First Presbyterian Church of Conrad, IA

Going the Distance

Acts 13:13-41

          "(13) From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. (14) From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. ON the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. (15) After reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, 'Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.'
          (16) Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: 'Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! (17) The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their say in Egypt; with might power he led them out of that country; (18) for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; (19) and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. (20) All this took about 450 years.
          After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. (21) Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. (22) After removing Saul, he made David their kin. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'
          (23) From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. (24) Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. (25) As John was completing his work, he said: 'Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'
          (26) Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. (27) The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. (28) Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. (39) When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tom. (30) But God raised him from the dead, (31) and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
          (32) We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors (33) he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

"'You are my son;
today I have become your Father.'"

(34) God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said,

"'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'"

(35) So it is also stated elsewhere:

"'You will not let your holy one see decay.'"

          (36) Now when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. (37) But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
          (38) Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. (39) Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. (40) Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

(41) "'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'"

Prayer for Illumination

Going the Distance

1. The Story of Faith

a) Paul's "defense" of the Gospel
- Jesus, the One they were looking for
- Right time, place, lineage

b) The hunger to know more
- From Acts 2, they were "devoted" to the apostles' teaching, to breaking bread, and to prayer
- Steadfastly committed with one mind - resolute, unshakable

c) How hungry are we?
- Overcoming spiritual "laziness"
- Eager to know, live the things of Christ
- Eager to share with neighbor

2. Go Where "I Am" Sends Me

a) Open to opportunities
- Paul went wherever God sent
- Are we open to going across the street or across the world?

b) The "Originator" of "Out-of-the-Box" thinking
- Using unique gifts
- Open to the moment God has presented for sharing Good News

c) Trust in God = Going on an adventure
- Don't have all the answers before starting out
- We are not in contril
- Am I okay with that?

3. The "New Thing" is Still New

a) God is still doing a "new thing"
- The Church is in the early stages of a new "reformation"
- Structures will change, but the message remains the same one that Paul preached

b) Learning to touch the gift of faith
- God has given each of us the gift of faith
- For those who are willing to open their gift, we share the story of God's  mercy, forgiveness, healing and hope

c) You are valuable as an agent of hope
- You are worth Christ's atonement
- You are gifted to share your gift of faith with others
- Invitation to join the company of the "transformed ones"

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