Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in fear of the Lord."

If it happened before, it can happen again, right? (In the church and in my life.)
Here's to hoping.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'll Show Him

What is it that God wants to show S/Paul? His glory? His power? How much God can accomplish through Paul? The error of Saul's ways? The mighty needs of those in the world? The best way to preach to the gentiles? The wonders of heaven? The right words to say? Nope.

"I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

Yay! How exciting is that?
Don't you wish God would show you how much you must suffer for his name? If you knew ahead of time, would it be worth it? But, looking back can you see how it couldn't have gone any other way?

I want to see suffering as a blessing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Strong start, but fades toward the end

Philip gets some divine guidance to the Ethiopian eunuch. He walks (runs) alongside him, helps him understand scripture and answers the question, "Look, here's water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"

That's where Philip's strong performance fades (Pun!).
He disappears. Poof. Abracadabra. Gone.

Now the Ethiopian was ecstatic. He was feelin' it. For the moment. After we just read the story of the relapsed Sorcerer we find Philip ditching his new recruit. Are we supposed to assume that because this eunuch was a devout Jew (He was studying scripture in a moving chariot on his way back from worshipping in Jerusalem, after all. [Would that be the ancient equivalent of bible blogging at Starbucks?]) he would step right into being a devout disciple? If so, he was one of a select few.

I think this is one where Philip drops the ball. If Paul Harvey were still around, I'd love to hear "the rest of the story" and find out what happened with this Ethiopian out there all alone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Power and Control

Simon had power. He was a magician and he had followers. He had people who proclaimed his greatness. Then he heard Philip and he believed. He was baptized. It would be a nice story if Simon's whole self was radically changed. It would be clean and simple if he went under the water as Simon the Sorcerer and came up out of the water as Simon the perfect Christ-follower, devoid of the old desires and hang-ups that were such a part of his life.

That's not the way the story goes. Simon goes under the water Simon the Sorcerer and comes back up as Simon the guy who has a lot of work to do - just like all of us. Simon sees what appears to be the Apostles' power (really it was God's power) and Sorcerer Simon starts to speak up. He wants it. He wants what he used to have. He tries to take God's power and bend it to Sorcerer Simon's way of life. Simon tries to control God by buying His power with money so he can do what he wants with it. God doesn't play that game.

That's why we can't buy grace. That's why we can't earn it. That's why it can only be accepted as a free gift. If we buy it or barter for it or earn it, we control it and we haven't gained anything at all. What we need to do is surrender. That's the point of all of this - to put God back in control. To restore what was twisted.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Stephen was in kind of a tight spot. He had angered the religious
leaders of the day with a history-based diatribe that ended with him
accusing them of not obeying the law and them standing around him and
gnashing their teeth.

In this position the seemingly wise thing to do would be to bite your
tongue. Not Stephen. Instead, he proclaims that he sees Jesus in
heaven standing next to God. (Which admittedly would be hard to keep
to yourself.)

This just makes things worse.
As the stones rain down on him, Stephen asks God to forgive them.

When things get tougher for Stephen, he draws closer to God in thought
and action.
Why do we so often push away?
Why is quiet time the first thing we cut to make time?
Why is God the last person we turn to for help?

Our struggles should push us closer to God, not tear us away.

Sent from my iPhone