Be Bold & Courageous: Acts 28

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

Acts 28:31

Well, here we are at the end of our study of Acts. Paul is safely in Rome under house arrest awaiting trial.

So what does a man do while waiting trial? Plant vegetables? Write his memoir? Learn to cook?

Not Paul.  At least not that we know.  Paul, instead, continued preaching the Gospel & teaching people how to be followers of Jesus Christ.  He may not be able to go out into the city to meet people but he was able to invite people to come visit him. 

Paul remained bold and courageous in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ regardless of his present circumstances.  Whether on the road, a new city, under house arrest, shipwrecked Paul shared his faith story.  He knew the Holy Spirit would give him the words to share while Jesus walked beside him each day.

At times in our own lives we know we should share the Gospel.  We recognize some opportunities before us to tell someone our faith story but we do not always have the courage or boldness to step out in faith.

Excuses seem to appear out of no where at just the right moment. Fear pushes boldness out of the way to lead the way.

It can be scary to share one’s faith story.  We may not think we ‘know enough’ before sharing. Or we fear rejection by people.  Sharing does require a bit of vulnerability. 

But we are not alone when we share our faith stories.  The Holy Spirit gives us the words to share as with Paul.  Jesus walks beside us as He did with Paul.

At New Year’s Eve last year a friend of mine shared with me two words God gave them for me: Bold & Courageous. They knew about the new chapter in my ministry I was about to embark on in 2021. They wanted to encourage me.

See, while I was prepared to begin the new adventure there was still some fear in me.  I was excited but doubted how well I would do.  What if I failed? What if I wasn’t ‘good enough’? I was scared.

Then I look to those two words: BOLD & COURAGEOUS

God is not sending me out alone.  The Holy Spirit plants God’s Word deep into my soul so I have the words to share in person and online. Jesus stands beside me bringing peace to my heart so I remain bold and courageous in sharing the Gospel.

The same is true for you.  God does not send you out on the journey to weather the storms alone.  The Holy Spirit whispers the Word of God in your ear so you know what to share with others.  Jesus stands beside you on the deck telling you of the great things that lay ahead. 

This week spend time with God sharing what fears you have in sharing your own faith story. Let God plant the seeds of boldness and courage inside of you.  Go wherever God leads full of bold courage just like Paul.  No obstacle will get in your way.  You’ll simply step around it.

This Week’s Challenge

Make a 2 Column chart. On 1 side list any fears you have about faith.  On the opposite side write how God can change that fear to bold courage.

The Highs & Lows of Faith: Acts 26

“Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future.” Acts 26:16

Acts 2616

Paul begins the 26th Chapter of Acts giving his faith story with Jesus Christ as he stands in the Roman court.  Part of that story is the recollection of when Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus after Jesus’ Resurrection.  Jesus tells Paul that he will preach to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). This is the story that we have been studying in our look at Acts.

Paul’s journeys were not easy.  There were trials to be endured.  Arrests to persevere. Opposition to be faced.  Through it all Paul was resolved.  He did not walk away when it got difficult he remained beside Jesus following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Paul’s life is an example for us today because we see the sacrifices Paul made, the joy he had in sharing the Gospel, the churches formed & leaders developed by his mentorship.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ has its joys & has its lows.  We have the joy of seeing our own lives being transformed from the inside out.  Who we once were goes into the past as we walk with Jesus becoming more fully the person God created us to be.

We have the joy of seeing other lives being transformed by the Gospel as we serve where & when God shows us. Whether we are asked by God to help plant the seed of faith or to help nurture the seed of faith to grow joy abounds.

But there are also the tough days.  The days we hear rejection from some as the Gospel is shared in word or actions.  The days we sacrifice so that someone can hear the Gospel for themselves. 

Through the joyous days & the difficult ones we remain resolved in our faiths. We remember that we are not alone.  Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to be with each of His followers so they go to the ends of the world sharing the Gospel with everyone. As the Holy Spirit guided Paul on each of missionary journeys so does the Holy Spirit go with you.

As we conclude our study of Acts 26 hear Jesus’ words as recalled by Paul, 

“Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future.” (Acts 16b)

Jesus wants you to go out and tell people your story with Jesus.  Tell them how you are changed from the inside out because of Jesus.  Share why you love Him.  Give an account of the joys & opportunities to grow.  Tell people what you have experienced.  That is all. 

Be encouraged that by simply sharing your story will hear about Jesus for themselves.  God will take care of the details.  You simply are to tell what you see. 

You totally got this.  I believe in you. Go and share.

This Week’s Challenge

Post on your social media this week how you have been changed by Jesus.  Use the hashtag #resolvedfaith so we can celebrate with you.

Courageous Storytelling: Acts 23

“That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, ‘Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.’”

Acts 23:11

It must have been scary for Paul to stand before the Jerusalem Council to talk about his missionary work.  These leaders had the power to severely punish Paul.  There were plenty of reasons for Paul to be quiet regarding his faith.

If he stayed quiet he probably would have been released by the Council.  

If he shared about his faith severe consequences were certain.

One would understand if Paul chose to be quiet.

But as we have seen so far in our study of Acts Paul is not afraid to share his faith story. Not sharing was not an option for him.

Why was Paul so confident in the face of certain peril?

Paul knew without a doubt that God was him in all circumstances.  Paul did not have to fear being alone as he shared the Gospel.  God promised the Holy Spirit be with him always. Paul taught the people in Rome this lesson when he wrote: 

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

These words are true for us today.  We do not need to be afraid when we share our faiths. The Holy Spirit is with us always as the Spirit was with Paul. 

It is scary to put one’s self out there.  Sharing one’s faith is inviting another to a part of our lives. It is opening up in a way that feels vulnerable. Rejection can happen. 

Have courage, follower of Jesus!

As you share the reason why you love Jesus be assured that the Holy Spirit gives you the courage to share and the words to speak.  It is not your responsibility to change another’s heart.  That is what God does.  You have the duty to tell your story.

As we have been studying Paul’s journeys we have witnessed his courage in many circumstances. He has taught us to bravely step forward in faith.  We witnessed how to share our stories in loving ways that help others begin his/her own faith journeys with Jesus Christ.

Courageous storytelling comes not from our inner strength but from God alone. As we grow in our faiths, learning to trust God more and more, we grow in courage.  The more experiences we have in telling our stories the more we learn that God protects us.

ReSolved disciples, grow in courage as you go out as storytellers.

Listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you to the when & how to share your story.  Practice with fellow disciples to gain more courage. Pray over one another before you go out to share in word and action. Continue praying for renewed courage when you apart. 

Use these words that God spoke over Joshua before he led the Israelites into the Promised Land:

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

This Week’s Challenge

Make a list of any & all fears you have about sharing your faith. Then pray to God to take all of them away replacing it with courage.

Share Your Story: Acts 22

“For you are to be his witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.”

Acts 22:15

Paul made it safely back to Jerusalem.  Once home he speaks to the Jewish leaders sharing his own faith story.  From the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus to his missionary trips. The leadership did not like what they heard and had him whipped.  During this time Paul states he is a Roman citizen thus clearing the way for him to be taken to Rome for a trial.

Paul going to Rome which at that time was the ‘capital’ of the world was an opportunity to share the Gospel even further around the world. 

I think part of what made Paul’s testimony so powerful is he shared from his heart his own experience with Jesus Christ.  Here we read how Paul told the leadership how Jesus reached him on that road to Damascus.  Paul shared how his life was completely changed from that moment forward. 

His passion remained but now it’s focused on Jesus.  His powerful teaching remained but now shared the Gospel of Jesus. 

In our own lives God asks us the same thing. We are to tell everyone what we saw and heard.  We simply tell of our own experience with Jesus. We do not need to go to college to get a fancy degree in order to do it.  We do not need to change who we are in order to share.

If you are a good storyteller you can write your own faith story to tell to others.  

If you are creative visually imagine a way to share your own faith story visually.  It can be posted as a social media post. Or as a painting/sculpture/photograph. 

Perhaps you are a tradesperson.  How can you ply your trade in a way that opens the door to share your faith with another?

God is not seeking to change the essence of who you are when you begin your faith journey. God created you uniquely so that you can share you faith story uniquely as you.

You are a witness to Jesus. As a witness you simply share what you experienced as only you can. 

Now here’s that pretty cool part, God is going to surprise you along the way.  I don’t think Paul foresaw himself going to Rome in his lifetime. But here he is going.  As he is there he is able to saw the Gospel to people who will bring it back to nations and cities Paul would never go to himself.

In your life God will surprise you in opportunities to share your faith story.  You do not know right now where God is going to lead you and what ministry doors will open before you.  Continue to be open to how God is leading you.  Keep trusting God to give you the words to share as the opportunities arise.

You can be resolved in being a witness because God has resolved you by His grace alone. Simply share.

This Week’s Challenge

Share with a friend this week the time you knew you loved Jesus with your whole self.

You Are A Culture Changer: Acts 21

“Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 21:13

Last week we saw a longer glimpse of Paul’s teaching.  How he taught long into the night.  How he taught day after day in every city he stayed.

This week we see some of the long term effects of his teaching. Lives being changed.  Jewish leaders were nervous with the Gentile (non-Jewish believers) becoming believers but were not following all of the Jewish laws. 

The more Paul taught the more the culture was changing.  And not everyone was okay with that.

When a follower of Jesus Christ lives his/her life they do so in a way that is different from culture.  A follower loves others without judgment.  A follower serves all people without looking for recognition. A follower is a light that brightens any dark room.

Changing the culture does not occur all in one fell swoop.  It requires individuals making small decisions day in and day out that is not the ‘norm’.  These small decisions add up over time to make a large difference that changes the culture. Paul made decisions each day to be different by sharing the Gospel with everyone in all he did and said.  The Holy Spirit changed entire families, towns and cultures through Paul.

In our lives today we can be culture changers as we make small decisions day in and day out. When we are resolved to live our faiths in the 168 hours of the week we will change the culture.  We will show love in times it is difficult to love another.  We will share why we love Jesus so another can begin their own journey with Jesus. 

Culture does not need to remain the same simply because it has always been ‘that way.’  Culture can change by letting the Holy Spirit work through each one of us to reach the world. 

So how can you change the culture? What is an area of society you can see changing by your making small decisions day in and day out?

What has God placed on your heart that you cannot stay silent about?

Remember that you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel with the world. You are not alone.  God gives you the words and the perseverance to continue in making change in culture.

Imagine the world when the followers of Jesus Christ make small decisions each day in their communities to effect change.  Entire families, towns, cultures will change as they did when Paul was on his missionary journeys.  This is the long-term impact of being a resolved follower living The 168 Life.

May you be filled with the Holy Spirit today as you go out making small decisions that will change the culture. You have been resolved by Jesus Christ so go and be resolved for Jesus Christ.

This Week’s Challenge:

Name an area of culture that you are passionate about to change. Write down 3 things you will do to begin to help change that aspect of culture.

Resolved to Share: Acts 20

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”

Acts 20:24

Paul keeps up his frantic traveling schedule throughout Asia.  Each stop he makes he teaches to as people as he can as often as he is able.

And Paul loves to preach!

Have you ever sat through a lecture or sermon wondering if it would ever end? Or fell asleep during said lecture/sermon? 

If so, be thankful you were most likely sitting in a chair/pew. 

Eutychus was listening to Paul teach one evening when Paul was on a roll.  He kept teaching well into the night for so long Eutychus fell asleep. Now this normally would not be an issue except for the fact that Eutychus was sitting in a window.  He fell out of that window while sleeping to the ground below.

Paul raced down to be with Eutychus and by the Holy Spirit brought him back to life. (I have a feeling not much of what Paul taught was remembered after that)

Paul could not help himself from telling everyone he could about Jesus Christ.  He went on and on for hours at a time making sure that people knew the full story about Jesus. He did not leave unless he knew the young faiths would continue to grow in maturity.  This is why he trained people like Timothy to stay in cities to continue the teachings.

Paul lived his life fully for Jesus Christ.  He teaches each one of us how one’s whole life can be for the Lord.  It does not matter whatever your career may be. What matters is how you work in that career, how you interact with others at work or in your personal life.

As followers of Jesus Christ we share the Gospel with our whole lives. We tell in sharing why we love Jesus.  We share it when we serve our neighbor out of love.  We display it whenever we share blessings with others freely as we received. 

Paul may have travelled all over telling as many people as he could about Jesus.  You may stay in your hometown for decades but you can still share your faith with many people.  Think about all the people you encounter throughout your day.  How many know you are a follower of Jesus?  Do they know the reason why you love Him?

You are a missionary for God.  You are sent into your world to serve & share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Re-solve how you interact with others so that they see Jesus through you.  Be resolved that you have God of Heaven with you by the Holy Spirit to speak the words and take the actions so all may know.

A piece of advice if you’re sharing your faith story just be sure no one is sitting in an open window sill. 

This Week’s Challenge

Make a list of people you typically encounter in your week. Pray for those who do not have faith in Jesus.  Seek to see how God is leading you to share your faith story with him/her.

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.

Evangelism Isn’t So Scary

The interesting thing about faith is how it can become extinct with each generation.  Unless people share why they love Jesus then faith is not passed on to the next person and slowly disappears.

As a follower of Jesus Christ each of us are to share why we love Jesus.  It is how the faith is passed on.  Think about how you began your own faith journey.  Who shared their own story with you?  Who invited you to begin your own walk with Jesus?  That is evangelism, the telling of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism can be intimidating.  Pictures of going to dangerous places talking to people who are against the church.  Evangelism is not for everyone is a common thought.  Only certain people are called to do that line of work.

But think about people in your life who are not following Jesus yet.  Ask yourself, “How will they hear?” Perhaps God has placed you in each other’s lives so that you can build a friendship, grow trust and when the Holy Spirit’s leads share your story with him/her.

It is in the day in, day out showing up in one another’s lives, serving with humility. Here in quiet, humble service we are broadcasting the Word of God to everyone in our lives.  We are living out the Good news of Jesus Christ. Then the Holy Spirit goes out nurturing those seeds of faith.

When we consistently show up, listen to learn, serve and share over the course of our lives we will see many lives changed as a result.  In our resolved to serve God with our whole lives others will be resolved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Evangelism does not need to be scary.  See it not as going into strange places fearing for your safety.  See it in your friends, neighbors, co-workers who have not yet heard.  Broadly cast your story through word and action each day.  See how God is leading you to those who have not heard.  Live your life as an ambassador for Jesus Christ. This is the work of an evangelist.

This Week’s Challenge
Serve someone in your life this week who has not yet heard the Gospel.  Begin praying for the Holy Spirit to show you the right time to share your story with him/her.