Monthly Archives: December 2014

Acts 19:11-17 — Second-hand relationship?

Jesus told his disciples before he went to the cross that they would do greater things than he did.  You see some of that in this passage where handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched were taken to the sick … Continue reading

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Acts 19:8-10 — When to move on

It’s hard to see people we love and care about reject the gospel message.  But eventually there comes a time when we simply have to move on and leave them to God.  When does that point come?  I think we … Continue reading

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Acts 19:1-7 — Going beyond repentance

In this passage, we see some people that were similar to Apollos, but different.  Like Apollos, they had been disciples of John, but unlike Apollos, they were unaware of the one John had been pointing to. So while they had … Continue reading

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Acts 18:24-28 –A teachable heart

It is so easy sometimes to think we know it all.  We come to church on Sunday, and hear the message, and as we do, we say, “I knew that.”  This is especially a problem for those who have been … Continue reading

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Acts 18:1-23 — Fulfilling our responsibilities

One thing that Paul did was he preached the gospel.  Wherever he went, he preached to the people that Jesus is the Christ. Why did he do so?  One reason, of course, was that Jesus commanded him to.  And it … Continue reading

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Acts 17:29-34 — A second Christmas

Well, Christmas has come and gone here in Japan.  I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I did mine. As I read this passage though, it strikes me that there is still a Christmas we are yet waiting for. … Continue reading

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Acts 17:10-28 – Made known, not far

Merry Christmas from Japan! This morning I watched my five year old daughter open her presents, and as I think about the expression on her face as she did, I think about the opening words of an old song. As … Continue reading

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Acts 17:16-20 — Provoked

It can be easy, sometimes, to get numb to the evil that we see in the world.  Perhaps at first, the things we saw bothered us, but as time passed, we started getting “used to it all.”  Now we barely … Continue reading

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Acts 17:1-15 –Testing what we hear

In this day and age, we can get information from just about anywhere.  Radio, TV, and especially the internet has made it easy to get news and hear opinions coming from every possible angle.  This is also true concerning our … Continue reading

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Acts 16:11-40 — Set free

If there is one theme in this chapter, it’s being set free. Lydia and her household were set free from from their sin, and perhaps the Jewish requirements of the law as well. The girl was set free from the … Continue reading

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Acts 16:6-10 — When our plans are not God’s plans

We see a very interesting passage here in which time and again, Paul and his companions try to go to different places, and each time are told no by the Holy Spirit. Finally, after probably more than a few days and … Continue reading

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Acts 16:1-5 — Becoming all things to all people

In this passage, we find a very curious thing.  On one hand, Paul was going from city to city to tell the Christians about the council’s decision that the Gentile believers didn’t have to be circumcised.  But then he circumcised … Continue reading

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Acts 15:36-41 — Giving people a second chance

We see in this passage a break in the partnership between Paul and Barnabas.  And it came because of a young man named Mark.  Mark had initially joined them on their first missionary journey, but for some reason had decided … Continue reading

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Acts 15:1-35 — Grace alone

This was probably the biggest theological debate the early church faced, and it was a critical one. Paul and Barnabas had been taking the gospel to the Gentiles, but not everyone was happy about the gospel they were preaching.  They … Continue reading

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Acts 14 — Through many hardships

One thing you could say about Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey:  it certainly wasn’t boring.  As well as having much success, they also went through many trials, even to the point of Paul getting stoned and left for dead.  It … Continue reading

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Acts 14:1-12– Only men

As I read this passage, I think of the number of high profile pastors that have fallen over the years.  People that were put on a pedestal only to be knocked down.  And with their fall, everyone was reminded that … Continue reading

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Acts 13:4-52 — Opposition

If there is one word that comes to mind as I read this passage, it’s “opposition.” As Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel, they faced opposition from Elymas and the Jews.  One was spiritual opposition, one was opposition sprung from … Continue reading

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Acts 12:24-13:3 — Set apart for God’s work

I remember the first time I ever considered being a missionary.  I was talking with a friend, and somehow we got on the topic of missions.  And I remember telling him, “I don’t think I’m called to be a missionary.” … Continue reading

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Acts 12:1-24 — A pride that leads to destruction

Solomon wrote, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18) We see this in the life of Herod Agrippa I, (not to be confused with Herod Antipas who had been involved with John the Baptist and Jesus in … Continue reading

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Acts 12:1-19 — God’s response to prayer, our response to him

This is a very interesting story on many levels.  The most amusing part of it is Peter showing up at the door after being released from prison, and Rhoda the servant girl being so excited that she left him at … Continue reading

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Acts 11:22-30 — Filled with the Spirit and full of faith

Barnabas was a remarkable man.  We saw him first in Acts 4 where he sold his land and gave the proceeds to the church so that they could help the needy.  We saw him again in Acts 9, when he … Continue reading

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Acts 11 — Opposing God

When Peter came back from Cornelius’ house, he returned to an uproar in Jerusalem.  Rumors had spread about how Peter, a leader of the church, had actually welcomed Gentiles into his house and then went to visit one of them. … Continue reading

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Acts 10:9-48 — Breaking through the barriers

God had to break through some pretty great barriers to get the gospel to the Gentiles.  Ironically, one primary barrier that he had to break through was one he had pounded into the Jews’ minds, the idea of clean and … Continue reading

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Acts 10 — Those who have not heard

One of the big conundrums Christians come up against when saying Jesus is the only way to heaven is the question, “What about those who have never even heard about Jesus?  Will they go to hell too?” And because of … Continue reading

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Acts 9:32-43 — The God who heals and raises the dead

In this passage we see two powerful stories.  The thing that struck me the most were Peter’s words to Aeneas and Dorcas (Tabitha). To Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, and who had probably lost all hope of … Continue reading

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Acts 9:26-31 — Believing in people

Again, as I look at this passage, I try to imagine the reaction the believers had toward Saul when he first came to Jerusalem.  What was their first interaction with him?  The last time they had seen him publicly, he … Continue reading

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Acts 9:19-25 — When Christ changes your life

As I read this passage, I tried to imagine what was going on in the minds of those in Damascus.  After Saul’s conversion, he marched into the synagogue, and was probably asked to speak by those in charge.  They probably … Continue reading

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Acts 9:1-19 — Chosen…to go

I said yesterday there were two stories in Acts that shows both the election of God, man’s choice, and our need to go and spread the gospel.  Looking at today’s story, I think I should make that three stories.  (The … Continue reading

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Acts 8:26-40 — Unless we go

This is one of two stories in the book of Acts where we see the election of God, the choice of man, and our need to go as God’s witnesses all interacting with each other.  Many people wonder about the … Continue reading

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Acts 8:9-24 — A gift

One of the things that people have a hard time understanding about Christianity is that all that we have is a gift from God.  All that we have, and our very lives are gifts from God.  And of course, salvation … Continue reading

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Acts 8:1-8 — Spreading the joy

Well, Christmas season is upon us.  It is officially December 1st here in Japan, and my 5 year old daughter and I put up our Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations yesterday.  I’ve probably mentioned this before, but this … Continue reading

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