As we started out the class, we sang TRUST AND OBEY that glorious old hymn; but isn’t that what it’s all about? We trust in faith and then in a life that should be marked with joyful obedience we go out and do that faith and put it to work! Faith without works is… not any good to anyone, right? But… by GRACE are we saved, not by works lest any of us should feel the need to brag. See you can’t have one without the other.
I was never much into Paul. Getting clobbered with doctrine and confusing veiled comments about his “thorn in his side”… BUT, I’m changing. Ever since coming to St. Paul UMC in Abilene, it’s been Paul and I. Not sure he has been a thorn in my side, but he does like to jab me. Everything I teach, seems to touch on Paul. Grace, amazing grace that can save a wretch like me. As I dive from Acts into Romans follow along with me and discover what I am discovering that this early Roman Jewish tentmaker was a fragile, imperfect human being… just like me.
Hey, remember SPLIT ENZ big hit… “I JUST SPENT 6 MONTHS IN A LEAKY BOAT”? They had nothing on Paul. All those months at sea! A leaky boat was probably the least of his worries. Yet he endured. He suffered for the cause of The Gospel and so that I suppose I might be sitting here typing this blog and teaching these lessons!
As we continue to make our way through the Book of Acts, we see this early band of believers in “the way”, the “new Kingdom” beginning to grow. Seeds planted are taking root, but what will happen? What will be next for this early fledgling movement we know as the Church…
As the church begins to grow we see through the examples of its earliest members the whole hearted belief that Christ was PRESENT with them through his spirit… JUST AS HE HAD PROMISED!!
KNOWING he was with them meant being ACCOUNTED for daily in their response to the world and their community. It even meant how they responded to the church lawyers of the day, the Pharisees and the “legalistic” career politicians, the Saducees.
I told one of our class members I was going to somehow tie MOTHERS DAY into the book of Acts… This may end up being historical! I prayed a lot about it and with a bit of stretching of Scripture… I think I might have pulled something off. Readers can judge for themselves.
Our Senior Pastor came in to the class and I forgot to turn on the recorder… but here’s what I did manage to record. A happy and blessed Mothers Day to all who may listen. Know that the MOTHER Church is about just that, the instinctual response of the church, that should be to care and to nurture those who walk through our doors. For millenia it has been the selfless acts of love and service of our women that has been the mortar that has built the church.
Teaching and preaching is all well and good but what comes after… Love. Selfless love and service. Modeled by the early church, lived out by amazing women everyday.
THINGS MOM TOLD US…
Never judge a book by its cover… Acts 9:13-15
Everything can be fixed with a good meal… 9:19, 10:10
A wicker basket will always come in handy 9:25
When you get up, make your bed 9:34
The GOLDEN RULE… 9:36
Just because someone seems different than you doesn’t mean they’re bad… Acts 10
you’ll always feel better after a bath 10:47
A soft answer turns away wrath Acts 11:4 onwards
Always be proud of your name.. Acts 11:26
It’s never the “dads house” you go play at… ;o) 12:12
What did Jesus say… scatter the seed. Some falls on rocks. Some on thorny ground. Some lands where the soil is shallow. Some lands on fertile topsoil. The early church was like that wasn’t it? The 2015 church is like that isn’t it? BUT the seeds start to grow AND take root as we move into Acts. Preparing us for what is to come. He could’ve called 10,000 Angels to control the world and set himself free, but he died alone for you and for me AND NOW instead of bringing in the angelic force he goes back to the same formula WOMEN, fishermen, tax collectors…
The revelation of God starts with eons of “knowing God is out there… somewhere”. It moves for 3 short years into God dwelling amongst us in the dusty backwater of Judea, the keys to the Kingdom entrusted to… well probably not the most reliable gang in town, BUT God has a plan. Now he dwells amongst us by the power of His Holy Spirit. Though that same spirit, the impossible becomes possible and the message, the same message 2000 years later TAKES ROOT!