“Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Acts 1 shows clearly that disciples of Jesus can get caught up with trendy questions (vs. 6) or with miraculous showings or desired endings (vs. 10-11). Jesus however, called his people to a mission (vs 7-8). How do we stay focused on doing God’s mission? – Guide us, Holy Spirit, to live your mission. Empower us to be your witnesses. Amen.
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven…” Many Christian pastors preach on “keeping the main thing the main thing.” What is the main thing for Jesus as he leaves the disciples in John’s gospel? What is the meaning and the significance of Jesus giving the promised Holy Spirit? How is this connected to the forgiveness of sins and the ministry of Christ’s church/disciples? Do I keep Jesus’ main thing in my life and ministry? – Give us your heart for your world, Lord Jesus.
“We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! We go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless…When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world…” How does Paul’s view of Christian leadership line up with current perspectives? What about my leadership? Help us to follow in your way Lord Jesus.
“The grace of God…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.” Some Christians excuse their sin and lack of self-control by appealing to a future perfecting when we get to heaven. God’s word is clear here that self-controlled living begins here and now as we develop and practice it. What do I need to learn to say “No” to as a follower of Jesus? Forgive our “yeses” to worldly passions and teach us through Your grace to say, “No” instead. Amen.
“Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you,’…he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Just a few verses contain a blessing of peace, a commission to ministry, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. Why is each of these important to the leadership and ministry of the church? What is the relationship between peace, sending, and empowerment? Breathe on us breath of God; fill us with peace, purpose, and power. Amen.
“They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” The preaching of the early church brought on resistance and persecution, largely because of the claim that Jesus was alive. What made this a foundational truth for Jesus’ followers? Do we proclaim in Jesus the resurrection of the dead today, or are people more disturbed by other things we are talking about? O Holy Spirit, let our proclamation be faithful to true Christian testimony first and foremost.
“And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The power of the
resurrected Christ is bringing everything under his control. This has great implications for us body, mind, and spirit. How does Jesus’ resurrection power help me live out faith in my body? Is this transformational power just about the future or is it meant to change my life now too? Transform me by Your power O God!
“Each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” Sometimes it is easy to talk about godly character in some theoretical way, disconnected from what we live in our body. “Self-control” is the embodiment of bringing the body under the discipline of heart and mind. Why is it tempting to have an intellectual faith separated from the body? Why is our body and what we do with it important to our faith and ministry? Spirit of God, only through your power may I live a holy and honorable life. Empower me.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruit of the Spirit produces Godly heart, character, and behaviors. Fruit is singular; it all comes in one package.
We pick love, joy, and peace and decide self-control isn’t for me. How is
self-control necessary for all these other characteristics to be displayed in
our lives? Does self-control characterize my life? Lord Jesus, forgive me for times when I desire to lead with my choice of godly characteristics. Develop the full fruit of the Spirit in me and my ministry. Amen.
“As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now!” Paul’s speaking about “faith in Jesus Christ (vs 24), included talk about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment.” Are these themes part of our preaching/teaching of faith in Jesus Christ today? What do you think Paul said about these? Why was Felix afraid? In our Christian leadership, preaching, and teaching are we afraid to preach that which causes fear in the hearts of those not surrendered to God. Give us courage to preach the full Christian faith, O God. Amen.