Luke 15:1-7

How well does your group know the real you?
In order to be more fully known, what do you need to reveal about yourself?
Is anything keeping you from revealing yourself?
Where do you see yourself hustling for God’s approval?
If you truly believed the Good Shepherd would meet all your needs, how would you live differently?
Because He knows your name, how can you know and value others this week?
Pray, “Good Shepherd, for your glory, fight for me.”
The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Coin

15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. 15:2 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

15:3 So Jesus told them this parable: 15:4 “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? 15:5 Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 15:6 Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 15:7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.

John 10:1-21

How well does your group know the real you?
In order to be more fully known, what do you need to reveal about yourself?
Is anything keeping you from revealing yourself?
Where do you see yourself hustling for God’s approval?
If you truly believed the Good Shepherd would meet all your needs, how would you live differently?
Because He knows your name, how can you know and value others this week?
Pray, “Good Shepherd, for your glory, fight for me.”
Jesus as the Good Shepherd

10:1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 10:2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 10:4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 10:5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.” 10:6 Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

10:7 So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. 10:8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 10:12 The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 10:13 Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away.

10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. 10:16 I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. 10:17 This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father.”

10:19 Another sharp division took place among the Jewish people because of these words. 10:20 Many of them were saying, “He is possessed by a demon and has lost his mind! Why do you listen to him?” 10:21 Others said, “These are not the words of someone possessed by a demon. A demon cannot cause the blind to see, can it?”

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Acts 6:8-15

Where in this passage do you see taking a RISK for the Lord?
How does this passage motivate you to take RISK for Jesus?

 Stephen is Arrested

6:8 Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 6:9 But some men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 6:10 Yet they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 6:11 Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard this man speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 6:12 They incited the people, the elders, and the experts in the law; then they approached Stephen, seized him, and brought him before the council. 6:13 They brought forward false witnesses who said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place and the law. 6:14 For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 6:15 All who were sitting in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face was like the face of an angel.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Acts 6:1-7

Where in this passage do you see DESPERATE DEPENDENCE?
How does this passage help you reflect upon your own DESPERATE DEPENDENCE?

The Appointment of the First Seven Deacons

6:1 Now in those days, when the disciples were growing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the native Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 6:2 So the twelve called the whole group of the disciples together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait on tables. 6:3 But carefully select from among you, brothers, seven men who are well-attested, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this necessary task. 6:4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 6:5 The proposal pleased the entire group, so they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a Gentile convert to Judaism from Antioch. 6:6 They stood these men before the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on them. 6:7 The word of God continued to spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.

The NET Bible© is freely available at http://www.bible.org

Acts 7:54-60

Where in this passage do you see UNEXPECTED JOY?
How does this passage help you reflect upon your own UNEXPECTED JOY?

Stephen is Killed

7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him. 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 7:56 “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 7:57 But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. 7:58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59 They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 7:60 Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died.

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Acts 7:30-53

Where in this passage do you see INVITING people into conversation about the Lord?
How does this passage motivate you to INVITE people into conversation about Jesus?

7:30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 7:31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, 7:32I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 7:33 But the Lord said to him,Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 7:35 This same Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you. 7:39 Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him aside and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 7:40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt – we do not know what has happened to him!7:41 At that time they made an idol in the form of a calf, brought a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands. 7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images you made to worship, but I will deport you beyond Babylon.’ 7:44 Our ancestors had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God who spoke to Moses ordered him to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our ancestors received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, until the time of David. 7:46 He found favor with God and asked that he could find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands, as the prophet says,

7:49Heaven is my throne,
and earth is the footstool for my feet.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is my resting place?

7:50 Did my hand not make all these things?

7:51 “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 7:53 You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.”

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Acts 7:1-29

Share a time when you chose your comfort over God’s provision.
Do you still find yourself striving to earn God’s approval at times? If so, how?
What keeps you from honestly sharing your sin struggles with trusted friends?
Where is God calling you to take a risk for Jesus this week?
Stephen’s Defense Before the Council

7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true?” 7:2 So he replied, “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 7:3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’ 7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God made him move to this country where you now live. 7:5 He did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, not even a foot of ground, yet God promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, even though Abraham as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your descendants will be foreigners in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 7:7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there and worship me in this place.’ 7:8 Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 7:9 The patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. But God was with him, 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout Egypt and Canaan, causing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, along with our ancestors, 7:16 and their bones were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

7:17 “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, the people increased greatly in number in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about Joseph ruled over Egypt. 7:19 This was the one who exploited our people and was cruel to our ancestors, forcing them to abandon their infants so they would die. 7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful to God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind to visit his fellow countrymen the Israelites. 7:24 When he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, Moses came to his defense and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people would understand that God was delivering them through him, but they did not understand. 7:26 The next day Moses saw two men fighting, and tried to make peace between them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?7:29 When the man said this, Moses fled and became a foreigner in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

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