For Everybody

This week as we continue in our series, Telling Our Story, we come upon one of the most powerful stories of the journey. Who exactly is the Gospel for? In the first church, early on in their story, in spite of what Jesus had told them, they thought the Gospel was just for them and the people who were like them. What we see today, though, was the time when God intervened to help them understand that it was entirely bigger than that. Let’s talk about just how big.

For Everybody

Have you ever run into someone you didn’t expect in a place you wouldn’t have imagined? When I was 12, my parents planned a surprise party for me. The plan was for my dad to take me out to run an errand, but “forget” his wallet at home. While we were gone, a whole bunch of my buddies invaded the house. When we got back to get the wallet, I ran inside as fast as I could because I was 12 and that’s what 12-year-old boys do. Right as I got to the room where the wallet was supposedly sitting, they all jumped out at me. I’m pretty sure I defied some laws of physics as I changed directions in mid-air and crumpled to the ground in a little ball figuring that I was toast. One of my buddies had even thrown on a Wolf-Man mask for good measure. I’m just grateful I didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of making a mess of myself from the shock. It wound up being a great evening, but I just about didn’t survive the shock of seeing all those guys in that place at that time.

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Bold Moves

When Jesus left the scene after the resurrection, the disciples gradually picked up the pieces and began to organize themselves into a powerful group. But as of yet, we haven’t seen them go anywhere. They were all packed for a journey, but they hadn’t gone anywhere yet. Getting ready is one thing, but actually going is another entirely. It requires something of us. What is this? In Acts 3-4 Peter and John put it beautifully on display for us. Keep reading to find out what it is and what it means for us.

Bold Moves

Let me start with a bit of a survey this morning. Do you think Christians today have more or less freedom to pursue the practice of their faith than we did 10 years ago? If you would say, “More freedom,” raise your hand. If you would say, “Less freedom,” raise your hand. Okay, let me change the question just a bit on you. Do you think Christians have more or less cultural power than we did 10 years ago? If you say, “more,” raise your hand. If you say, “less,” raise your hand.

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Your World Is Too Small

This week, as we continue in our series, Answers to Tough Questions, we took on a debate that has been going on for a long time. It may not burn today as brightly as it once did, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away. Instead, it has become the background assumption of many of the people around us. This debate is the clash between faith and science. Read on to find out how we can engage in this debate as followers of Jesus.

Your World Is Too Small

How do you know that you know something? Have you ever thought about that? Unless you’ve taken a philosophy class, you probably haven’t. But, the answer to that question is a lot more important than you might think. For example, I have a stool up here on stage with me. I bought this at Walmart. How many people in here have sat on this stool before? I know there are a few, but most of you have not. Given that, how many of you who have not sat on it before would be willing to sit on it if I asked you to do so? If you said yes to that, beyond simply fulfilling my request, why would you sit on it? Probably because you believe you will be able to sit on it. But why? Why do you believe that? Or, to put that another way, how do you know you’ll be able to sit on it? How do you know it will not collapse underneath you? Pushing this one step further, how do you know you know that? This same kind of line of questioning could be used relating to anything else you do. How do you know the food you eat won’t poison you? How do you know your car will make it to work? How do you know the store clerk will give you your change? How do you know your family members love you? How do you know that you know the things you know? This may all seem silly, but the answer to this question really does matter. I’ll tell you why in just a bit.

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Digging in Deeper: Acts 19:20

“In this way the word of the Lord flourished and prevailed.” (CSB – Read the chapter

Have you ever watched a movie, gotten to the “and they lived happily ever after” part, and thought, “There’s got to be more to that story”? So often, when a movie ends—especially a romantic comedy—it ends at a point where there is still a whole lot left to sort out between the characters. We’re just to assume love will work everything out. The fact is, in the real world, life keeps going. Here in Acts, we see this incredible victory by the believers in the city of Ephesus and for me at least, it gets me thinking there has to be more to the story. Well, there is. 

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Morning Musing: James 4:4

“You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

One of the most famous theologians of the 20th century was Reinhold Niebuhr. He was a giant in a number of respects. His equally influential, but less culturally famous younger brother was H. Richard Niebuhr. The younger Niebuhr wrote a famous book I had to read in seminary called, Christ and Culture. In it, he worked through several different approaches to thinking about how Jesus—and by virtue of necessity, His followers—got along with the world around them. His was an important contribution to what has been a much larger question on the minds of thinking Christians for most of 2,000 years. 

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