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Week 5: August 29 - 31


August 29 (Sunday)

Start with this short classic prayer from Romans 8: 

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.


Listen to God by reading Acts 5

Observation: The church encounters her first internal threat...a conspiracy by Ananias and Sapphira. In fact, verse 11 is the first time we see the word “church” in Acts. This first church problem is resolved dramatically by the deaths of the co-conspirators. Not typical church discipline! Nor do the apostles later have a typical reaction to being beaten, “rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.”


Talk with God about SUFFERING.

-Thank God for the times you have suffered for the name of Jesus.

-If you haven’t yet been counted worthy of suffering, ask God to strengthen you so you might endure suffering for Jesus’ sake.

-Pray that God will keep you from any discouragement from internal church threats that would steal your joy at suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus.

-Pray for a newly forming FM network in a country we call PK where ministry is clandestine. Ask the Father to give discernment and identify the leaders He has chosen in the middle of suffering.


Listen to God 

-Weep, if need be, for those who suffer disgrace in these days for the name of Jesus.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.


August 30

Start with a Short Prayer: Ask God for a spirit of innocence and gentleness as you consider any discrimination which occurs within the church. Don’t defend yourself, instead celebrate that God rewards those who approach Him in humility.


Listen to God by reading Acts 6.

Observation: One of the two main ethnic groups (Greeks and Hebrews) within the new church complains about discrimination. The apostles create a new group of ministers to resolve the disparity. Not only are these seven problem-solvers, they are full of the Holy Spirit and faith. Which sets up the show-down of the next chapter.


Talk with God about church DIVISION.

-Confess before God any time you have favored your people over other people.

-Ask God to give you an “outsiders’ eyes so you can see how “outsiders” feel in the Arbor Church. Think about people from other countries, other levels of education, other races, other political persuasions, etc.

-Ask God to make you an instrument to resolve discriminatory practices in The Arbor.

-Pray for international missionary Rufus Kahn in Sierra Leone as he continues to train pastors in church planting.


Listen to God 

-Make yourself available to God to be a church “problem-solver” and minister.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.


August 31

Start with a Short Prayer: Recognize that if the history of God’s chosen people was tragic, that most likely your own people’s history has been tragic, too. Invite God to continue to do His work through you, even in your imperfection.


Listen to God by reading Acts 7.

Observation: This chapter marks both the end of our month together and the end of the first part of the book of the Acts. In it, Stephen paints in painful accusatory detail the history of his own people, how time and time again they have rejected God and His redemption, culminating in Stephen’s denunciation in verses 51-53 of their murder of the Righteous One. His consequent death introduces us to the Apostle Paul who will carry the story forward.


Talk with God about Redemption.

-Ask God to forgive your own people group for times they have rejected God.

-Thank God that He has continued to offer a path of redemption to you and your people.

-Thank God that he redeems even this violent death of Stephen, using it to disperse witnesses into other parts of the world.

-Pray that God will continue to make The Arbor Church a center of God’s redeeming Love.

-Pray for two pastors in Chile who are among the most fruitful but are struggling to fit into a system that instead rewards seniority and conformity.


Listen to God 

-Linger and savor with a grateful heart the work of redemption He is doing and will continue to do in your life.

-Make a note of anything you hear from God.

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