Monday, June 30, 2008

God on Earth: “When The Ordinary And Extraordinary Collide” Acts 4:13-22 Rev. David Leard

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The Sanhedrin leaders are perplexed by these two simple Galilean peasants, whose preaching is so compelling and informed. Knowing Peter and John had been Jesus-followers, they wonder. Seeing the healed man standing beside the apostles, they have no refutations to offer. As they confer privately, their only plan is to threaten Peter and John (and by extension all Christians) to speak/teach no longer in the name of Jesus. The apostles’ response is that the compulsion of God is stronger than the threats of men. And they are released, after a few more vain threats. Violence cannot silence the gospel – what a necessary message for the church to hear today!

Monday, June 23, 2008

God on Earth: “Throwing Caution to the Wind” Acts 4:1-12 John Gruel

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Peter and John know that their open-air preaching in the Temple is annoying the authorities, but many people are responding so they keep speaking of Jesus. This leads to their arrest, and interrogation on the morrow. Standing under the intimidating glare of the highest religious authorities in Israel, these simple fishermen refuse to be cowed, and instead challenge these leaders’ unbelief. They too need to repent and find times of refreshing in Jesus, for there is no other name by which salvation comes to human beings. I’m put to shame by such conviction and boldness. How do we recover what these early Christians showed – faithfulness to the message in the face of intimidation?

Monday, June 16, 2008

God on Earth: "Refreshment for the Journey" Acts 3:17-21 Mateen Elass

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In response to the lame man’s healing, crowds gather, and so Peter preaches. The new age of the Messiah has dawned, as God promised. The crowds acted in ignorance, rejecting Jesus, but now in generous mercy God was offering them forgiveness if only they would turn and embrace the true Messiah. In the place of the dryness, weight and emptiness of their souls, God will give them times of refreshing as they now walk in His presence, and continue their journey into blessing until God sends Jesus back into the world to finalize all human destinies.

Monday, June 9, 2008

God on Earth: "So Close..." Acts 3;1-10 Mateen Elass

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So many of us know the experience of being “so close and yet so far” from the dream goal we’ve wished to attain. The lame man at the Beautiful Gate knew this in a literal way. Paralyzed from birth, he lies near the threshold of the Temple at this gate, unable to go in under his own power, forbidden to be brought in because of his disability. All he can do is seek the pity of the fortunate in the form of alms. The Lord changes all that through Peter, granting the man not what he is asking for but what he no longer allows himself to dream about – being made whole, able to offer God full-bodied worship, restored to full status in the community. This miracle wakes many to the possibility that God can do far beyond our feeble expectations, taking us beyond “so close” to “walking and leaping and praising God.”

Monday, June 2, 2008

God on Earth: "The Fellowship of the Kingdom" Acts 2:43-47 Mateen Elass

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Life in the Spirit transforms not just individual lives but the community as well. As the power of God flows through the apostles to heal individuals, so that power changes the priorities and values of new disciples. They want to be together, their compassion for others outweighs their desire to amass things for themselves, they find the center of their concerns shifting from the mundane to God instead. Their fellowship extends to joyful meals with plentiful food for guests. The change in lives is so evident that many are attracted to Christ, and the Lord blesses their new community by touching more people on a daily basis and bringing them into the fellowship.