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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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S.O.A.P February 19, 2018

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February 19, 2018 

Read Acts 6:1-15

To read this text click HERE.

ScriptureActs 6:1a- But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent.

Observations- Here we get to see the first incident of conflict in the early church and how it was resolved. Some people saw an injustice in the way the food was being distributed, and they brought their complaint to the apostles, who immediately created a new team (seven deacons) to meet the needs that helped them stay focused primarily on prayer and proclaiming the message of Jesus as Lord.

Application- We have to remember that if the early church could experience "rumblings of discontent" within a couple of months of being in the presence of the resurrected Lord, then it should never surprise us that there are rumblings of discontent at New Hope. After all- we are sinners saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who hopefully enter into a process of discipleship to learn how to sin less and less. This, however, takes a long time given what a mess we can make of ourselves. To do battle with the regular and expected rumblings of discontent every church needs high quality, high character, and high competence staff and volunteers, who get along well with one another and resolve conflict quickly and effectively as they engage in gift based ministry. Without that at New Hope we are far less likely to live into our mission of making more and better followers of Jesus Christ. There will always be rumblings of discontent in the church, and the question is how we work to deal with them. 

Prayer- Dear Lord, thank You for the universal church where we are connected as brothers and sisters in Christ with people very different from us. Thank You for this church with all of our different ideas and ways of seeing the world You love so much. Help us be faithful to quickly and effectively attend to all of the natural and normal rumblings of discontent that will from from time time arise all for Your glory and for the sake of the mission You've given us. Amen. 

"Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all." (Ephesians 4:3-6),

Pastor Jamie

To contact me:   

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

Posted by Jamie Westlake with

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