Acts 4: Courageous Faith Sharing

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

Peter and John did not fly under the radar as they shared the Gospel with the people. After they brought healing in the name of Jesus to the Lame Beggar outside of the Temple (Acts 3) Temple leaders approached them to have a ‘discussion.’

Sharing the Gospel does bring about changes to lives.  The Temple leaders were concerned that the more Peter & John taught the people the less the power the leaders would have in public.  The Temple leaders did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection.  They worked to quell the Jesus Movement as best they could.  And now they had to deal with the fact that a 40 year old man who was lame since birth was now walking around town. 

The Temple Leaders worked to have Peter & John to be quiet. They order the duo to no longer preach in public.  If the two could not speak in public then the problem would be solved.  Except it didn’t go away.

Peter & John had courage to share their faiths because they knew Jesus was sending them out to share the Gospel.  They knew the Holy Spirt was with them always giving them the words to say. The Temple Leaders were not going to stop them (Acts 4:19-20).

We learn from Peter & John how to be courageous.  Each man was an ordinary man.  They did not have a bunch of letters after their names signifying a great deal of education. They were regular fishermen who lived with Jesus for 3 years watching and learning directly from Him.  They went now simply shared their stories of being with Jesus. 

I can hear now Peter sitting at dinner with some friends telling them about the time he walked on water. 

In our lives we do not need to have a ton of education before we share our faith stories. We simply tell the times we saw God in our lives and loved us.  We have courage to share, as Peter & John did, because the Holy Spirit is with us always. 

People will also take note of your faith when they hear of your story.  They will hear Jesus through the stories you share with them of your experiences with Him.  It is not about you. The hero of your story is Jesus alone. Let people begin to experience Him as you share your story.  

So do not fear, fellow disciple.  Be courageous to share your story with Jesus. Speak the words the Holy Spirit gives you to share. See God work another’s heart planting the seed of faith. The Gospel will continue go out into the world as the disciples of Jesus courageously share their stories of being with Jesus with others.

This Week’s Challenge

Write down any fear/worry you have about sharing your faith story with someone. Next to each one write what God says to give you courage against that fear/worry.

Acts 2: You Get God’s Grace! And You Get God’s Grace! God’s Grace for Everyone!!

“This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:39)

This week we are looking at Acts Chapter 2.  We left Chapter 1 with Jesus promising the disciples they will not be alone once He ascends into Heaven.  He promised them the Holy Spirit where they would receive power as they live as witnesses in Jerusalem and all over the world. 

Now in Chapter 2 the disciples receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, a Jewish festival celebrating the harvest and 50 days after the Passover. While they were gathered together the Holy Spirit came empowering them to be witnesses in Jerusalem first and then all over the world. 

As you read Acts Chapter 2 note how Peter, the impulsive disciple, now stands in front of the city preaching a full sermon with full confidence. He quotes the Old Testament a couple of times. He preached so well thousands were saved that day.

Today we are looking at the verse 39 where Peter shares how all are saved by the grace of God. Previously only Jewish people were able to be saved.  If one was born a Gentile (not from Israel) s/he needed to be converted into the Jewish faith so that s/he can be saved.  What Peter says is revolutionary.  Gentiles can be saved?!?! God’s grace is for everyone?!?!?

No one is left out of receiving God’s grace.  Each one of us is loved unconditionally by God. We are called to repentance, a turning back on sin and turning towards God’s open arms. This is the joy to be found in God alone. 

When you look at the section after Peter’s sermon you see how the community of followers shared life together.  If one had more of something s/he shared with the community. They gathered together to worship and have a meal together.  As others saw how much they loved one another and served in the city they asked more about faith and became followers of Jesus in their own lives.

This is the example we are to follow in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.  It is the community we share with fellow disciples that gives an example of God’s love for everyone. By caring for one another we demonstrate God’s unconditional love for all people. Remember God’s grace is for everyone.  We cannot isolate ourselves with fellow disciples. God sends out to the world to be witnesses, telling our stories with Jesus.

This Week’s Challenge

Who is someone in your life that God is nudging you towards sharing your witness about Jesus Christ? What is 1 thing you will do this week to begin the conversation?

#168Life: Living Faith in the 168

There are 168 hours in a week.  Historically as the Church we have focused faith to be in the couple of hours on Sunday mornings we spend in worship & an hour during the week in Bible study. We begin to think that Church is what we do at specific times in specific places. Faith becomes categorized to a segment of our lives.  We treat as an outfit that we put on for certain occasions when it is appropriate.

But faith was never meant to be limited to 2-3 hours a week.  Being a disciple means “a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosophe” (Oxford Dictionary).  It involves a person’s whole life.  We follow Jesus wherever He leads us. We learn from His teachings in the Bible applying them in our lives. 

The #168Life is living out one’s faith every day all day.  It influences what we say with friends or post on social media.  Faith is the filter through which we see the world. By it we make decisions, interact with others, share love with the world. Faith shapes who we are in every area of life. It is who we are, not what we do.

Here at ReSolved Ministry we strive to live our faiths in a way that others ask what is different about us.  We serve others with love and share the Gospel with humility. We grow each day in the Lord knowing that we are being changed from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. 

There are 4 Missional Habits to help one live the #168Life: Be Present, Listen to Learn, Serve, Share. 

  1. Be Present – put away the distractions and be fully present in the moment.  It is giving your undivided attention to the one(s) you are with.
  2. Listen to Learn – listening to one another, not waiting to respond, but to learn about the other person.  It is listing with your eyes & ears hearing what is being said and what is not said.
  3. Serve – As you learn about one another you hear their real needs. You can serve with humility, caring for one another.
  4. Share – as the relationship grows so does trust.  In this trusting friendship you lovingly share why you love Jesus.

The Missional Life Habits are tools we use to help us live out our faiths 168 hours a week.  We grow in each one over time as we grow closer to the Lord.  

To help you grow in the Missional Life Habits you can join the ReSolved Ministry Online Community, our Facebook Group. It is a place to connect, share prayer requests, encourage.  On Sundays we look at one of the Missional Life Habits for that week then discuss how we can live it out in our lives for the next 168 hours. 

May every disciple life the #168Life so that the whole world questions the lives we live asking about the difference that is in us.  This is how the Gospel goes out into the ends of the world advancing the Kingdom of God.

Who’s In Your Tribe?

“The New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion.”

John Wesley

Reading through the Gospel of Matthew and the whole New Testament one sees time and time again how as God sends someone out to share the Gospel s/he goes with others.  No one was sent out by the Holy Spirit alone.  Even Jesus served in ministry with others and He was the Son of God.

Becoming a follower of Jesus involves connecting with other followers of Jesus. We come together in worship, prayer & fellowship to grow closer to God and thereby to one another. We share stories from serving in our communities, living out our faiths. 

Who is in your tribe?  Who are the people closest to you that walk with you as all of you serve the Lord?  

Having a tribe is vital to growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Through our tribe God comforts us, teaches us, challenges us. In our communities we discern together how the Holy Spirit is leading us. 

If you do not know who is in your tribe pray to God to show you who He is bringing into your life.  Look to your local church community for a small group you can join. Or ask the pastor to help you get connected with others to have a tribe together.

As you have your tribe decide together when all of you will meet.  Is it weekly in person or bi-weekly via Zoom? Look to see how you will stay connected during the week.  Group text messages help to quickly share prayers & updates.  Emails provide a place for stories from ministry to be share in full. However you meet & connect it is important to remain in communication with one another.

Being a part of a small group is part of being a follower of Jesus. Together we serve the Lord participating in God’s Will being done here on Earth. We see the amazing things God is doing in and through us for His glory.

So, who’s in your tribe?

This Week’s Challenge
Determine who is in our tribe. Now decide together how often you will meet & how you stay connected during the week. Watch together what God is doing in reaching all people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

How to Navigate When the Easy Road Isn’t So Easy

There is a misperception out there that once a person becomes a Christian life becomes easy. Somehow by following God all problems melt away, heartache is not a part of one’s life.

Hear this — this is a lie. Life does not get easy once a person becomes a Christian. In fact it could be argued that life may become more difficult.

I don’t say this to scare you but to be authentic. Satan roams around the world to destroy us. The enemy does not want us to grow closer to God. The enemy does what he can to stop us from being changed by the Holy Spirit. 

Here’s the hope to cling to — Jesus faced temptations from Satan also. In Matthew 4:1-11 we read how Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the Wilderness where He fasted for 40 days! Only then did Satan come to tempt Him. Jesus faced the same temptations as we do and He did not give in. He resisted all temptations.

Now Jesus is the Son of God.  He is fully God and fully Man.  He is perfect.  We, human beings, are the created and are not perfect.  There are times we will stumble but all hope is not lost. We freely receive God’s grace to begin again. So let’s learn from Jesus how we are to respond when temptations do arise.

Jesus responded with each temptation with Scripture. He quoted Deuteronomy from the Old Testament. He understood the power in God’s Word and knew the Holy Spirit was with Him. Jesus shows us how to navigate when the easy road isn’t easy.

In your life there are hardships. The enemy does attempt to stop us from growing closer to God. When those times do come follow Jesus’ example. It is 2 Steps:

  1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be with you
  2. Speak God’s Word to the enemy

Each day read the Bible even if it’s only a handful of verse. Memorize verses so God’s Word is written on your heart at all times. Over time you will see how God’s Word infiltrates your whole being.

Pray throughout the day. Stay in regular conversation with God the Father. Ask to see how the Holy Spirit is with you so you can recognize it during the not so easy times.

The road is not always easy. Problems arise. Heartaches happen. Satan tries to separate us from God.  Remember NOTHING can separate us from God’s love.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Speak God’s Word.

Pray to see the Holy Spirit.

Then the not so easy road becomes easier to navigate.

This Week’s Challenge

Memorize Romans 8:37-39 so you can speak Truth when times become difficult.

Give What You Have, God Will Multiply It

It can feel like you are not qualified to serve or teach others about Jesus. If you just knew a little bit more about the Bible. Or if you had a little more skill.  Then you will be qualified to go out and serve.

Here’s the joy: give what you have and watch God multiply it. It is not dependent all on you. What is required of each us is the willingness to serve and follow God.

Let’s take a moment to read from the Gospel of Matthew to see how Jesus did this in His ministry. Click over to read: Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus knew everyone needed to eat but there wasn’t a couple of food trucks on hand to take care of it. The disciples got 5 loaves of bread and a couple of fish and were confused how far that was going to last. Jesus had a plan. He gave thanks and blessed the food. From that “small” gift 1000s of people ate and were full.

The lesson we learn here in Matthew is how our role is to give what we have and watch Jesus use it to bless others. The full weight of providing all the resources to teach or serve does not rest on our shoulders. God stands besides us saying, “Watch how I’ll do this.”

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as you sit on the verge of growing deeper in your faith do not think you must first learn more or be able to do more before God can use you. Know this, God wants your willing heart to serve, to grow. Before our eyes God will take our 5 loaves and 2 fish and multiply it beyond our wildest dreams.

So as you go out today see where God is asking you to serve. Maybe it is to give a can of food to a food pantry. Then see it be added to a bag of groceries for a family.

Maybe God has you to write a short note of encouragement to a neighbor. Then see it bring a smile to their day and they serve joyfully to others.

Whatever it is that God has to teach you this week welcome it warmly. Watch the seed of faith grow and help sow seeds of faith in others by the Holy Spirit.

Fellow disciples of Jesus Christ await with great anticipation the wonderful things God has for you to do in His Name. Give Him what you have whatever it is and watch God multiply it according to His Will.

This Week’s Challenge

Go around your house and collect what you can donate to another family or an organization. See how God uses and multiplies it to bless others.

Who’s in Your Tribe?

We are made to be in community with one another. No one was meant to go through life alone. To share both the highs and lows. There to be a shoulder to cry on. an extra pair of hands to help. A friend to share a laugh with.

Humanity was created in the image of God. God is a Triune God, 3 in 1. Three distinct Persons in the One Godhead. It is not separate gods. Rather The Triune God lives in perfect community with one another. Also it serves as the example we are to follow ourselves. 

Jesus’ Baptism is an example of the Trinity being present with each other. We see Jesus being pronounced by God the Father as the Promised One while the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove rest with Jesus. Three in One. Perfect community.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 

Matthew 3:13-17

So here’s a question for you:  Who is in your tribe?

Who do you share life with?

As followers of Jesus we must follow His example and be in community with others. God is perfect and lives in community with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Think about who you turn to in times of struggle for encouragement; in times of joy who do you want to celebrate with. It is the people who are in your tribe.

In previous posts we have seen how God speaks to us in community with other believers. Together we share life and grow closer to God. We serve for and with one another in community.

If you don’t know who is in your tribe pray with God to show who is your tribe. See who comes into your life and connect with them. Share life together with one another. 

As you have your tribe meet together to connect, check in, encourage, hold accountable. Share with each other the joys and sorrows, teachings from God, serve one another.

We learn from the Triune God how to be in community. We share life together because God shares life together. We follow God’s model. 

Now go out and be with your tribe. Make memories together. Learn with one another. serve with one another.

This Week’s Challenge

Establish a regular connection time with those in your tribe. Share stories with one another.  Share how you can be praying for each other. Laugh together. Serve one another.

3 Ways to Keep in Step with God

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:25

If someone is to be follower one needs to know how to follow. How does one follow when you can’t see God?

Think about it this way: a person can’t see the wind but knows it is there and goes in the direction it blows. God’s leading is similar in that we may not see Him but we learn how He leads us. In today’s post we explore 3 ways God leads us.

First, we listen to God by reading the Bible. See, the Bible is the Word of God teaching us faith and life with Jesus. For anyone new to reading the Bible it can be confusing. I recommend starting with a Reading Plan. Also answering these 3 Questions will help you in understanding the Bible.

  1. What did you just read?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. How does it apply to you, your family, work, life and community?

Over time you will hear more clearly God speaking to you. Your questions will adapt as well.

Another way God leads us is in prayer. Prayer is our conversation with God directly. It is where we share our joys, fears, worries with Him. It is where He rejoices with us, comforts, heals and teaches us. So keep talking with God and listen to that still, small voice. Test to see that it is God. Keep praying and following the Lord.

A third way God leads us is in community with other followers of Jesus. Those nudges we get in our Bible reading & prayer are confirmed by our faith community. Faith is not to be in isolation. God created us to be in community with one another. As a united body we follow Jesus together keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.”

Matthew 19:14

Jesus welcomes everyone to come to Him and become His follower. If you are on the verge of faith be assured that God is leading you. Trust the insights you hear from reading the Bible, gut feelings God gives you in prayer and the ministry opportunities for you and your faith community.

This is not an exhaustive list of how God leads us His followers. It is a list to get you started in following His lead.

Set aside 15-30 minutes this week to read, pray and reflect on where God is leading you. Then take the first step in being obedient to that leading. See where God takes you.

This Week’s Challenge

Schedule time in your calendar to reflect on how God is leading you. Share any insights with your small group or church community.

Disconnecting to Reconnect with God Each Day

How do you like to learn?

By reading?

Watching someone do it?

Trying it yourself?

Asking questions?

Whatever is your preferred method of learning it is important to make the time to pursue learning as you go forward from being on the verge of faith to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Spiritual disciplines are the practices we do as followers of Jesus so that we learn and remain close to God. They include, but are not limited to, prayer (Click Here to read previous post on Prayer), Scripture reading, worship, serving, Sabbath.  For the purposes of this post we are looking at two, Scripture reading and Sabbath.

First, reading the Bible is where we directly encounter the Living God. We read it not as a textbook to gain knowledge. We read it so that we are changed by the Holy Spirit. We read the Bible to learn what God has to teach us.

If you sense your anxiety level rising at the thought of reading the Bible take a deep breath and now exhale slowly. Here is a little bit of advice to help you:

  1. Read the Bible at the same time each day or put it on your calendar to remind you.
  2. Find a reading plan to help you get started.  Here is a helpful place to find one for yourself: YouVersion
  3. As you read answer these questions:
    1. Summarize what you read
    2. What does it mean?
    3. How does it apply to you, your family, work, life and community?

Follow this rhythm for two weeks and see how it goes. Note how God is teaching you. See what has begun to change in your relationship with God.

Second, observing a regular Sabbath is key in our relationships with Jesus. To clarify, Sabbath means resting from work and rejuvenating your soul as you spend quality time with God. We are told in the Old Testament to “Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy.” [Exodus 20:8]. God wants us to slow down, step away from work and be with Him alone. One day a week. One hour a day. We disconnect to reconnect with God.

Now this one can be a little more difficult to implement all at once. It’s okay to build up to it. This day can either be a full calendar day or from sundown to sundown whichever works better for you. The key is to schedule it in your calendar like everything else.  Guard it.  Prepare for it by getting things done ahead of time. Give yourself things to do that is fun, life-giving.

As for daily Sabbath, make the time for it. Do what gives you life. Step away from work for an hour and have fun.  If you enjoy going outside go for a walk, play ball with family or friends, spend time at a park reading or drawing.  Whatever it is give yourself permission to be in the moment, truly present with God.

Having a daily rhythm with God will look different from time to time. It is important to spend the quality time with God each day.

Find the rhythm that fits you and follow it. Ask a friend to hold you accountable and share stories of growth with each other.

As you spend time with God you will see the Spirit is changing you from the inside out.  

This Week’s Challenge

  1. Start a Bible reading plan and take notes on what God is teaching you.
  2. Schedule your weekly Sabbath and plan what fun, life-giving things you will do.

Discipleship Means Following the Teacher

Running is an interesting sport. It is more individual based than team focused but don’t be mistaken, it is a communal sport. When one goes out for a run s/he follows the path in front of him/her taking it one step at a time.

Being a follower of Jesus is like a run whereby the disciple goes in the steps of Jesus. The follower learns how to love as God loves; to serve as God leads us to serve. Each day brings a new lesson from God. We need to be open to receive it.

As one who is on the verge of faith be encouraged by the Apostle Matthew.  By profession he was a tax collector. He was responsible to collect taxes from his fellow Israelites for the Roman government.  As he was able he could collect more from his fellow countrymen to keep for himself.  It goes without saying he was not the most popular man in town.

So when Jesus met him one afternoon in Capernaum, Matthew was surprised that the Great Teacher was inviting him, the tax collector, to be one of His chosen disciples. And what was Matthew’s response? He got up, walked away from his tax booth and followed Jesus that day.

“As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.”

Matthew 9:9

Today Jesus stands before you inviting you to follow Him as one of His closest disciples. You may currently be on the verge of growing deeper in your trust in God. What will you do? Will you get up like Matthew and follow Him?

Your journey with Jesus is your own run but you are not alone. You run with a community of fellow disciples, encouraging you along the way.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Each day look for the lesson God has to share with you. Open your heart to trust the Holy Spirit and where the Spirit leads you. Love, not judge others. Serve humbly to share God’s love with others.

Over time you will see how your thoughts become fixed on Jesus. You act differently than before you began following Jesus. You will see God transforming your whole self from the inside out.

So when the winds of life try to blow you back lean into Jesus. Hold His Hand and let Him carry you through the storm.

During the times of joy give praise to our Creator God Who cares for you and the whole world.

Lastly one question only you can answer: What is your response to Jesus inviting you to be His disciple?

This Week’s Challenge

Note each day this week what Jesus is teaching you about trusting Him more fully. What is your response to those lessons?