Acts 20:7-12 Video Devotional

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.” (Acts 20:7-12)

Paul was making his way back to Jerusalem, hoping to get there in order to celebrate Pentecost. Haste was fully his intention, as he wanted to sail past Asia (specifically Ephesus) to get to Jerusalem faster. Obviously travel back then was different than it is now, so it’s not like it was a few hours drive, but time certainly was of the essence.

I find that a peculiar detail when reading about sermon Paul gave that went on and on and on (and, by the way, those of you who think we are long winded preachers, we’ve got nothing on Paul!) leading to someone falling asleep and then falling out the window! Granted, he was sitting in a precarious position, but that was a long message! You can guess that message was going into at least its twelfth hour, and poor Eutychus fell asleep sitting at the window.

There are plenty of laughs that can be had at this story, but it shows us a deep and valuable lesson in regards to the Holy Spirit and His movements. 1) Paul was in a hurry to get back to Jerusalem, but his plan was upended by an longer than expected stay in Troas; 2) Paul was sensitive to the Spirit and prolonged his message even though he was the one in the hurry to get moving; 3) even after the sermon and reviving of Eutychus, Paul stayed around to fellowship; and 4) no one hurried out the door after it was over.

This tells me that we, as the church today, may be a little too wrapped up in being “timely”. We can’t start too early, but we have to be done with church by kickoff (I have seen people walk out of a church in order to watch a football game – on TV). If the preacher goes too long, then people make jokes about falling asleep (and many do fall asleep) and call them long-winded.

At our church, we work hard to respect the time demands on everyone’s schedule and practice our preaching craft to be efficient and succinct (if you can’t say it clearly in 30 minutes, you won’t be able to say it clearly in 45), while still leaving room for the Spirit to work and get what He wants out. But maybe we (the church universal) are a bit too rigid with our time allotments and expectations. Maybe we should open ourselves a bit more to the working of the Spirit on the timetable He chooses – maybe then we will be more likely to see His amazing work such as Eutychus experienced firsthand. Thoughts?



Acts 19:11-20 Video Devotional

“And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” (Acts 19:11-20)

I am continually amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit at work, and seeing how effective and incredible it was working through Paul is the kind of stuff that makes you want to leap out of your seat and yell, “Go Team!” To bad they didn’t have those phone apps back then that allowed you to cheer through your phone so they could hear you. Think about it – the Holy Spirit made it so that all a person had to do was touch a towel that had been in contact with Paul’s skin to be made well! Wow! Clearly this power is not Paul’s (that seems a little far fetched to assume it came from him), as the power transferred through Paul into a piece of cloth. Very clearly the work and sense of humor of God.

To me, this is actually a pretty funny passage of scripture. The hubris and audacity of these 7 guys to speak to demons in their own power is almost laughable, if it weren’t so sad. They saw Paul’s actions and thought they could get in on this party under their own strength. Good luck, buddies! Obviously it was a complete failure and they put themselves seriously in harm’s way. Unfortunately, too many people in this day and age play around with demons and put themselves and others at risk. Without the power of Jesus (they HAVE to listen to Him), we have no weapons to fight the enemy. With Jesus, we have all we need.

Jesus is enough. His grace is enough. His power is enough. His love is enough. Are you willing to let it all in and let yourself go?



Acts 5:12-16 Video Devotional

“Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.” (Acts 5:12-16)

I am guessing that some of that fear was a direct result of what happened with Ananias and Sapphira, the married couple who withheld some of their money from the sale of their home and lied about it. God took care of them swiftly and fatally. Their execution at the doorposts was not because of they didn’t sell everything or give every penny they had – it was because they lied and hid back some. Had they been honest, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

As shown in that story and after, Peter and the apostles were letting the Holy Spirit be fully in control and following with abandon. Chapter 5 showcases how little the apostles themselves had anything to do with what was going on. Peter did not tell Ananias he would die, he just called him out for lying to God; with Sapphira however, he guessed she would receive the same fate her husband was given. He also had little to do with his shadow healing the sick.

These, to me, are clearly the Acts of the Holy Spirit and show God’s will in bringing people to Himself in a massive way to get this movement started. On our own, we have zero power or ability; it is only with Christ in us that we have the power to move mountains or do all things.

Friends, I implore you to stop trying to be powerful on your own. We all have our thorns in the flesh that prove we rely on the sufficiency of God, so let’s together stop denying that. We are weak and frail (and I know I feel that all the more during this pandemic). God, however, our Creator and Sustainer is most certainly not. He is powerful and vibrant, quickening our spirit and our bodies to accomplish His work. In fact, in Him, we are invincible until He calls us home. So don’t be afraid – but don’t you dare try to do this on your own. Ask for His strength from His Spirit to fill you and flood you with His Power.



Acts 4:29-31 Video Devotional

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29-31)

This is a great verse to memorize. This is shortly after Peter and John are at the Jewish Council where they were threatened not to spread the gospel anymore. They chose the bold path and continued to preach Jesus everywhere they went. They didn’t deny their suffering or the risks ahead, but went to the other believers and shared everything, thus allowing the believers to be in prayer for them.

Prayer is such a huge ingredient in spiritual success. It connects us to God, puts us in a humble position to listen and seek the will of the Lord. When we pray for God’s will to be done, we are not asking for what we want, but for what He wants – it lets the Spirit work freely in our hearts when we have an attitude of submission to Him. And that’s what the believers did in praying for Peter and John.

When they did that, notice the response of the prayer. It wasn’t just effective for the apostles, but for everyone who participated and led to even more of an impact with more people speaking the name of Jesus with boldness. When we get out of our own way, let God’s will reign in our soul and stop trying to do what we think is best, incredible things will happen.

Be encouraged, friends! If you pray for boldness to share the gospel, it is very likely that you will receive it, as it is God’s will for us to make disciples (Matt 28:19). Therefore ask freely, but be prepared and know that you will then need to use that boldness and will be opposed. Know that there are consequences for following God (mostly good, though you will be subject to spiritual warfare). Pray the above verse for yourself and your church family – let’s see what happens!



Acts 4:13-18 Video Devotional

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.” (Acts 4:13-18)

The Holy Spirit is in full swing, going about His work. Though the timing is probably pretty shortly after Pentecost (we don’t know exactly how long), Peter and John are leading a team of powerhouse evangelists powered by the Holy Spirit, as if this was how they were doing things since day 1. They spoke with conviction, intensity, and influence. So much so, that the religious leaders were upset. The guys end up in front of the Jewish Council because their time at Solomon’s portico brought around 5,000 people to faith in Christ (including a miraculous healing).

To say their teaching was cramping the Pharisees and Saducees’ styles would be an understatement. Whether they were preaching the truth of God’s grace or the resurrection of the dead; or Jesus Christ Himself, everything was an insult flying in the face of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. There was a problem though – to a certain extent the Jewish leaders didn’t know what they could do, as the amount of influence and leadership the apostles held (especially in regards to the quickly growing crowd of believers) was quite powerful.

They threw Peter and John in jail overnight, but when the trial came, they were put to shame with Peter’s response. After all, there is nothing bad to say about the gospel. It is truly and fully a blessing and a benefit to humans. How mad can the elders get over a man being healed? I guess pretty mad – especially when it is starting to become clear that their understanding of God is different than Jesus.

The Pharisees and Saducees were the ones fighting to get Jesus arrested and crucified. They weren’t likely to take the apostles’ message very well; it was an insult to them in every way. And that is the problem – if someone isn’t for Jesus, then they are in conflict with Him. Either a person submits humbly to the grace of Christ or they become an adversary. The name of Jesus is polarizing; something Peter and John learned quickly.

We do not need to be so bold and direct as Peter and John (unless the Holy Spirit calls for it in a certain situation), but if we are preaching the name of Jesus, we will come into contact with opposition; human or otherwise. The enemy does not want the name of Jesus proclaimed and will try to stop us. So, friends, if you are facing opposition in some way because of your efforts to share the gospel, take a look at the apostles of the early church. There will be earthly consequences, but there will also be heavenly rewards. And the realization that nothing happens that our God does not allow to happen. We are and will be the victors – so do not be afraid, be bold and fearless in Christ!



Acts 3:1-10 Video Devotional

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (Acts 3:1-10)

Peter is often a very maligned biblical character. Whether it is the “get behind me, Satan” line from Jesus or the sinking in the water, or the denial at the trail, Peter is usually set up as a “don’t be like him” kind of person. That, however is a small part of his history and minor contributions to the biblical story. Aside from authoring 2 books (and most likely being the source behind Mark’s gospel), Peter was a major player in the book of Acts and even in Galatians (though that was not one of his shining moments).

Peter himself, I think, is one of the most completely fleshed out characters in scripture. We see him grow through his experiences, change (both over time and drastically at Pentecost), and get a sense of his motivations and how he sees things through the Lord. It is also quite obvious that pre-Holy Spirit Peter and post-Holy Spirit Peter couldn’t be more different from each other. Though clearly the same person, Peter’s impetuousness in the gospels is replaced with power and Spirit-led intensity in Acts. Fear is replaced with confidence in God and even though he still sins (see Galatians 2), God is clearly using him to lead the early church.

This is exactly why the main character in Acts (and in the church age) is the Holy Spirit. Who is the One responsible for Peter’s change? Who is the One able to perform these miracles? Peter was always the same person – but in him was someone who was far greater and who often goes forgotten: the Holy Spirit. Praise the One who inspired Peter to tell that man to get up! Praise the One who restores the soul! Praise the One who is currently working individually in each believer to will and to work for God’s good pleasure!

Celebrate and enjoy that God the Spirit is working in you, growing you closer to Himself and using you to bring life to other people. The power comes from the Spirit; the same Spirit that healed the lame man, the same Spirit that made all the people hear the apostles in their own language, the same spirit that turned Peter into a powerhouse. It is that Spirit in you. Praise God!



Acts 2:42-47 Video Devotional

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)

The formula for effective church ministry is simple. Acts 2:42 has been the key since they were first practicing it in real-time. The results speak for themselves. So what’s different? Why haven’t results like that happened…at all since? Was it a special time in that God wanted to get the numbers up quick? Or is there something to this formula that churches today are missing?

Again, the answer is simple. But the implementation is immensely difficult. The trick is that they weren’t working for growth – or for money – or for power. They were simply, in intent and heart, following the Holy Spirit and living day by day doing what He asked and being who He wanted them to be. Would we be ok living for God if we lost all our money, influence and saw no visible response? Something tells me that libraries full of books on church growth tell another story.

Evidence tells us that we are concerned with earthly success instead of simply devoting ourselves to God and study of the scriptures. What should all of our effort lead to? If people only grow in their faith, but no more money comes to the church, is that successful?

The problem is in the motives, not necessarily the actions. If we choose to focus on doing our job as a church (see Acts 2:42) purely from the motivation to seek God as a community of individuals and leave it fully up to Him the consequences, I think we might get back towards the original intent. If our focus is purely following the Spirit, then we are not responsible for what happens – He is.

And that’s the point. He will bring other people to where He wants them to be. If we are who He wants us to be, then we will never have to try to grow; it will happen purely organically at the will and work of the Spirit. Who knows how many or how fast – again, that is not our worry. Simply follow Him and let what happens, happen. Don’t try to be a big church or an influential member. Simply be – enjoy His presence and listen to His voice. Or, as Acts 2 puts it, devote yourself to the apostles’ teaching (scripture) and fellowship with your church family (care about the relationships), break bread and pray. Make it about your relationship with God, not your popularity, fame, or the church’s benefit.



Acts 2:5-13 Video Devotional

“Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Acts 2:5-13)

I love this passage. Not only does this start the “church age” with the arrival of the Holy Spirit, but His arrival causes such a change in people that outsiders (non-believers) think they are drunk! The miracle of this story is that once the Spirit arrived, the believers started talking in their native language, but they were in a crowded place where there was a large, multi-cultural (and therefore multi-language) gathering. Even though the believers were speaking in their own language, each person heard them in their native tongue! God is really wanting to get His message out.

What strikes me about this most is the line about them thinking they are drunk. Partially because it makes me chuckle, but mostly because the power of the Holy Spirit is so strong that the onlookers in this story notice such a drastic and immediate of a change in people that leads them to conclude they must be drunk. This happened quick and was overt. And that’s the key, which is also the challenge for today.

How much of a noticeable difference does the Holy Spirit make in you? If it’s not drastic – or even noticeable, then you might want to check on your spiritual health. The Holy Spirit in you is a deposit, guaranteeing your inheritance with Jesus. He regenerates our souls, reviving us from spiritual death to life. And He works in us towards God’s good pleasure, to do good works which He created beforehand that we should walk in them.

That sounds nothing like a life under our own power. It shouldn’t look like it either to an onlooker. What does it look like to you?



Acts 1:21-26 Video Devotional

“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:21-26)

The story about Matthias being named as one of the 12 is a very intriguing story to me. You have this little snippet of the disciples in the time between the ascension and Pentecost (about a week and a half), wherein which they (through prayer) decide to select the one to take Judas’ place. Scripture prophesied his office would be replaced and Mathias was chosen by casting of lots.

There isn’t anything wrong or any glaring sin shown in this story – in fact, it comes across as a very normal and expected thing to do. Except for one glaring omission. Throughout the rest of Scripture, we hear nothing of Matthias. I am sure he was around for some things, and who knows, we don’t know the identity of the author of Hebrews (no evidence suggest it was him, just to be clear), but it is hard to make an argument from silence that Matthias’s promotion was anything noteworthy. Maybe that’s just because it wasn’t noted anywhere.

Again, this is nothing against Matthias, but I have always been very curious as to why this story (with no follow-up about him) is mentioned in Scripture, especially when juxtaposed against one of the main characters of the book, Paul. My theory is simple – looking at this book as Acts of the Holy Spirit, Paul is God’s choice to “replace” Judas and be the 12th apostle. However, before the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the 11 disciples jumped in with both feet (as per usual) and acted on impulse, to which God allowed them (it certainly didn’t interrupt His plans any).

With its place in the book (right at the beginning of the sequel of Luke), it appears more to me that Luke places this there to act as a recap of sorts – reminding his readers of how the disciples acted and what power they had before the arrival of the Holy Spirit. This makes a perfect comparison to the strength and power on full display once Pentecost happened. Thus, we see without the Holy Spirit: impetuousness and the same old disciples; and after: POWER.

Why is this important? Because it sets up the main character – the Holy Spirit! His arrival changes everything! With Him on the scene, a dripping faucet turns into a raging river of God’s power flowing through these people and the consequences are on full display – people starting turning to Jesus by the thousands! Friends, we can do nothing on our own power, but by the power of God, there is nothing that can stand against us! Run to Him, dear friends. Run to the Spirit and let it be all Him. “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).



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