During our Break

BY KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

As promised, I am touching base with you as we take our break for the holidays. I have recently read some articles that have had particular meaning for me. First, I want to recommend this article by Eric Davis entitled When Your Church Disappoints. Note it does not say “if”, but when. As we study Acts, and the infant church as it grew, we see that even the apostles encountered problems. This article is convicting and encouraging at the same time. I have read it several times, felt personally convicted, and plan to reread it regularly. Don’t miss this one!

In keeping with the church theme, a good read from Servants of Grace is Yes, Christian, You need the Local Church.

Another brief article that I recommend is Scott Slayton’s Why You Should Live in the Psalms. This has come to my attention at a time when I am wanting to spend some time studying and praying the Psalms. I recently purchased a book by Nancy DeMoss on devotion in the Psalms, and I am hoping to participate in a group study on it at some point.

If you want to receive WOP’s Good News (John Piper) advent devotional in your daily email, you can still sign up here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the articles or anything else that is on your mind. Email me at kathyhoran@att.net.

Until next time………….

 

Acts of the Apostles, November 13

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

Reminder: Tuesday November 7th was our last class for the year. We will resume in January.

I just read a post from the Servants of Grace blog entitled “How You Can Best Help Your Church”. The author says “faithfulness” in believers is such an important characteristic. Here is an excerpt that I found so helpful and convicting, especially as we are spending this year studying about the church in Acts. Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 8

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

A quote from Derek Thomas set the tone for our class this week.

“…there’s a sense in which these two chapters [10 & 11] are among the most important chapters in the entire New Testament in an understanding of what the nature of God’s purpose in this world is and in our understanding of what the church is, and of what the mission of the church ought to be.”

Since our Women’s Ministry has been focused on ministry in the local church, this was especially timely. We are introduced to Cornelius, who represents the Gentiles who are being welcomed into the Kingdom of God. We see how God reveals his plan of redemption for not only the Jews, but to the Gentiles, to all the earth. Cornelius who is in Caesarea receives a visit from an angel of God who tells him to send to Joppa for the apostle Peter.

Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 7

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

In chapters 8 and 9 we see the contrast of inner and outer conflicts in the early church. The persecution of the church ramps up, and Saul of Tarsus is seen as a major figure in this reign of terror against Christians. Stephen had been executed, and fear drove many out of Jerusalem. However, God used this evil to deploy believers throughout the world to spread the Gospel. Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 5

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

As we pick up the storyline of Acts, Chapter 6 presents a conflict in the infant church. It involved the care of widows. There were two groups of Jewish Christians in the church. The Hebraic Jews were from Palestine and spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. The Greek Jews had come from Gentile countries and spoke Greek. Scripture tells us that the Hebraic widows had been taken care of by the church, but the Greek widows were being neglected. The apostles’ solution was to appoint deacons for this mercy ministry, and interestingly enough they appointed all with Greek names. We see the beginning of the Presbyterian Church government. To read more about how the PCA government works today, here is a link to the Book of Church Order. These men were ordained in the local church with congregational approval. The qualifications for this position were they must be of good reputation, full of the Spirit, and full of wisdom. Then, as well as today, this ministry was taken very seriously.

In this chapter, we meet Stephen, who was one of the men chosen by the church to oversee the equitable distribution of food to the needy widows. “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)”.

Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 4

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By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

In Acts 4 and 5 we see exciting times in the infant church. Their numbers were growing, but so was opposition to the Jerusalem Church. Peter and John had been bold in front of the Sanhedrin and this had a vital effect on the church. Members of the church shared what they had with each other, focusing on caring for the local church.

Barnabas enters the picture and would become a familiar figure in the early church. We are given a contrast between Barnabas and Ananias and his wife Sapphira. You can read in chapter 5 the story of this couple’s deceit and their subsequent punishment from God. There is a lesson here for us, we need to take God seriously, he is not to be trifled with. Continue reading

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 3

By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

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Acts 3:1-4:22.

We had a few verses left in Acts 2 that we needed to finish up from last week. We saw how the church  “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers”(Act 2:42) .  “The church became their life. This was not merely a one-day-a-week activity. This was a whole new way of living. Their entire lives were changed. They had a new purpose in life.” [1]

We finished up chapter 2 and jumped into chapter 3, where we see a wonderful miracle occur. Peter and John approach the temple and are stopped by a lame beggar asking for money. Yet, they give him a gift far greater….he is healed. A man who has never walked in his life, and he begins leaping in the air, praising God, and the people are astonished. And what do the apostles say to them? “It wasn’t us!” Peter tells them it is from the power of the One that the Jews disowned and put to death.

Peter, this man made bold by the Holy Spirit, tells them that this is the One who Moses and the other prophets foretold would come to speak God’s words to them. In fact, would bring salvation to God’s people. And how are Peter and John rewarded for this wonderful healing? Continue reading