1. When did you last plan a trip, only to discover that the path you were on was closed while you were well on your way? What did you do then?



On Paul’s second trip across Asia Minor (which is now modern-day Turkey) his planned destination was blocked. With him were Silas, Luke (a medical doctor and historian), plus others. Receiving a strange invitation to go to Macedonia, they headed across the Aegean Sea to the ancient Roman colony of Philippi (in what is now northern Greece). Several days later, not finding a traditional Jewish house of worship, they sought a quiet place to worship alongside a nearby river. There they joined Greek and Roman women who were worshipping the God of Israel but hadn’t heard of Jesus. (Before leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas would be beaten and thrown in prison—but that’s a story for another day; see Acts 16:16-40.)


God’s Story

Have someone read aloud Acts 16: 6-15.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

  1. Put yourself in this story. What first thought or gut feeling do you have as you read how Paul was stopped from visiting Asia and Bithynia, followed by a vision of Macedonia?
    • Weird stuff! In no world can I fathom such redirection.
    • I wish I could hear God speaking to me like that.
    • I have trouble with people who talk about God talking to them.
    • It reminded me of someone who had a similar experience.
    • Other __________.


  1. Imagine you are one of Paul’s companions that day. What might the guys be saying as they gather their belongings to move to Lydia’s house? Why?
    • I wonder if their husbands think they are out doing the laundry.
    • Why were there no men here praying, as well?
    • Would Jesus approve of what we’re doing?
    • Paul met his match. She wasn’t going to take “No, Thank You” to her invitation.
    • Other __________.


  1. What caught your attention about Lydia as you read this selection? Why?
    • She appears to be a successful, independent businesswoman in a patriarchal culture.
    • She has a home big enough for Paul and all his companions!
    • She’s a non-Jewish woman worshipping the God of the Jews—strange!
    • Her whole family followed her into the Christian faith and were baptized.
    • Other __________.


  1. If looking for a place to connect with God, what setting would you prefer? Why there?
    • A large, beautiful cathedral
    • A smaller neighborhood building.
    • My own living room in front of a large screen TV.
    • Out in the country along a riverbank, like Lydia.
    • Other __________.


  1. Ever find yourself in a media event or worship service where it was all or mostly women? What was that like? How did you feel? Did you stay?


  1. What area(s) of your life are you challenged to consider as you make Lydia’s and Paul’s story part of your own?
    • My willingness to follow Jesus into new places.
    • What I have been taught about women and leadership.
    • Hosting others in need of a temporary place to stay.
    • How I hear God speaking to me.
    • Other __________.


Our Story


  1. Is there something you’d like to say to God right now about any upcoming challenges you are facing? Let everyone pause for a moment of silence to speak (and listen) to God. Pretend you’re by some river which is carrying away all your concerns.


  1. How can this group support you in your journey this next week and the challenges that lie ahead?