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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The Control Tower | ASC Families Blog

I recently read an article by Steve Carter, teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, entitled, The Control Tower. In this article he talked about the importance of the airport control tower.  A plane only takes off or lands at the air traffic controller command.  The air traffic controller is the gatekeeper to the city. Their job is very important to keep millions of people safe everyday.  

Do you realize that you are the air traffic controller of your own mind and heart?  Are you letting a lot of anxious thoughts, fears, and worries take up headspace in your heart and mind?  I challenge you to deny access to any anxious thoughts landing in your personal airport.  If it helps you, give yourself a personal airport code.  My personal airport is DJR (my initials). When anxious thoughts start to come my way I can tell them they must land somewhere else. They are denied access into my headspace or heart space. Think about this.  Spend some time reading, journaling and praying through the following passage. I love that at the end of this passage we are told what to allow in our personal airport. We can deny anxious thoughts and worry and instead choose whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just... Try it out this week. Practice it.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." - Philippians‬ ‭4:4-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

Parents, after explaining this idea to your children, discuss the following:

1. If you could fly anywhere, where would you go?

2. What are your initials, use your initials to create your own personal airport code.

3. What negative thoughts have you allowed to land lately in your mind and heart?

4. Read Philippians 4:8 again. What is a good thought of God that you have allowed to land in your mind and heart.

 

Pray for your family to be brave and take control of what lands in their hearts and mind.

(These questions and ideas came from the control tower by Steve Carter)

Last week your kids heard the story from 1 John 3:10-18 | Love One Another.  

Read Ahead: 1 Timothy 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Titus 2:11-14

Main Point: Paul encouraged church leaders to teach God’s word.

Memory Verse: Galatians 2:20

Big Picture Question: Why does God want us to obey him? Obedience is our response to God‘s love for us. 

#HoistYourSail!

- Deborah Rowe, Director of Families on Mission

 

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

Healing through Blindness

Week 15 of The Way: a new series on the Book of Acts

Sunday Passage: 

Acts 13:1-12 (Listen to Tyler's Sermon HERE)

Reflection:

On Sunday Tyler preached on Acts 13; in this passage, Saul (later Paul) and Barnabas are commissioned by the church to go to the Greek-speaking island of Cyprus. While in the island’s administrative capital of Paphos, Barnabas and Saul encounter the false prophet Bar-Jesus preaching to the region's proconsul (a governor), Sergius Paulus. When Bar-Jesus tries to resist the apostles' entering to speak with the proconsul, Paul preforms a miracle conferring blindness upon Bar-Jesus. 

Hearing Tyler tell this story, I began to think about the significance of the miracle of blindness that is recorded here. One reading of this reveals a God who is seeking to strike down a false profit by publicly blinding him, stripping him of all his power and status. While this is most certainly an act demonstrating the power of God, another reading reveals a God who is full of mercy and compassion. 

Firstly, It is important to note that the person through which the Holy Spirit blinds Bar-Jesus is Paul. Paul’s own conversion story is remarkably similar to this encounter with Bar-Jesus. In Acts 9, God forcefully intervenes in Saul’s life by appearing to him on the road to Damascus. Paul’s encounter with the living God leaves him blinded and, like Bar-Jesus, “requiring someone to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:11). This is certainly not coincidental. In the person of Bar-Jesus we see a Jewish man seated in a place of power who fervently believes that he knows the truth; a resume that is identical to Paul’s. Thus, this is a story not about Bar-Jesus, but rather; it is a story of God’s mercy through Saul as he faces a man who is the epitome of his pre-Christian self. 

When Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, blinds Bar-Jesus it is an act of compassion. Paul immediately sees that Bar-Jesus is in the exact same place as he himself had been when he was persecuting the early Christians. Saul knows exactly what Bar-Jesus needs in order to live: he needs the truth to be revealed to him. The truth was that Bar-Jesus was already blind. He was spiritually blind as opposed to physically blind. 

Paul too was spiritually blind as he walked the road to Damascus; he required a face-to-face encounter with the risen Lord in order to be cured of this. The symptom of physical blindness is just that, it is a side-effect pointing visibly to where the true problem lies, Saul and Bar-Jesus’ misunderstanding regarding the true identity of Christ. If Saul is forceful in this passage, it is because he sees whole heartedly the urgency of Bar-Jesus’s circumstances. 

This miracle, though appearing quite different from other healing miracles, is still ultimately a healing miracle because neither man is left in their state of sickness. Our God does not leave us in our spiritual blindness. He is a God who reveals to us the truth so that we do not live a life in the darkness! How great is our God!

-Andrew Nelson, ASC Partner and Blog Coordinator

Questions:

  • How has God moved in your life to bring you out of Spiritual Blindness?

  • How can you use your own story to share God's mercy with other people?

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

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