An interactive devotional based on the May 28, 2017 sermon, What’s Next?
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Encounter the Word
In 30 short years (one generation!) the church grew from what was considered an insignificant Jewish sect to a major force in the Roman Empire. Luke wrote Acts as a companion piece to his Gospel to show how Christianity was NOT a political threat to Rome, but rather the work of God’s Spirit in building up a spiritual “kingdom,” one made up of all who live by faith in Jesus. This book holds a strategic place within the New Testament as a bridge between the Gospels and the letters (epistles). It picks up where the Gospels (especially Luke’s) leave off, and introduces the main church leaders – – Peter, Paul, John and James.
The book of Acts opens with the story of Jesus’ ascension. His ascension is explained to the disciples by two angels. They point out that Jesus will indeed return as he said he would. Therefore, they are not to stand around and wait for him, but to get on with their mission.
Connect with God’s Story
Think about a time when someone you loved went far away, perhaps for a very long time:
If you were one of the disciples, how would you have felt about Jesus leaving?
- Excited about what was ahead
What would you call Jesus’ ascension to heaven?
- Sad — the end of his ministry
- Hopeful — the start of a new phase of his ministry
- Glorious — he will return!
- Why do you think Jesus insisted his followers wait in Jerusalem?
Engage with the Kingdom
- The disciples’ idea of the kingdom of God was different than Jesus’. When have you been unsure or confused about God’s plans or ways? Tell about that time:
- In verse 8 Jesus says, “you will be my witnesses.” What does “witness” mean? What does that mean to YOU?
- What would you say to a nonbeliever that would help them understand what the Resurrection means to your life here? In eternity?
The reason that there are people all over the world who know and believe in Jesus Christ today is because those faithful few in Jerusalem did what God told them to do and they waited and prayed. And then when God came to them in the person of the Holy Spirit, they were obedient to then GO. From that one room to the whole world. “Each one tell one.”
It is scary for some folks to speak about their faith, but think of it rather as sharing a gift with those around you. The gift of God’s love. You might not even ever use any “God words,” but you can certainly demonstrate love by little things every day.
- Make a short list of ways that you might show appreciation or love for someone you live or work or go to school with:
- In the space on the back, write the word “home” and then draw a circle around it. Are there any names of people in or near your home that you can do something for? A kind word? A smile? Maybe more?
- Draw a larger circle around that one, and fill in some names of folks you might work with or shop with.
- Draw a larger circle and write some names of people you see or meet with occasionally. Begin by praying for the people in each of these circles and ask God how you might begin to love them in a very real way. Blessings.