Monday, July 18, 2005

Summer Update

Maybe Eddie Cochran said it best: there ain't no cure for the summertime blues.

I am derelict. It's been six weeks since this blog had an update. So let's catch up, shall we?

June was a month of ups and downs. We found that two of the three middle schools to which we applied for meeting space were not available. And the third won't tell us until August. But we found another option that may be far better, which we will hopefully be announcing soon. We finished our logo and began printing our promotional materials. And on the 30th, we celebrated our first baby dedication with Logan and his parents Adam & Kim.

On the teaching side, we continued our quest through the book of Acts. We talked about having the right motivation for ministry and looked at the contrast between Philip and Simon the Magician in Acts 8. Our motivation must be for reaching lost and questioning people and not the lust for power, money, or reputation.

We looked at Acts 9 and the transformation of Saul and how no one is beyond the power and grace of God. While we may not experience the same calling or blinding vision as Saul/Paul experienced, we all need similar transformation. We need our hearts changed so that we can pursue the things of God and the spreading of the Gospel instead of pursuing our sinful desires or personal goals.

We also studied the history altering conversation between Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10). Peter learns a valuable lesson that race and bloodline have nothing to do with whether or not God can save someone. He sees a vision of a tablecloth coming from heaven loaded up with lizards, parrots, and other non-kosher animals (the original pigs in a blanket). With this vision, God reminds Peter that only He (God) can determine what's clean or not. And while God can create categories as He sees fit, the only categories by which we should view people are 1)"Those who God loves and can save" and 2)"Those who He doesn't and can't". Suffice it to say, category two is very small. Empty, in fact. Any other categories are inappropriate for God's people. And, as Peter learned, any "Us vs. Them" mentality is absolutely unacceptable. We have a real enemy, and we must fight against his schemes and his deception, but not his prisoners.

Lastly, we looked at Acts 12. In this chapter, Luke contrasts the brokenness of the church with the pride of Herod. John's brother James has been killed and Peter is in prison, awaiting his execution that'll come after the Passover feast. In the midst of their despair and brokenness, God provides the church a miracle and encouragement by freeing Peter from prison. Herod's story is told next, and it's in sharp contrast to the previous verses. At the height of his popularity and power, Herod refused to give God the credit and met a violent end. (Incidentally, "eaten by worms" always makes me think of that movie, "Tremors" or the sandworms in "Dune"...) The point is that a state of humility and brokenness is the best place to be to experience the power and compassion of God. The opposite place is usually traumatic and painful.

More to come soon...


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