Tag Archives: Acts 14

How to be on Team Jesus’ Field

Nothing gets my dander up like an injustice to God’s people… especially if they’re my people. This is a thought that weighs heavy on my mind for more than a few reasons. You don’t have to look very far to find injustice in the world, and probably one of the craziest (in my opinion) is that of little league sports. It’s what prompted this blog, but this in actuality has very little to do with Little League ball. Mainly because little league ball “seldom” has anything to do with the state of one’s eternal destination. Although it could with the right coach! That being said, the coach that has my knickers in a knot isn’t really concerned with eternity, unless of course he thinks that God has a special place for league winners. Pretty sure He doesn’t, just saying.

But I’ve seen more than my fair share of little league coaches who act like the world is coming to an end because a 4th grade boy, who was afraid of being nailed by the ball of an inexperienced pitcher, wouldn’t “step in and take one for the team.” Or a dozen other scenarios that he was sure ruined his chances as a major league coach. Coaches who don’t understand why a child with ADHD can’t sit still on the bench after his meds have worn off from having to sit still in his classes for 7 hours of the day. Oh… yes… I’m that grandparent, or Noni as the case may be.

But I’m also that Christian. I could just as well liken the little league attitude to that of the church. Where many don’t understand the people any more than a little league, major league wanna-be coach. As I travel I’m afforded the opportunity to meet many wonderful church workers. At almost every location I see heartache and frustration from the top down. I see preachers who want with all their heart to serve God without the encumbrance of church politics but cannot. I see Sunday School teachers who want their students to understand how exciting it is to know God, but are worn out bfrom having to collect and provide their own materials because the church doesn’t see their program as being worthy of a few extra dollars. I see parishioners struggling with broken lives and no one knows. Not because the evidence of these issues weren’t there, but because nobody slowed down long enough to see it or because they were missing two essential characteristics of a successful leader. Spiritual eyes and ears.

Leadership is more than a title. It’s a role. And it’s more than acting. It’s real.

So what will God say to the leaders when we stand before Him? Will He say or ask:

  • Why didn’t you save more money for the church treasury and spend less on your departments? You didn’t know that Jesus wouldn’t wait another 20 years to come back.
  • Why didn’t you tell that Sunday School teacher to suck it up use the same materials as last quarter?
  • Why didn’t you remind that preacher who it is that pays his salary before the topic of your sin came up?
  • Why didn’t you remind that widow about the woman with two mites before she complains that she doesn’t have grocery money for her visiting children?
  • Why didn’t you tell that leader that’s hitting the altar every week to watch the clock a little closer or better still, just don’t go because it makes others feel guilty?
  • Even better, why didn’t you stop having altar calls so everyone can get home in time for lunch?
  • Why didn’t you tell the people in your church to stop stressing you out with their problems?
  • Better yet, why didn’t you insist that everyone wear smiles, and no one can be sad?
  • Why did you get the congregation so excited, someone could have had a heart attack?!

All of those are as ridiculous as expecting little league players to be major league stars.  And yet they’re real life stories.

In the book of Acts, where the acts of the church of that day are written, I see that they didn’t understand Paul either. So I guess the aforementioned attitudes shouldn’t surprise me.

Acts:14:9-11 ~ The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

A few things that caught my attention in those few verses:

  • Paul was loud
  • Someone was moved
  • They were giving the credit of the power of God, to the gods that the people worshiped during that day.

So what should have happened? Do you think when Paul made it to Heaven, after having his head cut off for Jesus, that God said to him, “Paul, why were you so loud? You upset people.”

I know… that’s taking it out of context a little. The people weren’t as much upset as they were confused. But I don’t think God is going to call me on the carpet for reminding the church that we need to be careful about making our services about us. Paul was obedient  and observant of the needs of one man, and not long about straightening the people out on who was responsible.

We serve a risen Savior, who died so that we might serve men and show them the love of Christ. Sometimes, we’re not even on the same field when it comes to understanding our teammates.

  • Serve boldly (yet humbly)
  • Show mercy always (look and listen)
  • Send missionaries with money (provide what’s needed for every mission)

If you’d like to support this missionary… please follow the link below!

Revival Vs. Religion… Chick Fight!

CHICK FIGHT

Acts 14… what an action packed chapter! Who needs Hollywierd when you and the Holy Spirit can grab a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (my personal fav) and a bowl of Special Fruit & Yogurt Cereal and watch an action packed movie of the mind. It’s amazing! In the words of a dear friend Sandra Lancaster… “Picture this…” and keep in mind that this is the gospel  according to Shari.

Paul had just preached the Word of God in Antioch, he’d torqued off the Jews and stirred up the Gentiles until they wanted to hear part two of his sermon. Evidently they’d never ask the Synagogue staff for part two of theirs because they were very upset! It might have also had something to do with the fact that Paul told the Jews that God had given them the very same word but they didn’t think they were worthy of living forever so they turned it down, and now  we’re givin’ your piece of Heaven to the Gentiles.” (Chapter 13, vs.  46, 47). So Paul and Barnabas end up getting  thrown out of Antioch and head out to Iconium.

It was there that both the Jew and the Gentile heard and believed the Word of God.

Rejection shuts the door to the Holy Spirit

Paul and Barnabas were no doubt on fire by the time they had reached Iconium. (14:1-5) It was no wonder that many of the Jews and Gentiles heard and believed. They could see the Holy Spirit working in and through the Apostles and Revival had broken out in their community. But those who rejected the Word of God and refused to consider the signs and wonders began stirring up strife in the community until the Revival leaders were forced to leave town. They could see it, but they wanted no part of it.

Responsiveness opens the door to the Holy Spirit

Paul and Barnabas fled to Lystra and Derbe and it was there that a responsive invalid opens the door to faith and revival of the heart. (14:8-10)

And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Did you catch that? Paul could see the man’s faith. The impotent man was believing before the miracle had even happened and he had opened the door to the Holy Spirit which was already evident even before the miracle. He knew something big was about to happen, and when it did, he didn’t grunt and  groan and wallow around on the floor trying to get up, he leaped! Don’t you think that didn’t catch some people off guard and cause revival to break out again! It’s the same way in a good church service when someone gets saved. Our teen retreat was good, but not until a few girls minded the Holy Spirit and testified, and then a young man broke down and realized his need for repentance did it become great! It was then that revival broken out in camp last week. It was on!

Religion Doesn’t even know the Holy Spirit

Imagine if at our camp, when the young man got saved, the kids all bowed down to Steve Boggs who had just preached the sermon that pricked the young man’s heart that led to his salvation.  Imagine if they gave Steve the glory for saving his soul and wanted to build a statue right then and there to memorialize Steve’s power. That would be crazy, but that’s what happened when the lame man leapt. They didn’t recognize that it was God they recognized man and wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas. Religion is just that… it’s the evidence of man’s abilities and not faith that the Holy Spirit made the entire thing happen through supernatural abilities.  When Paul and Barnabas refused to be idolized the crowd (spurred on by Antioch Jews who followed them and Iconium citizens) drew Paul out and stoned him, supposedly to death.

But again, they were looking through the eyes of religion. Paul’s friends the other apostles came and stood around Paul…

And he rose up! Can you see the credits start to roll!!!!

I’d like to thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit…

Whew doggy Revival broke out again. Paul left town for a few days to gather his strength but he returned to each city and encouraged those believers to keep on keeping on.

Now that’s the bible according to Shari, but read it for yourself.

Lesson for the day… even in a world that rejects Christ and the Word of God… Revival still happens. Bring it on!!! It starts at Victory at 7 p.m. tonight under an old fashioned tent in the outdoors. If you’re local, bring your chair or use ours and come on out, if you’re too far, please pray for us and we’ll celebrate in Heaven over what the Lord has done.