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I’ve been struck recently at how many parallels there are between Luke and Acts. The two books, of course, were originally one volume. Think of Luke/Acts like a hand and a glove. In Luke, we see the shape of the divine hand in the person of Jesus. Then in Acts, we see the invisible hand, the Holy Spirit, filling the church. The teaching that Jesus presents in Luke ends up being experienced and applied in Acts.

Seeing the church pray is a perfect example. What Jesus teaches about persistent prayer (in Luke) is seen in action when Peter gets imprisoned. In Acts 12, we see a snapshot of the early church in prayer. Here are three important aspects of their prayer: Continue Reading…

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One of the most curious things about the book of Acts is how Luke goes out of his way to show his readers the gospel spread around the world faster by laypeople than by apostles. Acts 8 begins, “They were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. . . . Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” I can just imagine Peter and John saying, “Wow, Luke. Really appreciate you calling us out like that. ‘Everyone went around preaching the gospel except for us.’ Thanks for that.”

Luke is getting after something really vital here. God used ordinary people, not professional Christians, to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. Fast-forward to the end of chapter 8, and you’ll see the first short-term mission trip in the New Testament. And who heads it up? No surprise: it’s Philip, a layman. The first person to take the gospel across cultures is not an apostle, but an ordinary dude. Is that not an indication of how the Holy Spirit will spread the gospel around the world today?

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Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
  cast off that I might be brought in,
  trodden down as an enemy
    that I might be welcomed as a friend,
  surrendered to hell’s worst
    that I might attain heaven’s best,
  stripped that I might be clothed,
  wounded that I might be healed,
  athirst that I might drink,
  tormented that I might be comforted,
  made a shame that I might inherit glory,
  entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

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