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The Holy Spirit, the Church, and the Gospel - I can't imagine they felt very blessed..?
 
The Holy Spirit, the Church,
and the Gospel

~ I can't imagine they felt very blessed..? ~
~ Paul's Second Missionary Journey ~

Chapters 15-16
Hello Everyone! Hope you are all doing well. The dusting of the snow looks pretty out there today. Yes. I like snow. I wish it would snow some more. Doesn't seem like winter without it.

We will look at two things today. First, we will look at the council meeting in Jerusalem that takes place between the first and second missionary journey by Paul. And then second, we will look at Paul's second missionary journey. Take a particular look at their visit to Philippi.

Read Acts 15:1-2
 
They had council meetings back then as well
Yep. That’s right. They had council meetings back then as well. Although, they probably lasted for days, if not weeks. The beginning of the Christian church was probably faced with more tough decisions that we have today. They had all sorts of things to figure out. What Jewish traditions and laws do we keep? Which don’t apply to us anymore? Do gentiles need to be circumcised? How are Jews and gentiles differentiated? How do we organize the church? How do we organize ourselves financially? So. They would now again gather to debate and hash out these questions. So, Paul and Barnabas head for Jerusalem to meet with the council in Jerusalem.
 
Skim through Acts 15:3-17
 
He’s Back…Well at least for a couple verses..
We have Peter back again…? But just for a couple verses. Apparently, Peter must still be around a bit, but who knows…? They all debate the matter of circumcision for gentiles. To us, this may seem like a silly debate, but to them it wasn’t a matter to be taken lightly. It was a church dividing issue. Paul and Barnabas make their case that the gentiles are to be included under the same grace as the Jews, and share “all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.”

Read Acts 15:19-21
 
James is the one that decided…?
So, this is James talking here. James, the disciple, was killed a couple chapters ago. So most people hypothesize that this James is “James, the brother of Jesus.” This is rather interesting that James seems to make the final decision about circumcision, and not Peter…? What do you make of that?

Read Acts 15:22-35
 
Adiaphora
Take a look at verse 28 again. “Impose no further burden that what is essential.” Martin Luther wrote about this sort of stuff. Luther asked the question of what is essential to our beliefs in order to be a Christian, and what things can we set aside for the sake of unity. Luther called those things that can be set aside as adiaphora. What beliefs and practices would you say are central to your faith?


Pack the bags… Another Mission Trip…Paul and Barnabas part ways over a disagreement. Paul and Silas head on through Syria, Cilicia, Derbe, Lystra, Phrygia, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus. They put a few miles on this time. About 2,800 miles. Along the way the picked up Timothy in Lystra. Paul had heard that Timothy was highly regarded among the people and so Paul asked him to accompany them on their journey. As an example of their journey’s we will give a read to their visit in Philippi. I hope you brought money for bail…?



Read Acts 16:16-24
 
Through it all. God is at Work.
Yes. Paul and Silas get thrown in Prison, while in Philippi. Pictured above are the ruins of the prison in Philippi. This prison in the cave is believed to be where Paul and Silas were locked up.

I’m guessing their not feeling all that blessed right now. Persecution and imprisonment becomes pretty common for Paul. You perhaps have heard this story several times before. Can you imagine witnessing all that has taken place in Philippi. Seeing a demon cast out, Paul and Silas thrown in prison, and then singing in the prison, and then an earthquake opening the prison doors. I went you to continue reading on through the end of the chapter. As you read, pay attention to all the ways that God continues working through the work of Paul and Silas.
 
Read Acts 16:25-40
 
Where is God at work in your life? It is good for us to ask ourselves this question, “Where is God at work in your life?” Or maybe an easier question to answer, “What is the most amazing thing you have seen in your life?” Because most definitely God was at work in that.

Blessings to you all in the rest of your day!
God's peace!
Pr. Jeremy
 

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The Info
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Little Cedar 9:00am  
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Adams, MN 55909
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I accidentally wore a red shirt to Target and, long story short, I'm covering for Debbie this weekend.
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