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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Foes to Friends

Yesterday we continued our look at the story of the first church in Acts as told by Luke. This week we see how God can bring boosts to His kingdom work from places we would never expect them to come. But, if this is going to happen, He needs something from us. Read on as we talk about what that is.

Foes to Friends

Kanye West is not a man well-known for his modesty and humility. Over the course of his career, he’s bounced around from one name to another and one grandiose claim to another. He’s been crude and crass and just downright rude. One of his biggest moments in the spotlight came when he grabbed a mic out of Taylor Swift’s hands when she was accepting a music award in order to make the case why she shouldn’t have won it. He was never known as a friend to Christianity.

Then he became one.

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Playing Fair

As we continued in our series, Telling Our Story, yesterday morning, we ran into an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes it is unfair and sometimes it seems like God doesn’t do anything to fix that. We see this in the story of Stephen, one of the original deacons appointed by the church and who was having a powerful ministry until the unfairness of life struck him down. This isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it’s one we must have. Let’s do it together.

Playing Fair

This past February some of our brothers and sisters were gathered for worship in the tiny African nation of Burkina Faso. The landlocked country is about the size of the state of Nevada. It is also home to an active and ongoing attempt by Muslim radicals linked to the Islamic State to gain control of the nation in order to enforce their will on it. The believers worshiped that morning like they had done so for years and years together. This particular morning, however, their praise was interrupted by shouts and gunfire. Terrorists burst into the sanctuary with guns blazing. Twenty-four worshipers were murdered in cold blood including the church’s pastor. A dozen more were injured in the gunfire and many more still were kidnapped.

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Standing Out

The early church was just different from the people around them. This didn’t make life easy for them, but it did keep them in line with what God had designed them to be. As we continue in our series, Telling Our Story, this past Sunday we talked about the fact that as a church today, we are called to stand out still. What are some ways you can stand out as a follower of Jesus?

As an extra note here, we are getting some much needed time off this week, so this will be the only post this week. I look forward to being back with you starting next Monday. See you then!

Standing Out

Have you ever known someone who was comfortable in his or her own skin? There are some people who have the gift of being content with who they are. That’s not the case for most of us. Most of us have little doubts or insecurities that keep us constantly trying to hide one thing or another that we don’t like about ourselves. But those people who are just comfortable and positively confident because of it stand out.

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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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