Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Future

Focus: Our delight is not just a delight in the festive celebrations of Christmas, but in the Christ in whom we celebrate.

I. The wise five represent AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY.

II. The foolish five represent those who PROFESS it, but don't POSSESS it.

C. Live NOW in the light of the FUTURE

Matthew 25:1-13

   "Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

 3They that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

 6And at midnight there was a cry made: `Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.'

 7Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

 8And the foolish said unto the wise, `Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.'

 9But the wise answered, saying, `Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.'

 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.

 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us!'

 12But he answered and said, `Verily I say unto you, I know you not.'

 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Not a Box of Rules

It's Not a Box of Rules
Acts Chapter 15

Focus: Christianity is not a box of rules, but a life permeated with Christ who transforms us because He has become the center of our lives.

I. The OLD COVENANT was a box of rules!

II. Jesus CAME for EVERYONE not just INSIDERS.
ROMANS 6:14 no longer under the law, but grace...

B. I must CONFRONT the PHARISEE in me.
C. I must CONFORM to CHRIST in me.

Acts 15:1-41 (NET)

The Jerusalem Council
[15:1] Now some men came down from Judea1 and began to teach the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised2 according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." [2] When Paul and Barnabas had a major argument and debate3 with them, the church4 appointed Paul and Barnabas and some others from among them to go up to meet with5 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem6 about this point of disagreement.7 [3] So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia8 and Samaria, they were relating at length9 the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy10 to all the brothers. [4] When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were received11 by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported12 all the things God had done with them.13 [5] But some from the religious party of the Pharisees14 who had believed stood up and said, "It is necessary15 to circumcise the Gentiles16 and to order them to observe17 the law of Moses."
[6] Both the apostles and the elders met together to deliberate18 about this matter. [7] After there had been much debate,19 Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that some time ago20 God chose21 me to preach to the Gentiles so they would hear the message22 of the gospel23 and believe.24 [8] And God, who knows the heart,25 has testified26 to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,27 [9] and he made no distinction28 between them and us, cleansing29 their hearts by faith. [10] So now why are you putting God to the test30 by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke31 that neither our ancestors32 nor we have been able to bear? [11] On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through33 the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are."34
[12] The whole group kept quiet35 and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs36 and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. [13] After they stopped speaking,37 James replied,38 "Brothers, listen to me. [14] Simeon39 has explained40 how God first concerned himself41 to select42 from among the Gentiles43 a people for his name. [15] The44 words of the prophets agree45 with this, as it is written,
[16] 'After this46 I47 will return,
and I will rebuild the fallen tent48 of David;
I will rebuild its ruins and restore49 it,
[17] so that the rest of humanity50 may seek the Lord,
namely,51 all the Gentiles52 I have called to be my own,'53 says the Lord,54 who makes these things
[18] known55 from long ago.56
[19] "Therefore I conclude57 that we should not cause extra difficulty58 for those among the Gentiles59 who are turning to God, [20] but that we should write them a letter60 telling them to abstain61 from things defiled62 by idols and from sexual immorality and from what has been strangled63 and from blood. [21] For Moses has had those who proclaim him in every town from ancient times,64 because he is read aloud65 in the synagogues66 every Sabbath."
[22] Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided67 to send men chosen from among them, Judas called Barsabbas and Silas,68 leaders among the brothers, to Antioch69 with Paul and Barnabas. [23] They sent this letter with them:70
From the apostles71 and elders, your brothers,72 to the Gentile brothers and sisters73 in Antioch,74 Syria,75 and Cilicia, greetings! [24] Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused76 you, upsetting77 your minds78 by what they said,79 [25] we have unanimously80 decided81 to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, [26] who82 have risked their lives83 for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.84 [27] Therefore we are sending85 Judas and Silas86 who will tell you these things themselves in person.87 [28] For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us88 not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules:89 [29] that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols90 and from blood and from what has been strangled91 and from sexual immorality.92 If you keep yourselves from doing these things,93 you will do well. Farewell.94
[30] So when they were dismissed,95 they went down to Antioch,96 and after gathering the entire group97 together, they delivered the letter. [31] When they read it aloud,98 the people99 rejoiced at its encouragement.100 [32] Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.101 [33] After102 they had spent some time there,103 they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.104 [35] But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch,105 teaching and proclaiming (along with many others)106 the word of the Lord.107
Paul and Barnabas Part Company
[36] After some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's return108 and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord109 to see how they are doing."110 [37] Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, [38] but Paul insisted111 that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia112 and had not accompanied them in the work. [39] They had113 a sharp disagreement,114 so that they parted company. Barnabas took along115 Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,116 [40] but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended117 to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.118 [41] He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening119 the churches.

Acts 15 (Today's New International Version, ©2005)

The Council at Jerusalem

1 Certain individuals came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses."

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. "Brothers," he said, "listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16 "'After this I will return
and rebuild David's fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things'[b]—
18 things known from long ago.[c]

19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."

The Council's Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:


24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.


30 So they were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Points Of Contact Acts 13

Points Of Contact Acts 13

Focus: God wants you to make contact with him and others who need him.

I. God often SPEAKS at these points of contact: 13:1-3
A. While IN CHURCH 13:1
B. While WORSHIPING 13:2
C. While FASTING 13:2
D. While PRAYING 13:3

II. God PREPARES points of contact 13:4-5

III. There will be ATTEMPTS to DERAIL your point of contact 13:6-12

IV. CLEARLY COMMUNICATE God's Point 13:14-44
A. Show how PROPHECY
C. Don't be a DUMP TRUCK --Look for INVITATIONS to SAY MORE 13:42

V. Expect SUCCESS and OPPOSITION 13:45-52

VI. Be filled with JOY & the HOLY SPIRIT 13:51-52

Acts 13

1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
On Cyprus

4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun."

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Pisidian Antioch

13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak."
16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: "People of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct [a] in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

"After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'

23 "From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: 'Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is someone coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'

26 "Brothers and sisters from the children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32 "We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
" 'You are my son;
today I have become your father.' [b]

34 God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said,
" 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.' [c]

35 So it is also stated elsewhere:
" 'You will not let your holy one see decay.' [d]

36 "Now when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38 "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

41 " 'Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.' [e]"

42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
" 'I have made you [f] a light for the Gentiles,
that you [g] may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' [h]"

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Love Reaches Out

Love Reaches Out
And other important keys to a healthy life
Acts Chapter 11 Part 2

Focus: Remain true to the Lord with all your heart. Acts 11:23

I. Change from RELIGION to RELATIONSHIP 11:1-18

II. Love REACHES out 11:19-26
B. Every believer needs a BARNABUS
C. Commit to multiple COMRADES!
D. Outreach is the HAND OF GOD

III. Love GIVES 11:27-30

THE HAND OF GOD Relationship Strands - Connecting Cord
Care Group

Connect -> Order -> Ready -> Do

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How to Face a Hopeless Situation

How to Face a Hopeless Situation
Acts 12

Focus: The best way to face hopeless situation is to look into the face of a loving God.

I. We still WONDER WHY 12:2-11

II. God still USES ANGELS 12:7-11, 15, 23

III. Prayer still CHANGES THINGS 12:5

IV. We're still SURPRISED 12:13-15

V. God still JUDGES PRIDE 12:21-24

Listen to this Passage:

Acts 12 - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
James was one of the sons of Zebedee, whom Christ told that they should drink of the cup that he was to drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that he was to be baptized with, Mt 20:23. Now the words of Christ were made good in him; and if we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with him. Herod imprisoned Peter: the way of persecution, as of other sins, is downhill; when men are in it, they cannot easily stop. Those make themselves an easy prey to Satan, who make it their business to please men. Thus James finished his course. But Peter, being designed for further services, was safe; though he seemed now marked out for a speedy sacrifice. We that live in a cold, prayerless generation, can hardly form an idea of the earnestness of these holy men of old. But if the Lord should bring on the church an awful persecution like this of Herod, the faithful in Christ would learn what soul-felt prayer is. (Acts 12:6-11)

Acts 12 James Killed and Peter Imprisoned
1About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. 2He killed(A) James the brother of John(B) with the sword, 3and when he saw(C) that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during(D) the days of Unleavened Bread. 4And when he had seized him, he put him(E) in prison, delivering him over to four(F) squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. 5So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest(G) prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Peter Is Rescued

6Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers,(H) bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. 7And behold,(I) an angel of the Lord(J) stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell.(K) He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And(L) the chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and(M) put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but(N) thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city.(O) It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11When Peter(P) came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that(Q) the Lord has sent his angel and(R) rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."
12When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of(S) John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and(T) were praying. 13And when he knocked at the door of the gateway,(U) a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14Recognizing Peter's voice,(V) in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15They said to her, "You are out of your mind." But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, "It is(W) his angel!" 16But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17But(X) motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell these things to(Y) James and to(Z) the brothers."[a] Then he departed and went to another place.

18Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and(AA) ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

The Death of Herod

20Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and(AB) having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because(AC) their country depended on the king's country for food. 21On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" 23Immediately(AD) an angel of the Lord struck him down, because(AE) he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
24But(AF) the word of God increased and multiplied.

25(AG) And Barnabas and Saul returned from[b] Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them(AH) John, whose other name was Mark.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beyond Coincidence

Acts Chapter 10

Focus: Trust that it is God, not coincidence, when detailed supernatural synchronization suggests a divine design rather than a random accident.

Alternate Focus: God's name is not "Chance" or "Coincidence."

I. DOUBLE VISION makes things clear
   A. If you want a glimpse, get IN SYNC
   B. Don't expect the EXTRAORDINARY if you don't make PRAYER ORDINARY

II. God's TIMING confirmed his WILL
   A. Even good men need to be SAVED; INVITE JESUS into your life
   B. Love GOD (MAKE and KEEP your daily APPOINTMENTS)
   C. LOVE and REACH all people

Acts 10

Acts 10:1-48 (NET) Peter Visits Cornelius

[10:1] Now there was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort. [2] He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was all his household; he did many acts of charity for the people and prayed to God regularly. [3] About three o'clock one afternoon he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God who came in and said to him, "Cornelius." [4] Staring at him and becoming greatly afraid, Cornelius replied, "What is it, Lord?" The angel said to him, "Your prayers and your acts of charity have gone up as a memorial before God. [5] Now send men to Joppa and summon a man named Simon, who is called Peter. [6] This man is staying as a guest with a man named Simon, a tanner,Û whose house is by the sea." [7] When the angel who had spoken to him departed, Cornelius19 called two of his personal servants and a devout soldier from among those who served him, [8] and when he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
[9] About noon22 the next day, while they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. [10] He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing the meal, a trance came over him. [11] He saw heaven opened and an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down to earth by its four corners. [12] In it were all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and wild birds. [13] Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!" [14] But Peter said, "Certainly not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and ritually unclean!" [15] The voice spoke to him again, a second time, "What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!" [16] This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into heaven.
[17] Now while Peter was puzzling over what the vision he had seen could signify, the men sent by Cornelius had learned where Simon's house was and approached the gate. [18] They called out to ask if Simon, known as Peter, was staying there as a guest. [19] While Peter was still thinking seriously about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Look! Three men are looking for you. [20] But get up, go down, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them." [21] So Peter went down to the men and said, "Here I am, the person you're looking for. Why have you come?" [22] They said, "Cornelius the centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man, well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear a message from you." [23] So Peter invited them in and entertained them as guests.
On the next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. [24] The following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting anxiously for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. [25] So when Peter came in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him. [26] But Peter helped him up, saying, "Stand up. I too am a mere mortal." [27] Peter continued talking with him as he went in, and he found many people gathered together. [28] He said to them, "You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile, yet God has shown me that I should call no person defiled or ritually unclean. [29] Therefore when you sent for me, I came without any objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?" [30] Cornelius replied, "Four days ago at this very hour, at three o'clock in the afternoon, I was praying in my house, and suddenly a man in shining clothing stood before me [31] and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your acts of charity have been remembered before God. [32] Therefore send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. This man is staying as a guest in the house of Simon the tanner, by the sea.' [33] Therefore I sent for you at once, and you were kind enough to come. So now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to say to us."
[34] Then Peter started speaking: "I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, [35] but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him. [36] You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all) – [37] you know what happened throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John announced: [38] with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He105 went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. [39] We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, [40] but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, [41] not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. [42] He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. [43] About him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
[44] While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message. [45] The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, [46] for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, [47] "No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" [48] So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's My Life For?

Acts Chapter 9

Focus: Knowing God's purpose for my life changes everything.

What's My Life For?
--A Poetic Outline--

I was made for MORE
What STOKES me?
What POKES me?
My life is TICKING so why am I KICKING?
He KNOWS my NAME and asks the SAME
Why are you PERSECUTING me?
Who are you?
Why are you IGNORING me?
Who are you?
Why are you RUNNING from me?
Why are you HURTING me?
Who are you?

Rise, I'll tell you WHO TO BE
You will if you FOLLOW ME
Acts 9   The Conversion of Saul
 1But Saul,(A) still(B) breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to(C) the high priest 2and asked him for letters(D) to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to(E) the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3(F) Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting(G) me?" 5And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus,(H) whom you are persecuting. 6But(I) rise and enter the city, and you will be told(J) what you are to do." 7(K) The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,(L) hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened,(M) he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
 10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named(N) Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said,(O) "Here I am, Lord." 11And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man(P) of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and(Q) lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." 13But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man,(R) how much evil he has done to(S) your(T) saints at Jerusalem. 14And here he has authority from(U) the chief priests to bind all who(V) call on your name." 15But the Lord said to him, "Go, for(W) he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name(X) before the Gentiles and(Y) kings and the children of Israel. 16For(Z) I will show him how much(AA) he must suffer(AB) for the sake of my name." 17So(AC) Ananias departed and entered the house. And(AD) laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and(AE) be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and(AF) he regained his sight. Then(AG) he rose and was baptized; 19and(AH) taking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
  For(AI) some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying,(AJ) "He is the Son of God." 21And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who(AK) made havoc(AL) in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" 22But Saul(AM) increased all the more in strength, and(AN) confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving(AO) that Jesus was the Christ.

Saul Escapes from Damascus
 23(AP) When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24but their(AQ) plot became known to Saul.(AR) They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25but his disciples took him by night and(AS) let him down through an opening in the wall,[a] lowering him in a basket.

Saul in Jerusalem
 26And(AT) when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27But(AU) Barnabas took him and(AV) brought him to the apostles and declared to them(AW) how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and(AX) how at Damascus he had(AY) preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28So he went(AZ) in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29And he spoke and disputed against(BA) the Hellenists.[b] But(BB) they were seeking to kill him. 30And when(BC) the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off(BD) to Tarsus.
 31So(BE) the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And(BF) walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit,(BG) it multiplied.

The Healing of Aeneas
 32Now(BH) as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. 34And Peter said to him, "Aeneas,(BI) Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose. 35(BJ) And all the residents of Lydda and(BK) Sharon saw him, and(BL) they turned to the Lord.
Dorcas Restored to Life

 36Now there was in(BM) Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas.[c] She was full of(BN) good works and acts of charity. 37In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in(BO) an upper room. 38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him,(BP) "Please come to us without delay." 39So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to(BQ) the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics[d] and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40But Peter(BR) put them all outside, and(BS) knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body(BT) he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42And it became known throughout all Joppa, and(BU) many believed in the Lord. 43And he stayed in Joppa for many days(BV) with one Simon, a tanner.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Waterboy Reverse

Water Boy LogoThe Waterboy Reverse
Focus: God, the master strategist, moves his players to winning positions on the playing field.
I. When things look OUT OF CONTROL, don't BELIEVE it. 8:1-3
A. Often we have to be UNCOMFORTABLE before we make our MOVE. 8:4
B. God has SPECIAL TASKS for each of us. 8:5; Ephesians 2:10
C. God WANTS to HELP you. 8:6-13; I Chronicles 16:7-9
II. Believe the GOSPEL is GOOD NEWS for EVERYONE! 8:14-17
III. You can't EARN IT or BUY IT. 8:8-25
Acts 8
Simon the Wizard
1-2That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem. The believers were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. All, that is, but the apostles. Good and brave men buried Stephen, giving him a solemn funeral—not many dry eyes that day!
3-8And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail. Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus. Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God's action, they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!
9-11Previous to Philip's arrival, a certain Simon had practiced magic in the city, posing as a famous man and dazzling all the Samaritans with his wizardry. He had them all, from little children to old men, eating out of his hand. They all thought he had supernatural powers, and called him "the Great Wizard." He had been around a long time and everyone was more or less in awe of him.
12-13But when Philip came to town announcing the news of God's kingdom and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, they forgot Simon and were baptized, becoming believers right and left! Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip's shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn't leave Philip's side.
14-17When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God's Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn't yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.
18-19When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, "Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!"
20-23Peter said, "To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that's unthinkable—trying to buy God's gift! You'll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust."
24"Oh!" said Simon, "pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!"
25And with that, the apostles were on their way, continuing to witness and spread the Message of God's salvation, preaching in every Samaritan town they passed through on their return to Jerusalem.
The Ethiopian Eunuch
26-28Later God's angel spoke to Philip: "At noon today I want you to walk over to that desolate road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza." He got up and went. He met an Ethiopian eunuch coming down the road. The eunuch had been on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was returning to Ethiopia, where he was minister in charge of all the finances of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was riding in a chariot and reading the prophet Isaiah.
29-30The Spirit told Philip, "Climb into the chariot." Running up alongside, Philip heard the eunuch reading Isaiah and asked, "Do you understand what you're reading?"
31-33He answered, "How can I without some help?" and invited Philip into the chariot with him. The passage he was reading was this:
As a sheep led to slaughter,
and quiet as a lamb being sheared,
He was silent, saying nothing.
He was mocked and put down, never got a fair trial.
But who now can count his kin
since he's been taken from the earth?
34-35The eunuch said, "Tell me, who is the prophet talking about: himself or some other?" Philip grabbed his chance. Using this passage as his text, he preached Jesus to him.
36-39As they continued down the road, they came to a stream of water. The eunuch said, "Here's water. Why can't I be baptized?" He ordered the chariot to stop. They both went down to the water, and Philip baptized him on the spot. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of God suddenly took Philip off, and that was the last the eunuch saw of him. But he didn't mind. He had what he'd come for and went on down the road as happy as he could be.
40Philip showed up in Azotus and continued north, preaching the Message in all the villages along that route until he arrived at Caesarea.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Perfect Church

church coloring sheet

Acts 6
Focus: God gave us everything we need to be a HEALTHY church.
Six Characteristics from Chapter Six

The Healthy Church...
1. ... Has PROBLEMS 6:1
2. ... PRIORITIZES 6:1
3. ... DELEGATES 6:3
4. ... Has many SPIRIT FILLED PEOPLE 6:3
5. ... GROWS 6:7
6. ... experiences OPPOSITION 6:9-15

Acts 6
The Choosing of the Seven
1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Stephen Seized
8Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
12So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel..

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ananias, Sapphria and Aliesallure

Ananias, Sapphria and Aliesallure
Focus: Hidden sin is often fatally attractive.
Acts Chapter 4
I. A LIE'S ALLURE is often FATAL 5:1-11
A. SATAN'S STRATEGY 5:3; John 10:10
C. SATAN'S Strategy THWARTED 5:12-16
II. God's remedy for LETHAL ALLUREMENTS 5:17-42
A. The best option is PRE-EMPTIVE, DON'T EVEN GO THERE!
B. The next option is A GIFT 5:31-32
C. ETERNAL attractions cause OPEN BOLDNESS
Acts 5
Ananias and Sapphira
1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"
"Yes," she said, "that is the price."
9Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
The Apostles Heal Many
12The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. 13No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil[a] spirits, and all of them were healed.
The Apostles Persecuted
17Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20"Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."
21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23"We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside." 24On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
25Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people." 26At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
27Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."
29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
40His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.[b]

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Sunday, August 22, 2010


Focus: Authentic Christianity is truly infectious in a good way.
Acts Chapter 4

I. People confuse infectious TRUTH and infectious DISEASE. 4:1-7

II. SPREAD infectious TRUTH anyway. 4:8-12
A. SHOW and TELL spreads it 4:12-13, 20; John 15:5
B. Get so CLOSE to JESUS you CAN'T HELP it! 4:13, 20; Luke 6:45

III. How to handle a HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT4:24-31 
A. Pray TOGETHER 4:24
B. Ask for BOLDNESS 4:29 
C. Ask for MIRACLES 4:30 
D. BOLDLY speak the WORD of TRUTH 4:31 

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Acts 4

Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin
 1The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
 5The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family. 7They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"
 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
   " 'the stone you builders rejected,
      which has become the capstone.[a]'[b] 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

 13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16"What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
 18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
 21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
The Believers' Prayer
 23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: 
   " 'Why do the nations rage 
      and the peoples plot in vain? 
 26The kings of the earth take their stand 
      and the rulers gather together 
      against the Lord 
      and against his Anointed One.[c]'[d] 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people[e] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
 31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The Believers Share Their Possessions
 32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
 36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
  1. Acts 4:11 Or cornerstone
  2. Acts 4:11 Psalm 118:22
  3. Acts 4:26 That is, Christ or Messiah
  4. Acts 4:26 Psalm 2:1,2
  5. Acts 4:27 The Greek is plural.

Jumpin' Jehoshaphat

Focus: Christ is better than crutches.

I. LEAN before you WALK. 

II. LOOK before you LEAP.  

III. LOVE HIM before you LEAVE.

Acts 3 (

The Lame Beggar Healed
 1Now Peter and John were(A) going up to the temple at(B) the hour of prayer,(C) the ninth hour.[a] 2And a man(D) lame from birth was being carried,(E) whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate(F) to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said,(G) "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.(H) In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8And(I) leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9And(J) all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter Speaks in Solomon's Portico
 11(K) While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in(L) the portico called Solomon's. 12And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13(M) The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,(N) the God of our fathers,(O) glorified his servant[b]Jesus, whom(P) you delivered over and(Q) denied in the presence of Pilate,(R) when he had decided to release him. 14But you denied(S) the Holy and(T) Righteous One, and(U) asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15and you killed(V) the Author of life,(W) whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And(X) his name—by(Y) faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is(Z) through Jesus[c] has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
 17"And now, brothers, I know that(AA) you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18But what God(AB) foretold(AC) by the mouth of all the prophets, that(AD) his Christ would(AE) suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19(AF) Repent therefore, and(AG) turn again, that(AH)your sins may be blotted out, 20that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ(AI) appointed for you, Jesus, 21(AJ) whom heaven must receive until the time for(AK) restoring all the things about which(AL) God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.22Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you(AM) a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen(AN) to him in whatever he tells you.23And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet(AO) shall be destroyed from the people.' 24And(AP) all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25(AQ) You are the sons of the prophets and of(AR) the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham,(AS) 'And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 26(AT) God,(AU) having raised up his servant, sent him to you first,(AV) to bless you(AW) by turning every one of you from your wickedness."

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

How To Do Less And Be More

How To Do Less And Be More

Acts Series: Chapter 1

Focus: Don't just do something, stand there!

I. WAIT! 1:1-26

II. PRAY for POWER 1:12-14

III. Get ORGANIZED - Work as a TEAM 1:15-26

IV. START where you ARE 1:8 (You will be my witnesses)

V. REACH Out of your COMFORT ZONE 1:8

Acts 1:8 You will be my witnesses: in Jerusalem (1-7), all Judea and Samaria (8-12), and even to the end of the earth (13-26).   

Acts 1 (21st Century King James Version)

Acts 1

   In the former treatise, O Theophilus, I have given an account of all that Jesus began both to do and teach

 2until the day in which He was taken up, after He had given commandments through the Holy Ghost unto the apostles, whom He had chosen.

 3To these also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen by them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

 4And being assembled together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, "which," saith He, "ye have heard from Me;

 5for John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."

 6When they therefore had come together, they asked of Him, saying, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"

 7And He said unto them, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power.

 8But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

 9And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,

 11who also said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven."

 12Then they returned unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey.

 13And when they had come in, they went up into an upper room where abode both Peter and James, and John and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James.

 14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.

 15And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (the number of names altogether were about a hundred and twenty) and said,

 16"Men and brethren, it was necessary that this Scripture be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who was the guide to those who took Jesus.

 17For he was numbered with us, and had obtained a part of this ministry.

 18Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.

 19And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem, insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Akel Dama, that is to say, the Field of Blood.

 20For it is written in the book of Psalms: `Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein'; and, `His bishopric let another take.'

 21Therefore from these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

 22beginning from the baptism of John until that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection."

 23And they appointed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

 24And they prayed and said, "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show us which of these two Thou hast chosen,

 25that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."

 26And they cast their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.