July 2013

July 28, 2013
INTRODUCTION – One of the things the Jews around the Jerusalem area in the first century were very proud about was the fact (in their minds) that they were sons and daughters of Abraham. Last week we focused our attention on how Stephen helped to bring clarity to the way they saw Abraham’s life and faith and calling as seen in vs. 2-8a of Acts chapter 7.

Whether we are talking about Jews or those who call themselves Christians – many in both camps tend to put their faith and identity in the wrong places. Their perception of what is required to please God and be in good standing with Him – or even who He is – is often not grounded in reality or truth, but is passed down from generation to generation – – and rather blindly and passively accepted as true.
An effective fisher of men or laborer for the harvest will discern in time – where the person or persons they are dealing with or relating to – have put their trust and security, who they really worship, and they will by God’s grace and power – bring these things to light. Most people – whatever faith they claim to belong to – have a really warped concept of God, don’t have a clue what grace is all about, and don’t yet see why it was so absolutely necessary for Jesus Christ to shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. Continue reading The Twelve Patriarchs Acts 7:8b-18

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July 21, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Last week we saw how desperately the world needs the church to produce men like Stephen, who not only are committed to serve the needy and the local church, but who also walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of Christ. We also saw that only when the church’s leaders stick to their priorities of devotion to prayer and the ministry of the word – – and only when the congregations devote themselves to prayer and encourage their leaders to stick to their priorities- – and also gladly serve to take some of the load off the shoulders of their leaders – – will these kind of Spirit filled men be produced. Man centered churches and church programs will never produce men (or women) who are full of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom, full of faith and full of grace., and who can thus be God’s instrument for transformation in their cities.

And can I add here that ministries that only focus on meeting physical/material needs, and do not pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their own personal lives – – these ministries or ministers will short change our communities, and will not accurately represent the God who loves and longs to invade our cities with His power and transforming grace. Any ministry done in the name of Christ must have people full of Christ doing the ministry. At least we should all be striving for that fullness.
Well today as we jump into chapter 7 we are going to take a good long look at this remarkable sermon or defense that Stephen gave, but before we do – I want to make sure you understand who the defense is being given to and why. Continue reading Stephen’s Sermon & Response Acts 7:1-60

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July 21, 2013

“Be good and you will be lonesome.” Mark Twain

“Children show me in their playful smiles the divine in everyone. This simple goodness shines straight from their hearts and only asks to be loved.” Michael Jackson

I’ve been thinking about the so called goodness of man of late. Many still want to cling to its existence in spite of the ever increasing evidence to the contrary. Continue reading Goodness or Depravity? Some or all?

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July 14, 2013

INTRODUCTION – One of the patterns starting to develop in our journey together through the book of Acts is occasional progress reports or snapshots of the health and fruitfulness and impact of the early church
5 Progress Reports – Snapshots of the Health/Fruitfulness Assessments

Acts 1:14 “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Acts 2:42-47 – They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Continue reading How to Multiply Disciples – Acts 6:1-15

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July 11, 2013

“I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things,…they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect.” Bill Cosby

I’ve come to the conclusion in recent months that we who know and walk with Jesus Christ should stop using the word “Christian”. It only occurs twice in the Bible – once spoken by the unrighteous King Agrippa (Acts 26:28), the other time by the apostle Peter (I Peter 4:16). “Christians” occurs once in Acts 11:26. It is a word that is in my opinion not useful anymore in Western culture. Continue reading Christians or Disciples??

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