Monthly Archives: April 2013

Upside Down and Reoriented

“The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word.” (Acts 11:1 CEB)

Peter couldn’t stand still. He moved from place to place as he felt the Spirit moving him. While in Lydda he heard from the disciples in Joppa that he was badly needed. Peter heard the need, dropped everything and traveled to Joppa.

When he arrived, it was to discover that a beloved friend, Tabitha, had died. He listened to what the widows had to say about her. They showed him her handwork, clothing and tunics made for the poor. From what they showed him, he learned who she was.

Hhe put them out of the room and through prayer, brought life back to Tabitha.

He didn’t return to Lydda, though. Apparently, God had someone in mind who could do the job in Lydda. Peter remained in Joppa. And that’s when he received his vision.

The vision came three times (a Trinitarian dream, if you will.) And from this dream he learned that God’s word was not to be withheld from anyone. God wanted Peter and the disciples to move into the Gentile world.

Remember Jesus’ command? “”Therefore, go and made disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 28:19 CEB)

All nations.  Not just the Jews, but all people.  When Peter received the vision, he understood.  And in case he needed to have this affirmed, along came some Gentile disciples who accompanied him to Caesarea.  As they traveled he learned about their vision of a man named Peter who told them how they could be saved.

Peter brought God’s saving grace to the Gentile population.  He opened the door for Paul to be a missionary to the Gentiles throughout the Mediterranean world.

What doors is God calling us to open today?

There’s a restaurant I enjoy frequenting in Cleveland, OK.  On the wall over the door is a sign that says something like this:  “You are about to enter the cold, cruel world.  Hurry back.”

When we enter church, we enter sanctuary: a safe place where we can freely worship God and discern God’s call to us.  Then we enter the world.  It’s a world of joy and sadness; of life and death; of love and rage.

There is much work to do.

Where are you being called to reach out?

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.

 

Advertisements

Upside Down

“During the journey, as [Saul] approached Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven encircled him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me?” (Acts 9:3-4 CEB)

When in your life have you been turned upside down?  I trust that there’s more than one experience to look back on.  In fact, I’ve come to value those moments when God has stepped in and disoriented my life.  However, I must admit that I do better in the area of gratitude when looking in the rear view mirror.

Saul was a terrible person.  It’s plain and simple.  He had no business going after believers in Christ.  But, they rankled him.  He hated them and what they were doing.  And that’s when God stepped in and called him over to the other side.  He became Paul and his writings are still precious today, some 2000 years later.  (He would have been an amazing blogger!)

In this season of Easter, we celebrate our risen Lord and Savior.  This is a time for us to take on an increased willingness to take risks in his name.  How can we proclaim what Christ has done in our lives?

The saying goes, “Preach the Gospel.  When necessary, use words.”  I don’t  know who said it, but I do believe it.  Actions are louder than words.

So what would it look like if we took risks and “preached” the gospel without ever speaking a word?

Rather than argue a point of view that is counter to ours, we could engage in even-tempered conversation, seeking to understand the other side.

We can reach out to our neighbor.  Especially, those whom Jesus loves more than we do.

We can engage in serious Bible study to better understand discipleship.

Lent is a time to give something up in order to honor Jesus who gave everything up.  Perhaps Easter can be a time to take something up in order to honor Jesus who came to turn everything upside down.

Where do you find yourself in this scripture?

What is God calling you to do?

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.


%d bloggers like this: