I love the book of Acts. It is probably one of my favorite Bible books. The stories are exciting and engaging. In his new book, Unstoppable Gospel, Pastor Gregg Matte calls readers to take up the mission and ministry of the early church and to go out and change the world.
With Acts 1:8 operating as the backbone verse of the book, Matte takes the reader through the meaning of that verse, as well as walks through the remainder of the book of Acts and how it applies to us today.
There were a couple places where the book seemed to lag a bit, though not overwhelmingly so. In fact, there was a lot of good "meat" on this bone and I found myself underlining quite a few passages to go back and look at again.
I appreciate Pastor Matte's call to missions and found myself challenged and encouraged. Can't ask for more than that.
"This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review."
Readers of this blog know that I usually don't comment on "culture war" items and the insanity that erupts on social media. Yet the recent Starbucks "controversy" has filled my social media feeds to the point where I decided to go against the grain.
For the few who may be unaware, Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist, decided to upload a video to his 1.8 million Facebook followers re. Starbucks new cups. Feuerstein calls himself a "social media personality." This should have been a warning to people not to take him seriously!
Feuerstein went into a Starbucks with his Jesus t-shirt, a gun (don't ask), and his video rolling and gave his name as Merry Christmas so that the barista would be forced to say, "Merry Christmas." Feuerstein rails against Starbuck taking the Christ out of Christmas and encourages his followers to also give their name as Merry Christmas and started a hashtag for his followers to tweet about all of this.
Now Starbucks has never had Merry Christmas on their red cups. They have had everything from minimalist snowflakes and hand-drawn reindeer to a winking snowman and decorative ornaments. This year it was just a simple red design.
Missing in this hoopla is the fact that Feuerstein claims to share a message of hope and healing. I missed that in the midst of all his marketing and self promotion under the guise of "putting Christ back in Christmas."
The media picks up on this one guy's viral video and I have seen numerous stories about how Christians are boycotting and protesting Starbucks because of the assault on Christmas!
Sadly, though many Christians will not support this one man's attempt at self promotion, some will embrace this as yet another battlefield and in an ongoing culture war against our faith. Meanwhile, unbelievers will shake their head, think Christians are off their rockers and never see the grace, hope and life that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
I have not found a place in the Bible where Jesus calls us to protest over red cups, chicken sandwiches or greetings at area businesses. I do see where He calls us to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) and to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
It is beyond time for Christians to protest less and share the Gospel more. If we want to truly change our culture, let us focus on sharing the work Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Instead of protesting over a cup of coffee, why not buy a coffee for you and a friend (or a stranger) and share how Jesus Christ has changed your life.
I remember as a kid, we would be playing out in the yard all day, but when our Mom called us for supper (we called it dinner), we would high tail it for the house. Sometimes I was so engrossed in my play that I would not even think about food, but when the call went out, I would realize how famished I was.
There is something comforting about hearing the call for supper! To gather together with friends and loved ones, to hear their stories, to get to know them better!
"When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, 'Come, the banquet is ready.'" (Luke 14:17)
Come, the banquet is ready.
That passage of Scripture is located in the Parable of the Banquet, a story where people are invited to a huge feast and make all kinds of excuse why they can't attend. Eventually, the master of the house sends his servant out to bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. (v.21)
The needy, the hungry, they came to the feast.
Though Jesus tells this story to teach a lesson, I find encouragement in that passage as well as the marriage supper of the Lamb found in Revelation 19:6-9 which says "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
I get excited when I think about this feast.
I long to sit at table with Jesus Christ, to worship Him, to hear His voice, to know Him more!
When the call goes out that supper is ready, will you be coming to the table?