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S.O.A.P February 21, 2018

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February 21, 2018 

Read Acts 7:30-60

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureActs 7:58b-60- His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Observations- Stephen became the first Christian martyr in this scene. He go to have his hearing in front of the religious officials and his accusers, but they weren't interested in turning to the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do, however, see the foreshadowing of the way God will use even this horrible incident for his glory as Saul- later Paul- is introduced into the narrative. Stephen dies using similar words to those spoken by Jesus on the cross, which modeled discipleship...living and dying in the way of Jesus.

Application- Why does God allow this to happen to someone who loves Him so much and who serves Him so well? "Why?!" is the question that often arises for us in this life, but the fact remains that a theologically brilliant answer doesn't change our pain nor does it really answer our question. We choose to trust God, even when we don't understand why something is happening. We also believe that we are allowed to wonder and cry out to God with our "Why?!" questions. We have faith and we seek understanding. God can- and does- use awful circumstances for His glory: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28),

Prayer- Thank You, Lord, that even when we don't have any clue why something is happening we can still put our trust in You. Faith isn't the absence of all doubts; rather faith is trusting You through any doubts. We pray for You to bring healing in a violent world. We ask for Your guidance in being a part of the healing and a solution. Amen.

"Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." (Romans 5:1),

Pastor Jamie

To contact me:   

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with
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S.O.A.P February 20, 2018

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February 20, 2018 

Read Acts 7:1-29

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureActs 7:2a- This was Stephen’s reply: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me..."

Observations- Stephen, now arrested and before a religious council, takes the opportunity given him to speak the Good News with care and boldness. In this first part of the message he shared the story of God from Abraham to Moses, which probably wasn't to unsettling or upsetting to his audience, but I still picture them with arms crossed and minds already made up. Tomorrow, however, we'll see their failure to truly "listen" to Stephen as he talks about Jesus as Savior.

Application- Our posture towards the Good News matters. How do we approach Scripture? Do we open the Book of Books with a critical eye or do we bring an open mind? Do we bring a spirit of prayer and a deep desire to discern with God how to listen in a way that draws us closer to Him and one another? We do come with a set of previous experiences, but how we choose to listen to God's Word matters. How will you listen to God's Word today?

Prayer- God, thank You for the living Word, Jesus Christ. Speak again today into my life through Your inexhaustible Word, the Bible. Help me stay in the posture of learner and never expert. Help me bring ears that can be surprised and delighted and that can hear a fresh Word from You. Help me listen...really listen. Amen.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17),

Pastor Jamie

To contact me:   

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with

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