We began this past Sunday a study on the book of Acts. As far as I can recall, we’ve never done a series on this book before. And it’s not the normal starting place for us, since we usually start with ‘life’ and then figure out what the Bible teaches about it. To be honest, doing a series this way is a little more challenging to make it attractional with a single glance.
But it is as important for you as any teachings on family, marriage, anger, forgiveness, love, success in life or any other subject you can name. Let me share 3 reasons why this series matters so much to all of us.
1) Acts gives us tools for better living.
We’re going to see how to be filled with the Spirit of God. This is more than ‘believing’. Lots of people say they ‘believe’ but live most days without any awareness of God’s presence and without accessing the benefits of being near God. Acts is the place where we learn what life looks like when the Power of God is a part of my life.
But that’s just the starting place…the foundation. Acts gives us a clear picture of what it looks like (including the potential costs and huge benefits) when we live our lives with God at the center, where He is calling the shots. This is where the magic happens! (not real magic…but…well…you get the point) We begin to see how life actually morphs into something we didn’t imagine and didn’t see coming as God does His work through us. All of that happens in Acts.
2) Acts is current history, not just ancient history.
When I was in High School, I hated history. I thought it was a total waste of time and I was completely bored by it. Perhaps you feel that way, too. But Acts is not the study of Medieval times…it’s the understanding of OUR time!
Susan and I recently started watching The Crown, a Netflix series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth in Great Britain. Just a couple of days ago, we watched the episode where she becomes interested in Billy Graham and his crusades. She invites him to Buckingham Palace and their conversations cause her to think more deeply about her faith. We saw this just a couple of weeks after Billy Graham died. And, of course, the Queen, who had to figure out how to navigate tradition while living in a changed world, is still alive. Today, we’re witnessing the marriage of her grandson in a very unconventional match, right before our eyes. In that way, watching The Crown is almost like being a part of it.
But watching the book of Acts is not almost like being a part of it…it IS being a part of it! It would be like the Queen watching The Crown! (which they say she has not, by the way).
Studying Acts is like looking at a picture of yourself from 20 years ago while standing in front of a mirror of yourself right now. The picture is more than the past. It’s part of who you are.
Acts is not ancient history, it’s current history. What I mean by that is that it is STILL happening. Because the Spirit of God is as alive and active today as He was in the story of Acts, we begin to understand that God is still doing today what He was doing in the story of Acts!
3) Acts answers questions we must have.
Rational, logical people need more than blind faith to believe in and follow Jesus. Faith IS required, yes. You can’t prove every single thing that I believe. I must be willing to live by faith. But we also need some of the dots to connect. Acts does that. It links together the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection with the power that his followers mysteriously gain post-resurrection. Acts helps us understand how 11 outcast, disconnected, poorly funded, poorly organized, undisciplined men launched the single most influential movement the world has ever known. Ever. The story is so compelling, in fact, that even secular historians and skeptical atheists agree that it was more than unlikely. And yet, we know it happened because…well…here we are!
So I hope you dig in to this. If you read a chapter a day, you’ll be able to read through the entire book a couple of times before we’re finished. And you can find links to the followup videos and questions for reflection on our website each week (including from this past Sunday) here. (just scroll down to where it says IGNITE and you’ll see it)
I think this is going to be a really great experience, so invite your friends and I’ll see you Sunday!!!!