Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 20 - Acts 26

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 26. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In Acts 25, Paul gave a defense to the governor Festus. When Festus cannot find any valid reason that he should be imprisoned, he brings in King Agrippa for a second opinion. This chapter is the story of Paul's defense to the king.
  • Paul's defense is his personal story and the radical transformation of his life on that Damascus road from a strict Pharisee to a follower of Jesus.
  • Festus responds with outrage to Paul's belief that Jesus is the way to God, whereas King Agrippa was intrigued. 
  • Interestingly, both rulers agree that Paul had done nothing wrong and should be set free. But they can't release him because he had appealed all the way to Caesar.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Paul used his personal story as a defense of his faith. He was not afraid to share Jesus even in the most hostile of environments. Paul understood that he was not responsible for the audience's response to his message, he was only responsible to share it. Maybe you have cynical or skeptical people in your life. Don't allow their hostility toward God and church to keep you from sharing what God has done for you.
  • King Agrippa and Festus responded in completely different ways to the same message. When King Agrippa asked if Paul could quickly persuade him to become a Christian, Paul replied by saying, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” In other words, Paul desired for everyone in the room to come to know Christ, regardless of how long it might take them to arrive at that decision. Everybody is at a different point in their spiritual journey, and it's important that we meet them where they are and help lead them to God at their own pace.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • If you have given your life to God, have you ever told someone your personal journey to Christ? Look for opportunities today and this week to tell a friend what God has done in your life. It may feel a little nerve-wracking or weird at first, but your story could help someone along in their spiritual journey.
  • How can you come alongside somebody you know to help guide them on their spiritual journey? If you know somebody who has shown interest in God or church but is still uncomfortable about the idea, could you invite them to come to Verve with you? What opportunities do you have to find out more about their spiritual journey and tell them about yours? Whether it takes a "short time or long," commit to invest in the spiritual journey of somebody you know and help guide them closer to God.