Live With Urgency | ASC Families Blog

Hoist Your Sail # 19

What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming back this week? What would change in your day to day routine? Would you tell your kids anything different? Would you tell everyone you came in contact with about Jesus? Would you care what anyone thought of you?

I recently had opportunity to go to visit some friends at a mission organization in Japan. They really believe Jesus is coming back soon. They live differently than I do. They have an urgency to share Christ with others. Several of the people we met were taught Chinese as children in order to reach China for Christ. One lady shared with me that as a child she would come home from school and stay home on weekends just to study Chinese. She knew from a young age God would give her opportunities to share Him with people in China. He has used her for 16 years in China. It has not been easy, but she loves the people and wants them to be freed from idolatry. 
This group of missionaries challenged me, through their example, to live as if this was the last day I would be on earth. My desire is to be a part of the Kingdom work God is doing. I want to look around, see where He is working and join Him there. I want to hoist up my Sail like on a sailboat and allow His wind to carry me where He wants me to go. I heard someone say, “Always be ready to preach, pray or die”. I want this to be a motto of my life. I want to always be ready to give an account of where my hope is found. Jesus is my hope and my Savior. Jesus is my life. Are you ready for Him to come back?

1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

This week your kids looked at the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:16-26

Main Point: The Holy Spirit changes us to be like Jesus for God’s glory.

Read ahead: 
Ephesians 6:10-19 (The armor ofGod)
Main Point: God gives us what we need to stand strong against evil.
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17
Big picture question: Who changes us? The Holy Spirit changes us to be like Jesus for God’s glory.

#HoistYourSail!

- Deborah Rowe, Director of Families on Mission

 

Click Here to Serve on the ASC Kids Team and make a difference! 

The One Who Loves Us Most

Week 17 of The Way: a new series on the Book of Acts

Sunday Passage: 

Acts 16:25-34 - English Standard Version

Reflection:

As I listened to Tim teach on Acts 16 this Sunday, I was especially struck by the story of the Philippian jailer. Paul and Silas meet the jailer after they are arrested for expelling a spirit of divination from a slave girl earlier in this chapter (v. 16-18). Expectedly, the owners of the girl become upset, having lost a source of income and arrange for Paul and Silas to be beaten and then arrested. Once they become confined, they are placed under the charge of an unnamed jailer from Philippi who becomes a key figure in this chapter. 

It soon becomes clear, in v. 24, that the Philippian jailer has been given a very important task. As such, he places Paul and Silas in the inner most chamber of the prison and fastens their feet in stocks (think of this as an ancient form of a maximum security prison). The jailer takes extra precautions because he knows that if anything were to happen to Paul and Silas, he will be held responsible. 

The seriousness of the jailer's mission is revealed when an earthquake suddenly causes the doors of the jail to break open and the prisoners' chains to become undone. Seeing the damage, the jailer immediately fears that the prisoners have escaped and proceeds to draw his sword to kill himself. The jailer knows that if the prisoners are gone, that he will then be killed. We can assume that he sees it as better to end it on his own terms than at the hands of the brutal government of ancient Rome. 

Before he can go through with it, however, Paul calls out to the jailer from inside his cell pleading with the Philippian not to kill himself. I would point out here that a close reading of the text suggests that Paul could not actually see the jailer at this time. V. 29 reveals the jailer calling for a light so that he can see into the cells. How was it that Paul knew the jailer was about to kill himself? If the jailer could not see Paul, it seems likely that Paul also could not see the jailer. Nevertheless, Paul is able to discern that the jailer is about to take his own life and cries out to prevent it.

When the jailer finally enters into the innermost cell, he falls down at the feet of the apostles. He then proceeds to ask what he must be do to be saved. In this moment, the jailer probably isn't thinking about the message of Jesus Christ, but rather, his own personal safety. Remember, the doors are all still broken along with the chains. There would be no way to hide that from the authorities, and the Jailer most likely can think of no logical explanation for how they got that way. After all, who is honestly going to believe that an earthquake broke all of the prisoners' chains?

Let’s rephrase the jailer's words in v. 30 to say, "What must I do to live?". One can imagine a smile forming on Paul's face as he hears the words coming out of the jailer's mouth. The jailer doesn't even know what he has just asked, but he just hit the nail on the head.

And so Paul and Silas proceed to tell the jailer the Good News, and he believes! Not just because of the miraculous events that jailer has just witnessed, but because God meets him at his darkest moment. When the Philippian jailer loses all hope, God shows up and provides him with the way to everlasting life.

Conclusion:

The apostles in this story are simply doing as they always had; when God shows up, they tell the world who he is. We are living in a world where people all around us are searching for life. Chances are, like the story of the Philippian jailer, God is already moving in these peoples' lives; all they are lacking is someone to introduce them to the One Who Loves Them Most

-Andrew Nelson, ASC Partner and Blog Coordinator

Questions:

  • Who can you introduce God to this week?

  • How can you point people towards the source of life?

  • Where do you see God's love in your own life?

Please share how God is moving in your life by emailing us at story@aseattlechurch.com

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Source of Power

Week 16 of The Way: a new series on the Book of Acts

Sunday Passage: 

Acts 14

Reflection:

Acts 14 continues telling the story of Paul and Barnabas's ministry; this time as they preached to the Jews in Iconium and Lystra. At both locations, Paul and Barnabas experienced an initial success followed by serious setbacks whereby their lives were threatened and they were forced to leave the city (14:6, 14:19-20). It is tempting to see Paul and Barnabas' rejection as a result of their doing something wrong, however, this passage holds several key signs that the apostles were actually doing something right. 

If you are anything like me, you probably are asking this question right now: if Paul and Barnabas were succeeding in their mission, how is it that the people turn from the truth they shared so quickly? After all, in the modern world we don't typically see rejection as a sign of success. Still, that was exactly the case for Paul and Barnabas. It is important to understand that the world the apostles are preaching in in Acts 14 is a world that is desperate for a transcendent truth. The peoples of Iconium and Lystra were searching for anything that would provide them a source of life. 

The apostles were able to provide this when they preformed miracles and signs. Not only were they verbally speaking the Truth, but their words were backed up by life changing actions (After all, what could be more life changing than a lame person suddenly being able to walk! 14:8-10). Even so, the apostles were eventually confronted by mobs and driven out of the city.

What does this rejection mean? Well, one perspective is to see the hostile reactions from the Jews and Greeks in Acts 14 as a sign that they are afraid of the power of the apostle's message. Paul and Barnabas weren't a couple of nut jobs screaming at people in the streets; they preformed real acts that changed people's lives! What's more, when Paul and Barnabas preformed such acts, they immediately used the situation to point back to the source of their power: a God who sent His son to save the world. 

Conclusion:

Rejection is hard for many Christians to deal with, especially after experiencing an initial success as Paul and Barnabas did. When the world rejects us, we want to give up hope. When we are not met with open arms, we fear that our success as been stifled. This is not true, however, because our strength comes through perseverance (James 1:2-4). When we perservere through trials and tribulations we become a direct reflection of Christ. Like Paul and Barnabas, we point to the source of our power: a God who's desire to be with us is so great He pursues us to the ends of the earth even as we run away from Him. In Acts 14, even after the people of Iconium and Lystra rejected the Word of God, God sent Paul and Barnabas back to care for the Christians who were there. So, this week I would encourage you to persevere through whatever God is calling you to do. Do not be discouraged because refusing to give up, even when the weight of the world is bearing down on us, is what ultimately brings success. 

-Andrew Nelson, ASC Partner and Blog Coordinator

Questions:

  • How can God become more the source of power in your life?

  • How can you help the A Seattle community to PERSEVERE in our mission?

  • Where are the "cities" God is calling you to go to?

Please share how God is moving in your life by emailing us at story@aseattlechurch.com

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