BSF Acts: Week 2, Day 1

2. It is probably just me.  There seem to be those BSF questions that I really have to work at because I can clearly see both sides of the argument.  I come away with, “if you look at it this way it could be x, but then, looking at this, it could be y”, and I feel very justified in my ambiguity.  Then I read the notes.  Every time, it seems, the notes are uncompromising and it always seems the notes simply state it as fact, without any apparent need for discussion or justification. 

This week those questions included the baptism of the spirit occurring at the exact same time as accepting Jesus.  The notes: 1 sentence: born of spirit = baptized with spirit = into the body of Christ.  All one thing and all together. It also included the question of casting of lots.  The notes: not since pentecost.  (side note, I did find it interesting that this is how some Amish groups select their leaders to this day: see Amish Encyclopedia.)

What humbles me in this isn’t that the BSF notes are gospel and I should yield unquestioningly to what is written, although they are written by people far more learned than I am.  But instead, that the points I seem to focus on, to spend a lot of time developing arguments for this side or that to show-off my knowledge of the scriptures, barely get a sentence in the notes.  In other words, they are really immaterial to the bigger picture.  And as christians, we are so like this.  How many denominations developed over little differences in the interpretation of scripture?  How many arguments have been made and how much effort has been placed in these minor and unnecessary issues?

Instead, I pick up such cool comments from the notes that encourage me that I totally seemed to miss: “Until one knows the Old Testament, it is impossible to understand the different facets of the Lord’s death and resurrection” and ” Although He had been invisible to them, they now realized He had been with them all the time.” 

So much for my grand arguments!

Quiet Strength – Daily Walk

I recently finished reading Tony Dungy’s memoir, Quiet Strength.  I enjoy football and I can get into watching a good game, but I couldn’t say that I’m a big fan.  To the best of my knowledge I’ve never screamed at the television set.  I also don’t obsess over scores or players.

At our first BSF leader’s meeting a number of the guys mentioned that they had read Dungy’s book over the summer so I decided to pick it up.  It is a very good biography and an excellent book on tape, read by the author.  Tony recounts the trials and tribulations that he has observed and been a part of from growing up through the Colt’s Superbowl championship.  Tony is a man of God and his faith and commitment to the Word are evident throughout everything.  It would be a good read for that story and the encouragement it provides alone.

But, what really struck me was how many sentences in the book Tony begins with the word “God.”  “God had this move in mind for us”, “God was with us”, “God is faithful to us”.  It made me think about the “walk of faith” that we so often talk about.  In Tony’s life it is clear that in his walk he is just to the side and one step behind our Lord, always keeping an eye and doing his best to let things happen in God’s time and at His pace.  It made me think about how many times I rush ahead, then fall to my knees praying that God will come find me when I get lost.  Or, the other times I’m behind, but pushing God to hurry up and take me the direction I want to go.

An old hymn came to mind as I thought more and more about the lesson that Tony provides of  daily devotion, unashamed profession of faith, pray and praise through everything:

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.


Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Acts: Lesson 1, Day 6

Acts 1.

14. Pray for obedience and patience to wait for God’s timing and for God’s calling.

Week 2: Lecture

Aim: Jesus continues His work on earth through the Holy Spirit’s power in believers

Intro:  The crowd shouts out in unison: Five, Four, Three, Two, One.  A loud noise erupts.  It’s over, the job is done, we did it!!

When we hear that description most of us think of a game, like the final minutes of a championship football game, where the whole season has led up to this point, to victory. 

We can think along those lines with the introduction to Acts in chapter 1.  Jesus is God, born as a man, who walked on this earth.  He has fulfilled all of the promise of the prophets.  He suffered, died and then defeated death by rising again from the grave.  He took on all the sins of the world and of all time, mine and yours included, and paid the price that we could not pay.  And now, after spending 40 days again on the earth in a resurrected body, He ascends into heaven.  Wow!

But, let’s play over that phrase again, but this time think of it in a different way.  The crowd shouts out in unison: Five, Four, Three, Two, One.  A loud noise erupts.  It’s over, the job is done, we did it!! 

What if, instead of a football game, this is describing a rocket launch.  While the earthly work is finished, the mission has just begun, and what if that mission includes an ultimate return to earth.  What a marvelous day that will be!

1st Division: Acts 1: 1-8 The Holy spirit is promised:

Principle: When God provides the direction He also provides the power

Illustration: You are so excited.   Your class has been studying for weeks about tigers and today is the big day, you get to go to the tiger preserve and see and touch a real, live tiger.  You have your sack lunch, water bottle, camera, notebook, 2 sharpened pencils, just in case.   You climb on the bus with all your friends and the bus pulls away from the school, but 1 block away, it runs out of gas. 

This doesn’t happen with God.  When He prepares us and sends us on a mission, He always makes sure we have the power to not only get there, but also to do the job.  The jobs God has for us are big jobs, sometimes way bigger than we could ever do on our own, but he provides the Holy Spirit to give us the power to do it right.


Just like our body needs fuel every day, so does our soul.  Are you filling up your tank in the word every day, or just sometimes?

Do you understand that your thoughts and words that say “I can’t” really mean “I won’t” since God gives you the power to do it?

What are you trying and failing to move with the power of your own 2 feet, when God has given you the keys to a 4 wheel drive, 454 cubic foot, v8 engine with a hemi, towing package and duellies?

Division 2: Acts 1:9-11 – He’s coming back!

Illustration: We think of the Apostles as amazing men of faith who suffered through great hardship and suffering for the mission of furthering the kingdom of God.  While that is true, it is also very fun to see that, at times, they are clueless num-nuts who require not one, but two angels to fill them in on what is actually going on.  They are standing here, asking about Israel being returned to power over Roman rule, Jesus gives them a final instruction then ascends, bodily, to heaven.  11 guys standing there, staring up into the sky, mouths open.  When 2 MIW’s (men in white) show up at their side to say, “OK, nothing to look at here folks, move it along… He’s coming back the same way He left.  Quite rubberneckin’ and get a move on.”


How many angels does it take to move you along the path that Jesus instructs?

What are you gawking at that is getting in the way of your obedience?

Do you get it that the climax of the story is yet to come?

Division 3:  Acts 1:12-26 – The Apostles are finally obedient and do as they were told – they wait.

Principle: Waiting on God’s timing gives us time to pray

Illustration: Listen how well these go together: Patience, Prayer, Power, Praise, Peace.  The opposite is impatience, self-reliance, inadequacy, chastising, anxiety.  Despite their earlier lack of obedience at the cross, the Apostles follow directions and follow the Lord.  That doesn’t mean it is the easier thing to do, they were very fearful in the upper room, but they were clearly relying on God not only to protect them, but even in choosing Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas – no discussion of most eloquent, best dressed, or anything like that – just a reliance on prayer and asking God to choose.  What a great example they set for learning from rather than constantly repeating our shortcomings by trusting in and obeying the Lord.


It’s your life – you choose.  Which path do you want to take knowing where they lead: obedience or ignorance?  If there is any question, look at those words again! Patience, prayer… peace vs. impatience, self-reliance… anxiety/stress.

Who do you want to associate with, the people others see as popular, prestigious, attractive and talented or the ones that God has selected for you to be with?  Are you praying for God to bring the right people into your life?

Where do you need to practice more patience in waiting on God’s timing and what are you doing while waiting?  Are you praying?

Conclusion: If you think the story of the gospels was cool – you ain’t seen nothing, yet.  That paid the price of admission, the next part of the story is still being played out and the big finale is yet to come.