In the darkness of the sealed tomb, early on the first Easter morning, new life emerged. The heart of Jesus began to beat again. Blood flowed again through his veins, his eyes opened, his feet found the ground, his legs stood, his lungs filled with air. This was resurrection life. Life on the other side of death. Life that could not be suppressed, not by any power on earth or in heaven. And in that moment, the world was changed. Soon the new and risen life of Jesus was witnessed by his friends. They saw and touched him. And they remembered his promise: “because I live, you also shall live.”
At Pentecost, the promise came true. His risen life came upon them. His energy coursed through their veins – his spirit alive in them. His life filled them up and spilled over – the lame were healed, the lonely were loved, and a new humanity took shape – a growing community of “little Christs.” This is the story of the birth of the church, as told in the book of Acts. The risen life of Jesus, poured out upon his people, and carried by them to the ends of the earth. It’s a story we’re still living. The risen life of Jesus is still on the move, still filling up broken vessels like you and me and spilling out into the world.
This fall, we dive into the book of Acts. My prayer is that this won’t just be another sermon series, but something more like a rallying cry – an urgent summons to carry forward what our first Christian forebears began. We’ve been given the same resources – the good news of the gospel, and the living Word of Christ himself, alive in us. And we’re called to the same holy task – to make his life visible on earth as it is in heaven. As we read the stories of Peter and James, Lydia and Priscilla, Paul and Barnabas, the martyr Stephen, the evangelist Phillip – we’re looking into a mirror. These were ordinary people, transformed by Christ to become vessels of his presence. They knew that his good news was a gift that had to be shared. And so my prayer for us is that our study of Acts will shape us and send us, to risk boldly, to live our faith transparently, to carry the risen power of Christ into every sphere of life. At the heart of the church is a mission – not a building or a program or a pastor, but a calling – to be the living presence of Christ together, out loud, in action, wherever we are.
St. Teresa of Avila wrote this: “Christ has no body now but yours.” If we want the world to see him, they’ll have to glimpse him in us. As we jump into another fall season, I pray that his heart might beat more boldly within us, and his life spill out more
widely from us into a world that is thirsty for him.
The story isn’t over. As we trace the “Acts of the Apostles,” may we find our living Lord writing a new chapter, in and through us!
- Sept 9 The Goal and the Promise Acts 1:1-8 Communion Sunday
- Sept 16 The Birth of the Church Acts 2:1-4, 37-47
- Sept 23 In the Name of Jesus Acts 3:1-10
- Sept 30 “Witnesses” Acts 4:1-21 Missions Report & Lunchon
- Oct 7 A Radical Prayer Acts 4:23-31 World Communion Sunday
- Oct 14 A Radical Lifestyle Acts 4:32-5:11
- Oct 21 An Outsider’s Wisdom Acts 5:27-42 Women’s Retreat Weekend
- Oct 28 A Martyr’s Testimony Acts 7:54-60
- Nov 4 A Lesson About Money Acts 8:9-24 Stewardship Sunday
- Nov 11 A Convert’s Joy Acts 8:26-39 Communion
- Nov 18 “A Terrorist Bows the Knee” Acts 9:1-19 Pledge Commitment Sunday
- Nov 25 “A Great Big Gospel”
ACTS: Church on the Move series continues in January 2019…