Tag Archives: Acts 2

loving deeply

For Sunday, May 4, 2014
Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 36 – 41 (Definitive Statements)
Definitive statements are not in vogue; diversity and tolerance are.  Yet how refreshing when someone has the courage to speak definitively as Peter does in Acts 2:36 – 41:   “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (v. 36).   Peter is not saying, “I’m against diversity and I’m intolerant.”  He is saying,  “Look, there is a God out there who understands what we all clearly know  – that something is wrong with the world –  and he has appointed and sent his son Jesus to make it right.”  If the church is to tear down the stronghold of secularism she must continue to declare this boldly and definitively.  It is to say as Martin Luther did, “Here I stand and I can do no other.”  

Psalm 116 (Loving the Lord)
The first verses of this Psalm describe what it is like to be severely depressed and I’ve been there.    When you are really down, cry out, and someone not only hears, but responds with love and grace, you become profoundly grateful.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

In Christianity I find both an explanation for depression (the brokenness of everything around us) as well as way forward (the joy of being forgiven, of knowing Christ, and of following him).

Luke 24:13-45 (On the Road to Emmaus)
I love the humor here.   Jesus appears to Cleopas and friends, and asks, “So what are you talking about?”  Cleopas responds, “Are you the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on here?”  Actually, Jesus was the only one who did!  God was at work to save Israel, only not in the way that God’s people anticipated.  How many times do we make the same mistake?  We put God into a box of our own pre-conceptions and completely miss that he’s standing right in front of us.  Let God be God.  He won’t disappoint.

1 Peter 1:17-23 (Loving Deeply)
As Christians we are called to live out our time on the earth as foreigners.  Why foreigners?  Because we are now citizens of heaven.  There is something about us that won’t abide the corruption of the falsehoods of this world whether they take the form of a glossy cover of People Magazine or the politics of whatever organization in which we find ourselves (even our churches!).   The Christian who is clear on this will find his mind purified of corruption as well as a new ability to love those around him sincerely.  He will then proceed to be among those who “love one another deeply from the heart” (v. 22).  Would you not agree that both the church and the world could use more people like this?  

Let’s commit to being among them this week.  What’s one deep act of love you could extend?  

O For a Thousand Tongues

Pentecôte, Jean II Restout, 1732 (via Wikipedia).

Acts 2:1-22
For Sunday, May 27, 2012
Pentecost Sunday 

I caught part of a television sermon last weekend in which the preacher mentioned that if the Holy Spirit wanted to make an impact by having everyone “speak in tongues” who are we to question his method?  The problem with this really stems from the translation that the New International Version (NIV) uses when it reads, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  A better translation would be “… speak in other languages …”  The context makes this clear: the point is that Jews from many nations who were gathered in Jerusalem were hearing a group of Galileans speaking these expatriate Jews native languages when there was no practical way for them to have known these languages.  I will grant that the NIV at least translates consistently the same Greek word used in vv. 3 and 11, but to translate it as “tongues” given what this word connotes at least within Christian circles might be considered dubious.

The Holy Spirit’s method was not as obtuse as the television preacher was suggesting.  What was happening on Pentecost was not a bunch of people clambering, “Yabba Dabba Doo, I want that too!”.   Rather, God himself was announcing in the person of the Holy Spirit that the gospel, the good news of forgiveness through Christ, was not just for the Jews, and not just for others living within national Israel, but that it was for every tribe, tongue (read “language”), and nation on earth.

There is hope for your people and my people not because we’re number one or your number one, but because God is number one and he’s not giving up on any of us.  Good news for us, yes?