The gospel as revealed in Holy Scripture serves us in a number of ways. One of those ways is to encourage followers of Jesus. Christians are not immune from discouragement. In fact, as Christians come to see their own weaknesses and failing more clearly, they are often very much in need of encouragement. The Apostle Paul demonstrates in his words and in his actions how the gospel serves to encourage us. And we, likewise, should look for opportunity to encourage those we touch each day.
God has a plan, a mission, for each Christian. He had one for the Apostle Paul. Paul was committed to that mission even though many of his friends and other Christians tried to dissuade him. Even though he knew it would likely mean hard times. Even though the Prophet Agabas predicted he would end up ‘being bound’, presumably by the Romans.
The world to day is different than the first century, yet the some of the experiences in the book of Acts are applicable to us today. Alan Conroe spoke from Acts 1 and had us think about the importance of prayer in the life of the early, early church. Might it be that prayer is as important an input for the church today as it was in the first century? Do you know how often on average people check their smart phones? Approximately 120 times per day; or 7.5x per hour. What might happen in our lives or in the life of Stonebridge if we prayed even half as often each day?
Three years with his disciples; now Jesus is departing and there will be a paradigm shift. In Acts 1, Luke reports how Jesus in his last days on earth called the disciples to a mission, he encouraged them not to drift away from that mission and he clarified why it was so necessary for him to leave. We can take away some important principles for our church today, as Pastor Dan shared in his sermon.
In the forty (40) days after Jesus’ resurrection, things move very quickly in most of the Gospels and also the first chapter of Acts. The King of the Kingdom has come! Now it is time for the King to temporarily return to His Father, and it is time for the Holy Spirit to expand His role and activity here on earth. Actually, the book of Acts is the story of the beginning of this work.