Week 2 of The Way: a new series on the Book of Acts
Go Deeper Passage:
There is a big difference between living a story and remembering memories. A lot of our faith lives are spent looking back. We remember the moments we encountered God and believe those will sustain us. Yet, when we look at the faith life of the early church, we see a group of people experiencing Christ in real time. The Holy Spirit wasn't some pyrotechnic event they read about in their bible, but was God's presence at work in and through their life story. God was their sustenance, power, and hope.
On Sunday, Pastor Tyler shared about Tyler Hilinski, the young Washington State University quarterback who tragically took his life last Tuesday. In all sensitivity to his loss for many, Hilinkski's story invites us to consider that moments are not enough. He lived epic highs this year and had a bright future ahead of him. Yet the powers of depression and death left him hopeless. Much is to be answered about why he lost the will to live. One thing that remains is an invitation for you and I to consider if our faith is merely a memory or a story we are living with Jesus. Many of our friends are dying to know that there is more to the story than the highs and lows of their circumstances. That their story matters, God cares for them, and that they can experience transformational hope in Christ. Perhaps you are wondering this and want to know that God's loving power and grace can break in to the anxiety, shame, and longing within you.
Acts 2 tells us a story of the disciples sitting in anticipation. Jesus had ascended and told them to wait on His power coming again. Can you imagine the deafening sound of waiting? How would you process God's absence after the anguish of Christ's death, the renewed hope of His resurrection, and the mission He just gave you to share Him to the ends of the earth? As the apostles sat, the wind suddenly became raucous and flames descended and rested on their heads. They began declaring hope in all the languages of their neighbors who had gathered to celebrate a memory of God's work in the past. Little did those neighbors know that what they'd hear would draw them to hope and change their life. God spoke a new story through "unschooled ordinary" people like you and I to each nation gathered in ways they could understand. This led them to turn from their brokenness, get baptized, and follow Christ. 3000 gave their lives to Jesus that day. God moved powerfully in the life of his people and it transformed their neighbors lives too.
Yet that was only the beginning of the story of the Spirit. That very same Spirit is alive and at work in your flesh and bones. Inviting you to share the great news of Jesus with your neighbors from all over the world. To lovingly speak our neighbors language in ways that give them hope for a better story. A new story of hope in any darkness they could face.
Are you living a story or simply reflecting on memories of what Christ did in the past? How are you experiencing this?
Can you imagine God moving as powerfully in your and your neighbor's lives today as the Spirit did in Acts 2? Are you living with expectation to experience God's movement happening in and through you? Why or why not?
Do you believe that our neighbors need to see God's story in your life as a beacon of hope? If so, how can we share our stories in ways that "give reason for the hope we have in Christ?" In Seattle? At A Seattle Church? In your workplace? In your family? Your friendships? With your neighbors? In you marriage, dating relationship, or singleness?
Jesus: Give Christ your story. Cease settling for less than life to the full in the Spirit of Jesus. Ask God to help you live a better story.
People: Be a part of a story bigger than your own. Fully engage in our A Seattle Church community life together. You can't do life in the Spirit alone. Pursue others for friendship. Serve your neighbors with others. Pursue opportunities to grow as a leader who lives in to God's story alongside others.
City: Help God tell a story of hope in Seattle. Get to know our neighbors in transitional housing at Compass Housing and Mary's Place. If you don't know how, email Tim as he'd love to help you find a way to connect. Fight injustices that try to make God seem like just a memory. Don't tweet about broken systems, but stand alongside the marginalized as Christ's presence in darkness.
Please share what you experienced going through this/how God is moving in your life by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org