Monday, March 10, 2014

we all have a story to tell

There is nothing like the power of a group of people united around a common cause and willing to do whatever it takes.  This group finds that there is strength in numbers and power is real because they are working together.  We have seen this on numerous occasions.

The first church was the same.  They knew Jesus more than anyone in their day and since.  Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, gave courage to the hurting and gave hope to those who lacked hope.

Right here in the first part of the book of Acts is the mighty power of God seen in the lives of the Apostles.  What Jesus gave them they gave to others.  In Acts 3 and in the first part of chapter four we seen the existence of God and His presence in the lives of the people the Apostles interacted with.

The first is a crippled man who that begged at the temple every day.  But this was a new day.  The crippled man expected money, but he got more.  You’ve heard this verse before:

Acts 3:6  NLT
But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

At that point the man got up because he was healed.  Can you imagine what the people around the beggar were saying and thinking?  How about the beggar himself?  Nothing would be the same.

Then we find Peter preaching the truth about Jesus.  This never ended.  Peter told the crippled man’s story as the world looked on amazed.  They were always about the business God set them up in.  The opportunity to share stories was everywhere, and people listened.  They were bold, but when we make positive decisions, some difficult things will happen.

They shared that God is willing to bless people.  He wants to heal and change lives.  Remember that this was not Christianizing people.  This was dealing with sin and changing people from the inside out.  That is still what Jesus does today.

What Peter and John were sharing upset the local leaders.  Their story and talking about Jesus rising from the dead landed them in jail.  You might think that doesn't happen today, but it does.  Peter preached and wouldn’t stop.  The church and government leaders were upset.  They warned them to stop talking about Jesus.  You know that wasn’t going to happen.

Notice what happens when Jesus is lifted up.

John 12:32  NLT
And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

Some people listening had believed.  Not only was the crippled beggar’s life changed but some of his friends and acquaintances were changed.  That is still what happens today.  When people talk about and live for Jesus, others see and hear and are changed.  That’s our prayer.  Right?

Everyone was praising God because of the crippled man that was healed.  Things were changing.  When people follow God, things happen.  I want to see things happen in big ways.  If we will simply work together and share His story, we will experience the most powerful moved of God we’ve ever imagined.

The Scripture says that Peter was full of the Spirit and told people that there is salvation is no one other than Jesus.  He didn’t mix words about politics and current events.  He called people to know Jesus, the cornerstone rejected and killed by the leaders of His day.

Those listening were amazed at the confidence and boldness of the disciples. 

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

What’s the difference between the disciples and us?  There is little difference.  We have passion and a calling from God.  We want to see lives changed and the message of Jesus shared further. 

They were told not to speak in Jesus’ name any more.  They were threatened and challenged.  And that threat led them to a decision much like the decisions we have to make.  What will we do?  What are our priorities?  What is most important?  Verses 19 and 20 are their response.  They asked “do you think God wants us to you rather than Him?”  Simply they said “we cannot stop.”  That ought to be our comment as well.  We cannot stop telling people what Jesus has done for me and others.

Last week two people accepted Jesus here at The Community.  My prayer is that and more will happen today.

When Jesus left the earth, some people thought that no miracles would happen again, but they were wrong.  The people would not stop praising God because one man’s life was changed.  That’s where our story continues. 

Who are you going to share your story with this week?  That is the story that Jesus has given you about Himself.  He changed you.  Now let Him change others as you share!

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