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[the book of Acts] : and why it has me uncomfortable

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i'm the type of girl who is usually doing some sort of Beth Moore study [like right now, i'm doing Breaking Free]. i read the portions of the Bible that she tells me to read, in the context of what she's trying to teach. don't get me wrong, this is totally wonderful and so useful [and let's face it, she's the best. so, who can blame me, right?] but my goodness, when you actually sit down and read the Bible for yourself with no context, just to get the facts... it messes with you. have you ever read through the book of Acts in its entirety? well, i'm about half way through and it has me uncomfortable. it says things like:

"all the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." [2:44-45]

"... from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." [4:35]

after being brought before the Sanhedrin under false accusation, being questioned, and then flogged... "the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." [5:41-42]

the disciples traveled around the region preaching the gospel. they stayed in anyone's house who would take them. they were driven out of cities and escaped from others before being killed. they were stoned and beaten. they were definitely hated and met with much opposition.... and they rejoiced in it, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. if that isn't convicting [and kind of inspiring], i'm not sure what is.

how come our "version" of Christianity isn't like that? how come our American, suburban, middle-class version of Christianity is so vastly different than what the early Christians practiced? i know, cultures change and times change... but really, what ever happened to good old-fashioned selling everything and wandering from town-to-town in the power of the Holy Spirit, changing lives and preaching the gospel? whatever happened to just plain opening your mouth and sharing the Good News with someone you just met? sparing some change, buying some food? dare i say it- opening your home? and let's not even mention being persecuted in any way. we don't even want people to think badly of us, let alone try to kill us or injure us. imagine actually rejoicing in this, counting it as a privilege.

CS Lewis suggests in Mere Christianity that  if we actually lived like Christ, it would look much different than the society we now live in. our capitalism, our gross materialism, our selfishness, none of it fits in with Christ's message of self-sacrifice and unconditional love. he almost argues that we don't really care what it looks like to be a Christ-like Christian. "Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hopes of finding support from Christianity for the views [we already hold]. We are looking for an ally when we are offered either a Master or a Judge." that's convicting, huh? i think that's why David Platt, the author of Radical, challenges his readers to read through the whole Bible.... because we'll probably be surprised by what it actually says. we'll be uncomfortable reading through the book of Acts. 

i would challenge you: after praying for the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His Word, open up your Bible and start reading. it doesn't really matter where, but start at the beginning of a book [why not Acts?]. i promise you won't get very far without being challenged, and hopefully changed.


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