Itinerary — Now What?, Part 4

first of the itinerary
Magalie L’Abbé | Flickr

A clear vision of what you’re trying to do helps you set goals and strategies. It’s helpful to take time to recalibrate whenever you complete something, but vision is even more important when you’re having trouble moving forward. Pastor Luke teaches from Acts 16:4–15 in “Itinerary,” the concluding message in his series “Now What?

Talk It Over

Warm-Up. 1. When have you had to change plans in the middle of a trip?

Observations. Read Acts 16: 1-15

2. The chapter begins with Paul’s missionary party revisiting the churches they’d planted five years earlier (Acts 14). What is the result of these visits? Why do you suppose that happened?

3. Think of your church, or one you know well. How do its members respond when another church grows or becomes stronger? Why? Can you think of examples? Suppose your church grew or became stronger. How would its neighboring churches respond? Why do you think so?

4. What reason is given for Timothy being circumcised? Verse 4 says that Paul’s party delivered the decisions reached in Jerusalem (Acts 15: 28-29). Was circumcision part of those decisions?

5. Read Galatians 2: 9-12; 5: 1,11-12. Since Paul felt so strongly about it, why would Paul have Timothy circumcised? When is it acceptable to go beyond what the Law requires? (Consider Romans 14: 13-15.)

6. Why would the Holy Spirit hinder the missionaries (vv. 6, 7)?

7. What does the Macedonian man in Paul’s vision want? What does the missionary party do? How is that a response to the man’s request?

Implications. 8. When have you felt that God was preventing you from doing something? If, perhaps, God was preventing one thing in order to accomplish another thing, what might the other thing have been?

9. Think of some Christians you know. If they had a vision of someone like in Paul’s vision, what would their response be? Who in your community might have the same need that the man of Macedonia had? How could Christians you know respond to it?