Tag Archives: Acts

I Have an Issue with the Church

I’ve had it for quite some time. I just didn’t know how to verbalize it. But this morning I got somewhat of a grasp on my issue. It’s the same issue I have with my life right now. It’s what happens between the coming out and going in. The a.m. to the p.m. of my day. What am I doing for the cause of Christ? The early church didn’t have that problem, they were too busy trying to keep their heads off the chopping block. They knew what their purpose in life was, TELL THE WORLD ABOUT JESUS. But somehow between the cross and the crazy we call life in modern times we lost the purpose as a church. The church has now become this resting place for children of God. And while Christ did indeed stress the importance of rest, the rest was meant to prepare for the next leg of the journey.

When Apostle Paul got saved he made some people very uncomfortable. After all, he had been the one calling for the Christians to be killed, and now he professed to be one of them. It was no wonder they had an issue with Paul. But that didn’t stop Paul from pursuing the purpose that he now understood to be his, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.

Chapter 9 begins Paul’s life post conversion.

He Joined the Church

26 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Paul knew that in order to grow in the grace of Christ and understand his new found faith, he needed to be with God’s people. So he joined the local church. That is step one following salvation. Find a local body of believers for whom you can serve with. That means, they too need to be serving, not just sitting.

He Joined the Movement

28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.

Paul didn’t know all there was to know about Christianity, but through the Holy Spirit he was able to speak boldly in the name of Christ and face people who desired him dead because of it. Paul was more than a church member, he was a part of the movement.

I personally don’t see much movement in the church today. I see people going in and out of the buildings but outside of the church, the movement stops. Few are telling others about Christ and the discipling of young saints has all but stopped. If there are any young saints. When Paul began his journey, Barnabas took him under his wing and introduced him to the church and defended him. Barnabas helped to fuel the fire that he had witnessed burning inside of Paul. That is a missing piece in the church, there’s no fuel in the tank. How are we ever going to see a movement if people are not getting fired up?!

He Joined the Multitude

31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Because of the work of the church, the church had rest. That seems kind of oxymoron-ish doesn’t it. To work for rest? We wonder why this world is so crazy and full of strife? It’s because the church (as a whole) has all but stopped working. Our work is to show people where to find rest, and that rest comes in Jesus Christ. Once the churches of Judaea, Galilee and Samaria heard the preaching of Paul and the others, they obviously didn’t just rest in the pew waiting for next Sunday, it says they began walking and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.

The churches are drying up across America. It seems that at every bend in the road there sits an empty church house with overgrown grass and broken windows and it breaks my heart. The church is no longer a saving station but rather a rest stop. The church has lost touch with its purpose.

So what’s the answer? Give up on the church? Heaven’s NO! The answer is to follow Paul’s example. If you’re not part of a body of believers, you need to be. Once you’re there you need to serve, not sit. And never lose sight of the Mission… Muliply.

Our Steadfast God

I have always been a fly by the seat of your pants kinda gal. Which works great for me, until it doesn’t. There are so many good ideas and so little time! But in celebrating my 20th year as a child of God, I’m so glad God doesn’t think like me! I change my mind more than a chameleon changes color, but God does not. He is steadfastly steadfast. Written twice for emphasis.  And in this wishy washy world where nothing seems certain and the backbone of most churches is as weak as a spaghetti noodle how wonderful it is to have the assurance that God’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is steadfast.

Whether or not they’ll admit it, even to the unsaved, He is steadfast. It frustrates many that God doesn’t change because then they could find fault in Him. Men change. Churches change. But not God. There are no business meetings in Heaven! In Daniel 6:9 King Darius had signed a decree that no one should pray, but Daniel didn’t change. He’d always prayed to the God of Glory and even the threat of death would not stop him. So when Daniel’s blatant noncompliance to the King’s law was brought to his attention, the King attempted to change his mind but the world wouldn’t have it because Daniel represented what they loathed, which was righteous living.

The King had observed the steadfastness of Daniel and knew there was a difference, but he was bound by his own law to carry out the punishment of throwing Daniel into the lion’s den. But before he sent him in he said to Daniel “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Yes, even the unsaved know. And He did deliver Daniel! To the amazement of the King and I’m sure to the sore losers who thought they were finally shed of the guilt Daniel made them feel. So the King made a new decree in Daniel 6:26

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

Whether or not our leadership repents and turns back to God doesn’t change the fact that God is still steadfast. Our lions may look more like unemployment, heartache or disease but we like Daniel will be delivered in God’s time and in God’s way.

I don’t think Daniel went arrogantly up to the lion, thumped him on the nose and said “You want a piece of this?” No, lest the lion took a piece of that. I think he faced the lion with humility and belief that “come what may” God had him covered. And I believe that in the arrogance of our political climate we need to bow our heads and wait for the Lion of Judah to silence the arrogant kings of this world. And He will, because my God is steadfast.

Acts 1:10-11

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

He’s coming back! Be steadfast in your looking toward Heaven.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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Tired of Politics? Find Yourself a Mars’ Hill

chick at mars

Monday morning. The start of the work week and for me a refocus following an awesome Lord’s Day. I was reading in Acts 17 this morning about one of the many adventures of Apostle Paul and was literally getting frustrated with the characters in the story. It was playing out in my mind like a movie screen reality and I could see the religious lot, with their pious faces, plotting the demise of the man who preached Jesus. Their faces would likely go flush, as men and women alike, one after another, believed Paul’s teaching and gave their lives to Jesus.

My heart broke for the family and friends of Jason who was arrested because they couldn’t lay hands on Paul. They’d take anyone; somebody had to pay for price for the upset in the community. And it was an upset. In verse 6 of that chapter they said of Jason and his friends “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” I wonder if that would be said of any of us. Not me… But in this political climate the name of Christ certainly has an impact.

I think I may have torqued Satan off when it comes to my blog because he has attacked my computer from every angle. This morning was another day of frustrations trying to get this blog posted. After umpteen restarts, a system restore and virus scan, I’m back in business but how mild in comparison to what Paul and his crew went through. I mean really, here I sit whining over computer glitches and these men were paraded around in public and beaten. Now I’m mad again, at me as well as the pious people of religion.

Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill speaking to the men of Athens (vs. 22b-27)

I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

So to those who have declared war against the God fearing nation of America, those within and without, I reiterate Paul’s message in kind.

You may not like my God, and you can ignorantly choose to serve the god of the unknown, it’s America, you have that right. But my God, Who, by the way, created everyone, regardless of their nationality or faith,  has determined already what day you’ll meet Him face to face. He will only let you go so far. He’s set the boundary on how far this godless bunch of office-bearers can go before He jerks a knot in them. And the God that you choose not to know, and the One that I am proud to know is very close. That brings me peace, and should bring you fear.

“Technical Stuff” and “Political Stuff” may drive me crazy, but knowing God, and that there is no limitation on what God can do causes my soul to joy and gives me the desire to find Mars’ Hill in my own  community and tell someone about Jesus so that others “haply they might feel after him, and find him.”

God’s How To Guide to get your people in Church

how to guide

As I read these verses this morning with a heavy heart for people that I love who are out of church, this was my message from God, and perhaps you need it too.

Acts 2:46-47

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  • Live it daily
  • Fellowship with each other (food always makes it better)
  • Live with Joy (regardless of circumstance)
  • Share your heart
  • Praise God and give Him Glory!
  • Love people until they love you
  • And God will bring them to church

It’s Your Job

upside down chick

My ministry is diverse to say the least. Every day I am wife, mother, Noni and friend, Sunday’s I’m kind of a jack of all trades: Sunday School Superintendent, teacher, pray-er, marketing, and music. Monday–Friday I’m in Jesus Chick mode – the writer, Tuesday’s I’m Violin instructor, and tonight I’m devotion leader, Wednesday’s I’m youth group leader, Thursday’s I’m a student of guitar, Friday’s I’m a fiddle instructor and advanced fiddle student and Saturday I plan for Sunday. Any given day I can be scheduling music groups or planning events, I have two on the horizon this week! Wow… I just wore myself out. I said all that not to get a feather in my cap, but to say life is busy. Yours is no doubt the same but the list and purpose may differ. My question for you is my question for me as I go through the day to day “stuff”  –   Is this stuff fluff or faith.

I love it. After God dragged me for 5 years I finally got with the program, although it’s still not always clearly defined for me, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt for the first time in my life I’m exactly where God wants me to be. If only I could become who He wants me to be… He’s still working on that. I’ve gone through months and months of guilt about not having a “real job.” Because that’s who I’ve always been and how my life has been defined. I needed a title. I always wanted a job with a uniform because I thought that would be fun and official, I almost had one once… and about the time the company was going to order them and I was settling in to the new me, God yanked that job out from under me and said “Are you kidding?” You’d trade me for a cute shirt? What can I say… I’m fickle.

I’ve always considered my career as a place of ministry, that I would be a light in those dark places. And some of them were very, very dark. And I know I made an impact because many of the people I worked with still come to me for prayer or advice and what a blessing that is! And perhaps for you that is where you are, you are that light in that dark place. That’s a real ministry. But are you treating it as such. Is it fluff or is it faith. Fluff will pay the bills, but faith paves the way to eternity with eternal rewards and if you’re a child of God, it’s your real job regardless of position or title, or cute shirt you wear.

In Act Chapter 18 we find Paul being a tent maker. At least for a while he helped his friends, Priscilla and Aquila, make tents.

Verse 1-3

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

After these things… it really was some “thing” if you read Chapter 17. In verse six it is said that they have turned the world upside down” and following that he was run out of a few other cities. There wasn’t any fluff involved in what Paul did. He continued in service to the Lord in the position he was in. Whether it be preacher, teacher or tent maker, he preached Christ and he stirred the people up.

That’s what I hope I do for you today. I hope I stir you up and cause you to realize that where ever you are it is your job to speak Christ. You may say, “But it’s forbidden.” That’s a tough place to be in, I’ve been there… and I was asked to stop. But somehow or another God paved the way for me to speak Jesus anyway. I’m not saying it will be easy, and it may take some creativity to bring it to pass, but it’s your job. You may also say, “But there’s nobody around.” If you’re reading my blog, you have a means of spreading the gospel… be creative! I want us to turn the world upside down!

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A Sit Down Time with Jesus

chick chair 2

500 words… 5 minutes… you  owe  it to yourself for Christmas’ sake!

I have an hour or two before I’m headed to Build A Bear and into the big city of Charleston.  I love this time of year but doggone it goes so fast. Here it is the week of Christmas and I’m nuttier than a fruitcake with a thousand things on my agenda. I’ve attended Holiday parties and events and I’ve got a few more to go. I just want to stop. I want to be able to sit for more than a few minutes in the wee hours of the day and enjoy the rush of the season by feeling the rush of the Holy Spirit within me.

I hear Bing Crosby crooning in my ear…

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas
(Children laughing,
People passing,
Meeting smile after smile)
And on every street corner you’ll hear

Silver bells, (Silver bells) Silver bells, (silver bells)
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling (ring-a-ling),
Hear them ring (hear them ring)
Soon it will be Christmas day.

Silver Bells was first recorded in 1950, greater than a decade before I was born, but Bing still crooned that song well into my childhood years. A simpler time, a time when we didn’t try to fit 37 hours into 24 and then wonder why our stomach’s in knots and our heart races like a race horse when we lay down at night. It’s likely because we run like race horses on the track of life, in circles round and round, for the prize of contentment that’s never achieved.

This morning I needed the rushing to stop (before it started) and let me ponder this man called Jesus for a while. Jesus, born in an manger to the virgin Mary, raised the Son of a carpenter, walked among us for 33 years, crucified on a cross to pay for the sins I’ve committed, risen from the grave the third day and now sits in Heaven making intercession for me with God… Creator of all. He’s not rushing… He’s sitting. I needed to sit with Him this morning and feel His precious Spirit rush over my body this Christmas week and stir my soul with His purpose.

Oh… Thank You Sweet Savior for that gift this morning.

Acts 2:2

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

I don’t hear the wind… only the whirring of the dishwasher running in the kitchen. But I feel a calm in my soul where I’m sitting. That calm that they experienced for the first time on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and gave them an understanding of the chaos around them. I’m thankful that in this chaotic season… God’s sitting on the throne…. And He has time to sit with me and rush into my heart and speak peace…. Sweet peace. Peace. That’s Christmas! I pray you’ll take some time to sit today. Just you and Jesus… get it all worked out.

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What to do when we differ

chick pondering

Fights in the faith, contention in the church pews, mayhem in the ministry…they make me nauseous. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been involved in confrontation with someone else in the ministry. I do not have enough fingers and toes in the whole family, including cousins (and there are many) to tell you the times I have bitten my tongue off to keep from saying hurtful  things, or walked away rather than battle it out. That’s not because I’m all “holy and happy”, but rather the fact that I’ll avoid conflict at every opportunity because I hate it so much. So as I’ve been in a study of Barnabas and Paul, their friendly fallout caught my attention.

Acts 15:39

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Here were two friends in the faith who had worked side by side, fought the fight of good faith, ministered to one another and now stood toe to toe in disagreement about the direction of their ministry. Not the color of the carpet, who’s in charge of what committee, or why Susie Seat Saver wasn’t selected for the choir special. This contention was over Barnabas desiring to use Mark in the ministry, and Paul’s determination not to because of Mark’s prior record of failure. It wasn’t a tiff, it was a sharp contention according to scripture that caused them to part company. It’s also an unfished story in the Bible, leaving us to wonder if the fence was ever mended between these two men of God.

That bothered me; even though there’s little I could do about. It did however cause me to re-visit some past “parting of company” of my own which was ironic because Paul and Barnabas’s parting was over their decision to revisit the churches they had planted and encourage those ministries. That trip didn’t happen as planned but other trips did. Paul went on his second missionary journey teamed with Silas and Barnabas and Mark went their way. The unity was still there, but the uniformity had gone. They didn’t do it the way they always had. It doesn’t say in the scripture that anyone else was brought into their argument to take sides, but rather focus’ on the fact that their division was an expansion of the ministry not a separation. I’m inclined to believe from Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:11 that there was no animosity betwixt them when he wrote to Timothy, Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul had obviously forgiven Mark for his discrepancy leading me to believe that Paul and Barnabas either patched it up or agreed to disagree. Both Paul and Barnabas continued on in unity of the original mission. As I reflected on this today it was a reminder to me to mind my own ministry. In the case of disagreements which may come and its okay, move on. Don’t dwell on the negative, but love one another and preach Jesus!

Our goal is to see souls saved. Satan’s job is to thwart that any cost.  I don’t want to be a pawn in his hand causing someone’s eye to focus on me instead of the Master.

Let me know how this works for you

chick prayer

The ACTS prayer method.  I was reminded of it in a Pocket Testament League devotion yesterday, and today it was again on my heart, desiring that sweet Spirit of the Lord in my life.  Have you felt it today, or has it been a while since you got that bubbling up in your soul so vast that you feel at any moment your mouth will fly open and the Holy Spirit will assuredly burst onto the scene? And then He does! His indwelling becomes an out pouring of praise of and gratitude for what He’s done in your life.  It’s amazing!

  • ADORATION
    • Tell Him how much you love Him and watch and feel as you are loved in return.
  • CONFESSION
    • We all know our short comings, for me they are many. What an awesome feeling just to clear the air with the Lord. He knows what we’ve done, but He longs to hear His children confess their sins and turn away from it and back to Him.
  • THANKSGIVING
    • Have you counted your blessings lately? It’s amazing and humbling when you start thanking God for all you have; especially when you look at the world around you and see the countless who have not.
  • SUPPLICATION
    • Our prayer list at church gets longer and longer, my own does too. There are so many people in the world suffering, who need someone to lift them up in prayer. For me it’s overwhelming at times. But like the blessings I have to name them one by one and not dwell on the fact that I can do nothing, but that God can do anything. Who has He laid on your heart today?

ACTS. Such a small acronym with big results. I hope you’ll use it for your model prayer today and then let me know how the Lord blesses it!

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.

 

 

 

Whew Doggies…. that’s what grace does!

chick grace home

This is why I love, love, love the Word of God and teachers of the Word of God who share their knowledge. And it didn’t cost me 19.95 for a CD or download… just sayin’

Perry Noble’s teaching on the book of Acts and brings out this truth…

On the day that Moses came down from the mountain having been given the 10 commandments, he discovers the idiocy of Aaron, whom he’d left in charge. At the peoples request Aaron makes an idol for them to worship (the golden calf). God’s angry, Moses is angry and the people are sorry… a little too late. In God’s anger God gives this order in Exodus 32:27 “And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.”

And they do as they’re instructed and we see in verse 28 that “there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”

BUT CHECK THIS OUT!

In Acts 2:41

On the day of Pentecost when the believers were filled with the Holy Ghost the scripture says

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

When the law was given 3,000 people died, when the Spirit was given 3,000 people came to life!

Whew Doggies that’s what Spirit of God does! It brings to life that which was dead. I couldn’t keep the law… so God made Grace the way. Oh, I am so glad He did!