What do we learn from the decision about John Mark? What was the process that Paul and Barnabas went through in arriving at their decision? How did God work this out? (15.36-41)
  2. Do you have a story about a time when you had to make a decision only to find later that you “couldn’t have made a bad decision,” because you were trusting the results to the Lord?
  3. What principles do we see worked out in Timothy’s decision to become circumcised? (16.1-5)
  4. Have you ever had an experience where God refined your mission? Maybe, He told you to stop doing something He’d previously told you to do; or He told you to do something He’d previously not allowed you to do? What did that experience teach you about time and place and the timing of God’s work?
  5. What does the account of Lydia show us about the end toward which the Spirit reveals God’s will and guides us?

We’ll see you this Sunday, at Woodland!

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