Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dear Theophilus:

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:1-2 (NIV)

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.

Good morning!

It is hard to imagine a world without accessible internet access, email and instant messaging. It wasn’t all that long ago when none of this technology even existed; the realities of today were simple dreams and theories developing in the heart of humanity. For thousands of years, people found ways to communicate life stories and truth to each other. Pictures carved on stone walls told stories of kings and Pharaohs and rulers of kingdoms. Folks began recording written narratives about the lives of important people and sharing them with extended family and friends through letters. Letter writing became a most popular way to share news and, I would imagine receiving a letter then was almost as exciting as receiving an instant message with an attached picture today.

There is great value in an eyewitness account. Luke, the writer of Acts, was a physician by trade and a close, personal friend of the Apostle Paul. He was the only Gentile author in the New Testament, whose writing sheds a fresh perspective on the birth of the Christian Church. He met and heard many of the stories told by the disciples about Jesus. Hearing the truth and seeing the many healing miracles prompted Luke to share this great, good news in a letter written to a friend named Theophilus, whose very name means lover of God. Luke was writing his account to all of us who love the Lord.

This letter picks up where the Luke’s Gospel leaves off, some thirty years after Christ’s resurrection. The church was growing exponentially through the powerful move of the Holy Spirit, who is very much alive and well in the hearts of believers. Jesus told His disciples that He had to go so that the Spirit would come, and oh, how the Spirit poured itself out on the early church! People of different cultures, beliefs and languages heard and accepted the good news of our risen Savior. Even through intense and horrifying persecution, Christian home churches were springing up faster than the Romans could literally burn them out. The flames of faith continue to spark and ignite around the world today.

Luke’s ability to convey truth through in written medium helped many who did not know the Lord Jesus Christ or see His crucifixion, burial and resurrection, to believe and trust in His saving grace. We can be thankful for all who dare to share the truth today, with whatever communication tools they have at their disposal.

It is obvious that Christ continues to speak through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit evidenced in our lives. No longer is the Lord understood only by his disciples who walked and talked with Him in Galilee and Jerusalem. People were meeting the risen Savior face-to-face, in the most unusual ways. Christ continues to choose His Apostles today to spread the message. They are simple men and women, just like you and me. When Jesus Christ sets our hearts on fire and we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we carry His message of hope to the world.

This is a love letter that will literally change your life. Come and read it with me, my dear Theophilus.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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