God’s Power On His Church

God’s Power On His Church

Yesterday, we concluded chapter 11 of the Acts of the Apostles in our worship gathering. During the aftermath of sizable shake-up of tradition, the Gospel message was continuing to spread throughout the world. This good-news message was breaking cultural bounds, regional borders and now was continuing to show itself powerful even among those “normal” and “every day” believers, now called “Christians”. We read… Acts 11:21 “The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:23 “When he…saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.” Instead of the Apostles, or prophets, or missionaries, we read of unnamed people from the church at Antioch speaking God’s rescuing message to their neighbors from outside the faith. We want that for Disciples Church too. We are praying that God’s powerful hand would bless and move among us as our family members share the Good News of Jesus and perhaps people turn to Jesus and find forgiveness and new life in Him. Next Sunday, February 22nd, we celebrate our 1st birthday as a church family. 1 year of God’s message being proclaimed among us, as we head into our neighborhoods and workplaces to demonstrate and talk about God’s power to save. -Pastor...
Change At Any Cost

Change At Any Cost

Last Sunday we examined Acts 10-11. This passage can be uncomfortable as Peter and a Centurion both have God-given “visions”. God was sending a message to the world, starting with the church, using exactly the messengers and the method He wanted. For those who know and follow God AND for those who don’t yet follow Him, God’s message and His methods can be hard to understand and harder to stomach. Why is that? For some, we don’t believe the message. For others, we aren’t convinced of it’s validity. For the rest of us, we simply hate change. Christians, of all people, should be a people who embrace change. Our new lives in Christ begin in the soil of change (2 Cor. 5:17, Rev. 21:5)! After the new change, the rest of our lives, until heaven, involves the Holy Spirit bringing His change into our lives, conforming us into the image of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:2-3, Titus 3:4-7). God’s message for Peter and the early church that day was clear, He wants His church to reach out beyond it’s comfort zones to reach more people for the name of Christ. In spite of whatever tradition they were comfortable with, in spite of what they’ve always known, God wants people from every nation and background to hear the good news that forgiveness of sins is available to them in Jesus alone! Such good news.  It does NOT mean however that Christians are called to re-write the book they way they want on human sexuality, marriage, theft, murder, lying, etc…and just “be ok” with those things. It DOES mean that regardless of the life that someone has come from,...

Encountering the Reality of Jesus

Traffic, taxes, the first day back at work/school after vacation…some things in life we wish we could simply will out of existence. Instead, these realities regularly confront us in ways we can’t ignore, no matter how hard we wish against them. This happened to a man named Saul of Tarsus, too. In Acts 9 this AM, along with Galatians 1, we were reminded about the day and season that Saul encountered Jesus in an undeniable way. Prior to this confrontation, Saul had opposed everything about Jesus, along with His followers, about as vehemently as possible. He had actively persecuted those who followed Jesus. He wished and willed against the reality of Jesus as Messiah…yet… the true God was an unavoidable reality…and Saul surrendered his will and his life to the Lordship of Jesus….and his life was permanently transformed. He went from being a murderer of Christians to being a missionary to the world. That’s what we read in Acts 9 when Saul of Tarsus was converted to the way of Jesus. No one would ever have predicted Saul’s conversion, his heart was hard as a rock. But God broke through and Saul surrendered to the reality. This is a type of Biblical irony. In surrendering, Saul was actually getting victory. In submission, he would be lifted up. In giving up his life to Jesus, his life would be saved. This is what God desires for those who are lost, who haven’t yet surrendered to the reality of Jesus. So keep on praying for those who don’t know Jesus. Keep on sharing the good news with them. Ask God to...
Sunday Recap: …But Christmas 12.21.14

Sunday Recap: …But Christmas 12.21.14

No amount of Christmas singing can really fix any of our deepest hurts. No amount of spending on gifts can truly repair broken relationships. Not even the perfectly cooked ham will solve any of our world’s wounds. The question I posed yesterday was, how can anyone, let alone followers of Jesus, celebrate at this time of year, when such painful things lay beneath the surface of the “cheer”? How can we have peace on earth? How can we have joy in our homes? How can we have peace in our own hearts? How can we have ANY of that… –Without TRUE justice of wrongs and evil. –Without REAL restoration of what’s been broken. –Without HONEST restitution of what’s been taken. Is there hope? Without the reality of God come down in the person of Jesus…no, there’s not…but Christmas! Micah 7:18-20 18Who is a God like You, removing iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not hold on to His anger forever, because He delights in faithful love. 19He will again have compassion on us; He will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. 20You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from days long ago. God has been forecasting for ages His plan to utterly conquer, to vanquish our deepest problem, sin. This plan came to light through Jesus and can give *anyone* true and lasting hope, both at Christmas and into eternity. Listen to the angels words to Joseph… Matthew 1:21-23 21She will give birth to a son,...
Sunday Recap 12.7.14 At Any Cost

Sunday Recap 12.7.14 At Any Cost

The Acts 6-8 account of the ministry and martyrdom of Stephen at the hands of the religious Jewish leaders is a stomach-churning read, but was important for us to cover yesterday. Prior to his murder, Stephen is selected as a servant-leader in the local church to help care for widows in need (6:5). This ministry begins with fanfare as Stephen’s grace-filled life demonstrates true godly power and new converts. Success right? Soon enough, the fanfare turns from “great wonders/signs among the people”(6:8) to burning torches, all because Stephen was resolute in preaching the truth of God’s Word to anyone God put in front of him, at any cost. Like His Savior, Jesus, Stephen was under fire because he wouldn’t relent pointing out to the Jewish leaders that their two most precious religious sacred cows, aren’t sacred at all. His lengthy and Scripture-filled sermon, while covering almost the whole history of Israel’s rebellion against God, can be summarized by pointing out these 2 things: The temple in Jerusalem isn’t where God lives. It isn’t “holy”. Jesus is the true temple where God’s fullness lives. The law of Moses isn’t where salvation is found, salvation is only in Jesus. (and the law of Moses is fulfilled in Jesus) Upon hearing this things, the Jewish leaders were “enraged” and “gnashed their teeth” (7:54) at Stephen, soon dragging him to his death beneath a hail of rocks. While breathing his last breaths, in imitation of His Lord, Stephen commits His Spirit to God then prays for the forgiveness of his murderers(7:59-60). 4 ways I’m praying we can be encouraged and emboldened from Stephen’s example: 1....