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For REAL!

February 2, 2012

I love the book of Acts because it is so vivid and REAL. It was written by a REAL person, Luke  (the same man who wrote the gospel of Luke). Luke is most commonly believed to be a Gentile (non-Jewish) doctor and a close friend of the apostle Paul. It talks about REAL people full of flaws and struggles,just like all of us. In these first two (2) chapters we have met all the disciples, Matthias (who took Judas the Betrayer’s spot),  Justus (whose name didn’t get picked in the disciple lotto) and all the women in the group. It talks about REAL issues of faith, trust, hope and mission. The disciples REALLY struggled with Jesus’ message up until he was taken away from them. After spending years with Him and witnessing Christ’s death and resurrection, they still didn’t get what was going on. I have a sneaking suspicion that they were watching in disbelief – jaws dropped – as Jesus ascended into heaven. They were probably thinking, “What? What just happened here? Are you kidding me? Why did he just leave, and what are we supposed to do now?” It recounts the REAL power of our REAL God. How incredible that God would choose to give us His power through the Holy Spirit, so that we – imperfect people – could be witnesses to the transformational power of the Almighty God of Heaven.

I am excited to hear what God has taught you about Himself and yourself through this past week’s readings. As we blog, try to answer one (1) or more of the following questions:

  1. What idea(s) challenged you the most from this week’s reading?
  2. What did you learn about God that you had not considered before?
  3. Has what you have read this week caused you to trust God more? If so, why?
  4. What did you learn about hope?
  5. How does the disciple’s mission relate to our mission?
  6. What does it mean to be a witness?
  7. What did you think about the process of choosing the replacement disciple?
  8. What is the significance of being baptized with the Holy Spirit?
  9. What was the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the disciples? Why do we need the Holy Spirit today?

Let’s do this!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink
    February 2, 2012 8:25 am

    Ok. No comments this week. I appreciated yours. When I am reading it helps me look more closely. Hopefully I’ll have more time to contemplate and harvest and scatter seeds as I go.
    I’m behind. I will try to catch up next week.
    Thanks rebecca
    Melanie

  2. Luray permalink
    February 2, 2012 8:45 am

    1) Switching hats. Having a childlike faith with my heavenly father and then leading my children. I think as mothers we get so used to thinking and doing and making things work that it can be hard to lay that down and Let God. The big concepts that jumped out for me were Patience, Belief, Trust.
    2) I loved on the 27th when they were asking “Now? How about now, Lord? Is it now?” Daily I am reminded that we are (not were) CHILDREN. All of us. As a parent I should be able to view myself more clearly. Many of us wish we could go back and be a better kid, for our sakes and our parents’. We can be a better kid, for God, right now.
    3) Always. Everytime I read the bible I trust God more. I slip, sure, but He always brings me back. And as much as we hate to admit it, those times help us, (gulp), grow.
    4) It’s everything. Without hope- belief, love, trust, patience, all of it is unnecessary. You wouldn’t believe if you didn’t hope it was true. You wouldn’t love if you didn’t hope it would make a difference, or be returned. You wouldn’t trust if you didn’t hope someone was trustworthy. You wouldn’t be patient (Amen!) unless you hoped that patience would one day pay off.
    5) Those of us who are not in full-time ministry may not view spreading the word of God as our “job”. It’s pretty clear that the disciples did. A phrase in Acts 2:4 stood out to me. “as the Spirit enabled them.” They weren’t all speaking the same language. I have to speak the language God asks me to “as the Spirit enables me”. It’s all the same job with completely different job descriptions. All unbelievers need to be reached, but they aren’t all speaking the same “language”.
    6) Do what the holy spirit leads you to do according to the word of God, period.
    7) When you are close to God, lead by God, seeking God’s guidance and needing an immediate answer, He might allow a tangible method like casting lots in order to hear Him clearly.
    8) Access.
    9) It’s the difference between standing in the middle of a crowd naked, or with clothes on. It’s the difference between walking on the edge of a cliff with your eyes closed, or open. It’s the difference between wondering in the desert, or heading for the fresh spring. Who would turn down comfort for shame? Who would choose a long painful death, over the joy of blessed guidance? Who would choose endless suffering over constant refreshment?

    Thanks for the study. I’m loving it. The format is perfect for where I’m at right now. An answer to prayer?

    • February 2, 2012 11:57 pm

      Luray, Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am so glad that you are being challenged and met right where you are. God’s Word has an amazing way of speaking to everyone in such specific ways. I really liked your comment about doing what the Holy Spirit leads us to do according to the Word of God. So often I don’t listen to the Holy Spirit because I think it might just be my mind; however, I need to be listening to the Spirit and following His leading as it lines up with God’s Word. I can know truth because God will not go against Himself.

  3. Kendra Pope permalink
    February 2, 2012 10:22 pm

    I was encouraged every day in this study. What comes to mind is the hope we have of Christ’s return and the hope we have because of the Holy Spirit living within us as believers. I was pumped the day I read about the angels saysibg that Christ would return the same way he left. It just got me excited! And also just empowered when reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit that God has given us to overcome whatever may need to be overcome. One funny thought. Reading the Christ sat and ate with the disciples after his resurrection made me wonder if he HAD to or if he just wanted to? I know it’s funny but I’m wondering if we’ll need to eat when we’re in our resurrected bodies.:) Just a random thought I had.

    • February 3, 2012 12:01 am

      I hope we get to eat in our resurrected bodies. Just think of how delicious and healthy the food will be in our new home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the Holy Spirit. I am just amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit. I can’t wait to read about all that God enables His disciples to do.

  4. Jodi permalink
    February 3, 2012 9:05 am

    One week down and I love it. I love taking small chunks of verse and just settling on them in a quick way at first that then I think about in more depth with each question…kinda leads me right into whatever God wants me to learn that moment in a very organic way. I enjoy going back to any “wondering” I might have had especially as it reminds me to pray and listen more closely to those thoughts and take the time to wander there more deeply.
    I was especially struck with a awesome gracefulness for the gift of the Holy Spirit and just how incredibly loved we must be to have been so blessed. I’ve taken that for granted more than I should have! It made me wonder why we don’t celebrate Pentacost more!! What an amazing wonderful event the Holy Spirit coming down to live in us! Wow. I’m such a crude vessel for such a beautiful thing.
    On the other hand I am always perplexed why a replacement for Judas was chosen. I get the significance of the number 12 in the bible….but practically speaking, I don’t see the need for designating someone in Judas’ place….esp with Pentacost right around the corner and God empowering many and scattering them to spread the Gospel….seems a little like the action was “man” driven ( like wanting a king) than God commanded??
    Thanks again for this study!

    • February 3, 2012 11:19 pm

      Jodi, Interesting thought about celebrating Pentecost more. I wonder why we don’t celebrate the fact that we have been commissioned and empowered by the Holy Spirit. How incredible. Why would God choose to identify Himself with us and allow us to be so closely identified with Him (especially knowing man’s track record)?

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