Stiff-necked People

June 28, 2017

Verses 51-53 really sum up Stephen’s sentiment in this sermon. After a recitation of Israel’s history, he gets to the heart of the matter. The Israelites continually resisted the Holy Spirit. They failed God at every turn. They persecuted every prophet who tried to tell them the truth. They even betrayed and murdered Jesus. Yet the people here, the ones accusing Stephen, still do not see what they have done.

Learning from History

June 27, 2017

Charged with speaking against God, against the temple, and against the law and customs handed down by Moses, Stephen asks his audience, “Are these charges true?” He then goes on to recite the abbreviated history of Israel. Why? What was the point? While we don't know for sure why Stephen gave such a sermon, or why Luke felt it important to record it here in Acts, we can guess at a few reasons.

A New System

June 26, 2017

At the beginning of Chapter 6, Stephen was chosen as one of the 7 new leaders in the church. He was considered “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (6:5) and “a man full of God’s grace and power.” (6:8).

The First 15 Check-In

June 24, 2017

Together, we are all pursuing a better life and with this new resource what we hope to do is to provide you a chance to pause and measure your progress towards that better life.

Delegation

June 23, 2017

In reflections earlier this week we have discussed the convictions and bravery of the apostles. I even lamented a bit about our lack of boldness today. But lest we think the early church was perfect, today’s passage reminds us that it was not. There was conflict between two of the Jewish sects. (Remember, Christianity was born out of Judaism, and at this time was still considered another Jewish sect itself.)

We Must Obey God!

June 22, 2017

Today, I am once again in awe of the courage and determination of the apostles. They simply would not be stopped. They knew they were called to teach others about the good news of Jesus Christ, and they had the Holy Spirit empowering them to do so. They stood up to power, disobeyed authority, and defied consequences.

Conviction

June 21, 2017

The church has been having success after success. Many people were being added to their number. The high priest and the Sadducees felt threatened. Luke writes that they are “filled with jealousy.” This is not hard to imagine. These were the religious leaders. They were supposed to hold all the cards with regard to beliefs about God.

How Do We Reach Them?

June 20, 2017

I am reminded in today’s reading that the writer of Acts wanted us to know about the power of the Holy Spirit. This book of the Bible, Acts, is about the acts of the Apostles and the early disciples. But Luke wants us to know that it is not by their human power that the acts are performed, rather it is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Integrity

June 19, 2017

On the first reading of this passage, it seems a bit harsh. A man and his wife, Ananias and Sapphira, both drop dead in front of Peter, seemingly because they kept some of their own money. But, is that really what happened? Well, not exactly. They both did drop dead, separately, in front of Peter over a money issue.

The First 15 Check-In

June 17, 2017

Together, we are all pursuing a better life and with this new resource what we hope to do is to provide you a chance to pause and measure your progress towards that better life.

Generous Living

June 16, 2017

In the end of chapter 4, Luke returns to a subject he introduced earlier (2:44-45), the sharing of possessions among the believers. In this glimpse of the early church life, Luke illustrates the nature and extent of the believers’ concern for one another.

Courage

June 15, 2017

When Peter and John returned to the other disciples, they had much to report. I can just imagine the excitement. John might have said, “You will never believe it! We healed a man who hadn’t walked in years and then, get this, the high and mighty Sanhedrin had the audacity to question us!

Cornerstone

June 14, 2017

As we continue in Acts, remember what Pastor Johnny shared with us last week: The church is the presence of Christ in the world. And by church, I mean you. We often think of the church as a building or even all the church buildings collectively.

Power

June 13, 2017

In our verses today, we pick up toward the end of the story of healing from yesterday. Peter had healed a lame beggar “in the name of Jesus.” In the passage today, the people seem astonished at the healing, and Peter seems astonished with the people. Peter assures the onlookers that this healing was not by his power, but rather by the power in Jesus’ name.

In the Name of Jesus

June 12, 2017

In this third chapter of Acts, Luke describes Peter and John going to the temple for a formal prayer time. Devout Jews observed three times of prayer at the temple - 9:00 a.m., noon, and 3:00 p.m. The fact that the apostles went to the temple to pray at these times indicates that they were continuing to follow Jewish forms of worship and Jewish customs