March 9, 2018
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Scripture: Acts 16:31-34, They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
Observation: In this chapter, Paul and Silas are falsely accused, denied their legal rights as Roman citizens (they were beaten and imprisoned without a trial), and gravely mistreated. While they must have been angry and fearful on some level, they stay very connected to the purpose God has given them. Even in jail, their wounds still raw, they sing hymns and pray, making quite an impression on the other prisoners. Then, given the opportunity to escape, they do not (and neither do the other prisoners – again, a testament to Paul and Silas). This makes such an impact on the jailer that he is led to ask about Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas, focused more on purpose than on their rights or having been mistreated, then share the Gospel with the jailer, who accepts Jesus along with his whole household!
Application: The reality is that bad stuff is going to happen (see John 16:33). We are going to have to deal with people and circumstances that are difficult and uncomfortable. Things will often seem unfair. But how can we partner with God in the midst of difficult situations? Are we so aware of God’s purpose that we look for ways to share and demonstrate his love and grace with others even when we are stuck in really tough places? Maybe you are in a really hard work situation – how might you be a light to others there? Maybe you spend your days getting medical tests or sitting with a loved one in a hospital – how might you share the Good News of God’s love with those around you? Maybe you are homebound – how might God use you as a prayer warrior for your church, your neighborhood, and your community? How are we staying connected to God's purpose for our lives through the difficult circumstances?
Prayer: God, even when life seems unfair, help me always pay attention to your purpose and open my eyes to those around me who need to experience your grace and love. Give me opportunities to share my faith through word and deed to those in my neighborhood, my workplace, my places of “play,” and my community. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I Peter 3:14-16, But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
P.S. If you missed last month’s Second Sunday Learning Lab: Practicing the Ways of Jesus, join us for our second meeting this Sunday, March 11 at 4pm in S1 and S2. The learning lab is a place to better follow Jesus through spiritual habits and monthly experiments. It is a time to GROW and practice being SENT. Come join us! We have three monthly gatherings remaining: Mar. 11, Apr. 8, and May 13 – at 4pm in S1&S2.