Saturday, August 25, 2007

Acts Begins

As I write, I'm deep in the heart of Desolation Sound, British Columbia -- so deep in fact, that I couldn't find my way home without a GPS and a chart plotter. But even on vacation, I take my Bible. I've started the book of ACTS, and since it's one of my favorite books, and since I'm sitting on a dock that has WY FY, here I am!

First, observe that the book is written to a Gentile (we guess from his name), who must have become a believer. The author, who is Dr. Luke says in the book of Luke, that he has gathered the accounts of the stories related to what Theophilus "has been taught." Seems that Theophilus is a new believer -- not himself a witness of Jesus death and resurrection, but a reciever of the stories. The other interesting thing is that in Luke, the text begins, "most excellent Theophilus." It seems a formal greeting, one given to someone of stature, or rank, perhaps even royalty. But, the book of Acts begins very differently. It says, "My dear Theophilus."

Luke has made Theophilus a friend. I like that.

One thing I love to do with Acts is to just keep notes. So many folks use ACTS as a platform to declare their own understanding of Spiritual things. I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to observe. Hopefully, I will honor the Spirit who inspired the text in the first place -- not by bringing my own vain imagination to the book, but by seeking his truth. We'll see, won't we?

Acts begins with a host of guys who are too excited for words. The one who died is now alive. Hope has risen. But their hope is for Jesus to accomplish their own agenda -- to free Israel from Roman rule. But the whole book of Acts is about these guys learning to abandon their own agenda for God's agenda. Isn' t that what life is about for us too?

The big event in Acts 2 is the day of Pentecost. Jesus friends are praying in the upstairs room of the house where they were staying, when something amazing happened. The passage says there was a sound "LIKE" a mighty rushing wind. And there were flames of fire above the heads of those who were there. And then, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in OTHER LANGUAGES.

What an amazing thing! They hear a windstorm inside the house. They see fire hanging in the air. And they begin to speak in languages they do not know -- BUT OTHERS DO RECOGNIZE.

As a result of this supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the Godly Jews who were in Jerusalem heard them speak in languages that they understood, and because they understood, they then heard a sermon which brought them to Christ.

That first Pentecost certainly centered around Evangelism. The languages the men spoke had a dynamic effect in reaching others with the Good News about Jesus. It was clearly the Holy Spirit that Jesus had predicted. It came with POWER, as he said. And that first Pentecost unleashed the beginning of what would be the greatest mission ever undertaken -- to spread the good news of freedom and forgiveness to every corner of the earth.

And the men who took on this task were nothing more than fisherman. Uneducated. Untrained. Unprepared. They had only two things. They had gifts -- specific to the task they were assigned. And they had the Holy Spirit. The unseen, unsung third member of the trinity -- GOD HIMSELF -- living inside them.

With these two things, they were equal to any task. We have these two things as well. What task are you taking on lately?

Bette

4 comments:

Bette Nordberg said...

A comment for everyone! Someone posted somewhere on this blog that they'll have to catch up with me. Don't bother. Just start wherever we are and keep going. I'm reading in Acts, and I think I'm around the fifth chapter. Two nights ago, I read by flashlight. That's not easy. So do what you can, whenever you can. But don't give yourself the odious job of catching up. Just start anywhere!

Bette

Bette Nordberg said...

A comment for everyone! Someone posted somewhere on this blog that they'll have to catch up with me. Don't bother. Just start wherever we are and keep going. I'm reading in Acts, and I think I'm around the fifth chapter. Two nights ago, I read by flashlight. That's not easy. So do what you can, whenever you can. But don't give yourself the odious job of catching up. Just start anywhere!

Bette

Christina Berry said...

My task: re-re-re-rewriting. Again! ;-)

Anonymous said...

What tasks am I taking on? WAY TOO MANY!!!!

Maybe the question should be WHAT IMPORTANT LIFE CHANGING TASKS are you taking on?

The answer to that one is a sad, NONE. Zip.

I find in my life, I have a full plate--so full it droops over the edges and drips on the floor. But what of it is for the Kingdom? What of it is walking in the power we've been given? Sadly, not much.

And probably even LESS than I think-what of my agenda do I THINK is for the Kingdom, when really, I've forgotten to ASK--LORD, is this really what I should do?

I am too busy. And as I look around me, it seems that the whole church--the world--at least Americans--have the same chronic problem.

But tasks for the kingdom? They're scoring pretty low--I don't have time.

To think about the power that the early church walked in is convicting. We have the same power available to us, the same Spirit, the same God. This was their focus, their passion...but what about mine? I need to get more on their wave-length and become the life-changer I've been called to be.

--Petunia