Saturday, September 29, 2012

part II

Good morning brothers and sisters,
This morning I'm going to Irondequoit Presbyterian Church to learn about a small group program called Alpha that introduces some of the main ideas of the Christian faith for discussion. I think it might be a good fit for Laurelton, so I'm going to learn more. If anyone else would like to join me, the program starts at 9:30 this morning and includes breakfast.

After Jesus rose from the dead he spent some time with his disciples, getting them ready for what would happen next. Then he rose into heaven. Those events form the end of the Gospels and the beginning of Acts, which is the story of God working through the church. Acts is a wonderful book to read when you are in a time of church renewal, like we are at Laurelton. As we pursue a new beginning, it's good to go back to the churches beginning. Acts is part two of Luke's Gospel, which you see in the introduction here. The writer begins by addressing Theophilus (which means lover of God) and relating the story he is about to tell to the one his reader has just finished reading. Notice Jesus instruction to the disciples: wait in Jerusalem for God's power. That's how the church begins, by waiting in prayer.

God bless,

Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

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