Week 4: Preparation

Week 4
Topic(s): Obedience, Preparation, Willingness
Big Idea of the Message: When God asks us to go, we need to obey.
Application Point: A new normal could be a new task, lifestyle, or place God has called us to. As followers of Jesus, we should prepare for that and then obey.

Key Scripture: Acts 8:26-39 (The Voice)
26 A heavenly messenger brought this short message from the Lord to Philip during his time preaching in Samaria:
Messenger of the Lord: Leave Samaria. Go south to the Jerusalem-Gaza road.
The message was especially unusual because this road runs through the middle of uninhabited desert. 27 But Philip got up, left the excitement of Samaria, and did as he was told to do. Along this road, Philip saw a chariot in the distance. In the chariot was a dignitary from Ethiopia (the treasurer for Queen Candace), an African man who had been castrated. He had gone north to Jerusalem to worship at the Jewish temple, 28 and he was now heading southwest on his way home. He was seated in the chariot and was reading aloud from a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
29 Philip received another prompting from the Holy Spirit:
Holy Spirit: Go over to the chariot and climb on board.
30 So he started running until he was even with the chariot. Philip heard the Ethiopian reading aloud and recognized the words from the prophet Isaiah.
Philip: Do you understand the meaning of what you’re reading?
The Ethiopian: 31 How can I understand it unless I have a mentor?
Then he invited Philip to sit in the chariot. 32 Here’s the passage he was reading from the Hebrew Scriptures:
Like a sheep, He was led to be slaughtered.
Like a lamb about to be shorn of its wool,
He was completely silent.
33 He was humiliated, and He received no justice.
Who can describe His peers? Who would treat Him this way?
For they snuffed out His life.
The Ethiopian: 34 Here’s my first question. Is the prophet describing his own situation, or is he describing someone else’s calamity?
35 That began a conversation in which Philip used the passage to explain the good news of Jesus. 36 Eventually the chariot passed a body of water beside the road.
The Ethiopian: Since there is water here, is there anything that might prevent me from being ceremonially washed through baptism and identified as a disciple of Jesus?
Philip: 37 If you believe in your heart that Jesus the Anointed is God’s Son, then nothing can stop you.
The Ethiopian said that he believed.
38 He commanded the charioteer to stop the horses. Then Philip and the Ethiopian official walked together into the water. There Philip baptized him, initiating him as a fellow disciple. 39 When they came out of the water, Philip was immediately caught up by the Holy Spirit and taken from the sight of the Ethiopian, who climbed back into his chariot and continued on his journey, overflowing with joy.

Discussion Questions:
  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. Have you ever seen someone leave a successful career for a ministry job? Share about that story.
  3. Philip had a sudden new normal when the angel asked him to head a new direction for an assignment he didn’t yet know. How did he adjust and make himself available to ministry right where he was?
  4. What new spiritual discipline could you use to help you prepare for serving the Lord in the future?
  5. How did knowing God’s Word thoroughly help Philip prepare? What can we learn from that?
  6. How can we pray for you?