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June 2, 2018

The Side Show

by Josh Keller

'Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.’ He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 28:28-31 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=02c8691459&e=82a9a8f891)

This weekend our kids wound down a long sugar fueled Memorial Day at a friend’s house by watching some television. When a commercial played, my kids, who rarely watch any television with commercials, came unglued. “What happened to the show? Bring it back?!” They were frustrated because Netflix and PBS are never interrupted by commercials. The commercial was a sideshow interrupting things, distracting them, and confusing them. They just wanted to get back to main story.

In many ways, that is how the Jews in Rome felt as Paul expounded the gospel to them. The Jesus deal felt like a sideshow, a confusing little sect, an interruption in the main story of God’s dealing with His people. Let’s go back to the regularly scheduled broadcast of a people rescued from slavery in Egypt, saved by the blood of a lamb, baptized in the water of the Red Sea, watching that snake Pharaoh impotent and destroyed in those same waters, getting to feast with God at a mountain, receiving His word at the same mountain, getting miraculous provision on the journey to and finally reaching a promised land. You know, that story! Let’s get back to that one. Forget this commercial interruption.

But of course, this Jesus sideshow is the main show. The story isn’t being interrupted. In fact the plot hasn’t really changed. The fascinating thing about these last two chapters of Acts is how clearly they remind of the Exodus story. Paul begins in captivity. He is then freed from that captivity to journey to God’s promised destination. He leaves after the Day of Atonement to cross a great sea. On the journey, things go bad, but Paul gets a word from God. Paul breaks bread at dawn with them. Everyone is saved through the water and a serpent is found to be impotent and destroyed. And finally they arrive in Rome, the promised city.

Do you see? This is no sideshow. God is writing the same show. It is the story of God redeeming His people from captivity to sin and death. Freeing them to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Bringing them to a promised land to dwell in peace and joy forever. If you are in Christ, that is your story. It is the story. So go tell the story. Be bold. You are not hindered. You will pass through the waves. You have been freed. The serpent is impotent. You will come to the land that is promised. Jesus is bringing you through. There are those who will listen. There are some desperate to hear this story. Tell it without fear.

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About the Author

Josh Keller
Assistant Pastor
All Saints Presbyterian Church

Joshua Keller, a native Kansan and graduate of Kansas State University, lives in Austin, Texas, where he serves as Youth Pastor to All Saints Presbyterian Church. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary during which he spent some time working at PCPC in the Youth Ministry.

He and his wife Erin have three children, Elliotte, Oliver, and Adelaide, and one faithful dog, Ike.

 

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Spirit-Warned

    [Paul and his traveling companions] looked up the local disciples [in Tyre] and stayed with them seven days. Their message to Paul, from insight given by the Spirit, was "Don't go to Jerusalem."

    Acts 21:4 MESSAGE

    Key Thought

    Okay, I admit this is confusing. Paul is convicted that he must go to Jerusalem. At the same time, he knows hardship awaits him. Now this warning from the Spirit: "Don't go to Jerusalem!" I don't know any way to understand this situation other than one of two ways. One, Paul is disobeying the Spirit when he goes to Jerusalem. Two, this message is more of the Spirit alerting him that grief and hardship await him if he goes to Jerusalem than it is the Spirit instructing him not to go. Here's the bottom line: Either way, God uses this trip to Jerusalem to deliver the collection from the Gentile churches and to get Paul to Rome, where the good news of Jesus needed to be heard and where Paul was determined to go. Somewhere in the confusion we all face in trying to follow the Spirit's lead, we have to trust that God will get us where we need to be and doing what we need to do to honor him fully (Romans 8:28, 38-39). The question is whether we are willing to invest ourselves fully and trust in the Spirit leading us no matter what the short-term consequences of our commitment may be.

    Today's Prayer

    Gracious Father in heaven, I trust that you will use the Holy Spirit to lead me where I need to be to do the work you want me to do. I ask, dear Father, that my life glorifies you no matter where your leading takes me or what your leading entails. My deepest prayer, Lord, is that I never, ever, outlive my love for you and my trust in you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Spirit Appointed

    [Paul, to the Ephesian elders at Miletus:] "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

    Acts 20:28 NIV

    Key Thought

    Paul reminds the Ephesian elders of three heavenly truths about leaders:

    1. Leaders are to watch, feed, protect and care for (or shepherd) the people of God.
    2. The Holy Spirit is involved in putting leaders into their leadership role.
    3. Those who lead must always realize that those they lead (called "the flock" and "the church of God" in today's verse) never belong to them but to God, who purchased them at such a high cost.
    These truths give leaders a powerful and sobering reminder of their call as leaders and give followers a reminder to follow. For each of us, these truths give us a reminder of just how precious the church is to God!

    Today's Prayer

    Almighty God, please be at work in our churches today through the Holy Spirit's calling those you want and we desperately need in leadership roles in your church. I ask forgiveness, dear Father, for not valuing your church more highly, and I pledge to cherish it as you do. In Jesus' name, I offer these petitions and this commitment. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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