Acts 7

 

Reading Luke and Acts in 2020


Week 7  |  Acts 7
 

Acts 7 Reflections and Questions


By Rev. Heather Jallad
 
I’m ashamed to admit my surprise and amazement each time I recount God’s mighty acts in my life. Truly they are mighty acts and yet when I don’t tell the story, when my life moves too quickly, I forget to remember. As a pastor under appointment, it is something I am asked to recount when I enter a new congregation and I love to tell the story, and yet I question, why don’t I tell it more? Now just entering my second year in a new congregation the recounting and remembrance is fresh on my heart and mind once again having shared it multiple times and wow what a story! I recently applied for a doctoral program and had to submit a “spiritual autobiography” in the process and was once again reminded of God’s mighty acts across time and history and most notably in my history for these purposes.

In Acts 7, Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, the newly appointed deacon of the church appointed to care for the Greek-speaking believers is called to testify in light of charges of blaspheming Moses and God. Stephen recounts God’s mighty acts to redeem, restore, and reconcile God’s people, a sort of spiritual biography of God and God’s people. This, the story of God’s saving love come home in the intimate details of the lives of the patriarchs and leaders or the faith, multiplied in the faith of this community, and now to the wider world, has been fulfilled in Jesus, says Stephen. While our testimonies will likely not lead to martyrdom like Stephen we are called to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. May God multiply God’s mighty acts in and through us as we tell the story.

Read Acts 7 but also consider listening to it read. One of my favorite new Bible apps is Bible.is and has some cool features for those of us who like to listen to scripture.

Some thoughts and practices as you read and listen to Acts 7:

What’s in your spiritual autobiography? How would you recount God’s mighty acts in your life and share them with another? When was the last time you shared this story?

I’ve heard it said, and it may be trite but true, ‘if you were brought up on charge of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?’ Reflect upon what that evidence is.

What part of the metanarrative in your spiritual biography are you in at the moment? Longing to be released from captivity? Wandering in the wilderness? Moving into the Promised Land? Working to fully inhabit the “land” God has given you? Living fully in the freedom of Christ and inviting others to the “Table” of grace?

To take a page from Bishop Sue’s first devotional on the book of Acts; “Are you asking the Holy Spirit to help you bear witness to Jesus Christ and the mighty acts of God? Are you asking the Holy Spirit to guide your conversations and direct you to those who might be receptive? If not, why not?” I had to laugh when I reread this part because I have considered "Acts 29" as the title of a book I will one day write; “ I was leading a Bible study on the Book of Acts and mistakenly put Chapter 29 on our schedule. We all laughed because Acts has only 28 chapters. But one of our group said, aren’t we Acts Chapter 29? Isn’t the next chapter ours to write? Aren’t we to make sure that the gospel story continues to the next generations? We claimed the name Acts 29 from there on out, and focused on how we were connecting others to Christ. What Chapter 29 are you writing?”

Finally, consider this, a practice I invited the team that is training to launch another dinner church did last week, taken from The Daily Walk Bible; Arrange a postage stamp, sheet of paper, envelope and pen in front of you. Then carefully read the following:

"If Christ comes to rule the hearts of men, it will be because we take home with us on the tractor, behind the desk, when we're making a sale to a customer, or when we're driving on the road."--Alexander Nunn
 
"The deathless Book has survived three great dangers: the negligence of its friends; the false systems built upon it; and the warfare of those who have hated it."--Isaac Taylor
 
"I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask every man and woman that from this day on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book."--Woodrow Wilson
 
Is the "faith of our fathers" worth proclaiming? Take ten minutes right now...and write someone a letter about it.
 
Rev. Heather Jallad is the Fresh Expressions Cultivator for the North Georgia Conference, Mission Strategist Fresh Expressions US, and Pastor of Community Engagement at Mount Pisgah UMC.