God Converts an Act of Terror into a Triumph of Love

August 3, 2011

 

As we have been studying the Book of Acts, we have encountered prayer, preaching, and supernatural healings.  We have also taken note of ongoing persecution of the early church.

In this week’s reading, we will witness the account of the first murder of a Christ follower.  Although Stephen’s position was a food server, and not a preacher or evangelist, he was the first Christian martyr in history.

While some might have expected the violent oppression to quench the fire of the young church, Stephen’s reactions actually turned an act of terror into a triumph, and have served as a model for Christians facing persecution worldwide down through the ages. 

(By the way, an estimated 70 million Christians have paid for their faith with their lives–a staggering 2/3 of these in the last century!)

Here are some of the questions we will answer this Sunday:

o How does persecution of the church fit into God’s plan?
o How does God prepare the church for persecution?
o How does Stephen demonstrate he has been freed from fear of death in this passage?
o How does God put Love on display through the gruesome details of the murder of Stephen?

If you would care to look ahead, feel free to review Acts 7:54-60, which will be the centerpiece for our discussion.

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share a Sermon called “God Converts an Act of Terror into a Triumph of Love”.

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When is Serving Food Worth Giving Your Life For?

July 7, 2011

 

In the days following the birth of the church recorded in the Book of Acts, Stephen was the first person to be murdered for his faith in Jesus.  What is somewhat surprising is that Stephen’s primary role was serving food to the hungry, and not leading the church as an evangelist or pastor.

How could serving people food get the authorities so stirred up that they would imprison and kill Stephen?  There are plenty of indications in the Scripture passage for this week’s sermon that Stephen was performing his food service calling in a supernatural calling and power. 

Here are some of the questions we will answer this Sunday:

o When is serving food worth dying for?
o How could the church’s serving food make the authorities feel so uncomfortable?
o Why did God’s plan to serve food draw so much opposition?
o Does God have a Plan to feed the hungry people in our community, country, and world?
o Do you have a role in that Plan?

If you would care to look ahead, feel free to review Acts 6:8-15, which will be the centerpiece for our discussion.

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share a Sermon called “When is Serving Food Worth Giving Your Life For?”.