Acts 5:39-42 Video Devotional

“So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:39b-42)

Would you rejoice about suffering for your faith? Would you consider the idea of suffering to be an honor that you would seek to be worthy of? I bet a lot of the time the word inconvenienced would fit better than rejoicing. Sure, in theory it would be awesome to be used by God in any way, but sometimes when the rubber meets the road it’s not that fun.

People generally imagine the idea of suffering for our faith as some intense battle between spiritual forces where we are feeling and fighting the enemy over someone’s soul. Or maybe it’s that prayer-warrior battle that finds you agonizing for a long time over a specific issue. But what if it is being late for a family dinner because you were sitting with a friend who needed you there, but kept repeating the same problems? Or having to forgive someone for the same mistake for the 212th time?

A lot of the time we look at the big things and want to serve (or suffer) in those areas. But what about the mundane, the annoying, or the frustrating? Peter and John were for sure doing those “big things” in this part of the story, and it led to beatings for them, but are we willing to suffer in the small, not so noticeable ways as well? 

Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or reputational, there is no one-way the enemy fights and therefore there are lots of different ways we can suffer for the cause of Christ. Some may be “big” with crazy stories that will be told throughout the rest of your life. And some will be things you hope you forget – or can get out of as quickly as possible. (This is just like when some of the biggest ministry opportunities come when all you want to do is go home). 

Are you willing to answer the call when it is late…or inconvenient…or gives you a headache? Follow God in the small, mundane annoyances is just as rewarding and powerful as any opportunity God offers. Don’t look past a single one – or you’ll miss out on what God wants for you.



Acts 5:27-32 Video Devotional

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:27-32)

The Holy Spirit was on the move. In every way – enacting justice, breathing life into death, convicting people of their sin, and performing miracles upon miracles. The apostles have figured out the best thing to do was let the Spirit run free and follow. Lives were changing and many were taking notice.

The problem is, when the Holy Spirit works, many do take notice, and there are plenty of those that don’t like what they see. They look at the Spirit’s work as a problem to be solved and a situation to be ended. Evil is no fan of the Spirit and fear becomes palpable when evil is confronted with the power of God. When evil is afraid, it gets vicious.

The Jewish council continued to see the Spirit’s work among the Jews and took offense. They saw their way being challenged and them being called to responsibility for the death of Jesus. Bringing in Peter and John only made it worse for them, as it gave Peter the perfect chance to make known who is in control – Jesus. They must obey God rather than men.

This reply only served to make the council more angry and develop a desire to kill these men. Peter and John were certainly not looking for a confrontation and to enrage the council. This statement was led by a humble boldness through the leading of the Holy Spirit to be truthful. But when people see themselves as threatened, it is easy to see why they reacted the way they did.

Why is this important now? Because there are a lot of things people are looking for us to respond to. Can we speak truth into situations with grace and light so that people know it is not us that is talking, but the Spirit? I think so. But we have to obey God first – if we aren’t listening to Him, we won’t have the opportunities to speak about Him.

As Gamaliel says later in the chapter, “if it is from God, it cannot be stopped”. Are you willing to obey and see where this journey takes you? It will be dangerous, but good, for He is dangerous and thankfully good. Don’t miss the boat.



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 4:32-35 Video Devotional

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:32-35)

Following right on the heels of our previous devotional, today’s section doesn’t fit as nicely in our society today. It presents a challenge to our ruggedly individualistic, eat what your own hands earn, individual responsibility culture that exists throughout our country, but even moreso in the evangelistic community. There are a few things here worth noting: 1) The believers were all completely unified in attitude and purpose. They were dedicated to one singular goal and willing to do what it took to get that done. 2) The gospel being preached was at the center of everything. 3) They all pooled their money together and voluntarily chose to live in an monetarily equal commune.

The communal lifestyle is what draws issues from many people today, but that is only a part of this story (some of which we will finish tomorrow). With the Holy Spirit drawing people into complete unity amongst each other and the gospel as the central driving purpose, we see the believers taking an intense care into the well-being of each other and others around them, to the point of handing over all their belongings for the benefit of others. This is the real key.

Believers with more money were handing over their treasures so that money could go to other people (this is not a place for a political rant, because this was not a political act). It was benevolence on a larger scale. It was choosing to live without the excess so that others would have enough.

Today, this act would look different, but is just as vital as it was back then. All 3 of these exist together inside the rhythms of discipleship that we have taught on numerous occasions: Look Up, Look In, Look Out. Look Up – they were unified because they were fully focused on their relationships with God. Look In – because of the unity in the Spirit, they saw each other’s need as an opportunity to love and serve, doing so without hesitation. Look Out – the end goal was the same for everyone – sharing the gospel and proclaiming Jesus at all costs. It wasn’t about life or comfort; it was about purpose. It was about the Great Commission. it was about being His witnesses. That was top priority.

What is your top priority? That drives everything else. I challenge you to respond with your top priority in life, either in the comments or personally through email. What goal holds your top spot in life?



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).



Acts 1:6-11 Video Devotional

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-11)

What must if have felt like to watch Jesus rise up into Heaven? I bet it looked cool, but at the same time, devastating. The disciples were still trying to figure this out as they go along – after all, they survived the cross and then scored this huge victory by seeing Jesus rise from the dead – only to end up at the ascension, watching Him leave again. This time was much better than the first, but I imagine it still being quite painful.

And it is at this time Jesus lays down the action plan moving forward. We WILL be His witnesses – is that a command, or a declaration? Without going too much into semantics, it appears that this is more of a declaration that actually speaks louder than one might expect. This is what He lays down to His disciples – His goal is that the gospel would expand outward from Jerusalem and become something that would reach across the whole world. For that to happen, Rome would be a great place to see that explosion take place.

Thus, as we read through the book of Acts, we see the gospel first in Jerusalem, then moving outward all the way until we end up in Rome, with Paul on house arrest, having all sorts of people come in to talk with him and hear the gospel. It sounds like Jesus’ declaration came to fruition – at least the beginning stage of it. And that’s where the church comes in.

The title of the Book is officially “Acts of the Apostles”, though I do not think that is the best option for the title. The book launches us with the declaration and ends with the catalyst of Paul being in Rome and the gospel fully taking off around the world; but that was just the beginning – it hadn’t reached the ends of the earth yet – in fact, it still hasn’t, which means that declaration is meant to include us as well. He is using us to be His witnesses as well.

And then we have the true power behind the book. Over and over we will see as we work our way through Acts that the Holy Spirit is the One making everything happen – at one point, Peter’s shadow is performing miracles! That shows us it is actually the Holy Spirit doing the work – thus I suggest calling it “Acts of the Holy Spirit” and that title holding true today. This is His work and we are along for the ride. Enjoy this, my friends! We are along for the ride in the river of God – which He graciously allows us to participate in!



Acts 8:1-8 Video Devotional

“And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.” (Acts 8:1-8)

Here is exile story number 3 – the great dispersion. In chapter 1, Jesus tells the disciples and those at the ascension that they WILL be His witnesses there and across the globe. It’s the same command in Genesis 9. Be fruitful and multiply. However, that isn’t how the disciples initially respond. Instead, they hide in the upper room unsure and afraid. Even after they receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the story is still centered around Jerusalem. That is, until Paul arrives on the scene (as Saul) and persecutes the believers.

Interestingly, it is Paul’s actions before his conversion that cause the great dispersion of which he would become the chief missionary. It seems, though, that the Christians in Jerusalem were kicked out of town by God through Paul’s persecution. Side point for those that are curious. Saul did not become Paul because of his conversion – Saul is simply the Jewish version of his name and Paul the Roman version.

Anyway – the dispersion is the third scriptural example of God sending out His chosen people because of a failure to get His blessings out there on their own. This command is a chief command of God and a huge part of His purposes for us – we are to be the blessing to the world by going out and sharing Jesus with others – down the street and across the oceans. If you as a believer choose not to do that, do not be surprised if your choice is taken away and you are sent out there anyway. God has a way of making sure His blessings are passed on. Pray that His will would be done in your life – willingly and joyfully.