Gallery

Fame

ParthenonWe have an interesting relationship with fame in our culture. People gain fame for athletic ability or musical talent. Some are carried there by wealth or media exposure or heroism. It’s always intriguing to see how different people react to fame. Some seek out the spotlight and bask in it while others prefer to fade into the background. How would we react if put in that kind of situation?

When Paul heals a lame man in Acts 14, the reaction to the miracle is probably not what he expected. “When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.” (Acts 14:11-12)  They had come to teach about God; instead they were thought to be gods. Rather than embracing that idea, Paul did what he always did. He lowered himself and elevated the true God. It’s something we should look to do as often as we can. If we find ourselves with more attention than we might have expected, can we use that as an opportunity to point others toward God instead of ourselves?

Brian



Not Yet

Alive in ChristAccording to historical tradition, the apostle Peter was killed around 68 A.D. Although he was to be crucified, he did not consider himself worthy to be killed in the same way his savior had been. He asked instead to be crucified upside-down. Following the execution of James at the beginning of Acts 12, he might have thought his time was about to be up. But it wasn’t. Not yet. God still had work for him to do.

While he was well guarded in prison awaiting his trial, an angel appeared to free him. Herod planned to be rid of him the next day, but God had something else in mind. It’s often during those times that we think we have control, or we are sure how things are going to turn out that God moves and reminds everyone who is really in control. Whether we are struggling with what seems to be an impossible situation or timing that we just cannot explain, sometimes God is waiting to reveal himself. Peter was learning something that Paul would write about later in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Whatever was going to happen in that jail cell, Peter was ready for the next step. This time, that step was to freedom and little while longer to live for Christ.

Brian



Identity

Encouragement Photo

I decided to fully immerse myself as a Eugene resident last week, so I got a bicycle. As we’ve already established a few times, I’m not a runner. Even if I’m being chased, there’s a pretty good chance I will get caught before running too far. But I’ve always enjoyed riding a bicycle. Since I’m not getting any younger (or thinner for some reason), I thought it might be good to exercise more and get back into cycling. I wanted to balance inexpensive with something that would suit my needs, and I knew the contact I needed to make: Robert Bain. Robert has been into cycling since before I met him in the sixth grade. He introduced me to bike trails. He spent years working in a bike shop. When I have a bicycle question, I immediately think of Robert.

In Acts 11, Barnabas is sent by the church in Jerusalem to see what is happening at the church in Antioch. In the first verse describing his visit, he is already encouraging them. He is so known for being an encourager that he is not referred to by his given name, Joseph. The disciples instead call him Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. Most of us know someone like Barnabas. A lot of us could strive to be someone like that. What are you known for? Is it something you want to be associated with, or would you rather have a more positive connection to your name? It would be great to think that people in need of encouragement want to be around people like us. Let’s all be better encouragers starting today!
 
Brian


He Is Risen

RisenHe tried to tell them so many times. He said it in many places, in different ways and to various groups of people. It was one of the most important things that was going to happen, but they just did not get the message. Then he was taken from them, tried, tortured and killed. Everything they lived for was ripped away. Then Sunday came.

In Luke 24 they went to the tomb only to find it empty. It was there they met angels who said almost matter-of-factly, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you.” And they remembered. Now it all made sense. Tearing down the temple and rebuilding it. The Son of Man being delivered and raised again. It seemed too good to be true, but He is truth. There is no single event that carries greater power and hope than the resurrection. That is why we celebrate it this Sunday and every day. He has risen, and because of that we can too.

 

Brian



Naysayers

Gospel for AllSome people have a difficult time dealing with change. We get comfortable with having things a certain way, and we like that familiarity. When something is changed without our input, we have some options as to how we react. We may accept or reject the change, or we might be quick to talk about what’s wrong with the change.

The people Peter encounters at the beginning of Acts 11 are confident that what happened in Acts 10 with Cornelius cannot be alright. They know that the gospel is for them, but it’s not for the Gentiles. Patiently, Peter catches them up on what he has already learned. God wants everyone to hear the good news. It can’t be an easy lesson for them to hear. It goes against everything they’ve known, yet here was Peter telling them it was so. We can learn a lot from their attitude. How do we handle changes when they come our way?

Brian