Monthly Archives: January 2012

acts 4

  • again, didn’t take long for the apostles to be put in a position to witness, huh?
  • i wonder what it was like to stand before the jewish authorities.  i’ve stood before a judge before, but all he could do was deny my request to dismiss my traffic ticket and demand me to pay the fine.  i’ve stood before a social worker who has the authority to take my children away from me in an instant (tends to be what happens when your 9 month old falls off the bed and breaks his leg in a way that looks like child abuse). that was fairly nerve wracking to say the least, but i’ve never stood before a council that basically has the authority to kill you.
  • also, the church in acts 4 is pretty rad.  they actually sold their homes and held all of their positions in common.  i keep going back to the fact that these people had experienced pentecost — they experienced the Holy Spirit coming in power.  maybe that’s how they were empowered to sell their things, knowing they would be ok. we surely don’t do anything like this today, and maybe it’s because we haven’t been empowered by the Spirit.  just wondering.

acts 3

  • without question one of my favorite stories in the bible.
  • it’s not hard for me to imagine myself in the position of Peter and John.   if you ever have the pleasure of visiting calcutta, india, you’ll notice that the few western/white tourists in the city generally make their way to the Kali Temple — named after the goddess of death and destruction — at some point in search of some sort of spiritual experience. i can vividly remember visiting the temple in 2004 – the sights, smells, feelings, colors, atmosphere, etc. but it is still difficult to recount the experience and do it justice.  it seems Dominique Lapierre doesn’t have that difficulty, however, judging by how he describes the temple in City of Joy:

Like a flower straining toward the sun, the sugarloaf-dome of the temple of Kali surfaced from the imbroglio of alleyways, residences, hovels, stores and pilgrims’ rest houses.  This high place of militant Hinduism, built near a branch of the Ganges, on the banks of which the dead were burned, was the most frequented shrine in Calcutta.  Day and night crowds of the faithful swarmed inside and around its gray walls.  Rich families, their arms laden with offerings of fruit and food wrapped in gold paper; penitents dressed in white cotton, leading goats to the sacrifice; yogis in saffron robes, their hair tied up and knotted on the crowns of their heads, the sign of their sect painted in vermillion on their foreheads; troubadours singing canticles as plaintive as sighs; musicians, tradesmen, tourists; the motley throng milled about in an atmosphere of festivity.

This is alone one of the most congested places in the overpopulated city.  Hundreds of shops surround the temple with a string of multicolored stalls.  There is something of everything sold here: fruit, flowers, powders, imitation jewels, perfumes, devotional objects, gilded copper utensils, toys, and even fresh fish and caged birds.  Above the antlike activity hovers the bluish mist of the funeral pyres and the smell of incense mingled with the burning of flesh.  Numerous funeral corteges wend their way between the cows, dogs, the children playing in the street, and the flock of faithful worshippers.  At the temple of Kali, the most vibrant life goes hand in hand with death.

  • One thing Lapierre misses is the beggars surrounding the temple.  the temple attracts most of the white/western tourists in the city and that, in turn, attracts beggars.  i just wish i had the courage to tell one of them to stand and walk.

acts 2

  • peter really knew the scriptures.
  • immediately after pentecost, IMMEDIATELY, peter becomes a witness to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  • people repented because they were awestruck over signs and wonders. i realize there there is a lack of awe at the things God has done in my circles… maybe because we are not witnessing miracles. maybe we should ask God to do miracles through us and see what happens… (well, what happens will be awesome).
  • maybe we should just ask the Spirit to come in power first…
  • also, i realize that peter didn’t give well rounded reasons for ‘becoming Christian.’ he didn’t argue anyone to Christ. the apostles just relied on the power of the Spirit that came to them to do crazy stuff… and then watched as people came to know Christ.
  • day by day the LORD added to their number. peter or the apostles didn’t.

acts 1

  • i’m struck by Jesus’ response in Acts 1 to the apostles when they asked if it was now time for him (jesus) to “restore the Kingdom to Israel.” instead of actually answering the question (and correcting their thinking on the nature of God’s kingdom), Jesus simply says, “you’ll receive power when the Spirit comes.” fascinating. instead of worrying about things that are fully in God’s control, maybe we are to just focus on being empowered by the Spirit.
  • the apostles devoted themselves to prayer. when was the last time i got friends together to pray — let alone be devoted to prayer together?
  • receiving power from the Spirit preceded the apostles becoming Jesus’ witnesses.