Paul in Athens: Acts 17

Some of you probably remember the movie “Sunset Boulevard” with William Holden and Gloria Swanson. It is the tragic story of a fading movie star (Norma Desmond) and a young writer (Joe Willis). Norma desperately believes with a break, a screen test and some powder and rouge, she can make a return. She doesn’t call it a comeback. She will not use that word, in fact. William Holden says to her when ...[Read More]

The Philippian Jailer: Acts 16

It’s easy to read Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi and not connect it to the people to whom he wrote. The words are so lovely. The scope of the theology is extraordinary and the depth of his emotion and attachment to them has inspired millions of people for thousands of years. Other than 1 Corinthians 13 there is likely no passage that surpasses Philippians 2 in describing the character and ...[Read More]

The Diaspora: Acts 8

1. “And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered pre ...[Read More]

Ananias and Sapphira

Acts 4:32 – 5:11 4:32: All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned l ...[Read More]

Do Not Fear What They Fear: Acts 3-4

There are very few days when I come home and tell Carol that the whole world changed for me. However, there are some when you realize how routine and normal the day began and how a report from a doctor, a decision at work, an accident, news from a child, or any number of things has made this day forever different. That is how I imagine Peter and John sitting in prison and reflecting on the evening ...[Read More]

Pentecost: Acts 2

1.  The lesson for this morning is Acts 2 and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It’s difficult to understand the meaning of Pentecost (Greek for 50th day) unless we look first at the chapter that precedes it. What is the context of the 50th day? While there were a number of feasts and festivals in the life of Jews, there were three main solemn feasts in Jewish life for which every adult ...[Read More]

The Rent House in Rome: Acts 28

Nicky Gumbel, the Rector of Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican church in London says, “Movements grow from the intersection of a personal story and circumstances.” It’s true, isn’t it? Movements cannot be explained in any other way. They do not begin without an extraordinary individual but that person must come at just the right time and under the right set of circumstances tha ...[Read More]

Three Harbors: Acts 27

1.  Nothing ever seems to be easy in Paul’s life. Every journey is punctuated by hardship, opposition, riots, persecution, and obstacles of all kinds. I have a friend who reminds me of Paul. None of us will travel with her because the unimaginable always happens. One year she planned a trip to China to attend a conference and somehow instead of taking a plane that was going in that direction ...[Read More]

Paul Under Arrest: Acts 23-26

You remember where we left Paul last week? He was standing on the steps of the Roman barracks and had received permission from the commander to speak to the angry mob. He raised his hand and there was, as Luke says, “a great silence” as they wait for Paul to speak. What does he say? “I am a Jew” and then he tells his story. Nothing happens until he says, “Then the Lor ...[Read More]

Paul Arrested in Jerusalem: Acts 21:27-22:2

Last week we looked at Paul’s accommodation to the Council in Jerusalem – James, Peter and the other apostles and elders. Rather than confront them he agrees to take four men to the Temple for the rites of purification. As the elders say, “Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” Paul t ...[Read More]