Shine Like Stars Week 7 Recap

We are officially half way through “Shine Like Stars” — our Bible study on Philippians! This week we dug into Philippians 2:6-11, considered by some theologians as the high point of Paul’s letter. It’s possible that these verses were words to a hymn, poem, confession or creed that the early church used in their gatherings. John Piper calls it “the most glorious picture of Jesus there is.”

We started this week by looking at verses 6-8.

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped….”
The “who” in this verse is Jesus. We must not forget that Jesus is God. (Read Colossians 1:15-20 for a look at the supremacy of Christ.) Tony Evans calls Jesus the only “200% person” to ever live. He was 100% human and 100% divine — not an easy concept for us to take in. However, by coming to earth as a human, Jesus limited his “God-ness” and gave up some of his rights and powers of deity.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity (God) lives in bodily form.” Col. 2:9
Jesus was a man, but He was more.
He limited His power but it kept leaking out.
He was thirsty, because He was human.
Yet He calmed the sea because He was God.
He was hungry and had to eat because He was human.
Then He fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish because He was God.
He had to sleep because He was a human.
He got up out of the grave because He is God.

Jesus had access to legions of angels who would have come to His rescue if He had said the word. (Matt. 26:53) But He didn’t use the resources available to Him to ease His own situation. Everything He did, He did for you and me.

“…but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

What is the nature of a servant?
Think about being in a restaurant and having a really good waitress. What are the qualities that make her a great server?

  • Others oriented — not being self-absorbed
  • Willing to serve everyone — not waiting only on big tippers
  • Uncomplaining spirit — not whining about the cook or her aching back
  • Hard working — not being lazy
  • Observant and attentive — not ignoring the needs of the people
  • Faithful — not skipping out when she doesn’t feel like working

Jesus is our example of the ultimate servant.
We look the most like Him when we serve like Him. 

Matt Chandler tells about a staff member from his church who always parks in a big puddle in the church parking lot when it rains. It means walking through six inches of water and getting all wet. When asked why he parked there he answered, “I park there so no one else has to.” That’s a good measure of servant-hood — what things can you do that aren’t so pleasant so others don’t have to?

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

Jesus knew He came to die. (“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28) That doesn’t mean He was excited about dying, especially the most cruel, torturous, shameful death possible. (“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” Matthew 26:39) He had to become obedient. The humility required of Him was on a level far beyond anything that will ever be required of us. Talk about doing something unpleasant so we wouldn’t have to!

Thanks be to God for Jesus’ sacrifice, His submission to the Father’s plan, His willingness to suffer, His heart to serve! As a result, God exalted His Son and gave Him the title “Lord” – a name high and full of authority. It’s such a powerful name that every knee will bow at the sound of it. Believers will bow in worship and praise. Those who rejected Him will bow, but it will be in bitter agony as they acknowledge His Lordship.

Every tongue will confess — what will that sound like? The absolute totality of all creation will recognize the superiority of Jesus Christ from highest heaven to deepest hell. John confirms this event in his Revelation vision (Rev. 5:11-13). What a day that will be!

With Jesus as our example, here are some questions to consider:

  • What am I willing to sacrifice?
  • How much am I willing to serve?
  • How submissive am I willing to be?
  • Am I willing to suffer if my suffering brings glory to God?

Blessings on you as you seek to walk as Jesus walked!

Shine Like Stars Week 8 Worksheet


Shine Like Stars – Week 5 Recap

In week 5 of our study on Philippians, we looked at Phil 1:21-30. We spent quite a bit of time on verse 21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul’s perspective on death was radically different than the way most of us think of death. All of us have experienced pain by the passing of loved ones – it was not glorious and we would not have chosen it. But in this passage Paul is showing us a healthy perspective on how to approach our own death. Not an easy conversation, but an important one.

For most people what does having a great life look like?
A big house, plenty of money, a good job, health, leisure, no struggles.
How would you fill in this blank? For me, to live is ___________________.
If the answer is money, then to die is to lose it all.
If the answer is possessions, then to die is to leave it all behind.
If the answer is health and fitness, then to die is the ultimate failure.
Anything that can go in that blank will end up a loss. Anything but Jesus.

What about Paul?
Paul defined a great life by the words “fruitful labor”. The only life that winds up with gain is a life of fruitful labor for Christ.

For most people what does death look like?
For some it looks like fear, an end, defeat, something to avoid, something to fight against. For others death looks like an escape. We never want to glorify death or take it into our own hands. “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16) God holds the keys to life and death – we need to leave the timing of these things to Him.

What about Paul?
Paul viewed death as a departure (“I desire to depart and be with Christ.”) The word “depart” is a nautical term for a ship lifting its anchor and sailing home. Paul saw death as more of Jesus, which was better than anything this world had to offer. Is it any wonder that heaven looked good to Paul? “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked….” (Read the rest in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29.) 

Paul saw death like this:
1. We lose everything we don’t need (troubles, tears, fears, weaknesses, sin).
2. We keep everything that matters (our personality, the Word of God, people).
3. We gain what we never had before (face to face with Jesus, heaven, angels).

What was Paul’s dilemma?
He was torn between the two possible outcomes: life, which was a temporary mission for Jesus, or death, which was an eternal gain with Jesus. For Paul, it was a win/win situation.

His first choice, his greatest desire, was to depart and go be with Jesus. But Paul settled for his second choice — stay and continue to serve the church. His own personal desires were superseded by the needs of the body. What an example for us! What if the needs of my local church came before my own personal desires? Wow. As Steven J. Cole said,  “If everybody had this mindset, we’d have a waiting list to teach Sunday school.”

What was not an option for Paul?
DO NOTHING. The possible third choice of continuing to live without fruitful labor was not even on the table. As long as he had a physical body, Paul figured it was to be used for the sake of Christ. Spending his last days at a Mediterranean resort was not a consideration.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (verse 27)

The word “conduct” implies a citizenship. When people become citizens of the United States, they pledge allegiance to the country. They receive all the rights of an American and are responsible to uphold the law of the land. Their conduct when traveling abroad is a reflection of their homeland. Foreigners judge America based on the behavior of its citizens.

A friend recently went through boot camp and became a U. S. Marine. He has pledged to conduct himself worthy of the U. S. Marine Corps. Even when he’s not on base. Even when he’s not on active duty. He is expected to represent the USMC at all times.

It’s not enough for us to be Christians at church. That’s easy. We are responsible for our conduct outside those walls, as representatives of the gospel of Christ. What happens to the reputation of the good news of Jesus when we don’t conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of it? If we easily cave in to culture over and over, if we compromise our values on little things, then when we are in a situation to have to stand firm for Christ, we won’t have the courage to do it. We need to be unashamed, in any company, to be identified as followers of Jesus. We must not laugh at dalliance with sin or join in behavior that smudges the reputation of our great God.

Lord, may we grow in our faith and in knowledge of truth so we can say with Paul, “to live is Christ, to die is gain”. Amen.

What gave Paul joy? Helping others progress in their faith.
What do mature believers look like? They put aside their own desires for the sake of the gospel, the Kingdom, the church.
How can we shine like stars? By keeping an eternal perspective and conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of His gift of salvation.

Shine Like Stars Week 6 Worksheet


Shine Like Stars – Week 4 Recap

Here is a short summary of what we covered at this week’s Bible study on Philippians 1:12-20. Reading through this recap doesn’t come close to the rich discussion we have in our groups, but hopefully it spurs you on to keep digging.

What good things happened as a result of Paul’s imprisonment?

  • Paul was able to share the gospel with the members of the Praetorian Guard, the elite regiment of soldiers assigned to Caesar’s palace. As a prisoner, Paul was chained to a guard around the clock, getting a new man every six hours. For two years. The guard had nowhere to go and so Paul saw it as an opportunity to witness to people he otherwise would have had no access to. The word spread into Caesar’s very own household (Phil. 4:22). How else would that have happened?

A bit of background here is helpful. Paul had a strong desire to go to Rome and visit the church there. He did not start that church and had never been to the great city until he arrived as a prisoner. The church in Rome was firmly established and there were already people there sharing the gospel. But Paul longed to preach in Rome.

“After all this happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achia. ‘After I have been there,’ he said, ‘I must visit Rome also.'” (Acts 19:21)
“I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.” (Romans 1:15)
“I have been longing for many years to visit you.” (Romans 15:23)

Then one night, while Paul was in jail, the Lord came to him and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)

Paul’s dream of going to Rome was going to happen! But he was probably expecting to go as a preacher, not as a prisoner. This could have been a great disappointment to him. Do you know how hard it is for a preacher not to preach? Yet God gave Paul an audience — one soldier at a time, and that advanced the gospel more than he could have imagined.

Sometimes, our disappointments turn out to be God’s appointments. 

  • Another good result of Paul’s imprisonment — it empowered others to speak out with courage. (v. 14)
  • Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon while sitting in that Roman prison. Paul probably wouldn’t have stopped to write those letters unless he was forced to sit still somewhere.

What not-so-good things happened as a result of Paul’s imprisonment?
Some local preachers may have been threatened by Paul’s popularity or jealous of his effective ministry. It seems they had some bad motives and were out to tarnish Paul’s good name. Even so, they were preaching the gospel and not some heresy, so Paul said, “As long as they are preaching Christ, I don’t care what they say about me.” He was unoffendable. This is a man who didn’t let his ego get in the way. Paul knew he was in prison for the defense of the gospel, not to defend himself. That takes maturity.

Paul didn’t condemn those preachers who were stirring up trouble because he didn’t want to give life to that distraction. Of supreme importance to Paul was that Christ was being preached. Period.

Why was courage needed by the believers at this time?
They were in the capital of the Roman Empire, where Caesar declared himself to be a god and demanded worship. A group of people showed up who called Caesar’s deity into question and introduced the God of Heaven and Earth. That was risky business. It took great courage to speak about their beliefs in that pagan culture. For many, it took even greater courage to die for their faith.

What about us? Francis Chan asked, “Why are we cowards when it comes to speaking the gospel? Jesus is a name we claim to love. Why wouldn’t we want to speak about the Person we love the most?”

Paul asked his friends in Philippi to pray for him to be courageous in the face of uncertainty. He never considered himself too big or important to need and depend on the prayers of other people. Maybe he would be released or maybe he would be sentenced to death. Either way, he determined ahead of time to magnify God, to make Him great.

The last half of our study was spent on looking deeply into verses 18-20. What a joy to hear the many ways God’s Word was speaking to the women in our groups!

What should give us joy? The message of Christ getting out, no matter the method used.
What does a mature person look like? A mature person leaves his ego at the door.
How can we shine like stars? By taking a disappointment and watching to see how it might lead to a divine appointment.

Shine Like Stars Week 5 Worksheet

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Shine Like Stars – Week 3 Recap

Here is the Week 3 recap for the Bible study “Shine Like Stars – 14 weeks in Philippians” for anyone who missed class or is following along from a distance. Questions and comments are welcomed.

Philippians 1:1-11

We are finally getting into the letter Paul wrote to the church in Philippi!

What title did Paul and Timothy give to themselves?  Servants. That’s the right answer, but before moving on too quickly, this word is super significant for two reasons.
1. This is the only letter Paul wrote with this title. In most of his letters to the churches, Paul called himself an apostle. (See 1 Cor. 1:1, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:1) By definition, an apostle is someone who knew Jesus while He was on earth. We are disciples or followers, not apostles. Paul had a face-to-face encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus which gave him the right to be called an apostle. This title carried with it a level of authority. Paul was saying that his official position as an apostle meant that he had the right to say what he was going to say, and that the churches had the responsibility to listen.

This is important because most of the other churches were dealing with some big issues. In Corinth, there was a member of the church sleeping with his mother (or mother-in-law — 1 Cor. 5:1). The church was divided between those who followed Paul and those who followed Apollos. Believers were suing each other. Communion was a mess and not done with reverence. Worship services were chaotic. So when Paul wrote to them, he had to establish his leadership in order to address a lot of serious issues.
In Galatia, the church there started out great, but got off track when some teachers came in saying that in order to become a Christian, a person had to first become a Jew and get circumcised. Paul had to write and say “NO!”  He sent a letter to straighten out that incorrect teaching.
In Ephesus, false teachers were messing with the doctrine and the immature, easily swayed believers were getting confused. There was sexual immorality among the believers and drunkenness was a problem. Paul wrote to them to say, “Grow up.”
In all these instances, Paul needed to pull his apostle card because he had some tough things to say and some correcting and rebuking to do.

None of that was the case with the Philippian church. Instead Paul said, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” What a relief for Paul to have a church that was not in crisis. No wonder he was so thankful for them! For any pastor, a healthy, thriving church is a tremendous joy. So Paul called himself a servant — a fellow worker, a partner in ministry.

2. There’s another reason why this word “servant” is so significant. A servant or slave in Ancient Rome was far different than our context for slavery, which was a dark time of great injustice in American history. In Rome, slavery was voluntary and not permanent. In fact, it was a way for people to rise out of poverty. A person could offer himself as a servant to a master and it would be a seven year commitment. At the end of that time, the master had to set the slave free. Then the slave had options. He could leave or he could say, “Master, you have been kind, you have provided food, clothes and shelter for me, you have given me work and I have come to love you and want to serve you the rest of my life. I want to stay, not because I have to, but because I want to.” The master would then take the servant to the doorpost, stretch his earlobe across the frame and pierce his ear. That piercing indicated that he freely chose to devote his life to this master. Do you see the beauty of this illustration? Paul called himself the servant of Jesus Christ, meaning he was totally submitted to his Master’s will, he was all in, he had pierced his ear.

To whom was the letter addressed? To all the saints in Christ at Philippi. What’s a saint? Any believer. That means you, if you believe in Jesus. What does it mean to be “in Christ”? It’s a phrase Paul used 164 times in the New Testament. “The Christian lives in Christ as a bird in the air, a fish in the water, the roots of a tree in the soil. What makes a Christian different is that he is always and everywhere conscious of the encircling presence of Jesus Christ.” (William Barclay)

Which expressions show how close the relationship was between Paul and the Philippians? “I have you in my heart.” (v.7) “I long for all of you with the affection of Christ.” (v.8) From a dark, dank prison cell Paul wrote a letter that drips with love for these people. Remember Lydia, the jailer and the slave girl from last week? Paul had such affection for these people, even though ten years had passed from his first meeting them (Acts 16) until writing this letter. We often think of Paul as a thinker, a theologian, a great mind. But he was also a man of great heart and deep love for people.

What are some specific requests Paul prayed for the Philippians? 
He prayed that they would love, even though it is obvious they were already a loving community. Paul said love bountifully. Love more. And then, love some more. There is no end to love, there is always more. Then he went on to describe this love – it is based on knowledge and insight. How does knowledge help us love better? Just as the more I learn about Jesus, the more I love Him, so too, the more I know about my brothers and sisters, the better I can love them. If I know someone is going through a rough season, it makes me more aware of their needs so I can reach out in love and support.  How is insight different than knowledge?  Insight is the ability to see into a situation, what we might call intuition, or understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit. Love with knowledge and insight is powerful!
Paul also prayed for much fruit to come from the Philippian believers. (See Galatians 5:22-23) Good fruit can only come from the work of God as we stay attached to the vine. Being able to display supernatural love, joy, peace, etc. is what makes Him evident to the unbelieving world. It makes us look like Jesus.
What is Paul’s overarching request? That God would receive all the glory and praise.
How does his prayer compare to what you pray for your friends? I don’t know about you, but I find myself mostly praying for friends who are in crisis. The idea of praying joyful prayers for my Christian brothers and sisters who are doing well was inspiring.

On the second page of our study for this week, there were lots of blanks! Don’t be intimidated by that! Once you try it a few times, it will become second nature. And the best part: this is where you begin to interact with God’s Word on your own and begin to hear His voice. Here is an example of how this can be done.
What does God’s word say? v. 3 “I thank my God every time I remember you.” The first blank is for you to copy the text word for word from the passage. Easy.
What does God’s word mean? What facts can you pull out of these words?
1. Paul spends a lot of time thanking God for people.
2. Paul prays when God brings someone to mind.
3. Paul uses his memory as a trigger to pray.
4. Paul thinks of others and not his own troubles.
What does God’s word mean to me?
1. Are my prayers thankful? Joyful?
2. Am I the kind of Christian who brings joy to my pastor’s mind when he thinks of me?
3. Do I respond with prayer when someone comes to mind?
4. How much of my prayer time is focused on me and my own needs?

Then move on to verse 4, 5, and 6. We had rich discussion in our study as we squeezed out meaning from some key words in those verses. I encourage you to invest in this study on your own because God wants to speak to you.

We will wrap up this week by revisiting our three questions from week 1.
1. What’s the source of joy? In this passage, Paul’s source of joy was other believers who were staying strong. His prayers for others gave him joy.
2. What does a mature believer look like? A mature believer doesn’t focus on his own problems, but finds something to rejoice in. A mature believer is a true partner in the work of the gospel, which means being an active, participating, contributing, involved member of His body, the church.
3. How can we shine like stars? By exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit and allowing God to do good work in us. We won’t be perfect and complete until Jesus returns, but He does want us to partner with Him until that Day.

(A resource we used in class was an audio clip of Matt Chandler’s sermon “Service” starting at 40:38 – to the end. You can find that on itunes at The Village Church, aired on September 18, 2017. ) 

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Shine Like Stars Week 4 Worksheet

Shine Like Stars – Week 2 Recap

Here is the Week 2 recap for the Bible study “Shine Like Stars” for anyone who missed class or is following along from a distance. (It’s a long one – grab a cup of coffee.) Feel free to leave questions and comments.

I can’t wait to jump into the book of Philippians, but first we are going to get the backstory about this place and the people Paul knew in Philippi. Acts 16:6-40.

Why did Paul go to Philippi?
*Paul had a dream, or vision, of a man asking him to come to Macedonia (v.9).
*The Holy Spirit stopped Paul from going anywhere else! (v. 6-7) His first choice was to go south to Asia Minor (present day Turkey), but he was blocked somehow. His second choice was to go north into Bithynia and Paul got to the very border but had to turn around. Since he was coming from the east, west was the only other option. He traveled as far west as he could before coming to the Mediterranean Sea and stopped in a town called Troas. There, Paul and his traveling companions met a doctor named Luke. (There is some speculation that the reason they were stopped from going north and south had to do with health issues. They found a doctor in Troas who happened to be Luke and he joined the team to be Paul’s personal doctor. Interesting idea, but no scriptural proof.) Luke ended up writing both the the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts.

There are some subtle clues in verses 8-10 that indicate Luke joined them at this point. Verse 8 says, “So they passed by…” Verse 10 says, “…we got ready at once….” Watch those pronouns!

*When they got to Macedonia, they still needed God’s leading on which city to go to. Paul went to Philippi because it was the “leading city of that district” (v. 12). Paul always went to the the place where there was the most potential to have the biggest impact and to reach the most people.

Just think how the western world would be different if Paul hadn’t obeyed God’s leading to bring the gospel to Europe. Just think how different the Bible would be without Luke’s writings. What if Paul had gone ahead with plan A to go south? Or plan B to go north?

One of the questions we’re asking in this study is “What does a mature believer look like?” Paul shows us right here. A mature believer trusts God’s “no”. Paul was willing to change his plans in response to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Paul was stopped from doing something we normally think of as good (preaching the gospel) because it wasn’t in God’s timing. I find it comforting that even the great Apostle Paul wasn’t always clear as to what God’s will was, yet he didn’t give up when things didn’t go according to his plans.

So they went to Philippi, which was a Roman outpost in Macedonia (Greece). Paul took the gospel international. This was the first time the good news crossed over into a different continent – Europe. All of us with European ancestry should be grateful God sent Paul west.

Who went with Paul?
Silas (Acts 15:40), Timothy (Acts 16:1) and Luke.

Paul had significant interactions with three different people in Philippi. List as many facts as you can about each person.

Lydia (Acts 16:11-15)
*She was a dealer in purple cloth.
*She was a woman who ran her own business. Purple dye was very costly, extracted drop by drop from shellfish. A person in this line of work had to have money. Purple was the color of royalty, so her customers were high on the social scale. Lydia was a metropolitan fashionista.
*She was from Thyatira, Asia. She was not a native Philippian, but traveled there often.
*She owned a home in Philippi, indicating she may have had a “house on both coasts”.
*She was a worshiper of God, meaning she didn’t buy into paganism. She was open to the Jewish God and was actively seeking more spiritual depth.
*She gathered her girlfriends together to pray by the river outside of town. This is significant because it shows there was not a Jewish synagogue in Philippi. A Jewish place of worship required ten Jewish men, which Philippi obviously didn’t have. Lydia took it upon herself to gather some women to pray.
*She was the first convert to Christianity in Europe. The Macedonian man in Paul’s dream turned out to be an Asian woman!
*She was hospitable, immediately inviting Paul and his team to her house, which became the gathering place for the first believers in town (Acts 16:40).
*She had “people”. All of her “household” also came to believe, which could have been family or more likely, servants.
*She had a heart open and ready to respond to Paul’s message. Once she heard it, she was all in and wanted to be baptized in the river right away.

The Slave Girl (Acts 16:16-18)
*She was a fortuneteller, able to predict the future because of an evil spirit that possessed her.
*She was enslaved by “owners” who exploited her for their financial gain. Today we call this trafficking.
*If she was local, her ethnicity would have been Greek.
*She was from the lowest class of society, with no rights and no hope.
*Something in her was drawn to Paul and the demon within her recognized Paul was a godly man. What she said was true (v. 17), but she was out of control, constantly shouting and harassing Paul. He didn’t want the message of the gospel being confused with this form of evil so Paul cast out the demon. “Paul didn’t appreciate free advertising from a demon.” (Matt Chandler) Consider the source.

Because Paul disrupted the fortunetelling business, the owners accused him of “throwing the city into an uproar” (v. 20-21). Paul and Silas were arrested and thrown in jail after being severely whipped. (Anybody been flogged lately?) Luke and Timothy were not arrested (they were Gentiles) and there is a clue in verse 20 as to why: “These men (Paul and Silas) are Jews.” Apparently there was some racial bias going on in Philippi. The prison guard was told to keep them safe and to guard them carefully. The jailer took it upon himself to go a little farther and put them into stocks in the inner cell.

The Jailer (Acts 16:25-34)
*He was a rule follower, didn’t want to mess up, just wanted to do his job well.
*He was probably an ex-G.I., a retired Roman soldier living in Philippi.
*He was a middle-class, blue collar worker who “wanted to put in his time at work, go home, have a beer and watch the game” (Matt Chandler).
*He was a family man and owned a house.
*He may have been getting an earful of the gospel from Paul; it may have been the first time he ever  heard singing in his jail.
*He fell asleep and was awakened by an earthquake.
*He was a man of honor, who was willing to take his own life for failing to carry out his duty.
*He was blown away when Paul and Silas didn’t escape but instead took charge and stopped him from committing suicide.
*He wasn’t ashamed to ask Paul “What must I do to be saved?”
*He immediately wanted his family to hear the gospel.
*He was a changed man, shown by his tender washing of Paul’s wounds, which he had inflicted several hours earlier.
*This may have been the first time his household experienced real joy.

3 very different people: 

  • an Asian business woman from the upper crust who responded with her intellect.
  • a young Greek slave girl from the lowest class who responded from her spirit.
  • an Roman man who came to believe through a supernatural, miraculous event.

God brings people to Himself in so many different ways. And all Paul did was watch and see where God was moving and joined in. “There’s some women praying. Let’s go see.” “This girl keeps following me around. I think I’m supposed to do something here.” “I’m in jail so I might as well talk to the guy guarding me.” Paul was always aware and watching for an opportunity to share Jesus. Nothing stopped him.

What preceded all three encounters? (v. 13, 16, 25)
Prayer. I think we underestimate the power of our prayers.

What would you say to someone if they asked you, “What must I do to be saved?”
Because we’d better have an answer. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (v. 31). It’s a belief that embraces these truths:
*Jesus Christ was God in human form.
*He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
*The sacrifice of Jesus is the only adequate payment and covers it completely.
*He rose from the dead and is alive, preparing a place in eternity for all believers.
Say yes to this, accept His offer of forgiveness and salvation, and you are saved.

What a church it must have been in Philippi! So diverse and multi-cultural! Yet united by the Holy Spirit and alive with excitement! Now as we dive into the letter Paul wrote, we will be able to picture Lydia, the slave girl (no longer a slave!), and the jailer — Paul’s dearly loved friends.

Shine Like Stars Week 3 Worksheet


Shine Like Stars – Week 1 Recap

Our Women’s Bible study for this fall is “Shine Like Stars — 14 weeks in Philippians”. Each week I will be posting a recap of what we studied so if someone has to miss class, they can keep up. However, anyone who is interested in joining this study is more than welcome to come along via this blog. Feel free to comment and engage with each other here. May God bless the study of His Word!

Week 1 — Introduction

We started out the class by answering two questions:
1. What are you hoping to get out of this study?
2. Are you willing to commit to studying on your own and coming prepared each week?

    It’s good to honestly lay out some expectations at the beginning of a new class. Although I know there are weeks when the wheels fall off and craziness prevents us from our lofty intentions, don’t use that as an excuse to stay away. Keep coming to class anyway! You will always learn something.
On the flip side, the more you put into a study like this, the more you will get out of it. So, the expectation is that everyone will have spent some time with the material.

Consider this:

Have you ever signed up for an exercise class?

When you went to class, did you just sit there and watch the instructor exercise?

Have you ever taken music lessons?

When you went to your lesson, did you just sit there and watch the teacher play her instrument?

Of course not, right?

Bible study is better when everybody is in it together.

Romans 1:12 says, “…that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Mutual. Encouragement. That’s what we’re after.

Time is always an issue. We are busy people with busy lives. There are lots of things vying for our time. Did you realize that the average American spends over an hour a day on Facebook and 4.3 hours a day watching TV? We are spending lots of time on things that add no value to our spiritual lives. My challenge for us is to make Bible study a priority. It will transform us! End of pep talk!


As we journey through Philippians over the next 14 weeks, there are three catagories of words we are going to watch for. You will need 3 different colored pencils to consistently mark these words in the passages.

  1. Happy words — like joy, rejoice, glad  (Pick a color that says “happy” to you)
  2. Absolute words — like all, every, always, ever, everything, everyone, anyone
  3. God words — like God, Jesus, Christ, Spirit

This will help us zoom in to look at every word. Paul never wasted words. We don’t want to miss any of them!


There are three questions that we are going to ask throughout this study.

  1. What’s the source of joy?
  2.  What does a mature believer look like?
  3. How can we shine like stars?

These questions will help us zoom out to see the big themes in Philippians.

Next week’s study is going to give us some backstory before we dive into Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. We are going to meet some of the people to whom Paul wrote this letter.

My goal for this study is for us to fall in love with this book. I hope our Bibles fall open to Philippians because we’ve spent so much time pouring over it. I hope our pages come loose and fall out. I hope we can “become Philippians”, as we immerse ourselves in the treasures this book holds.

Perhaps you could take 15 minutes this week and read straight through all four chapters. As you do, remember that Paul wrote this book from prison and he did not know that his letter would be published, much less become Holy Scripture. He was just writing a letter to a bunch of people he loved. Try to hear his words as your beloved pastor writing to you from a prison cell overseas, waiting to find out if he is going to be released or put to death.

Here is a great summary of the book, done in a creative and engaging way. Enjoy!


Here is the study sheet for week #2.

Shine Like Stars Week 2 Study Sheet