1. Paul was a prisoner because he preached the gospel. Why did Paul encourage the Ephesians not to lose heart over his suffering? How was his suffering for their glory? Paul's suffering was for their glory and salvation. He suffered so that he could bring them the good news and save them. I was not at the church on Sunday but I've read things and feel that simply being a Christian is something that is falling out of favor in the USA to the point where you can be "anything" you want and be accepted as long as you are not a Christian... Actually perhaps you can be anything you want as long as you don't have an opinion that might impose your beliefs on someone else. I'm beginning to wonder when and where I will face real persecution and if I will have the strength to combat it head on. 
  2. The book of Acts shows us that sometimes Paul escaped persecution and sometimes he did not. How do you explain why God sometimes delivers you out of a hardship, but at other times He allows you go go through them? How are you responding to His perfect control of your circumstances? To quote a secular podcast "The only way out is through". Sure you might get around or over or under or run away entirely but the only way out is through. I think God is giving us what we can handle and nothing more. Sometimes we might need to have a "break" or a pass and other times we have to grin and bear it. Right now I'm restless and I don't know why. I keep getting hints that I need to be doing something different with my life, but I can't pinpoint what just yet. I need to pray about that.  
  3. Ken taught that persecution follows powerful and effective ministry. What is my ministry in the church? Are you seeing the Lord? Are you serving His Church? Is your service done in the power of the Spirit or in the power of the flesh? How can you tell the difference between the two? I have no ministry in the church so I'm serving no one? Which leads me to think I'm serving the power of the flesh. The difference is in the impetus, am I doing it for me? Or am I doing it for Him? Is it to make me glorified or Him?