Introduction to Acts, Part 2

    • Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church.
    • The ministry of building that church continues in that first generation through the apostles and the early believers  Christ is the cornerstone of the church, and the apostles provide the foundation stones for the building of God that goes on until the end of the church age.
    • The story of the church begins in the Book of Acts.
    • It sweeps over a period of about 30 years, 3 decades.
    • It starts out with a small gathering of Jewish believers; ends up with tens of thousands of believers and Gentile churches as The Great Commission begins to be fulfilled.
    • The main person in the Book of Acts is God Himself because it’s the story of God’s redemptive plan unfolding.
    • Up to this point, you never hear the apostles quoting the Old Testament.  Read through the four gospels.  They don’t seem to have an understanding of the Old Testament and how it applies or how it’s fulfilled in Christ.  But as soon as you come into the Book of Acts, even before the Day of Pentecost in chapter 1, you find Peter quoting the fulfillment of the Old Testament, even as regards Judas.
    • they were aided in their understanding of the Old Testament because Jesus taught them
    • on the Road of Emmaus
    • in the upper room
    • over a period of 40 days
    • He was speaking of the things concerning the Kingdom of God.
    • God used them to build the church, but what were the elements that brought about that end?
    • They had a transcendent message.  Whether they were in Jerusalem or whether they were in Rome or all the stops in between throughout the entire Book of Acts, the message never changed.
    • Secondly, we saw they understood the church was a regenerate fellowship
    • “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.”
    • There was nothing about it that was for spectators.  There was nothing about it that was some kind of entertainment.  It was all expression of regenerate life.  It was designed for worship.  It was designed for edification.
    • a third
    • a faithful perseverance
    • If you look at chapter 2, verse 46, it says that, “They were day by day continuing with one mind in the temple.”
    • “And they were breaking bread from house to house and taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”
    • “They were having favor with all the people.”
    • It wasn’t anything like other groups and associations and guilds that were around in the ancient world.  It had an integrity that generated admiration and respect and wonder.
    • They were amazed at their character, but they were outright offended by their message.
    • verse 40, “With many other words, he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’”  A very strong message.  Narrow, exclusive, confrontive, condemning, judgmental.
    • And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.’”
    • The message was offensive and it was narrow and it was exclusive and it was condemning.  And it pronounced damnation on everyone who rejected Christ, and so what happened was persecution began.
    • The apostles are imprisoned.
    • Stephen is killed, crushed under stones.
    • There has to be, if the church is to grow, a faithful perseverance in the face of the hostility that comes against the message.
    • It grew under the force and power of the truth.
    • a fourth element
    • an evident purity
    • “Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?  While it remained unsold, didn’t it remain your own?  You didn’t have to sell it.  After it was sold, was it not under your control?  Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart?  You have not lied to men, but to God.’
    • any sin, even what might appear to be an insignificant one, literally is worthy of execution.
    • The fear of the Lord was in that place.  They could deduce what was going on.  The sin of lying was enough to bring about divine execution, and that’s because God wants His church pure.
    • The trend today is to remove the fear of the Lord, turn the preacher into some kind of a jokester, funny clever sometimes even course, familiar with the pop culture, cool, friendly to sinners, inoffensive.  But that isn’t the pattern that the New Testament establishes.
    • The Lord desires the holiness of His church, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  That’s a command, II Corinthians 7:1.
    • verse 13.  “The believers were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico,” a section of the temple ground.  Believers were all together.  “But none of the rest dared to associate with them.”  That’s an ideal situation.  You don’t want people who are non-believers comfortable.  They didn’t join.
    • You’d think, well, that will kill the church, but look at verse 14.  “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes,” meaning thousands, “of men and women, were constantly added.”
    • number five, a qualified leadership
    • two things make up leadership.  One is example.  The other is instruction.
    • It’s all about spiritual qualification and sound doctrine.
    • The church grows under the influence of Godly leaders.
    • “So the Twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.’”
    • select from among you seven men.”  Seven men to serve the food, seven waiters, seven dispensers, seven people who will fulfill this responsibility.
    • And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.”
    • The apostles, they have to give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, and they will be assisted by men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom, full of faith, all spiritual qualities.
    • The church doesn’t need secular wisdom.  It doesn’t need corporate strategy.  It needs Godly leadership.

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Introduction to Acts, Part 1

    • While you have one writer and essentially one history starting with the beginning of the gospel of Luke and ending with the end of the book of Acts, one great sweeping history, it is clear that it is the Holy Spirit’s design to split these into two volumes because there is such a dramatic change between the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.  And that dramatic change primarily occurs in the transformation of the Apostles
    • The dramatic transformation of these men from the “O you of little faith” association, from the struggling, fearful disciples that we’re so familiar with, to these emboldened. empowered, courageous preachers who hold back nothing
    • “Yes, the resurrection emboldened them, yes, the coming of the Holy Spirit empowered them.”  But it was also this grasp of the reality of redemption history and the understanding of the Old Testament.
    • The Spirit didn’t come until they had come to understand the Old Testament teaching regarding Messiah.
    • You have to understand the euphoria that grabbed the hearts of these men when for the first time they understood the Old Testament all along, had not only been pointing to Christ, but it even pointed to Judas and it even pointed to Pentecost and it pointed to the coming of the Holy Spirit. This was exhilarating, to put it mildly.
    • they got on top of it all and they began to really grasp it that God is continuing His redemptive work,
    • So by what means then does the Lord empower His church to carry on redemptive history?
    • The promise, says Acts 2:39, is for you and your children, and all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.
    • Repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the Holy Spirit and this promise is for you and your children, and everybody outside as long as history goes on.
    • what were the means that God used to grow the church like that?
    • They had a transcendent message.
    • Jesus even said that, “My words are life.
    • Christ, Him crucified, risen, ascended, coming again, they preached Christ.
    • when Peter preached, he preached one message to all gathered from those nations that were mentioned and he preached Christ crucified and risen from the dead, and Christ as Lord and called on those people, whatever their language, whatever their nation, whatever their societal norms to repent and believe the gospel.
    • The modern cry, I think, for contextualization is a kind of curse.  It is a kind of curse.  The Apostles and the prophets of the early church, took their transcendent message from Jerusalem to Rome, from the biblically literate Jews to the biblically illiterate Gentiles. They took their message from slaves to slave owners, from bond to free, from Jew to Greek, from men to women.  They crossed the hard borders and barriers of national social cultural lines and they never changed the message.
    • Sometimes I tell pastors, “If you can’t get your sermons out of your zip code, they are shameful.  There ought to be a warning label on your CDs, ‘This message self-destructs two weeks after it was preached, or if removed from this location.’”   If the message isn’t valid anywhere and everywhere in the world, then it isn’t valid anywhere.  The  only context you need to master is the biblical context, it is the Word of the Lord that saves and sanctifies.
    • There’s a second principle
    • an assembly of true believers and true worshipers.

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Mastering Hill Workouts | Running Times

    • generate maximum force
    • “Running up hills forces the knees to lift higher, one of the most desirable developments for any runner, because this governs stride speed and length,”
    • Hill training significantly increases the force requirements of our workouts, so it demands an equal increase in our post-workout recovery. Never do more than one or two hill sessions per week, and always conduct the workouts at the recommended volume and intensity.
    • #1: Long Hill Runs
    • We begin by incorporating a half-mile to a mile of moderately steep uphill into our long run every second or third week. As our fitness improves, we can increase the total volume of uphill in our runs to 2–3 miles. The effort level for these runs should be comfortably aerobic. Running too hard won’t give us a better workout. It will only decrease our volume of hill work, while increasing the time it takes to recover.
    • #2: Long Hill Repeats
    • path that included an 800m hill section: 400m of steady uphill, 100m of level recovery, 250m of steep uphill and, finally, 50m of slight downhill.
    • A typical weekly progression of long hill-repeat sessions might be:4-8 × 30 seconds, 2-3 minutes rest
      4-8 × 60 seconds, 3-4 minutes rest
      4-6 × 90 seconds, 4-5 minutes rest

      As to pace, a simple rule of thumb is to finish every repetition workout with just enough gas in the tank to run one or two more repeats if the workout called for it.

    • Sprinting up a steep hill at 90 to 95 percent maximum effort
    • Start with four or five reps of 30–60m (5–10 seconds) up a steep hill, then build up over a few sessions to eight to 12 reps. For recovery, walk back down the hill and wait until 2–3 minutes have passed.
    • #5: Downhill Strides
    • Start with four to five repeats of 60–100m on a moderately steep grade (6 to 7 percent). Run at 85 percent maximum pace and allow 2–3 minutes for recovery between reps. Build up to six to eight reps at 90 to 95 percent effort. If possible, do this workout on grass or the trails.

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What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson: — The Message — Medium

    • Ferguson is about many things
    • It’s a clear example why net neutrality is a human rights issue; a free speech issue; and an issue of the voiceless being heard, on their own terms.
    • Yesterday, national journalists were harassed, assaulted, arrested — without paperwork — while sitting quietly, recharging their phones at McDonald’s — captured on video.
    • Egyptians and Turks were tweeting tear gas advice.
    • And this is what happened to “Ferguson” on Twitter:
    • And then I switched to non net-neutral Internet to see what was up. I mostly have a similar a composition of friends on Facebook as I do on Twitter.

      Nada, zip, nada.

    • But I wonder: what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally?
    • Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook?
    • Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure.
    • This isn’t about Facebook per se—maybe it will do a good job, maybe not—but the fact that algorithmic filtering, as a layer, controls what you see on the Internet. Net neutrality (or lack thereof) will be yet another layer determining this.
    • Chris Hayes says that police ordered satellite trucks off the area so that they could not go live from the area.

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JPMorgan Chase’s $13 Billion Shadow | Perspectives | BillMoyers.com

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How America’s Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty | Blog | BillMoyers.com

How America’s Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty | Blog | BillMoyers.com.

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All Eyes Are on Ferguson After the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Teen — Here’s Our Essential Reader | Blog | BillMoyers.com

All Eyes Are on Ferguson After the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Teen — Here’s Our Essential Reader | Blog | BillMoyers.com.

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