For those of you following the suggested readings... you should be reading Acts 7 and 8 today. If you are looking to catch up, we started reading the book of Acts on Sunday (As a congregation we are reading 2 chapters a day).
As I read the chapters, I was drawn to reflect on 2 events:
1) Peter's words to those who were gawking at the one who had once been a crippled beggar in 3:15 - 20. Even our amazement at God provides an opportunity for our repentance and seeking Jesus. That repentance in turn opens up the gateway to times of refreshing. The world today is longing for refreshing... does it know where the only true refreshment comes from? How can I let others know? The lyrics of "When Peace Like a River" play through my mind. "It is well with my soul." How can I share that peace? How about you?
2) I was also struck how these men and women could not be silenced. They recognized that they were witnesses and were compelled to testify. Peter and Stephen are both Spirit filled orators.
Stephen's account of the history of Israel struck me as particularly powerful. Especially his exclamation in verse 51, "You always resist the Holy Spirit!"
In what ways do I resist the Holy Spirit? How have I hindered Christ's witness through me? How are you hindering the work of the Holy Spirit in you? What do you and I need to repent of? How might we as the church today identify with Simon the Sorcerer more than the apostles? Are you open to becoming more available to God like the early Church? Are you willing to accept the consequences (potential persecution) and opportunities (declaring the word of the Lord) of keeping in step with the Spirit?
May our reading journey through Acts illumine our life in Christ.
Pastor Kevin Heeres