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.

What Exactly is a ReSolved Faith?: Acts 24

“I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.”

Acts 24:14b

When I was 14 I stood up in front of my faith community to publicly confess my personal faith in Jesus Christ. As part of our tradition the pastor blessed each individual saying a specially chosen verse just for that individual. We did not know what the verse was until that moment we knelt to hear it said over us.

My verse:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

This verse originally written by our friend Paul was first shared with the followers of Jesus in Rome.  After Paul stated his Roman citizenship in Acts 22 he knows that he will arrive there safely.  He shares his teachings in this capital of the world confident that God is carrying out the Gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8). 

Despite the arrests, the trials, the beatings, the persecution Paul remained resolute in his faith.  He was not deterred one bit.  Some days were difficult.  Others were good.  No matter what the day brought Paul was resolved to share his faith story with everyone he could so each person would have his/her own faith story.

Paul teaches us how to live a ReSolved Faith. 

What is it exactly?

First, it is a commitment to continue to grow in trust with God.  Beginning one’s faith journey one discovers his/her need for a savior.  A person sees that despite all ‘good’ deeds or efforts nothing will earn one’s salvation.  Only the life, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ freely given can do that.

Next, ReSolved Faith is living one’s faith in the 168 hours of the week.  Faith is not to be compartmentalize as something we do on a particular day of the week.  It impacts each aspect of our lives.  It is the perspective that we see others & the world through.  It is the reason for the joy we experience in life.  It is the source of the calm we have during difficult times. 

Lastly, it is not being ashamed of our faith.  This is the blessing my pastor gave me on that day I publicly announced my faith. It is how Paul lived his faith throughout the book of Acts. Being resolved is being authentic.  

We will have questions. But we turn to God Who knows all things. 

We will have fear.  But we trust in Jesus completely to walk through the fear together.

We will stutter. But we know that Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak with our voices so others will hear.

Friends, your own ReSolved Faith can begin today.  It starts by surrendering.  You can message me anytime. I am willing to pray with you as you begin your own faith journey. 

Oh the journey that God has for you is a beautiful one.  It has incredible adventures.  Amazing sights.  It only takes one step towards God.  The rest is taken care of by God. Are you willing?

This Week’s Challenge

Surrender to God whatever it is holding you back from fully trusting God.  Reach out to a friend to pray with you & bless you with God’s Word.

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.

#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.