Sunday, July 29, 2007

What Saul Saw

Acts 9:1-22

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered. The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight." "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

  • As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?
  • What in this text strikes you as remarkable?
  • What is the main point of this story?
  • Can you imagine sights and sounds that Saul saw and heard?
  • How difficult would it be for Saul to accept the meaning of this encounter?
  • Try to imagine being in the place of Ananias.

What else is on your mind this week?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Robes (of glory) by Tabitha

A little change of pace this week, as we consider the story found in Acts 9:36-42.

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!" Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.

  • As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?
  • What in this text strikes you as remarkable?
  • What is the main point of this story?
  • Can you imagine what Dorcas looked like?
  • Can you imagine the work she did with her hands?
  • How can such work begin a way to influence others?
  • Can you imagine the thrill of her resurrection?
  • How does passage fit with this statement? We are baptized believers participating in the life of God for the sake of others.

What else is on your mind this week??

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Riding in Chariots with Scrolls

We have a rather long, but easily read, text this week for our consideration.

Acts 8:26-40

Now an angel angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:

"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth."

The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

  • As you read this what are the first things that come to your mind?
  • What in this text strikes you as remarkable?
  • What is the main point of this story?
  • How does this passage speak to need to be in contact with others to learn?
  • How are the Old Testament and Jesus connected?
  • What is the "good news about Jesus"?
  • What is the link between Jesus and baptism?

What else is on your mind this mid-summer week?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

(Still, kinda) Unusual

I’m still away, so I am still operating out of the unusual. We’re in Alabama with Kedra’s kin folk (speaking the local lingo).

I had a wonderful time at Lipscomb. My two classes went well, but the real experience was listening to others and spending tons of time with Earl Lavender. I am re-energized, so watch out. I will try go easy... ha ha ha

So what’s up up your way?

This week we are going to consider this text from Ephesians 4:11-16:

It was he (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

What do you think about this text?

How does it relate to our discussion about elders and deacons?

Just what on earth are you to do for heaven’s sake? (Ha ha - sorry)

What else is on your mind??

Sunday, July 01, 2007


This week and next will be unusual for me. [I like unusual.] What that means for this place is that I MAY not be that active. It will depend on what you put on here, or if I have some brilliant thought that needs to be expressed (not likely).

This week is 4th of July week, so it’s a little disjointed, seeing that the 4th falls on a Wednesday. I am going to Nashville that day to participate in Summer Celebration at Lipscomb; it ends on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon Kedra and I are going on down to Alabama for a few days to see her folks.

So there you have it: two weeks of unusual for me. I like it.

What do you want to talk about? Remember, we recently buried a horse, so no digging in that area.

We could dive into the relationship of church and state, particularly as it shows up in what some call "Patriotic Christians." Or not.

How about discussing what hot dogs are made of?

We could talk about...

Or we could all just relax and drink some sweet tea.