Join us in dwelling in God’s Word and prayer!
Each week this summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Grace Church Council invites you to dwell in God’s Word and prayer! Please join us as we practice listening to God, opening ourselves to God’s surprises, and learning to anchor ourselves in God’s mission and call!
WHAT? Pray with others? Read, listen and study the Bible?
Whoa! We want to do that – but it’s intimidating! I may feel awkward, not do it right, get bored, lose interest.
We have a suggested study format that has been tested, designed to work well, and has the following structure:
- Doing it in summer – when nearly all are in Tomahawk.
- Important cause – this process will prepare us for our fall goal-setting event.
- Reading Acts – filled with the work of the Holy Spirit guiding the early church as the example and guide for what the Holy Spirit seeks to do in us and the church today.
- Specific format – Acts has 28 chapters. Reading two chapters a week will fill all fourteen weeks between Memorial Weekend and Labor Day weekend.
- Teaching skills – prayer and Bible reading are great gifts. But we have often not been taught, guided or expected. This newsletter, Sunday bulletins, and the website www.gracetomahawk.org will guide you.
- Accountability – choose one or two others and meet with them each week for 45 minutes. This will hold you on schedule, deepen relationships, and you can help and support each other.
- Support – we have people you can call or contact to help you find the one or two others, guide you in the praying and reflecting, and to whom you can send your prayer concerns and reflections.
- Resources – the newsletter, bulletin and website will have specific questions to reflect on for each week. Suggestions and examples for prayer will also be included and demonstrated.
- Surprising & stimulating – the Book of Acts is filled with fascinating stories of how the Holy Spirit led the early church very differently from what they expected.
- Relevant – our world today is again pushing us in ways we don’t like. Much of that is our fault because we want it our way and we are not listening and seeing how the Holy Spirit is calling and working. This weekly reflection on just two chapters and time of prayer can guide us to listen and see.
- Invite one or two people to join you in this reading, reflection, and prayer. Preferably choose people outside of your family.
- Meet for 45 minutes each week to reflect on the reading and to pray. It is very important and helpful to spend at least 15 minutes in prayer.
- Keep notes, if possible, of your reflections and prayer concerns. This will provide background for the goal-setting event in fall and help you see the progress of your reflection and your prayer time.
When you meet: This is up to you – whether 6:30 a.m. at the coffee shop, noon at work, or whenever. Each time you meet do the following:
A. Check in with each other: How’s it going? What’s going on? The conversations we naturally do when we get together.
B. Read the chapters for the week on your own. Be ready to talk about it when you meet:
There is a specific question for each week (see schedule below) or use one of these:
* What is the Holy Spirit doing in these two chapters?
*What was the lesson for the church in that day?
*What are the lessons are in these chapters for us today?
*What is this telling us about a possible vision purpose for Grace?
C. Prayer: at least 15 minutes of prayer together:
* Pray for each other – what you heard when you checked in with each other.
* For the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and what you heard, learned, pondered.
* For purpose, vision, and mission in your lives and for that of Grace Lutheran.
* For God’s work and mission in your families, Tomahawk, Wisconsin, U.S. and world.
* For specific people, causes, and concerns
* For Grace Lutheran, Tomahawk ministries, summer worship and events, our synod.
* For this study of Acts, this process, and the fall goal-setting to deeply impact Grace.
I didn’t start on Memorial Day? Can start any time?
YES! That you participate is our first priority. There is a huge blessing and benefit whenever you can start reading just two chapters a week and spending time with one or two others in conversation and prayer.
What if I don’t find someone?
Call the church office. We will help as best we are able to connect people. The Council’s desire is that everyone who seeks this can participate.
What if we don’t finish by Labor Day?
If you start later in June or need to miss a few weeks you will finish around the time of the fall goal-setting time. Keep it to the two chapters a week and meeting together for reflection and prayer.
We have a hard time meeting every week?
Summer can be filled with travel or busy schedules. Not ideal, but sharing thoughts and prayer concerns via email, social media or texting can keep you pondering and connecting until you meet in person.
What are the major points of this process?
There are three major things to gain from this.
1. Relationships – choose and invite people outside your usual circle.
2. Prayer – name concerns and pray with two or three others (the very emphasis of Jesus).
3. Dwelling in the Word – how insightful and inspiring Scripture becomes when we listen to what it is saying.
Praying – out loud and for 15 minutes – are you kidding?
This is why we are doing this! DON’T EAT THE ELEPHANT THE FIRST TIME!
If intimidated – start slow. With the reading and reflection take it by sections and listen for what strikes you about their experience and what it says to you. With prayer – begin with naming prayer concerns, perhaps with the most comfortable praying, slowly chime in. It does come.
WEEKLY GUIDE FOR READING ACTS
Acts 1-2 Who is in charge?
Acts 3-4 What emboldens them?
Acts 5-6 How is community formed and deepened?
Acts 7-8 How involved and what do new leaders do?
Acts 9-10 Who is converted from what to what?
Acts 11-12 What is learned in Jerusalem?
Acts 13-14 Who, where, how does the Holy Spirit lead?
Acts 15:1-35 How do individuals & church deal with disagreements?
Acts 15:36-18:22 What guides Paul in choosing people, places, message & timing?
Acts 18:23-20:38 How are churches strengthened?
Acts 21-22:29 What guides Paul & how does he use what happens?
Acts 22:30-24 How does Paul live & speak of “the way”?
Acts 25-26 What does Paul emphasize in his speeches?
Acts 27-28 How does Paul witness to Jesus