Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2010

Greetings one and all! I hope and pray all is well with all of you.

In this installment of Acts, The Missional Church we’ll look at Saul of Tarsus. I have read an excellent book called Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll. It is a character study on the Apostle Paul. I highly recommend the book. The first time we meet him in scripture, he is a terrorizing person. In the book of Galatians, Paul tells our brethren there about his “previous way of life in Judaism” and “how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it” (Gal. 1:13). In Acts 8:1-3 we’ll get a small taste of this man’s intensity.

We’ll remember it was Saul of Tarsus who was the driving force behind Stephen’s murder, because he took care of the robes of those who stoned Stephen to death. As it turned out, this was just the start of the furry Saul would unleash on Christians (v 1). In verse 3 we’ll see Saul went from house to house to imprison men and women both. He was out to “destroy the church” (v 3). Thankfully he doesn’t stay this terrorizing figure. But for now, we’ll leave it at that.

In his book, Swindoll says one might think Paul had always loved this Jesus he loved so much. But was we have just looked at Saul was anything but. He was a  Christian hater and killer. He was out to wipe Christianity off the face of the earth. He would tell one of the Roman rulers he felt inspired (as it were) to do many harmful things to Jesus’ name and people (26:9). We’ll see how Saul, the terrorizer into Paul, the man of grace and grit.

I certainly hope this is helpful for you and is making since.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts here. As always comments, further thoughts, questions, etc are always welcome.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace :}

Read Full Post »

I love and appreciate any and every opportunity to spend with my whole family :} Especially Christmas!

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays of the year. The weather is getting cooler. Putting up Christmas decorations. Christmas music. Christmas clothing. And so much more. It encourages its participants to be festive. It encourages us to think about Jesus.

But there’s one thing I don’t like about Christmas. Jesus is always a baby. He’s always sweet little baby Jesus.

Babies can be demanding. They need to be feed. They need to be held and so on. Babies cry. They need  mommy and daddy to constantly take care of them.

Yes babies can be very demanding. I’m sure sweet little baby Jesus was a demanding baby (despite the hymn that states “… the little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes…”).

But sweet little baby Jesus can’t ask us to follow Him. Sweet little baby Jesus can’t ask us to change our lives if we would follow Him. Sweet little baby Jesus can’t be Lord of all. Why? Because He’s still a sweet little baby.

I believe it’s perfectly OK for us to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But let us never forget that sweet little baby Jesus grows up. He grows up to be the Messiah, the anointed one. He grows up to be the Teacher. He grows up to be Lord. He wants us to change to be like Him.

Does this make since? I hope so. As always further thoughts, comments, questions, etc, etc are encouraged and welcomed.

I hope and pray everyone has a Merry Christmas! God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Read Full Post »

Greetings everyone! I am so sorry I haven’t written in the past several days. Been busy I guess. Anyhow, here we are again.

In Acts 6:8 through 15 Stephen is accused in the same manner Jesus was. Many accused him of doing things he didn’t do. And there were false witnesses that contradicted themselves too.

All through out chapter 7 Stephen preaches to the Synagogue members. He preaches through some of the most significant parts of the Old Testament. He talked about Joseph and all that happened to him. About Abraham and Isaac. About Moses with all that happened to him.

He told them these things because they claimed to follow the same God they followed. But they weren’t.

In verse 54 through chapter 8:1, Stephen is killed by stoning. The Synagogue members (led by Saul of Tarsus) drove Stephen outside the city and pelt him with stones until he was dead. But Stephen died with Jesus on his lips and in his heart.

When Stephen was preaching to them about those Old Testament stories, they were all pointing toward Jesus. That was what Stephen was driving at. But the Synagogue rulers wouldn’t listen.

As we’ll see in chapter 8, Saul of Tarsus started with the stoning of Stephen to unleash terror on Christians. We’ll look at that in the next post on Acts, The Missional Church.

I hope and pray this all makes sense. Any and all comments, further thoughts, questions, etc, etc are always welcomed.

Thank you for reading my thoughts here. Merry Christmas! God bless. Grace and Peace :}

Read Full Post »

Greetings readers! I hope and pray all of you are doing well today.

In this installment I want to draw your attention to Acts 6:1-7. The chapter starts off with a potential division in the church brewing. Who ever was in charge of distributing food to all the widows in the church was giving food to the Hebraic Jews, but was withholding it from the Grecian Jews. The study notes in the NIV Study Bible say “Grecian Jews were Hellenists- Jews born in lands other then the Holy Land who spoke the Greek language … Hebraic Jews were Jews born in the Holy Land who spoke Palestinian Aramaic and/or Hebrew and preserved Jewish culture and customs” (p 1777 NIV Archeaological Study Bible).  We don’t know if the one who did this was doing it intentionally with a racial bias or if he just innocently overlooked them. But nevertheless this situation had the potential to tear the church apart.

The Apostles gathered together and owned up to the problem. Its as if they said “Yes this is a problem that must get fixed”. But they say “We can’t do it ourselves”. They knew what their top priority was, and that was prayer, study, and preaching the word. So they got the whole church involved and advised the church to choose some of their own who could do this important task. And they chose seven men they presented to the Apostles, who prayed for them and gave them authority to carry out the task. And the text says the church continued to grow.

There are three things I notice in these verses. First, the Apostles owned up the problem. They gathered the church together and advised them to choose those who could do this.

Second, the Apostles said they couldn’t do it themselves. They understood their primary role: and that was prayer, study, and preaching the word. They were not saying serving the widows would be beneith their dignity or anything. They were noticing their primary duties.

Three, they gave the ones selected the power to carry out the task they were given.

And four, the church grew.

Concluding, church members must do their part in service to the church. Too many people expect the paid church staff to do everything. For the church to grow like it should more members must be involved more and doing their part (serving the widows, as it were) so the church leaders can do their part of praying for the church, studying, and preaching the word.

Does this make since? I hope I am making since here. I would love to have feed back on this. If anyone has questions, further thoughts, etc, please let me know.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

 

Read Full Post »

Greetings one and all. I was on my walk around the neighborhood yesterday and started thinking about a song I really like. It was written several years ago by one of my all-time favorite Christian song writers/singers Ray Boltz. The song is called That’s What This Alter Is For. It is definitely one of those songs that will make you cry. I was thinking about the song a lot yesterday and wanted to share it with you, and some of my thoughts (I don’t remember the whole song, only a part of it).

The service is nearing an end.

The Choir is singing Just As I Am.

As that old song is played, people at the alter are kneeling down to pray.

Some are finding mercy, forgiveness for their sins.

Some are fighting battles, and are struggling to win.

Come quickly now before they shut the door.

That’s what this alter is for.

That’s what this alter is for.

You don’t have to carry your burdens any more.

There’s a light in the darkness.

There’s a light that’s true.

Jesus is waiting. He is waiting here for you.

Come quickly now before they shut the door.

That’s what this alter is for.

It’s a powerful song. It reminds me of what Paul told the Galatian churches. We are to help others bear their burdens (Gal. 6). We are all weak. One person’s weakness may be another person’s strength. We all can help each other when our strengths and weaknesses mesh like that.

And, it seems, there some struggles we have that God, and God alone, can help us with. We can always pray for and with each other, for sure.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share any thoughts, questions, etc that you may have. Any thing any one out there would like to share is most welcome. Thank you all for reading my thoughts. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

 

Read Full Post »