Greetings all, here is your e-votional…

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”-Acts 1: 1-5

For the next month, Tasha and I will be spending our Sunday sermons exploring the forgotten or overlooked stories of the Book of Acts.  It is appropriate, I believe, to look at Acts in this way because we often overlook Acts as a whole.  While we understandably focus on the Gospels, Acts lays the foundation for the Church, a foundation upon which we still rely.

We see this foundation reflected in the very first words of Acts.  As Acts opens, the risen Jesus is still instructing the apostles and these instructions foreshadow the formation of the Church.  First, Jesus tells them to remain in Jerusalem.  Second, he promises them the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  In short, he promises them Pentecost.  This promise remains with us today.  Acts reassures us of Christ’s commitment to the Church, and reminds us that we are part of something which transcends an ordinary institution or club.  The Church carries the baptism of the Holy Spirit with it to this day, and this is something of which we often lose sight.

The Church is the visible witness to Jesus in this world; people cannot see Jesus but they can see us.   The special presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of believers empowers us to be that visible presence.  You and I, as we do the work of the Church in our community, are doing more than we imagine.  We are pointing to the power of God, the presence of the risen Christ, and the stirring of God’s Spirit.  Acts reminds us of these truths.  Acts prevents us from seeing the Church as somehow belonging to us.  Acts calls us to be something greater.

Prayer:  Holy God, we pray that on this day we might remember our baptism, and we might remember that your Holy Spirit is presence in our midst.  As we seek to do your work in Fort Smith and beyond, we pray that you would give us the wisdom and strength necessary to continue to live as your apostles.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.