Mission Possible

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

September 6, 2021

The book of Acts is the second book Dr. Luke wrote for Theophilus. Luke was the first book and was about the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus. Acts is a book about what Jesus continued to do and teach through the Holy Spirit after he ascended into heaven. It also describes the development of the first church.

Today we are going to discuss Acts 1:4-9. We will mostly talk about Acts 1:8, but there will be information about what Acts says about the Holy Spirit.  

After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to the apostles for 40 days. In Acts1:4-5 Jesus had given his disciples a command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The disciples, still thinking Jesus was setting up an earthly kingdom, asked in verse 6, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

Verse 8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Verse 9 says, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Jesus told his apostles to stay in Jerusalem. This probably did not make sense to them because this was the place that Jesus was crucified and the place where the disciples ultimately rejected Jesus and acted cowardly. Yet Jesus wanted them to stay there to receive the gift that the Father had promised. What was the gift that was promised? Jesus said the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit.

There are many explanations about the Holy Spirt throughout the Bible. Here are descriptions about the Holy Spirit we learn from the first 8 chapters of Acts.

The Holy Spirit is:                 

  1. What Jesus spoke through.
  2. A free gift from the Father.
  3. What gives you power when it comes on you.
  4. A power that enabled the apostles to speak in languages other than their own.
  5. What you receive after repenting and getting baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
  6. The promise for all that the Lord calls.
  7. What the apostles were filled with and enabled them to speak of Christ boldly.
  8. A witness to Jesus rising from the dead.
  9. A power that gives wisdom.
  10. A guide.
  11.  A power that told Philip to go to the Chariot.

These are just some of the characteristics the apostles received when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Verse 8 states they also received power. The word for power used in Acts 1:8 is dynamis or dunamis. The English word dynamite is from dunamis. They received God’s dynamite in them. This word means strength, power, fortitude and the will to win. What a great gift. No wonder Jesus wanted them to wait to witness until they received the Holy Spirit. Trying to share about Christ without the Holy Spirit and the power of God would have been the “mission impossible.”

Verse 8 also states the apostles would be witnesses to Christ. Think about what a witness does in a trial. They tell the judge and jury what they have seen and heard. That is what the apostles were to do. Tell others what they had seen and heard while they were with Christ.

The rest of Acts 1:8 states they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem was the location of the apostles and was the local area. This is where many Jewish people lived. Judea and Samaria were regional areas. Jewish people were in Judea, and ½ Jews (Samaritans) were in Samaria. These were the people the Jews did not even acknowledge. The ends of the earth meant the rest of the world.

Thus, the apostles were to witness in the power of the Holy Spirit to people they liked and did not like, and in all places in the world.

If you read through the entire book of Acts, the Apostles fulfill Acts 1:8. In Chapters 1 through 8 they are witnesses in Jerusalem, 8 through 12 Judea and Samaria, and the rest of the book they witness beyond these regions.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus called on the apostles to be witnesses. He asks this of all believers. He asks this of me, and if you are a believer, He asks it of you. It is important to remember to ask for the power of the Holy Spirit so you can be most effective about being a witness.

Matthew 28:18-20 says: “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  1. Has anyone witnessed to you? If so, what did they say? Did it seem they had power or knowledge?
  2. How do you feel about witnessing to someone?
  3. Have you listened to anyone who has been on a mission trip, or have you participated in missions? Tell us about it.

Next week we will read Acts 9-14.

The Thief

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Thief

August 29, 2021

This week’s reading was from Luke 19-24. It was difficult to choose what to discuss because all of the reading was so exciting and important. Jesus came to this earth to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He did this by dying on a cross to save us from our sins so we would live in eternity with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

These chapters give us more detail about the events. They show how Jesus was betrayed by one of the disciples, was arrested, crucified on a cross for a crime he did not commit, and was raised from the dead. All of this fulfilling prophesy from the Old Testament (Isa 53). Wow!

During the crucifixion of Jesus there was a remarkable transaction between Jesus and a criminal hanging on a cross next to him. That transaction is what our discussion will be about this week.

The reading is from Luke 23:32-43. I also added a verse from Matthew.

Jesus was an innocent man. Even Herod and Pilate believed he committed no crime deserving of death. But because the chief priests and the crowd were so insistent that he be killed, Pilate granted the demand.

Jesus was not alone in the crucifixion. There were two criminals with him, one on the right and one on the left. In Mark 15:27, we learn that these criminals were “robbers.”

Throughout his gruesome crucifixion, Jesus was mocked by soldiers, Jewish leaders, the crowd, and the robbers next to him (Matthew 27:44). Even with the torture Jesus endured throughout the crucifixion, he stated, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:39-40 states, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us, but the other criminal rebuked him.’ “Don’t you fear God.” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Let’s dive into this a bit more.

First, something caused one of the criminals to change his mind about Jesus. In Matthew both the criminals mocked Jesus, but we see in Luke one robber changes his thinking. Was it because while Jesus was experiencing torture, he asked God to forgive others? We are not sure. What we do know is the robber was humbled, changed his thinking, and stated to the other criminal, “Don’t you fear God?”, and then went on to say that he and the robber deserved to be crucified, but Jesus was innocent. Then he asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus told him that today, he would be with Jesus in paradise.

Think about it. This robber was the first “born again’ Christian. Once the robber died, he was with Jesus in paradise, who after his death sat at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2). This is a beautiful story of the grace of Jesus Christ. The criminal recognizes that he is a sinner by stating that “we deserve to die for our crimes.” Then he states that Jesus is righteous by saying he was innocent. He asked Jesus to remember him in his Kingdom. Lastly, he lives in eternity with Jesus in paradise.

This story reflects the grace Jesus has for all of us. Let me explain.

  1. We all are sinners. What is a sinner? According to the Bible it is someone who “misses the mark.” A sinner misses God’s mark. It also means someone who does not obey God’s law. We may not be a criminal, but when we compare ourselves to a perfect God, we all fall short of that perfection. It doesn’t matter if that imperfection is something seen like the criminal, or something not seen, like lust or envy. Romans 3:10 says, “No one is righteous-not even one.” We must recognize that we are sinners, just like the criminal did on the cross and confess that sin to Jesus.
  2. We all have a choice about Jesus, just like these two criminals. One accepted Jesus and the other rejected Him. We can believe in Him and accept Him, or reject Him. One criminal was going to be in eternity with God (paradise), the other was going to be without God. John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” We need to believe and accept that Jesus is the Christ.

It is important to recognize that the criminal did not have “to do” anything to live in paradise with Jesus. He didn’t have to be a better person first or work his way into heaven. He didn’t have time. He was about to die when he spoke those words to Jesus. This shows that salvation (living with Jesus in paradise) is not about works, but about the free gift Jesus gives us if we believe and receive.

Jesus offers this free gift to you too. Would you like to accept it?


  1. Have you recognized that you have sinned? Have you asked God for forgiveness?
  2. Have you made the choice to believe and accept Jesus? If you have not and want to do this, please let me know. I would love to pray for you. If you have any questions about God’s forgiveness and free gift, please let me know.
  3. If you are still unsure about any of this or have questions, please do not feel pressured. Pray for guidance, and God will answer. Luke 11:10 says “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
  4. Do you have any questions?

I will be praying for you this week. Let me know of any specific prayers you may have.

Next weeks reading will be: Acts 1-8.

My favorite song titled “The Thief” by Third Day. Enjoy!

Heavenly Treasure

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

August 22, 2022

This week’s reading was Luke 13 through 18. Luke shared many of Jesus’ parables. I love the 3 parables of the lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son. These are easy to understand and bring hope that God cares about each of us individually, will seek us out, and welcomes us with open arms, even when we have made bad choices.

The parable we are going to spend more time on is one that is difficult to understand. This parable is called the parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16: 1-15. You may be wondering why I titled this heavenly treasure when the parable is about a shrewd manager. This will be explained at the end of the post and will make more sense.

Here is the text from the NIV Bible:

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

“‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

In this parable we have 2 main characters: 1. A rich man, 2. The rich man’s manager. Managers in this day were usually trusted by their employers, and took care of everything and everyone inside and outside of the home. They also took care of finances and loaning of money.

We find out that this manager has been wasteful of the rich man’s money and possessions. It is not surprising that the rich man fired him. After the manager was fired, he had to think of something he could do in order to live. He knew no other employers would hire him because word would get around that he was wasteful. He also knew he was not physically capable of labor, and was too ashamed to beg. The manager had to do something, so he made a plan that would cause people to welcome him into their home. He called the debtors and gave them discounts on the money they owed the rich man. They only had to pay 20-50% of what they owed the rich man. And do you notice that the debtors did not ask questions why they were getting these discounts? They went along with the plan.

While they no longer owed the rich man money, and they saved a lot of money making the deal with the manager, they were indebted to the manager. If the manager needed something or a place to stay, he could go to the debtor and say, “Hey, remember what I did for you, let me stay with you?” and they would feel obligated to help the manager. They were also part of the scheme because they did not ask any questions. If the manager needed something, they had no choice but help him out.

After the manager made dishonest dealings and caused the rich man to lose money, something surprising happens. The rich man and Jesus compliment the “dishonest manager” for acting shrewdly. Why would the rich man and Jesus say the manager did good? This is where the parable gets difficult to understand.

We first need to define shrewd. According to dictionary.com and Merriem, it means having or showing sharp powers of judgement, or taking advantage of a hidden opportunity. This is someone that understands a situation quickly and uses it to their advantage.

This makes since. Even though the manager was dishonest, he was looking ahead to ensure he had a way to live in the future.

But we still ask, “How can a dishonest situation be praised by the rich man and Jesus?

First, Jesus was not praising the dishonesty. He was praising how the manager acted shrewdly.

In verse 8 Jesus says, “For people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are people of the light.”

What Jesus is saying is that people of this world (non-Christians) will do what they need to secure their futures, but people of the light (Christians) do not do this when it comes to spiritual matters.

In verse 9 Jesus says, “I tell you, use worldly money to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

What Jesus is saying here is that Christians should look ahead into the future and use money for eternal purposes, like missions, discipleship, and other ministries that bring people to Christ so that when money and resources run out, they will be welcomed by more Christians into “eternal dwellings.” Darryl Bock said in a commentary, “When the end comes and no more money is available, the one who has seen into the future and acted prudently will have handled the resources and stewardship God has given wisely.”

This is why I titled this week “Heavenly Treasure.” This parable is about how we should handle our resources. Matthew 6 states, “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Thus, Jesus is saying that Christians should look into the future and invest their resources in the kingdom.

  1. What are ways to invest in the kingdom?
  2. I know I felt convicted about where I should invest my resources. Were you?

Next week’s reading is Luke 19 to 24. Let me know how you are doing keeping up with the reading.

Sowing Seeds

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

August 15 2021

This week we read from Luke 7 to Luke 12. There are many miracles performed by Jesus and Jesus talks in parables. The parable of the Sower is this week’s topic.

Before starting, let’s define “parable.” According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a parable is “a story or lessen given about a person for spiritual or religious teaching.” This is what Jesus is doing when he talks about sowing seeds.

Luke 8:4-15 says:

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Let’s dive into this parable.

What do we need in order to plant a garden that grows fruits or vegetables? We need seed, someone to plant the seed, good soil, and good weather and sunlight to grow the seed.

Jesus compares growing food to sharing the Good News about Jesus to other people. He also compares how people respond to the Good News with different types of soil.

In this parable we have the:

  • Sower or farmer: person who shares about Christ.  
  • Seed: the word of God.
  • Soil: the recipient of the word of God. There are 4 types of soil or recipients. They are:
  • Trampled soil: the seed cannot go in to the hard soil so it lays on top. The birds then eat this seed. Later Jesus explains that the birds are really the devil who takes the word away from a person’s heart so they do not believe. These people are not believers.
  • Rocky soil: the plant grows here because there is a small amount of dirt, but it withers because it has no moisture.  The plant does not have deep roots. This means the that the person receives the word with joy, but when trials come, the person falls away.
  • Thorny soil: this is soil that has thorns poking out. These people hear the word, but in a while God’s ways are choked out by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.
  • Good soil: this yields 100 times the crop than what was sown. This stands for people with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by perseverance produce a crop.

What does this mean?

In order for a person to know about Christ, there must be someone willing to share the Word about Christ. You must have a farmer that plants the seed.

In order to share the Word, one must read and know the Word of God. You must know the seed you are planting. This is a great reason to be in this study reading the Bible daily.

In order to get the Word out, a person shares it to all types of people. The farmer scatters the seed on to different types of soil indiscriminately. The farmer does not care what type of soil he scatters the seed upon. He just scatters it.

Remember, this is the parable of the sower who sows seeds on all types of ground, This is exactly was Jesus did throughout His ministry. Jesus tries to reach all types of people, not just those with good soil. Soil can always get richer with nutrients added. Thus, share God’s word with all types of people. We may need to help the soil, but God will grow the seed.

Are you ready to start your garden?

To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. Rudyard Kipling


  1. Has anyone ever shared God’s word with you? How did that make you feel?
  2. How comfortable are you sharing God’s word with others?

Please let me know if you have prayer requests. I would love to pray specifically for you.

Next week’s reading: Luke 13 to Luke 18

Change is Hard

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

August 8, 2021

         Well, how did you do this first week of reading your Bible regularly? Was it an easy change or difficult?

         I found reading regularly to be very hard. My old habits of watching TV or doing something else seemed to call to me. I had to really think about reading the Bible, and even put it on my to do list.

         This week’s reading in Luke is all about change. We see the miracle birth of Jesus to Mary who was a virgin. We see a glimpse of his younger years. We then see the start of his ministry, and this is when Jesus changed everything.

         I am going to focus this week’s discussion on the following verses.

Luke 5:27-39 in the NIV Bible.

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

Change is hard. The Pharisees did not like the change Jesus was bringing. He hung out with people like tax collectors that were despised by others. His disciples were not fasting and praying like others were. Basically, Jesus and his disciples were not following the rules.

Rules were what the Pharisees were about. They prided themselves for following all of the rules in the Old Testament along with thousands of man-made rules. They believed that to get to heaven you had to follow the rules perfectly. They looked down on people who did not follow these same rules. Therefore, they looked down on Jesus and his disciples. They did not want to change and felt the rules were better.

When Jesus told the parable about the patch and the wineskins, he was comparing the old and the new. The old way was about following the law and rules as the Pharisees did. There were 631 laws in the Bible they followed and thousands more that were man made. The new way (New Covenant) was about Jesus, and the forgiveness He offers others and the love he has for people.

People today often time feel the same way as the Pharisees. People think that religion or getting into heaven requires stopping bad behavior and doing good. People think, “I’m a good person, I should get into heaven because of it.” Being “good” is not the way to heaven according to Jesus. He says that the way into heaven is a free gift and that we just have to have faith in Jesus and accept His gift. According to Ephesians 2:8,9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

This is very different from the Pharisees’ ways. They wanted people to notice how good their behavior was and how many rules they followed. Being able to follow the rules when no one else was able made them feel better about themselves.

Jesus said to Levi, “follow me.” Levi did not have to change before he followed Jesus. He did not have to become a better person. Jesus asked him to be his disciple while he was the tax collector. While he was stealing from others. It was after Levi followed Jesus that he began to make changes in his life.

After Levi became a disciple, Jesus renamed him. His name went from Levi to Matthew, which means “gift of God.” Can you imagine being despised by all men and then having Jesus ask you to follow him and then he calls you a gift of God. How life changing. Matthew then followed Jesus throughout his ministry and learned His ways. He was the writer of the first book of the New Testament.

Jesus says the same thing to you and I as he did to Levi. We do not have to be a “better person” to follow him. It is a free gift. We just need to have faith in Him and say yes.

Have you said “yes” to following Jesus? Please let me know if this is something you want to do or if you have any questions.

Others questions to think about.

  1. When you encounter others, what is your focus? Is it how people act and behave, their lifestyle, their money, or is it grace and love?

2. How do you live? Are you a rule follower or do you give grace?

3. Are you loving those around you?

4. Do you need to have someone over for dinner that does not conform to your rules?

One preacher said,

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

The doctor is in!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

August 1, 2021

Who is Luke and what was his purpose?

We will start our journey reading the book of Luke. Knowing the author will help with understanding the context of his writing.

I love the book of Luke. The author is a doctor, and being in health care I can relate. Because he was trained how to observe people, he writes about others differently than the other gospel writers. For example, he mentions a person had “dropsy” which means swelling from fluid retention. He also mentions 5 physical healings that the other gospel writers don’t talk about.

Luke is a good friend and companion of Paul, thankfully. Paul went through many physical and health issues from being beaten, getting bit by a snake, and being shipwrecked. Having Luke as his companion I’m sure was key in keeping him alive.

Luke is the only author of the Bible that was not Jewish. He was Greek and a Gentile who became a Christian. Some people think Luke was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus because he wrote one of the gospel books. This is not true. He obtained his information for the book by asking people who were actual eye witnesses to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Some do believe he may have been one of the 72 who were sent out by Jesus.

Luke not only wrote the book of Luke, but also the next book in the Bible, Acts. These two chapters are a 2-part letter, and from the writings it is evident that Acts was to follow Luke. Luke wrote these two books for Theophilus. Luke calls Theophilus “most excellent” which mean he was someone in a high position and had wealth (Luke 3). He wrote the book of Luke after Jesus was crucified. It is believed it was written when Paul was in prison. Luke’s goal in writing this letter was to encourage other Christians and strengthen their faith, “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).