This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
Later the prophet Jeremiah also preached strong warnings. The officials in Jerusalem wanted to execute him for such an “unpatriotic” message. But “a few of the community elders” told the crowd they should listen, and quoted Micah 3:12 as evidence they shouldn’t kill prophets for delivering warnings from God (cf. Jeremiah 26:1-19). What makes it important for you to listen to prophetic voices even when they tell you things you don’t want to hear?
The angel greeted Mary with, “Rejoice, favored one!” That didn’t mean ease and comfort. Mary’s “favored” life brought huge challenges—first explaining her pregnancy to her fiancé and (probably) her parents, finally a day at the foot of a cross watching the Romans kill her son. Do you ever wish the Holy Spirit’s favor to you meant only pleasant things? How did Mary’s life show the challenge submitting to the Holy Spirit may involve?
Would more “miraculous” works today automatically win more people to faith in Christ? Well, in today’s second reading Peter had to defend himself for healing a lame man! Supernatural events didn’t force either Jesus' enemies or Roman officials to follow Christ. The greatest miracle the Spirit works, repeatedly, is transforming people for the better from the inside out. How can you be a channel the Spirit uses for that, as well as lesser miracles?
Paul was well-educated (cf. Acts 22:3). Paul knew the culture and ideas of the Greco-Roman cities he preached in, well enough to quote from their writers (cf. Acts 17:28, Titus 1:12). But he also knew that his message sounded ridiculous to many of them (Acts 17:32). So he didn’t rely on glib slogans or catchy marketing, but on the power of the Holy Spirit—and it worked. In Corinth, of all places, he saw the Spirit produce a vibrant, growing community of Christ-followers. They had lots of growing and learning to do (just read 1 and 2 Corinthians if you doubt it), but he trusted the Spirit to stay at work in their hearts and lives all through that process (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11, 19, 2 Corinthians 13:13). How has the Holy Spirit’s power shaped your faith and growth in Christ? How have you learned to trust the Spirit’s power in your own efforts to share that faith with others?
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