This week, we pause to give thanks. And with Thanksgiving, I think of pie. Pumpkin is my favorite, but apple or chocolate will work. Pecan is also good. Regardless of what kind of pie you like, we always want the best pie for Christmas. CS Lewis had something to say about pies and it deals with Thanksgiving as well:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
It would seem that the converse is true as well. Because we settle for the insignificant, we grow weary and discouraged in light of what God is doing. What if I told you that a key way we can be cheerful and filled with joy is through Thanksgiving? I hope you can stop eating leftovers and Christmas shopping long enough to listen to this week's podcast!
Increasingly, we see in our culture an attempt to redefine religious liberty. Our country has, traditionally, held that this liberty means you can not only believe what you like but you may express it, let it influence how you behave and contend for it in the public square as long as it didn't harm someone else. Now, culture seeks to redefine harm and with it how we can contend for the faith in the public arena.
There is a great temptation, then, to do what culture says. In fact, there is a group that promotes an option called the Benedict Option, where we as Christians are called to withdraw from culture and wait until the world destroys itself. As we see in Acts, this isn't an option if we are called to be witnesses to the end of the earth. I hope you'll listen to this week's message to see how we respond to this persecution will influence how we can fill our city with the gospel.
In 1993, rock singer Meatloaf had a smash hit with the song "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". Meatloaf said that the question he is most often asked after the release of the song is "What is that?" In other words, what is the limit of what he would do for the love of his life? What is one step too far?
Time and time again, we see that God will go to extraordinary lengths to remind people of His love and the hope of the Gospel. Unlike Meatloaf, God did do everything for love and this week we will see how He continues to go to great lengths to get the Gospel message out. I hope you'll join us this week as we continue our look at Acts with "God Goes to Extraordinary Lengths".
Last week at our cookout, we needed to plug in a crock pot. So, we grabbed an extension cord from the basement and plugged it in. But that wasn't enough to keep the crock pot warm. The cord needed to be plugged into an outlet, that was connected to a breaker box that was connected to a power line that was connected to a power plant ... you get the picture. The power didn't come from the extension cord, it was merely the vehicle bringing another power source to the crock pot.
It is the same thing with the early church. Peter and John were not the source of the power - God was. And the good news is that the same source that powered the early church is the same source of power that is available to us today. I hope to see you listen this week as we continue to explore Acts and look at "The Source".