October 16, 2022 – Pastor Mark Albrecht
Message Big Idea – There are certain characteristics of Christ’s Bride that make her truly radiant in a world marked by darkness and division. She lives in a vibrant community. She demonstrates practical concern for the needy. She anchors herself in foundational theology. She is willing to be a good loser. She acknowledges past and present failures. She elevates above partisan politics. And, she engages in extraordinary prayer. This is the Church at her best.
- Take a moment to reflect (if you are going through this on your own) or share (if you are with others in a group setting): What are you grateful for today? What are you struggling with today?
- Merriam-Webster defines radiant as “radiating rays or reflecting beams of light; vividly bright and shining: glowing.” Have you ever encountered something or someone that truly radiated in this way? What was that experience like? What emotions did it evoke?
- Read Acts 2:42-47 (Read twice – ESV and either NLT or Message)
- Go around the group and briefly retell the passage in your own words.
- What word or phrase “jumped off the page” and intrigued you the most? Why?
- Acts 2:42-47 paints a portrait of the early-Church community. How does it compare with secular conceptions of community and fellowship? Which creates a deeper sense of belonging and connection? Why do you think that is?
- This passage illuminates the collective identity of the early-Church as they “shared everything they had,” they “shared their meals with great joy and generosity,” and they “worshiped together.” How does this sense of collective identity contrast with American individualism and materialism?
- The early-Church seems marked by consistent and active participation of all members. The apostles primarily taught and performed signs and wonders while all other believers performed every other behavior or activity. How does this active ‘membership’ in the body of believers differ from other conceptions of participation (i.e., the passive reception of services)?
- Take a moment to reflect upon Pastor Mark’s ‘7 Characteristics of the Radiant Bride’ (see message big idea). Which areas do you personally need to grow in as you actively seek to participate in the community of believers? What are some practical steps you can take to work on those areas?
- Look back over the past month and a half as we have examined Christ’s Bride. How have you been challenged? How have you grown? Where do you still have questions? What are you going to take with you going forward?
Live It Out:
- What is one thing God seems to be asking you to do in response to this passage? (i.e., “I will ….”)
- Who can you tell about this “I will” statement in the next 48 hours?
- Journal about your time in God’s Word this week. Stop to listen to what He might be telling you. Celebrate His presence through His Word!
- Spend some time intentionally praying for conditions of revival in NorthBridge, in America, and around the globe. Acknowledge and confess past failures. Ask for deeper dependance upon the Holy Spirit. Exhort the Lord to bless our political leaders, especially those across partisan lines. Meditate on foundational theology. Pray for courage as we learn to lose well. Invite a deeper intimacy with Christ into your life to see and meet others’ needs. Amen!