Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Acts 3:1-10 - Look Intently at Each Other

Scripture: Acts 3:1-10

Summary: Peter and John are headed to the temple to pray and they come upon a man who has been lame since birth. He asks them for money but Peter tells him to look at them. He does and Peter tells him that he doesn't have money but tells him to get up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ. He begins walking and leaping and praising God and everyone who sees him is filled with wonder and amazement.

Thoughts: What strikes me today about this scripture is Peter and John's immediate response to the lame man. The scripture says "Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said 'Look at us."" How many times have you walked or driven past someone who needed help, trying to avoid eye contact? I have often found myself staring at the light, wishing that it would go ahead and change so that I didn't have to look at the man outside my car asking for help. Now I have heard before that it is not a good idea to give a beggar money because they will most likely go spend it on alcohol or drugs. But Peter didn't give the man money either. Instead he gives the man what he has to give. He heals him so that he can walk. If I want to live like the apostles did, what should I give to the next person that I see in need? Perhaps I can't give them money, but I could give them a package of crackers or a bottle of water. But the most important gift I can give them is to look at them. Just as Peter and John did, I can really see them and recognize them as a child of God.

Prayer: God, help me to be more like Peter and John. Help me to really see everyone that I pass today and be kind to them. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Acts 2:42-47 - the early church

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47

Summary: The people of the early church had all things in common and they gave to all who had need. Each day they spent time together in the temple, ate at home together with glad hearts, praising God. Each day the Lord added to their number those who were saved.

Thoughts: This scripture is a beautiful yet short description of the early church. It includes all of the components that we should include in our church today. They share everything that they have so that no one is in need. They spend alot of time together, at the temple. They break bread together (communion) and they eat together in each other's homes, with glad and generous hearts. They praise God and they have the goodwill of all the people. The outcome of all of this is that God adds more people to their church each day. What a long way we have come from this description of the early church! The church of today could more honestly  be described as follows: they share with each other what they can easily afford to give up, they spend 1-4 days a month at the church, they have communion together once a month, they alienate many people outside of the church by telling them what they should do and say. What a difference 2000 years makes! What will we have to do to move from the church of today to the church of 2000 years ago? Is God calling us to build bigger and better facilities to use one day a week or is God calling us to share what we have with those in need? Where is God calling our church?

Prayer: God help us to listen for your word for our congregation. Open our eyes so that we might see the need all around us. Open our ears so that we might hear your call to us. Amen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Acts 2:37-42 - The Promise of Jesus

Scripture: Acts 2:37-42

Summary: The people that had heard Peter preaching were cut to the heart and asked the apostles what they should do. Peter told them that they should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that their sins would be forgiven and they would receive the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you.

Thoughts: "The promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." The promise that Jesus brings us, through his life, teachings, death, and resurrection, is for all of us. It is for you. It's not just for those who deserve it. Because in reality, who among us can claim to deserve the promise that Jesus gives us? What a wonderful thing to contemplate as we prepare for the season of Advent. That the promise of Jesus is for me. And for you. And for that surly cashier at the grocery store. And for the guy that weaves in and out of lanes on the freeway, almost running me down. As Thanksgiving comes near, let us remember what we have to be thankful for: that Jesus Christ gives new life to us; to all of us. What do you have to be thankful for?

Prayer: Lord, open my heart so that I can see those around me as children of God, as the receivers of the promise of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Acts 2:29-36 - Just follow Jesus: If only it were that easy!

Scripture: Acts 2:29-36
Summary:   Peter continues preaching: God raised Jesus up, exalting him, and Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. God has made Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.

Thoughts: The scripture says that we should know with certainty that God made Jesus both Lord and Messiah. Jesus, the same guy that we crucified, is Lord and Messiah.  We use these words so often that perhaps we don't usually take time to think about what they mean. What does it mean that Jesus is my Lord and Messiah?  For me, this means that I give my life to Jesus Christ. That I stop thinking about myself and try to figure out where Jesus would have me go, what he would have me do.  We are called to follow Jesus. A call to follow Jesus doesn't mean getting the biggest house we can buy, or the fastest car, or the best clothes. Instead a call to follow Jesus, the Messiah, means taking the time to see where Jesus is leading us.  This is not an easy call.  I struggle each day with the temptation to follow my own path. But on a regular basis Jesus calls to me, reminding me that I must follow him, not find my own way. So as I struggle with finding a new job I have to continually remind myself that I am following my Lord and Messiah, Jesus Christ. And if I let him, he will lead me to the place where I need to be.

Prayer: Lord, help me to follow Jesus; such a simple request, but so difficult to do. Amen.