Acts - Who is in Control?

Have you ever thought about the amount of control you believe God has – or doesn’t have – over your life?  Pastor Adam taught from the 27th chapter of Acts where there are some intriguing verses about Paul seeking God for answers, and hearing from God, yet continuing to instruct, guide and direct those around him toward an end result.  So which is it?  Was God in complete control, or were some of the results up to Paul? Does God control it all, or do we have a big role in day to day activities and decisions?  The way you view God and the way you think God views you has a profound affect on your life. Have you thought about this concept before? 

There are differing views on this question by many profound theologians. Is has been debated for thousands of years.  What is God’s role? What is your role?  What is the relationship between us and God? Is God personally and actively involved or is He more distant?   

Pastor Adam touched on 4 theological views about this topic:  1) Meticulous Providence believes God has a plan and controls ALL the details.  2) Active Providence believes God has a plan and works with us and in us and in our lives. God is sovereign and we have limited free will and choices.  3) Free Will Providence believes God has full knowledge of things and once in a while intervenes. 4) Dynamic Providence believes God created the world with opportunities for growth and development, but the keys are in our hands. God just shows up to “assure freedom,” similar to the president of the United States. 

INVITATION:  Join in this week as we compete our study of Acts and think about Paul’s trusting God fully and completely as if everything is up to God, yet guiding and leading others as if its all up to him.  Pastor Adam closed his teaching with a profound example from their personal lives. Their adopted son is blind. He loves to help Adam mow the grass. Adam stands by and will instruct “right turn” and “left turn” to help Nate guide the lawn mower. Even so, there are many mistakes Adam has to go back and re-mow.  No matter where you land on the theology of God’s involvement in our personal lives, do you allow margin in your life to allow the possibility of His still, small voice (I Kings 19:12) when it comes saying “right turn” or “left turn?”  Do you believe He is ready, willing and able to help guide us – whether we feel “blind” or not?  

MONDAY:  Acts 27:1-3:  It is clear from these verses Paul remained in close touch with his friends. He had a “tribe” in place for support and community. Who walks with you in life? Are you willing to be open and honest with them about when you need help and support?

 TUESDAY: Acts 27:4-12: Paul and the others were in a dangerous situation, yet no one was listening to Paul’s advice. When in your life have you felt like your voice was not heard? How did it turn out? Spend some time reflecting about how you saw, felt or experienced Jesus during these experiences.  Do you still harbor anger or unforgiveness about any of these incidents?  

WEDNESDAY:  Acts 27:13-24: Paul lets the people on the ship know, in spite of the dangerous situation, not “one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”  He told a ship of unbelievers that an angel of God had come to him the previous night to let him know God had graciously given him the lives of all who were with him and to keep courage and have faith in God. Have you ever had a premonition, or what you felt  was a sure word from God? Do you believe that still happens in today’s world? How could you have your heart, soul and mind in such a place to be open and sensitive to potential instructions from the Lord? Even if you felt very certain about God and His message, how would you feel about speaking boldly in front of a large group of unbelievers?  

THURSDAY:  Acts 27:25-26:  Paul gives a good news/bad news report to those on the ship. We will all survive. However, we must run aground and the ship will be wrecked.  How do you respond to a good news/bad news situation? Do you have a discernment process or spiritual practices and disciplines in place for such times?

 FRIDAY: Acts 27:27-38:  Paul instructs people to eat because “you need it to survive.” How do you see the God vs. Paul interaction in this situation? Paul had been told all would survive, yet he was instructing them on HOW to survive.  Is it all God? Is it all Paul? Is it an interplay between the two? How do you see the interplay in your life?  

SATURDAY:  Acts 27:39-44:  The soldiers had planned to kill the prisoners, but the centurion had other ideas. Do you think this was God’s intervention in their plans?  Prov. 21:1 says “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”  How do you think that verse relates to God’s activity in our lives vs. our own decisions and directions?