Wednesday - Persecution and Growth

Series: The Mvmnt 
Message: Persecution and Growth
Preacher: Alex Bryan
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long 
Live Adventure: Zan Long 
Live Purpose: Jessyka Albert 
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Acts 5:17-42 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: When I flew into Denver to meet up with my pastoral colleagues Alex Bryan, Tim Gillespie, Sam Leonor, and Terry Swenson, we had all agreed to fast and pray for the day leading up to the meeting. I was starving by the time we had supper together, but breaking bread with my brothers was a special moment that was well worth the sacrifice. (Eddie Hypolite and Dany Hernandez were able to join us via Skype for a few moments as time zones permitted.) It was not until seven months later—when all of us were finally eye to eye—that what took place at that first meeting in Denver was repeated at the Hilton hotel in downtown Atlanta at the first One project gathering. We recognized that Jesus is the full expression of everything we could ever try to know or discover. 

It is strange to look back on that early experience and all the conversations that took place. I still have the list of names that I wrote down in Denver—people we wanted to join us later in Atlanta. We each had connections to people around the world who we thought would enjoy spending time talking about Jesus. Here is the surprise: Some of my friends did not come to Atlanta. They turned up later to other gatherings but they were initially skeptical. When I said that we were going to talk about Jesus for two days, they asked “What are you really going to do?” I gave the same answer, but it was not enough. They thought a conversation about Jesus was for children. It seems that they had become desensitized to Jesus! Is that even possible? Apparently so. Later on, as the gatherings grew in popularity, many realized that a focus on Jesus as "all" caught the imagination of lots of people. It also made others uncomfortable. It caused some to persecute us along with anyone else who was engaging in this conversation. The result was more growth. No one and nothing can contain the power of Jesus.

Recalibrate: What was your most recent conversation about Jesus and how did it challenge you?

Respond: Pray for the Spirit to follow Jesus. 

Research: Read Steps to Christ by Ellen White. 

Recharge: Wonder/Adventure/Purpose.

Read a book outside with your child today. Put a blanket on the ground to protect you and your child from the elements. Wrap yourself in a blanket if it’s cold or put sunblock on if it’s hot. Talk to your child about how much you love and care for them.

Sing your ABCs. Do you think the ABC song is for adults or kids? Why? When we learn to read and write, we need the ABCs. Think of the biggest adult book there is—without the ABCs, it’s nothing. Jesus is kind of like the ABCs. Ask your parents to sing the ABCs with you. Remind them that just like we all need our ABCs, we all need Jesus, all the time!

What is a motto, verse, or quote that always speaks to you? How would your week look different if what always spoke to you was Jesus? Would it change the way you talk to people, or how you go about chores or work? 

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