Going Deeper – 06.09.2024

Breaking Ground

Who in your extended family were you closest to while you were growing up? Why? 

The Dig

This Sunday, we continued Stephen’s Speech, our series on Christianity’s first martyr, by diving into Stephen’s famous speech in Acts chapter 7. Before moving forward, recall that Stephen gives this speech before the Sanhedrin (Israel’s religious court), where he’s been falsely accused of blasphemy for following Jesus & faces death if found guilty. 

With this in mind, read Acts 7. Here, we see that Stephen responds to these accusations by retelling the story of Israel.

What immediately strikes you about Stephen’s speech? Are there any themes, patterns, or ideas that stand out to you specifically?

This week, Pastor Mike explored Stephen’s speech by focusing on several, specific biblical patterns that Stephen uses to retell Israel’s story within it:

  1. That, from the beginning, God has called & worked through people to achieve His redemptive purposes.
  2. Throughout their story, God’s People have repeatedly rejected God’s invitation to become conduits of His redemptive work in favor of going their own way & putting themselves at the center of this world’s story. 
  3. Despite their faithlessness, God responded by choosing to remain faithful to Israel, repeatedly reaching out to them with Prophets to call them to change course. 
  4. These Prophets remained faithful to their calling despite often being rejected & killed by Israel’s leaders. In doing so, they were ultimately wrapped up into a much bigger story than themselves. 

How does Stephen use these biblical patterns to speak into both Israel’s past & present? How does he use them to reframe & understand his own present circumstances?

How might Stephen’s ability to name & identify with this long lineage of faithful people help him remain grounded in something bigger than himself? How does this impact his response to his trial? 

Ultimately, Pastor Mike closed by sitting with how we can discover a faith like Stephen’s. Specifically, he highlighted that:

  1. We must foster such a faith before finding ourselves in challenging moments of decision. 
  2. We need to know & practice God’s story before a crisis comes.
  3. We need to accept that following Christ’s self-sacrificial model by carrying our own cross will always be hard (but, ultimately, worth it). 

Why are each of these steps essential to developing a healthy faith that can survive experiences of stress & crises? Which do you find easiest to embrace in your daily life? Which do you find hardest? 

Where are you presently experiencing a crisis or extreme stress? How might Stephen’s ability to ground himself within God’s Story provide you with a model that you can apply to your own hard circumstances?

Which of the above ingredients can you add to your life this summer in order to better foster a faith like Stephen’s? How might this help you work through the stressor you identified in a more Christlike way? 

Coming Out of the Hole

Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s teaching might speak into your daily life.

  • Read Acts 7. What stands out about Stephen’s Speech? Identify & write down major themes or patterns that you see.   
  • How does Stephen use Israel’s story to frame & understand his own? How does this allow him to trust God in the midst of his trial?
  • How does Stephen’s ability to stay grounded in God’s Story help him respond to his circumstances in a bold, Christlike way? 
  • How can Stephen’s example help us navigate our own challenging circumstances Christians? 

Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!

Additional Resources*


The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard B. Hays

The Early Christian Letters for Everyone by NT Wright

Coming Up This Week:* 

Sunday, June 16th: Join us next Sunday as we continue our series Stephen’s Speech!* Please see mye3.org for details.

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