Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Acts of God

On Sunday mornings this year the focus of my
sermons will be primarily on "what God does" and
will launch from the book of Acts. Consequently,
the title for this sermon series will be quite simply,
but appropriately, The Acts of God. So anytime
you see that phrase as the title of one of my daily
blogs this year, you'll find something directly related
to one my sermons or from my own reflection and study
in Acts this year. I want God to work on me, in me,
with me and through me. As a Christian, there can be
nothing more and there must not be anything less.

Luke, the author of Acts, is my favorite writer in the
Bible. He just seems to have a way of connecting well
with my mind. So I can really relate to some statements
Michael Green made in his book Thirty Years That
Changed the World
(Eerdmans, 2002, 2nd ed.). They
sum up a great deal of what I hope to say, God willing,
through a number of my sermons this year. Michael
Green says:
"I am fascinated by the book of Acts. It is the only
account we have of how the first Christians spread
and multiplied during the thirty years following the
death of Jesus. By that time they had become so
numerous that the fire of Rome in AD 64 could be
attributed, albeit slanderously, to them. . . .

"Luke . . . is clearly consumed with wonder: as to how
salvation came (the subject of the Gospel) and how
salvation spread (the subject of the Acts). You could
call his two volume work, 'Salvation, its roots and fruit.

". . . our timid modern church . . . is often so short of
a vibrant relationship with Christ and therefore has
little to declare. . . . nothing but transformed lives will
be able to intrigue and attract a generation that is
bored with religion and cynical of pious talk. Love will
do it. Lifestyle will do it. The manifest power of God
will do it. And so will dynamic Christian worship,
where the Beyond comes into our midst and deeply
touches those who would not even admit to believing
there is a Beyond."

"The Acts has so much to say to our half-hearted and
cold-blooded Christianity in the western world. It
rebukes our preoccupation with buildings and
ministerial pedigree, our syncretism and pluralism,
our lack of expectancy and vibrant faith. As such
it is a book supremely relevant to our time."