The Afterlife Begins Now (Acts 3:11-26)

Acts 3:11-26

The people come to Peter, presumably wanting an explanation for how the man from verses 1-10 got healed. In the process, Peter begins to speak about Jesus. By now we should see that a pattern is emerging. When Peter, and later other disciples, begin to tell Jesus’ Story, they tell it in terms of Israel’s Story. Jesus did it on the road to Emmaus. Peter did it in chapter 2 during his sermon at Pentecost, and here he is doing it again. Peter begins by speaking of “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, which is a direct quote from Exodus 3:6. Peter speaks of the prophets being fulfilled. Peter speaks of Moses and the Covenant. For Peter, what is going on now in the name of Jesus is still a continuation of the same Story that Israel has been a part of all along.

In the midst of telling the Story, Peter connects this man’s healing to 3 specific events in the Story. We already briefly mentioned the first one. In the midst of explaining how this man was healed, Peter references the Exodus Continue reading

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I Still Like Chick-Fil-A. And Oreos. And The Muppets.

I have a confession to make.  I still like Chick-fil-a.  And Oreos.  And the Muppets.

Yes, I know they represent different views on gay marriage.  Yes, I know I’m supposed to choose one over the other.  But I still like all of them, and will continue to use all of them.

In the last few days, everybody has been voicing their opinion about Chick-fil-A’s president’s opinion on gay marriage.  All’s fair in speech when someone voices their opinion.  Same goes for Oreo’s pro-gay marriage campaign.  If you don’t like it, you have just as much right to speak your opinion as they did to speak theirs in the first place.

But when did it become alright to stop using a business because you might disagree with their political or religious beliefs?  Do we really believe that someone’s business should suffer because we disagree with them politically? Continue reading

Jesus, the Temple and the Body of Christ (Acts 3:1-10)

Acts 3:1-10

The first thing we should notice when we read the story of this healing is how Peter and John treated the crippled man. Luke tells us that Peter and John looked straight at the man. Peter and John acknowledge the basic humanity of the man simply by looking straight at him and speaking. Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that this is sometimes not our first inclination. If we see someone with a physical difference or someone with mental challenges, many times the best we can do is look away so as not to react. What should we be doing? Continue reading

Pentecost: There Is No “I” in “Church” (Acts 2:42-47)

Acts 2:42-47

In this passage, we have the first description of what the Church looks like after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind as we think about this passage that Luke has just told us that the believers number 3000. Those 3000 people make up the “they” in this section.

The first thing Luke tells us is that they were dedicated to four things: the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. Many times when we hear those things, we think of them being done in the church building on Sunday morning. And that is certainly part of it. But Luke doesn’t limit it to those things happening in the Temple, does he? These are things that the Church is to be dedicated to, not only when they are together in a formal worship setting, but always.

We also learn that they are meeting every day in the Temple courts as well as meeting together in homes and eating together. Wow. Every day, really? We have to keep in mind that in many ways these people are just like us. They have jobs. They have family members to attend to. Yet they made time to meet daily in the Temple courts, and they made time to eat together. I don’t know about you but that’s a challenge for me.

Right in the middle of these two sections are two verses that are terribly challenging to us today. Verses 44 & 45 say, “All the believers were together and held everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Wait, what? Is Luke teaching Socialism or Communism here? Continue reading