God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people. We have heard this as a statement, but few live as though it is true about themselves.
1. Ara said that persecution can actually be a good thing for the church. What was your reaction to that statement? When you think of Christian persecution, what are some things that come to mind?
2. Give an example of something that American Christians consider as persecution that seems petty in light of what others around the world are facing. Have you ever experienced real persecution? What was your response to it at the time? Did you find that it grew your faith in the long term?
3. When people ask how they can pray for persecuted Christians, they expect to pray for their freedom. Ara tells them to pray instead that they represent Jesus well. Is there a situation in your life where you are praying for escape but should be praying to represent Jesus well instead?
4. Why do we tend to think that people in the Bible and people who have suffered like Ara are a kind of person we cannot be? How does the believe that God uses extraordinary people make a big impact in the way we live our lives? How can believing that God can use ordinary people make a different impact?
5. Those who are wise invest their time, finances, and influence in the kingdom of God rather than this world. What does it look like to invest in the kingdom of God? Do you think you have personally been investing in God's kingdom or in your kingdom? What are some practical steps you can take to start investing more in His kingdom rather than your own?
6. Ara mentioned that oftentimes, we think the pastor and staff have a duty to serve and spread the Gospel, and we are here just as support. Have you ever found yourself being a spectator or supporter of the church rather than a participant? What does the Bible say about our responsibility as the church? Why is it important for us to be active participants rather than merely supporters?
7. When was the last time you felt willing to follow Jesus no matter what, or had a "whatever it takes" attitude towards your mission?
8. What was your biggest takeaway from Ara's message?
Think about ways to personally engage on mission as a follower of Christ with your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NIV) “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”