Sunday, April 29, 2007

Listen to This!

Another long but wonderful passage for this week:

Acts 2:22-24, 32,33,37

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Note: Please take the time to read the entire passage, from verse 14-37. We excerpted the most relevant portions, leaving out some helpful material.


  • As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?
  • What in this text strikes you as remarkable?
  • What are some points made by Peter?
  • Why is there an emphasis on David?
  • What point does Peter make about Jesus of Nazareth?
  • Just what is Peter hoping to accomplish with this "first gospel sermon?"
  • What from this text does our congregation need to hear?

What else is on your mind this week?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

“What does this mean?”

Here is another long but interesting text:

Acts 2:1-13

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?

Other questions for you:
  • What in this text strikes you as remarkable?
  • Why is there is so much drama associated with the Spirit’s coming?
  • Who is filled with the Spirit and speaks with other tongues? [Hint: verse 7]
  • Why is it significant that there people "from every nation under heaven" in Jerusalem for this event?
  • What are the two responses to the Spirit’s outpouring? [see verses 12 & 13]
  • What do these responses indicate about the people’s hearts?
  • What from this text does our congregation need to hear?

What else is on your mind this week?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Prelude to The Beginning

Here is our text for the week. Yes, it is rather long.

Acts 1:3-15

After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty). . .

Try imagine what the scenes presented in these words. What strikes you as remarkable?

What do you think of the fact that there are only 120 believers at this time?

How the does the promise of Second Coming affect you?

This passage is the second in a loosely (in process) constructed series that we are calling "Ancient Future Church. " We are wanting to have a better understanding of who we are and what we should do, based on the Ancient Church.

What thoughts do you have about that?

What else is on your mind this week?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Unlocking Doors of Fear

Here is the passage of Scripture that we are considering for the week:

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

These verses record what takes place on the Sunday night of the Resurrection. The disciples are confused, afraid, and, apparently, skeptical. Finally they are relieved and joyful as Jesus reveals his identity.

Here are some questions for you:
  • What fears do you have?
  • How can "seeing" the Lord remove them?
  • Do you have the peace that Jesus offers? Why? Why not?
  • What does it mean to be sent into the world?

What else is on your mind this week? Any thoughts or feelings you want to express?