These questions are meant to be a choose-your-own-adventure. That is, use what you like. Skip what you don’t. And add to it in any way you see fit.
- This is obviously impossible but go with it. If you could have the same life – everything exactly the same – except Indiana doesn’t exist, never has, where would you want your life to happen? (Bonus points for anyone who says, “Ohio.”)
Read Acts 9.1-9
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
This is the same Saul who would later be called Paul and then go on to write a huge portion of the New Testament. We know a little bit about Saul before this encounter. For one, we can conclude that he was, in many ways, a model citizen, the best of the best among young Jewish men. Ironically, he was what would be referred to in some circles today, “a good Christian boy.” With that in mind, answer these next few questions.
- What stands out to you in this passage?
- What do you like? What don’t you like?
- What questions do these verses raise in your mind?
That I May Gain Christ
Read Philippians 3.7-8
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
- These are certainly the words of a person who has had a significant change occur. You just can’t write something like this without real-life experience. In what ways do you see a connection between Acts 9 and these words in Philippians?
- Consider this – It is likely that Paul wrote these words at least 20 years after his encounter with Jesus. Even his first letter – Galatians – wasn’t written until 15 or so years after meeting Jesus. What do you think took so long? [Saul didn’t become the Apostle Paul overnight.]
- Think about your own life and compare it now to who you were in the past. How have you changed? How about right now? How do you see God at work in your life now?
The God of Hope
Read Romans 15.13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Hope, Joy, Peace, Trust, Power – – – For anyone who follows Jesus, these are particularly strong words. As God has brought change in your life, in what ways have you experienced hope, joy, peace, trust, and power? And how have those experiences made you who you are?
- In any of those areas – hope, joy, peace, trust, power – where do you need to experience God today?