Comanche Trail Church of Christ (Amarillo)
8AM Sun, March 3, 2019
- Bible Trivia
- IntroResuming our “All In” series—looking at the challenging lives of men and women of biblical history who were fully engaged. Today, we are going to look at one moment in the life of two disciples of Jesus (Peter and John). It is only one of many all-in moments in the lives these two who left everything to follow Jesus.A good friend recently posed a good question: “I wonder how much life I’m missing because I’m flying through life? I wonder how many ‘sacred’ moments I miss because I’ve got an agenda for the day or project to finish?”Peter refers to Jesus as the “author of life” (Acts 3:15). I wonder sometimes about the opportunities we miss—the Jesus-authored, Jesus-originated, Jesus-directed moments. Am I more committed to my own script than his?I’m convinced I need to be a better “reader” of moments that make up my life than a “writer” of the moments that I wish for.Acts 3:1-10Can you imagine this scene! A crippled man who had never in his 40+ years stood on his own two feet, “walking and leaping and praising God.” Later it says he “clung to Peter and John” (3:11). Pure joy.From Cozy to BoldTurning point in the man’s story. Turning point in the story of the church.Just prior to this story, Luke gives us a portrait of the early church (2:42-47 “The Fellowship of the Believers”)—devoted to the teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers; wonders and signs were being done; all things in common; glad and generous hearts; favor with all the people; the Lord added to their number…There is much to learn from that portrait, but it’s important to note it contrasts with what follows—it is cozy and comfortable. But the rest of the story is not. All of this hinges on the moments of Acts 3-4. The healing of this man and the explanation given by Peter lead to the first arrest of many, the opposition that provokes a prayer and resolve of boldness among the early Christians.Cozy and comfortable can be rut for persons and churches. If we’re not careful, we’ll guard comfort at the cost of the mission.Story: Looking for a movie to rent in an old Blockbuster store. Conversation with another customer revealed that all he did was watch movies. Wouldn’t that be the life! I suspect it is a very unfulfilling way of life.Now, I don’t mean to suggest that we make it our mission to get uncomfortable! Rather, to live with a greater purpose. Live with a willingness to set aside the agenda, the routine, and the comfortable when greater opportunity is before us.An All-In MomentA crippled man is asking “churchgoers” for money. And Peter and John looked straight at him. They noticed, stopped, and engaged a man that was surely more used to being passed by, barely noticed. Luke takes great care to emphasize the personal connection they made with the man.Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.They were fully present with a person in a moment that was not on the agenda.“Be where your feet are.”Notice the people you encounter: in the hallways, with co-workers, kids at school, on the drive-thru speaker, even at Walmart! You never know what they are going through, or how meaningful it might be to be treated like a person.Sometimes it may also be that the people in our home may feel passed by and overlooked.2. They offered what they had.And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”A friend of mine made the comment that they didn’t take the easy way out. The man was asking for money and they didn’t have it.“It’s easy in the face of other people’s pain or struggles to focus on what we don’t have (all the answers to people’s questions, the wisdom to figure everything out, the power to change the circumstances), and then do nothing.” D. BarhamFocus on what you do have.You have more to offer than you think. And with Jesus, it can become more than you imagine.Story: My wife worked as a case manager for several years with the Texas Boys ranch. She met a woman who was trying to adopt her nephews to keep them together with family. While visiting the woman’s home, it was clear that it would not pass a home inspection. Saundra started doing everything she could to get her some help. Within a few months, three churches were inspired to work together to completely remodel her home and add on an additional bedroom. And the kids were soon placed with her!I wonder how many of these types of things we miss because (1) we aren’t fully present to the people around us, or (2) we don’t think we have anything to offer, or (3) we’re more focused on writing our own script.Conclusion“Look at us.” (vs. 4)Several years ago there was a well-known artist who set up a table and chairs in a museum. She called it “The Artist is Present.” And she sat there quietly while lines of people sat across from her, one at a time, making eye contact for several minutes. That kind of presence is so rare, it proved to be a moving experience even among strangers.It occured to me that this story could be titled something similar: “The Author is Present.” Because when Peter said, “Look at us,” he was really calling attention to the presence and power of Jesus. In fact, this entire story is an echo of Jesus’ healings and the prophesies in Isaiah about the kind of life he would bring (“then shall the lame man leap like a dear” Isa 35:5-6).It’s a story that draws us in our crippled condition to look to Jesus, the Author of Life. He gives what we truly need and writes us into a far more fulfilling life than we could write for ourselves.
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