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Acts 11: Be Where God is Moving

Acts 11: Be Where God is Moving

This week we find ourselves in Acts 11.

 

Take a second to be in prayer with the Lord.

Asking Him to guide your time in His word.

Asking Him to make His spirit known to you.

Asking Him to remove distractions, to remove anxieties, to remove temptations to misuse this time.

 

Now, go on and flip open your Bible and read Acts 11. Continue reading →

TUESDAY

TUESDAY

As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

Dear Lord Jesus, everything about Holy Week reveals the depth of your compassion for sinful, broken people like me. The tears you wept coming into Jerusalem—even the anger you showed in driving the money changers out of the temple—every encounter, parable, and action underscores the truth and beauty of the Apostle Paul’s words,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8).

Paul was writing about me. I am the powerless, ungodly sinner for whom you died—a demonstration of God’s incomparable and irrepressible love for the ill-deserving. I wasn’t a God seeker; I was God’s enemy—a rebel, fool and idolater, when you reconciled me to him through your death on the cross (Rom. 5:10). May I never believe otherwise. My salvation is all of grace—from beginning to end.

I would still be blind to what, alone, brings me peace if you hadn’t opened my eyes to see my need of you and your death for me. The gospel would still remain hidden from my eyes unless you had given me sight to behold you as the Lamb of God who takes away my sin, and the sin of the world. I can’t condescendingly sneer at a single Pharisee, Sadducee, priest, teacher of the law, or anyone else who tried to trick or trap you during Holy Week. For I am just as worthy of judgment as they.

How I long for the Day when I will no longer even be tempted to look for peace, joy and fulfillment, anywhere else but in you, Lord Jesus. I increasingly yearn for the Day when I will see you as you are and will be made like you (1 John 3:1-3). This is my great hope, deep longing and grand assurance.

Until then, keep healing the eyes of my heart of all spiritual myopia, astigmatism, or anything else that keeps me from seeing the magnificence of your glory and the full measure of your grace. So very Amen I pray, in your tenacious and tender name.

WEDNESDAY

WEDNESDAY

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ?” Matt. 22:41-42

Dear Lord Jesus, on this Wednesday of Holy Week, we praise and bless you for the privilege of knowing you, loving you and serving you. And the question you directed to Pharisees, just before your death and resurrection, you still put before us: “What do you think about the Christ?” There’s no more important question for us to wrestle with, in any season of life.

Jesus, continue to free us from all wrong notions we have about you—those generated in our fallen hearts; the ones that come to us from Satan—the father of lies; others which reveal the wrong and incomplete teaching we’ve received through the years.

But what do I think about you today, Lord Jesus? What do I believe in my heart? You are everlasting God, and I am a mere man. I would despair if you were anything less, and I am weary of trying to be more. You are the Creator, Sustainer, and Restorer of all things. You don’t just care about my soul; you care about everything you have made.

You are the Second Adam—our substitute in life and in death. You lived a life of perfect obedience for us, and you exhausted God’s judgment that stood against us. By you, we’ve been completely forgiven, and in you, we’ve been declared perfectly righteousness. You are our impassioned Bridegroom, and we are your beloved Bride. You are the reigning and returning King—committed to making all things new. Lord Jesus, you are all this and so much more. Eternity will be an endless revelation of your glory and grace.

But during this Holy Week, what stuns me the most, as I think about you, it is realize that you are always thinking about us. We are in your heart and on your mind all the time. You’re always praying and advocating for us before the Father. You know us the best, and yet love us the most. How peace-giving joy-fueling! With fresh gratitude and awe, we worship you. So very Amen, we make our prayer, in your holy and grace-full name.

THURSDAY

THURSDAY

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Lord Jesus, as I meditate and pray my way through these Scriptures, quite literally, I’m undone. What but the gift of faith can enable us to grasp the wonder of these words and the magnificence of this moment? What but the power of the gospel can enable us to believe and obey them? Grant us both, I pray, grant me both.

On our calendar we call this day, Maundy, or Mandate Thursday. A day in the history of redemption brimming over with glory and grace. On this day in Holy week, Passover became the Lord’s Supper—your supper. The promises of the Old Covenant would soon be fulfilled by the blood of the New Covenant—your blood. Having shared eternal glory with your Father, you showed stunning grace to your disciples. Having loved this rag-tag bunch of broken men—who squabbled with each other hours earlier for positions of honor; who within a few hours, would all scatter and deny you—having loved them so well for so long, you then showed them the full extent of your love. You loved them to the end. You loved them through and through.

Your disrobing to wash their feet was with a full view to your being stripped naked to wash their hearts, and our hearts. Indeed, the measure of your love isn’t just the basin and towel of the upper room, but your cross and death on Calvary’s hill. What wondrous love is this indeed—how wide, long, high and deep?

Thus you command us, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This is the new and never-ending mandate we live under as your disciples—a mandate, not a suggestion. There is no greater love than the love you have for us, none. And there is no clearer evidence of our love for you than the way we love each other.

Jesus, we acknowledge and grieve the multiple ways we love poorly—in our churches, in our families, in our communities. We offer no lame excuses and make no empty promises. As you continue to convince our unbelieving, dull hearts of your great love for us, convict us, humble us and love through us to your glory. So very Amen, we pray, in your holy and passionate name, on this Maundy Thursday.

FRIDAY

FRIDAY

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (NIV)

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46 (NIV)

“It is finished.” John 19:30 (NIV)

Lord Jesus, it’s hard not to feel conflicted about calling the day of your crucifixion “good.” That there had to be a day when you—the eternally glorious, righteous, loving Son of God, would be made sin for us, is not good at all. But at the same time,that you would freely and gladly give yourself for us on the cross is never-to-be surpassed goodness. It is quintessential goodness.

From the cross and your heart, came these two impassioned cries. “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34) and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The first required the second. The second secured the first. Together, they humble our hearts, silence our words, and fuel our worship.

And then there’s the third cry. “It is finished.” Nothing is left undone, concerning our salvation and for the transformation of our world. Once and for all, perfectly and fully, we have been reconciled to God. You became sin for us, than in you, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21)—the Just for the unjust, the Beautiful One for the broken ones, the Lamb of God for the rebels from God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A millions years into our life in the new heaven and new earth, we’ll still be filled with childlike wonder and ceaseless gratitude, for your sacrifice and love for us. Because you were fully forsaken, we are forever forgiven. Because you exhausted God’s judgment against our numberless sins, we now live by the gift of your perfect righteousness. We bow our heads in awe and raise our hands in praise. So very Amen we pray, in your all-glorious, all-grace-full name.

SATURDAY

SATURDAY

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Matt. 27:62-64 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, how could your family and followers have slept the night of Good Friday? I can only imagine the depth of sadness that seized their hearts. And yet, others were euphoric and relieved, that you, “the deceiver,” could no longer threaten the status quo of the religious community, or the political agendas of the Roman Empire.

As the sun rose on Saturday, no one understood that the most undeserved death imaginable would yield the greatest return calculable. As you were nailed to the cross, the written code—God’s law, with all its regulations and requirements, lost all its condemning power over us. With your last breath, you disarmed the powers of darkness, triumphing over all authorities marshaled against the God’s kingdom (Col. 2:14-15).

No one realized that your mortal punishment would bring our eternal peace; that your fatal wounding would secure our everlasting healing; that your being crushed under God’s judgment would lead to our being cherished by the thrice-holy God (Isa. 53). Though they had the Scriptures, they had no clue.

And yet the chief priests and the Pharisees did remember your promise of resurrection. They weren’t sad about your death; they were mad with fear about the possibility of your life. Having planned to put to death a resurrected Lazarus (John 12:10), they weren’t about to indulge a resurrected Jesus.

O silly, sinful men—they’d sooner hold back the rising of the sun than the rising of the Son of God. Resurrection Sunday was coming, and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. The silence of Saturday would soon be shattered with the shouts of Sunday: “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!” Hallelujah, many times over. So very Amen we pray, in your triumphant and loving name.

A c t s 1 0 : Seeing God’s Impartiality

A c t s 1 0 : Seeing God’s Impartiality

This past Sunday morning we found ourselves in Acts 10 as we continue to follow the life of the early church as God leads, convicts and corrects.

In Acts 10 we are met with two main characters, Peter and Cornelius, and one beautiful plan of our Savior. Peter and Cornelius may just seem like 2 individual characters with their own stories, but in our discussion Sunday morning we spoke about how they truly do represent something much grander. They represented two people groups becoming one in the eyes of the Lord. Those who had been identified as God’s chosen people and those who had not, those who were jews and those who were not, those who thoughts of themselves as the beloved and those who were seen as common.

What’s even crazier is that Acts 10 is actually the moment you and I enter the story, the moment in which we become considered God’s children, and no longer to be dependant on a basis of being born jewish or not.

Okay, so let’s go on and get into the discussion points then:

Go on and read Acts 10 in it’s wholeness and then we will break down some key points in the verses as well as providing some additional scriptures to further explain concepts touched on:


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The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

Oh to be Obedient…

Acts 9 | The Life and Obedience of Paul and Ananias

 

While this week brought so many uncertainties, one thing that we knew wouldn’t change was having a space for our ministry to gather and talk about the Word of God. In the midst of social distancing, we have learned to be creative when it comes to studying God’s word tougher and so this past Sunday we tuned in via Skype to hear Rob bring us a good word as we continue in Acts this semester.

If you didn’t get the chance to join us, don’t worry! We will be writing recap posts like this one each Sunday so whether you were on the Skype call or not you can come back and have a resource to help study the scripture.

Take a minute to read through Acts 9 now.

Make your own notes, write your questions down, sit with the passage.

Now here’s some thoughts we had as we gathered this past Sunday Morning:
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Don’t Worry About Your Life … Or COVID-19

Don’t Worry About Your Life … Or COVID-19

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life …”

Jesus spoke these words during His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25). There’s a tendency for us sound trite when we use them. “Oh just don’t worry about that. The Bible says you shouldn’t worry,” but I’ve never encountered a situation where simply telling a person to not worry or to not be anxious has ever worked. We miss everything that Jesus meant when we try to package these words up into a cliche saying or platitude.
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Welcome In Your Presence

Welcome In Your Presence

It was a weird day. It was a tough day. It involved a funeral, but the deceased was not someone to whom I was close. The situation though, was utterly tragic and my heart wrenched for the family and close friends. I showed up to share in the suffering. Christmas was just a few days away and the stress of completing the mile long to-do list was mounting on top of the emotion of that miserable, rainy day. Hours later, after another Christmas activity was over, I went to speak to a friend who had also been at the funeral. I knew that she was grappling with her own feelings, so I simply went to give a hug, and, since I knew I wouldn’t see her again before the holiday, say “Merry Christmas” before departing. My hug was not reciprocated and instead of “Merry Christmas,” I was met with a rant about how she had already seen me that day and it was too much. A bit shocked and hurt, I backed off and stepped away. Then the anger and confusion started to flood in, filling the emotional canyon that the initial hurt had dug, and I retreated to the comfort of more accepting and predictable friends.
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