11.16 Acts 27-28

Eric Fox

11.16.2020

Acts 27-28

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

These chapters are about Paul’s journey to Rome and ministry once he arrived.  Some shipwrecks and travel excitement.

What is one key verse?

Acts 28:28

“Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

It doesn’t really change my vision but increases my faith.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

Makes me more grateful and encouraged to seek to grow deeper in His wisdom and strength.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

It makes me more encouraged to be a disciple.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

The Gentiles are able to know salvation because of Jesus and what He did on the cross.

11.14 Acts 24-26

Chris Carlson

11.14.2020

Acts 24-26

In my reading, Paul is on trial before the Roman governor Felix, then Festus who succeeded Felix and later King Agrippa.

The verse that spoke to me was: Acts 26:29 “Paul replied, ‘short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.’”

I was struck by Paul’s boldness, even in chains!   He was so eager to share the gospel even before his accusers with hopes that they would come to know “The Way”.   Paul’s concern was never his freedom or safety but the spreading of the gospel!

This gives me hope that even in the trials we face the way we respond and how we rely on God can have such an impact on those around us!   It also reminds me that we have so many opportunities to share our faith.   If Paul could share on trial and in prison what is stopping us?

My reading reminded me that Jesus is so much bigger than our circumstances and that He can us those circumstances for good!

11.13 Acts 21-23

John Demsky

11.13.2020

Acts 21-23

Paul goes to Jerusalem after the Holy Spirit reveals to him that he will be bound by the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles. An angry mob comes after him in the temple where Roman soldiers step in and take him away. At first he is mistaken for an Egyptian rebel but then speaks to the people about Jesus. He is then about to be flogged by the Roman soldiers until they learn he is a Roman citizen; and after this has to stand before the Pharisees and Saducees. A group of Jews take a vow to kill him; but the plot is discovered and Paul is sent to Felix the governor under the guard of a large group of soldiers.

What is one key verse?

Acts 21:14 

“And since he would not be persuaded we ceased and said ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

 God is so far above our understanding that we must put in effort to fully understand His will in what He is communicating directly to us. In verse 4 disciples were telling Paul “through the Spirit” not to go to Jerusalem but in verses 10-11 the prophet Agabus demonstrates to Paul how the Holy Spirit says he will be bound by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles. It is likely that the Spirit was showing the same events to those around Paul but only Agabus was seeing and submitting to God’s will for those events.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

We need to work together as the church to understand God’s will in what he is telling us and where He is leading us. Circumstances (such as Paul being taken by the Jews in Jerusalem) may seem like a bad thing until God’s will in the whole situation is revealed.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

Paul shows in these chapters what it really means to “Go with God.” He finds himself at the mercy of an angry mob, Roman soldiers, Pharisees and Saducees; and speaks about Jesus at every turn. After all of this the Lord tells him that he must testify again to these facts in Rome. God is taking Paul all over the place in crazy circumstances but Paul is going with Him to testify about Jesus. I want to do the same in whatever circumstances God has planned for me; continue to testify about Jesus.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

The treatment of Paul at the hands of the high priest made me think of Jesus’s situation and perfection in the same circumstances. While Paul insults the high priest after being struck and needs to repent of it; Jesus fully endures being struck while being questioned by the high priest; and endures the crucifixion fully submitting to God’s will.

11.12 Acts 19-20

Sharon Knox

11.12.2020

Acts 19-20

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

 In Acts 19, Paul arrives in Ephesus and meets some disciples who had only heard of John’s baptism and had not received the Holy Spirit.  Paul teaches them and they are baptized in the name of Jesus and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Paul begins preaching in the synagogues, driving out evil spirits, and through the power of God, illnesses were healed simply by touching handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched!  Lives were changed and the word of God “spread widely and grew in power.”  Their world was being turned upside down and so riots began to break out in Ephesus.   After the uproar, Paul set out for Macedonia and Greece ( in Chapter 20) and was “speaking words of encouragement” to the people.  He raised a young man named Eutychus from the dead after the man had fallen asleep and fell out of a window during one of Paul’s very long sermons. Finally, Paul called for the elders of the church in Ephesus to tell them that he is “compelled” by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what would happen to him.  He challenges them to be shepherds of the church and be on their guard.  They say their goodbyes, embrace each other, and weep knowing that they will never see each other again in this life.

What is one key verse?

Acts 20:22-24

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

These passages remind me that no matter what is going on in the world around me that God’s amazing grace is enough. It is unchanging and sustains me through anything. Paul was sharing God’s word and message of Grace even in the midst of riots, persecutions, hardships, transitions, sickness, and loss.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

In chapter 20 verses 28 to 31, Paul not only challenges the elders to proclaim the will of God to the world but to watch over and shepherd the flock.  Although this was a charge to the elders, it is so important that no matter what is going on in the world that we not only preach the gospel but that we also take care of each other. 

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

In all the chaos and craziness of this world, it is easy to get caught up and forget the calling that we have.  I am to share God’s grace and to finish the race.  I will remember my calling, like Paul did. Even if I don’t know what will happen to me in this life, I know who I live for and who I will die for.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Paul’s determination in Acts 20:24 to finish the work and the race God set before him reminds me so much of Jesus. In John 4:34, Jesus states “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” 

11.11 Acts 16-18

Chris Knox

11.11.2020

Acts 16 – 18

In Acts 16 – 18 we see as Paul and some of the disciples are going around sharing the Gospel of Jesus.  Some of the places they traveled were  Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica and Corinth.  God provided visions to Paul and guided the Disciples to people who were open and ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus.  Like Lydia.   The disciples also upset people when they healed a girl from a spirit that predicted the future.  When Paul preached the good news about Jesus in Athens some wanted to hear and others did not and were angry at the disciples. They even became abusive to the disciples because of the message about Jesus being the Messiah.  It was evident that the disciples were being guided by the Spirit of Jesus.

What is one key verse?

Acts 18:9-10

The Lord said to Paul by a vision in the night, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, 18:10 because I am with you, and no one will assault you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

God uses every situation to his Glory. Hard does not mean impossible to God. Even when it is challenging to share the Gospel God provides a way.  

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It’s ok to be in a situation where it is hard to share the Gospel. I just need to look to God and sometimes wait on the Spirit to point me to the person God has been prompting.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will pray to be able to discern when God is guiding me to someone and not refuse the prompting by the Spirit. I will not be anxious and trust that God has a plan and he knows when and where I need to be.   

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

In Acts 18:9-10 When Jesus spoke to Paul in a vision and told him not to be afraid, keep on speaking and that he would be with him.  It reminded me of Mathew 25:20 when Jesus said he would be with the disciples to the very end of the age.  A reminder Jesus does not leave us alone.  He is there with us in the challenging times. But Paul was not there to hear that so Jesus told him through a vision.

11.10 Acts 13-15

Stacy Carstensen

11.10.2020

Acts 13-15

Summarize what you read in one paragraph: 

Paul and Barnabas are sent out after the Holy Spirit moves the disciples through fasting and worshipping to have them go. These chapters talk about some of the teaching and traveling they did in Cyprus, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra. It must have been so intense! They are challenged by some Jews who contradicted what they said and so turned their focus to preaching to the Gentiles. That brought discussion of whether the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be disciples. They discussed it with the apostles and elders and delivered the answer to the Gentiles. After, Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement and went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul took Silas. 

What is one key verse?

Acts 13:2-3 “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” 

How does what you read change your vision of God?

God is loving and patient. He will always do what he says he will do. If we obey him and his commands, he will be with us and for us. The people were worshipping, praying and fasting. They listened to the Spirit and did what he said. Because of that God was able to use Paul and Barnabas in such great ways to spread the Gospel. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

It challenges me to not forget God’s commandments. It is easy to get caught up in what is going on in the world around me, and with day to day life to think about what I need to say or do, which is exhausting. I only need to do what God commands and listen to him. He will do all of the work for me which is really the best work because it will ultimately glorify him in ways I could never dream up.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will do my best to see clearly in the moment and trust in God. I will be more conscious of praying and listening before acting. I will encourage others to do the same. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

I saw Jesus when Paul was preaching the good news starting in 13:13. I also saw him when the apostles and elders were debating the Gentiles and what should be done and Peter stood up and spoke Jesus to them in Acts 15:7. He helped them see what Jesus came to do and reminded them of Jesus’ purpose – to be a people of all nations. 

11.9 Acts 10-12

Clay Carstensen  

11.9.2020

Acts 10-12 

In these chapters we get a glimpse of the power of prayer and obeying the spirit (Cornelius), the importance of ministering outside of your comfort zone, and following God’s prompts (it can be freeing 🙂 12:6-11.  

Acts Ch 10:1-4 are the key verses for me because I long to be a godly man and here we find Cornelius describes as such.  There is even a shortlist of qualities that a godly man has.  

  1. Deeply reverent
  2. His household was deeply reverent
  3. Gives generously to charity
  4. Known as a man of prayer

In verse 4b, an angel even told Cornelius that his prayers have not gone unnoticed by God himself!  This is awesomely encouraging!!

This encourages me to be these things so that my prayers are deeply effective. To be heard by God the Father, our creator, is an amazing thing that we shouldn’t take for granted and should strive for. 

 I will Go With God by keeping these 4 things on the front burner.  I will give generously, pray more, and teach my family to be reverent of God.    

11.7 Acts 8-9

Ariel Buckhannon

11.7.2020

Acts 8-9

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Saul was hunting down disciples and there was a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. Many of the disciples were scattered throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles who remained in Jerusalem. Wherever the disciples were scattered, they spread the news of the risen Jesus. Phillip shares his faith with an Ethopian official leaving Jerusalem while other disciples start another community of Jesus followers in Samaria. Some of the apostles come down from Jerusalem to check out the new community and correct a sorcerer turned disciple on where his heart needs to be. Saul travels to Damascus to seek out those who believe that Jesus is God’s Messiah and to stop the spread of “the Way.” After being blinded in a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Saul takes instructions to go to Damascus, where he regains his sight and takes up his call of evangelization in Jesus’ name.

What is one key verse?

 “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

How does what you read change your vision of God?

Simon had a reputation as a great magician/performer and seemed to always be seeking a way to make himself great. Amazed by the signs and miracles performed, Simon became a disciple but his sincerity was questionable. He seemed to be in it for the show and for being seen as great. This section made me see that God always knows our true intentions even if we try to mask them with our best crafted outer image. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

Simon’s heart was not in the right place when he asked the disciples to have the same powers they had to help spread the Holy Spirit. He seemed to be saying the right thing and convincing himself that having these special powers would be to “glorify God”, but in reality that was not where his heart was. Peter knew this and called him out; confronting him and his bitterness he saw from the reaction. This section encouraged me to see how important it is to have someone like Peter in your life to check you when your intentions or decisions may not be for God’s glory or your own good.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will be aware of my intentions and where my heart is, making sure to be honest if my heart is not in a good place.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

The conversion of Saul-Jesus blinds him and changes his life course to become a follower of him.

11.6 Acts 5-7

Robert Buckhannon

11.6.2020

Acts 5-7

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Acts act 1 comes to a close while the Jesus community grows in Jerusalem. Ananias and Sapphira suddenly die while presenting profane offerings in a almost certain callback to the priests Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-2).  The apostles make waves as they heal and teach in Jerusalem and are targeted by jealous religious leaders. Angelic jailbreaks and a wise old man’s speech holds off the religious leaders for a short time but jealous animosity is growing towards the early Jesus community. All of the disciples are called together and seven are appointed to administrative servant leadership within the community. One of the seven, Stephen is executed by the high priest and religious leader and the Jesus community scatters to Judea and Samaria. 

 What is one key verse?

“But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” Acts 5:39

How does what you read change your vision of God?

God is sovereign and there is much I don’t understand about what he does or allows. I can imagine the pain of Peter standing over the graves of Ananias and Sapphira wondering why their deceit called for their lives. I can imagine being one of the men who buried Stephen and tended to the families he served in his absence wondering if I would have a similar fate. The church is not absent of great pain and times of trouble. I may struggle with the problem of evil but will sing “Bless the Lord” knowing there is not trouble he is not aware of.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

This is a good reminder of my dream to be like the seven who served the church in Jerusalem. How can I intentionally strive to be a man of good repute, full of the Spirit and wisdom?  

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I am going to be more organized so I can have the time/mental space needed to serve. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Jesus on the cross said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” and Stephen said “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Stephen was an incredible person because he followed Jesus so closely. 

11.5 Acts 1-4

Eddy Gonzalez

11.5.2020

Acts 1-4

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In Chapters 1-4 Luke writes about the day of Pentecost when the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. 3000 are baptized. The Peter and John continue to preach and the number saved goes to 5000. It’s basically about the establishment of the Church in Jerusalem. 

What is one key verse? 

4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind.

How does what you read change your vision of God? 

It reminds me that God’s purpose for me is to evangelize..

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

The Holy Spirit makes us all equal.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?) 

I will share Jesus, and fulfill my purpose.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? 

Jesus is the Holy Spirit