Today we cover the First Missionary Journey of Paul, Barnabus and John Mark. We will focus on the first recorded sermon of Paul at Antioch of Pisidian. Most of us have grown up being taught "the gospel". How does what we learned compare with what Paul preached? This is an important question when we consider that this was Paul's first opportunity to proclaim the gospel in a missionary setting.
Today we look at the persecution of Herod Agrippa perpetrated on the church in Jerusalem. Herod looked to the sword and the prison to solve his problems. That's what Empire does. How did the church respond? What did the early Jesus-followers do?
Today we listen to Peter tell the story of his meeting with the Roman centurion Cornelius, and what God did there to convince Peter, who had a hard time believing it, that God is not partial. The early Jesus-followers in Jerusalem could hardly believe also. Neither can we, often. Or maybe never, as Willie James Jenning says.
Today we read Acts 9, the story of the conversion of Saul. Our focus is on the three men that appear in the story: Saul, Ananias and Barnabus. Who were they? What was their role? And how did God use them each in their God-given uniqueness to further the reach of the gospel message?
Today we read Acts 8, the story of Simon the Magician and the (unnamed) Ethiopian eunuch. Both are impacted by power dynamics: Simon wanting to use power, the eunuch being abused by power. What can we learn from these stories about the use of power in our own lives and time, and what the "gift of God" is?
Today we look at the story of Acts 3 and 4: the man who was born lame and was healed by Peter and John. Why choose this story as the first story of the public church in Acts? Why such detail? And why were the Jewish leaders so annoyed?
Today we read Acts 2, the famous story of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples. Our main point: Pentecost is not complete without the new community of Jesus-followers that came into existence. Without the one, the other is meaningless.