Reflection: Acts, week 16

It’s really easy to see people as wrong, not lost.

We judge without always meaning to. It just kind of happens. We know other people are watching us too, and for a lot of us, that’s intimidating. Like Jason said in his sermon, we’re so afraid of being rejected, we never get the opportunity to see people consider or accept the message of Jesus…because we never try to share our faith. We’re afraid they’re going to see us as wrong. Or crazy. Or a weirdo.

The university I went to had a lot of interesting characters grace the campus. I can remember walking to class and seeing people standing on crates or small platforms, megaphones in hand, telling us we were all going to hell if we didn’t repent. Never once do I remember hearing any of those people say “God loves you,” or something along those lines. I do remember seeing some young people holding a sign that said, “Smile, God loves you,” on a street corner.Adobe Spark(29)

It may seem crazy, but I think a lot of my classmates thought that’s what being a Christian was…standing on a platform and criticizing everyone around them. Whenever I did get to talking about faith or God with my classmates, a lot of them thought Christianity was about rules and really old people and places that didn’t matter anymore. By contrast, one of my good friends in college was overwhelmed by the “rules.” She was so on fire for God and spoke up in class if a professor said something she didn’t agree with… but I remember on several occasions, she expressed concern she wasn’t going to church enough. She told me she had to miss a holy day because she had to study for a tough exam. I could tell she was legitimately bothered by missing it, and worried, actually worried, God was upset with her. It made me sad because she clearly loved God so much, but it didn’t always seem she believed he loved her. Continue reading

Reflection: Acts, week 15

Suffer well.

It just sounds weird in your mouth if you say it out loud. This week, we heard Jason talk about Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16. They were beaten and tortured… and all they did was free a slave woman. But because she was a fortune-teller, and she previously earned her owners good money, they were very upset when they realized their way of getting that money was gone.

While in jail, Paul and Silas sang praises and prayers to God. An earthquake shook the prison, and all the doors opened. Their chains came off. Paul alerted the jailer they were all still around and did not escape, saving the man from killing himself in fear they were all gone on his watch.Adobe Spark(25)

No doubt the jailer was watching Paul and Silas and probably wondering how they could sing during such a time… or why they would bother to stop him from taking his own life. Their response to their situation was different. How many other prisoners did he see act in such a way?

The jailer decided he wanted what they had. He wanted to be saved. So he was baptized.

One thing I feel I’ve learned is not only should we suffer well, but we should live well. You really don’t know when someone’s watching, but chances are, someone always is. God has put me in situations, and I later realize it was so purposefully designed.

I remember one cold, winter day in college I was walking outside back to my car because I forgot my wallet. I needed it because I had a lunch meeting with someone. I went to college in Wisconsin, so as you might imagine, it was not warm at all. I can remember I didn’t have much of a coat on, so I was freezing. The art and music building was right across from the parking lot where my car was, but I was so cold, I went inside to warm up before going back out. Continue reading