We studied the book of Acts last fall and today we continued our look at the early church as Adam preached on Acts chapters 13 and 14. As a very short recap, the book of Acts begins by Jesus teaching about purpose, place and power, just prior to being taken up into heaven. Jesus is still in the business of giving our lives purpose, place and the Holy Spirit gives us power. As we turn every aspect of our lives over to God, an adventure awaits. What about you? Do you seek purpose in Christ rather than the world? Do you consider place as you seek to be in God’s will? Where you live, where you work, whether you move or not, etc? Power. Do you realize and appropriate the power available to all believers in the Holy Spirit who “intercedes on our behalf?” (Romans 8:26-27)
There is often a misconception about becoming a believer: you are not allowed to have any more fun. Pastor Adam spoke about the adventures that await as you seek to grow in discernment and follow the road less traveled – – – a life with Jesus at the helm. As we continue in Acts, we will follow the original mission trips of Paul and other early believers as they seek to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and experience many adventures.
INVITATION: Join in as we learn practical things from the books of Acts to apply to our lives today. Pastor Adam outlined four things we can do to be “on mission” just like Paul was “on mission”: 1) Do what you know; 2) Watch and be ready for the opportunities God brings your way; 3) Don’t expect it to be easy to follow Jesus; 4) Stay grounded and connected in community.
MONDAY: Acts 13:1-3: How often do you pray for God to set apart and empower leaders in your church? How often do you even remember to pray for the leaders in your church? Perhaps that can become a spiritual prayer practice in your life in the days and months to come? Paul and Barnabas could not do what they did without prayer support. The leaders of your church can’t either. Satan seeks to “steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10). He is out to destroy the things of God and your prayers are needed!
TUESDAY: Acts 13:4-7: Paul and Barnabas are sent out “by the Holy Spirit.” When in your life have you felt strongly that the Spirit of God was sending/leading you? Paul and Barnabas didn’t try to do something they were not equipped to do – they did what they already knew. Be honest. What are your gifts from God? Your skills, your interests or passions? It doesn’t have to be anything holy and lofty. God cares about availability – not ability. What do you do naturally that might become an area of ministry in your life?
WEDNESDAY: Acts 13:8-12: When Paul speaks of perverting the right ways of the Lord, he is reacting to an opponent’s attempt to distort the christian message in order to attack it. Where in your own life have you found yourself falsely under attack? In what ways were you able to stand firm? Were you able to display the love of Christ? Perhaps you might recall ways in which God was gracious in supporting you. Ask God for forgiveness for times where you did not stand firm – it happens to all of us. Commit the incident to God, knowing he can bring good out of it – just as he did for Paul.
THURSDAY: Acts 13:13-20 & 42-44: Paul and Barnabas continue to do what they knew how to do: tell the story of Jesus. They tell about what they have seen and experienced. I Peter 3:15 says to always be prepared to give an account of what God has done for you. Are you prepared for such a thing? Do you watch and stay ready for any opportunities God might bring your way to tell others about the changes Jesus has made in your life? Have you ever thought to pray specifically for God to bring opportunities to you?
FRIDAY: Acts 13:50-52: Do not expect it to be easy to follow Jesus. Wherever the gospel is advancing, there is going to be opposition. Are you up for the challenge? How do you react when things don’t go as you expect? How you handle difficulty, pressure and suffering will say a lot to others about what you believe.
SATURDAY: Acts 14:1-28: In verses 26-27, Paul is back in Antioch reporting about how God opened doors during his missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas stayed grounded and connected in community. Pastor Adam pointed out that relationship, discipleship and leadership all happen when grounded in community. Are you plugged into a strong Christian community? It will be key in moving forward in your discernment, your adventure and your life with God. Perhaps you can pray about ways you can engage at a deeper level within your faith community? Maybe you can step out and lead in some area of interest that comes natural for you – – – doing what you already know within your own faith community? Could your local church be the “mission field” God is calling you to?