Share Hope Boldly (ACTS 2:14-41)


Acts 2:14-41

Many of us would say that we are not called to preach.  However, one of the weaknesses of the modern church is that it has raised preachers up on too high of a pedestal.  It isn’t fair to those of us who preach, and it belittles the role of every follower of Jesus.  The truth is when Jesus commanded all the followers gathered on the mountain when he Ascended (this was 100- 500 people) he was speaking to all followers.

‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”‘ Matthew 28:19-20 https://my.bible.com/bible/111/MAT.28.19-20

 

In these instructions he tells all followers to “make disciples” and to “teach”.  Both of these indicate that we are called to speak up and speak out the great message of hope in having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Speaking and sharing this hope isn’t just the preachers or evangelists job.  It is the job of every Christian.

It is our mission to deliver the greatest message ever given.  Yet, many people claiming to follow are afraid to share.  Many say they are simply too busy.

Imagine having this most awesome message and never saying one word about it.  Today pray and ask God how you can better share the Gospel message with the community in which He has placed you.

What can we learn from Peter about sharing, speaking this awesome truth to the world?

  • Speak to them from the boldness of God’s Spirit within you.  Peter was only bold enough that day, because the Holy Spirit had fallen upon them. This was his source of power and knowledge.  God can and will enable us to do the same with the people He puts in our lives to share with.
  • Be ready to back up your witness with Biblical truth.  Several times Peter uses verses from the known Bible to emphasize that this was really from God.  This doesn’t mean you have to quote an abundance of Scripture, but you should know enough to point others to the truth of the hope the Bible proclaims.
  • Connect with them in order to share the eternal hope of Jesus.  Peter started with events that had only occurred fifty days before.  The death and resurrection were still fresh on the minds of all in Jerusalem.  Many people came to Pentecost wondering what Jesus’s followers were doing.  They were looking to see if they would proclaim Jesus now that he had been removed.  We can try to find current events of our community to make connection to the truth of Scripture.
  • Be sure to share the Gospel Hope.  Peter was clear to remind people of Jesus’s death.  He was also just as clear about sharing the truth of his resurrection and the hope he had in the resurrection for himself.
  • Be ready to lead them into becoming a part of Christ’s family.  When the people asked what to do.  Peter told them, “Repent and be baptized.”  We can’t just tell people about the hope of Jesus we have to be ready to lead them to salvation through repentance and acceptance.

 

For Thought & Discussion

  • How can we help to make sure we are better prepared to share the Gospel hope with others?
  • What can we do to make sure to keep our conversation relevant to the people we may have opportunity to share with?
  • Why do you think we sometimes feel inadequate to share and witness as boldly as Peter did?
  • Pray and ask God to show you who you can speak to, and what to share with them today.

 

May God bless your journey today

 

Where’s my Fire & Earthquake? (Acts 2:1-13)


Acts 2:1-13

Everyone likes a good shoe. Even modern worship leaders seem to be striving to create an emotional show with lighting, fog machines, and even lasers. However, the real power of Christian faith isn’t in an emotional show.

Many people seek a similar experience that happened to the people in the book of Acts. When the Holy Spirit came and could be seen, felt, and heard. There has been a huge controversy in various Christian circles over the need of tounges or other evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power coming on people. So, why the show here? What evidence should show the Spirits empowering?

First, God’s Spirit has always been and He has empowered his people since the start of time. Here are a few examples in the Old Testament:

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/1sa.16.13.NIV.

In reference to Samson- Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. Judges 14:19 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jdg.14.19.NIV

God’s Spirit comes upon people throughout time to enable them to do the things God has planned for them. It gives the encouragement internally. It gives the ability not by human means to do a special act for God.

On the Day of Pentecost the Spirit came upon the 120 gathered in wind, fire, and earthquake. Then they were empowered to speak other languages, so that the crowds gathered from around the Roman world could understand the message of Jesus. We see often in their travels people would be anointed to speak in other tounges, as witness to those around.

The anointing and empowerment amazed all the people. Some were so amazed they made fun and even accused them of being drunk. When God is moving it can’t always be understood easily by our small minds at times.

So, what does this all mean for us? Does God still empower or anoint people today? Should we expect the fire and earthquake?

What can be learned for all followers of Jesus about being anointed by the Spirit?

  • God desires to anoint His people for strength and serving.
    • Anointing is usually for the purpose of empowering us to do God’s work in the world.
    • Anointing can be for personal strength, but most often is to serve God or the community of Jesus followers.
  • Since the end result is most often a service for God anointing may not show in the exact same manner each time.
    • No one should assume there experience with God is the way other people should show or give evidence of being anointed.
  • Remember Jesus’s stated purpose of the Spirit coming:

Be encouraged that God wants to anoint everyone, and the Spirit comes to us all when we accept and follow Christ. Special anointing may come on us to help us be witnesses of the Gospel to the world around us. Those anointing will be what is needed for us to carry His work and witness out for the moment it is given.

For Thought & Discussion

  • Must God always anoint everyone in the same manner?
  • What is the biggest reason God anoints people with His Spirit?
  • What if any ways have you experienced or seen of God’s Spirit showing in your life or others around you?
  • Should we fell less of a Christian if we haven’t had some special experience?

– May God bless you on the journey today

In Waiting or Hurting Times (Acts 1:12-26)


Acts 1:12-26

 

Where do you go when life is falling apart? Where are the answers? What about when you’re mourning a loss?

Nothing surprises God.

After the Ascension of Jesus into heaven the disciples gathered together for prayer. Peter points out that the actions of Judas were expected. He even quotes Scripture Showing this. Then they pray

What to do when your going through a period of waiting or difficulty.

  • Pray: This is the first and constant place we should turn when facing a tough time. Too often this is people’s last resort instead of their first response. God is always waiting for us to turn to him.
  • Take care of your needs: The need of the Apotles was to fill the open position, so they would have an even number of leaders. There are some things that must be done- family needs, self care, eating, exercise, and work. However, in waiting seasons it isn’t the time to take on new projects or extra work. Often doing these things is in reality is a way to hide from needed healing that such time needs.
  • Don’t make any big decisions until your through it: You don’t want to make rash decisions while mourning, hurting, or in waiting times. Some people bury themselves in debt trying to make themselves feel better. This could be buying something, giving things away, making major job changes, or even seeking expensive training. In reality many big decisions are actually ways to hide from healing or listening to God.
  • Listen for God: This begins by spending time in God’s Word. It’s good to hear a good sermon; however, it’s even better to spend time meditating on God’s Word for yourself. Let God speak to you as you meditate on Scripture and listen for His guidance. That was the response of the Apostles as they waited for God to show them their next move.

Know that God is with you in this season of waiting, mourning, and confusion.

For Thought & Discussion:

  • How have you tried to hide instead of facing and waiting through these times with God?
  • How is this way of waiting more active than most people think of when waiting?
  • Are there things in your life that you are not laying before God today? Are you doing things or making rash plans before waiting on God for His guidance?

– May God bless you on the journey today.

The Story Didn’t End With Jesus (Acts 1:1-11)


Acts 1:1‭-‬11

The Gospel message didn’t end with Jesus. In fact Jesus came to usher a New beginning, a new start for faith and the hope of the Gospel.

He defeated the power of Satan and sin by dying on the cross and rising again. The technical requirements of redemption were paid for, so the restoration of relationship with God could be restored.

Luke writes to his friend to tell him, and today us, that the story wasn’t over at the resurrection. The message of the Gospel was now in the hands of the followers. All followers of Jesus are now a part of this mission of hope.

We shall see that the book of Acts has two powerful elements. First, the trust in, and power of the Holy Spirit. Second, the faith and actions of the Apostles, in forming the church-Christ’s body on earth.

Remaining on mission- Jesus prepared to leave the Early church to be ready for taking over His mission to the world.

  • To know Jesus was alive (v.3). Luke stresses that there were many convincing proofs of Jesus’s resurrection. He had defeated the power of death. The hope of a resurrection for all followers is real. It is foundational to Christian faith.
  • To get ready for The Holy Spirit’s empowering (v.4-8). The Spirit had been foretold by Jesus the night he was betrayed. The empowering was to help the church and followers to carry out the mission of sharing the hope of the Gospel-salvation in Christ. The Spirit dwells inside all believers and helps us understand Scripture, as well as enabling us to share its truth and hope.
  • To remain ready and vigilant in living and sharing the Gospel until Christ returns (v.7). We must live lives always ready. Ready to tell others of the hope of Jesus. Also, ready to give account to God for how we acted and lived in the time we are given. Are we seeking to live holy and just lives, showing we are children of God?
  • To take up the mission of sharing the Gospel (v.8-11). In case they missed the point, as Jesus ascended he sent some Angel’s to get them moving. The mission to the world was given to human hands. We who follow today remain on the same mission today.

For Thought & Discussion:

  • What evidence was shown that Jesus rose from the dead?
  • Where does our courage and anchor come from, as we serve Christ in the world?
  • What is our central mission, as Christ followers? How do we live this mission out in our world today?
  • Why was there a period of waiting before the blessing of the Spirit and taking action? How is waiting a help at times?
  • Take some time to pray and ask God to show you who and where you can share the hope of the Gospel this week.

– May God bless you on the journey today.

God Has Your Plan


Exodus 2

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. https://bible.com/bible/111/jer.29.11.NIV

Do you ever wonder why you’re here? Maybe you had a past that you wish you could forget. Perhaps you had parents that you feel were inadequate. There may have been circumstances that made growing up hard.

How can God have a Plan through hand times? Can there be a better purpose for us?

Moses was saved because of a brave mother who stayed close enough to be sure he knew his roots. He knew he was an Israelite. He also would have known the truth of God.

Moses also was raised as an Egyptian Prince. He would know the Pharaoh sin ce he was raised with him. He knew the courts and throne room to be able to addres-s Him. He also would know their religious practices to be able to stand when their Priests would attack him.

While moses failed in his own ideas by killing a prom/ God would it the time in the desert to mold him more. He lived among Midianites, who also belived in God. They were not Jews, but close relatives, which means they would have continued to encourage Moses faith. This time in the desert helped him grow closer to God and open to hear God speak.

God has a plan for you life. He can take even broken pieces and make us into something greater.

How can you Better understand God’s plan for you?

  • Pray: God desires to Spend time with us. We can ask the creator of all things and He will guide us.
  • Spend time in the Bible: If we want to know if our plans are in line with God’s plans we must spend time understanding God’s will. That means reading His Word, the Bible.
  • Find others of Faith to help you grow: Scripture reminds us over and over that faith is meant to be lived out in community. We encourage and help one another grow. We also hold one another accountable. Get with a group, be a part of a church, and help others as they help you.
  • Wait: This is the hardest part for most of us. We struggle to wait two-and-a-half minutes for microwave popcorn. God’s plan was taking a lifetime to develop. Thankfully the Israelites never stopped praying and Moses never stopped growing.
  • Just because it’s God’s plan doesn’t mean it’s easy: Stepping out in faith against Pharaoh would mean learning to live a new way. Jesus once asked a lame man ,”Do you want to be healed?” I believe this is the deep question, do we really want God’s plan. God’s plan may just mean we have to change, or go to work.

Why do people struggle to follow God’s plan? Why do we often take matters into our own hands instead?

What areas of life is God trying to lead you today?

Focus & Respect God To Defeat Struggles


Exodus 1:15-22

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.
Exodus 1:15‭-‬17 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/exo.1.15-17.NIV

What would you do if someone threatened your life or lives of those closest to you? The Israelite midwives stood courageously against Pharaoh’s order to kill the male babies. It says, “they feared God and did not do what the king had told them.” They feared and respected God above all else, even this Egyptian Pharaoh.

Jesus said “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28 NIV)

When it comes to facing hardships or overcoming attack from the evil one, people are often afraid of the problems in front of them. The often can only see the problem and not the problem solver: God.

Yet, God’s people through out time have learned to focus on God to overcome. They have faced death and threats, because their focus was on God. Our relationship with God needs to come above all else. We must submit to his will over evil that often comes to drive us down.

Where do you need to see God in your life today? What issues are you struggling to put into God’s hands? Trust and God will help you through.

Are You Being Called to Change?


Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

Exodus 1:8‭-‬10 NIV. https://bible.com/bible/111/exo.1.8-10.NIV

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
Exodus 2:23‭-‬25 NIV. https://bible.com/bible/111/exo.2.23-25.NIV

Change is the greatest constant in life. Change can be a good thing. However, Change is also a hard thing.

Change was coming for the Israelites. A new hope, a new future. It was based in the promises to their forefathers Abraham Isaac Jacob and Joseph.

A new Pharaoh came who didn’t know them. One who didn’t Know the help that they had given or how they saved Egypt. One who feared them and wanted them weak and destroyed.

Why would God allow such oppression and hardship on his People? It might be because change is needed or coming.

Most people don’t love to change. We get comfortable no matter how bad things may seem.

Sometimes God needs to encourage us to move from where we are to the promise and plan He has for us. the Israelites God had a promised land, but they had forgotten to go back after the famine. They enjoyed Egypt and were being influenced by Egyptian ways. They needed a reason to leave and change. Are there areas God is calling you to Change, grow ?

We sometimes need to be brought to our knees. The Israelites were in Egypt 400 years. Oppression from Pharaoh drove them to prayer. How often does it take- pain or hardship to cause us to talk to God? We Should love to speak to Him but sometimes it take trouble to draw us into prayer. Prayer Should be A first and not a last option. Where or what is God calling you to pray and trust Him in today?

Trust that God is in control. God heard their cry, but it would take 10 plagues and more hardships for them to get out of the Egyptian control. Then they would need to learn how to live as God’s people again, before returning to their inheritance. There was a plan, but it would take faith to see it through. Where do you need to have faith today? What areas are you needing to trust that He is in contol?