• The End. Or, is it?

    The End. Or, is it?

    Special thanks to all who have joined us on this summer-long journey through the Book of Acts. Thanks to all of our writers.

  • Acts 28:23-31

    Acts 28:23-31

    Then as now, people can see with their eyes and hear with their ears, but if their heart is not open to the Good News, it’s as if their eyes are closed and their ears are plugged.  To be open to the Holy Spirit, your heart has to be open too.

  • Acts 28:17-22

    Acts 28:17-22

    Paul was telling everyone who would listen that: (a) salvation is in Jesus Christ, (b) that through Jesus, God’s promised covenant and Kingdom is expanded to all nations, and (c) that Gentiles shouldn’t be required to observe certain Jewish customs in order to be included as members in the newly forming Christocentric community of believers.

  • Acts 28:11-16 (CEB)

    Acts 28:11-16 (CEB)

    Throughout the books of Acts, we see the early church coming together to support and care for each other. The encouragement and sustenance found in the early church is not just a relic of the past. We can encourage each other in similar ways today.

  • Acts 28:1-10

    Acts 28:1-10

    I don’t know why hard times come and I don’t know why we go through hard times! Paul went through many hard times and we certainly are living through difficult times right now. As John Wesley says “The best of it all is, God is with us.”

  • Acts 27:27-44

    Acts 27:27-44

    Is God involved in our journeys? I believe so. Does God care about our safety and well-being? Absolutely! Does God speak messages of warning, or hope? Yes – and if we listen, we might hear.

  • Acts 27:1-26

    Acts 27:1-26

    Friends, God is always with us! Always!

  • Acts 26:19-32

    Acts 26:19-32

    I believe that God wants us to learn, to explore new ideas, and use our minds.  But what are we to do when the things we learn challenge our deeply held beliefs?

  • Acts 26:2-18

    Acts 26:2-18

    If there is one thing that we all understand about patience, it is this:  we all want patience – and we all want it right now!  It just doesn’t come that way.

  • Acts 25:23-26:1

    Acts 25:23-26:1

    Here is an invitation. Live into a life of integrity. Have courage in the person God has created you to be.

  • Acts 25:13-22 (CEB)

    Acts 25:13-22 (CEB)

    How do you solve a problem like Paul? What do you do with a person who does not fit with the status quo or follow established community norms?

  • Acts 25:1-12

    Acts 25:1-12

    How do we have peace in a world of injustice?

  • Acts 24:10-27

    Acts 24:10-27

    Paul understood the implications for resurrection, both for this life and the next. Christ’s victory over death makes resurrection and eternal life possible for all. But, resurrection is both a present and future reality.

  • Acts 24:1-9

    Acts 24:1-9

    We as Christians live our faith in the world. Do we leave it at the church door on Sundays? How are we perceived in our daily lives in our communities? Does our faith show in all we do?

  • Acts 23:23-35

    Acts 23:23-35

    Paul has been moved to Caesarea, the seat of the Roman governor where we hear a familiar theme. The controversy is an intra-Jewish one, not a Roman one. And the local authorities seem puzzled.

  • Acts 23:12-22

    Acts 23:12-22

    Paul is in the crucible. He faces a severe, searching trial and is in prison. So much of this text reminds us of Jesus’ time facing the Romans. As explained by John Dominic Crossan, “Paul wanted to take back the world for God and he wanted all of us to join him”.

  • Acts 22:30-23:11

    Acts 22:30-23:11

    As God’s people, we are encouraged, knowing that he will stand beside us in times of trouble.  In spite of our failures, God will be pleased when we share the gospel of Jesus in difficult circumstances.

  • Acts 22:17-29

    Acts 22:17-29

    In this text Paul speaks to the people of Jerusalem from the steps of the barracks.  They had been ready to beat him up, but the commander didn’t seem to want the trouble and decided to take Paul into custody to find out what was going on.

  • Acts 22:1-16

    Acts 22:1-16

    After his conversion experience temporarily blinded him, Paul was taken by the hand and led to Damascus. Our dependence upon each other is no weakness, no indication of unimportant inferiority. Our dependencies, our limitations, our numerous needs for each other – all of it is grace. To allow ourselves to be led in the direction of our own Damascus is gift.

  • Acts 21:27-40

    Acts 21:27-40

    Ever feel like there are too many voices shouting too many different things, too much commotion to discern the truth? Too many half-truths. Too much mis-information. Too many accusations. Too many false-claims. Too many lies. Too much exaggerated reporting. Too many voiced opinions. Too much shouting, and not nearly enough listening. Too much noise.

  • Acts 21:18-27 (CEB)

    Acts 21:18-27 (CEB)

    It seems like there is a misunderstanding among the Jewish followers of Jesus about what exactly Paul is saying and doing as part of his ministry. They are having what is called a “failure to communicate.”

  • Acts 21:1-17

    Acts 21:1-17

    I wonder if each of us might have our own Jerusalem – a journey we know we need to undertake, a place we know we need to go, a conversation we know we need to have, a past we need to face, a job we need to take, a mission we need to fulfill, discomfort we need to endure. 

  • Acts 10:13-38

    Acts 10:13-38

    Being an apostle in the early days of the Christian church was a dangerous profession. In preaching the good news about Jesus, many of the apostles were mocked, beaten, jailed, and killed.

  • Acts 20:1-12

    Acts 20:1-12

    Exhaustion, frustration, conflict, defeat, oppression, depression, hopelessness, anger, loss…all are situations that can sneak up on us, capture our attention, and leave us prone to accident, or worse.  To be sure, the possibility of a miraculous resurrection can seem quite remote.

  • Acts 19:18-41

    Acts 19:18-41

    As Christ followers, what are our shrines? Our idols? Of course we all have them, these physical “things” we covet, purchase, drive,wear, etc. Do they keep us from living fully what we say we believe?

  • Acts 19:1-17

    Acts 19:1-17

    We should be more active in seeking to find God in our everyday lives, and not wait passively for Him to come to us. God’s love is there for us –  we need to open our hearts to it and find the joy that awaits us as the Holy Spirit comes upon us.

  • Acts 18:24-28

    Acts 18:24-28

    The early Church seems to have been an incubator for discovering of who God is, how to be a disciple, and the remarkable ways God intends to work in the Church. Isn’t there still more to learn and understand about God? Aren’t we all works in progress?

  • Acts 18:1-23

    Acts 18:1-23

    Clearly, the heart of the Roman Saul had been transformed into the Apostle Paul capable of hearing and honoring messages from God.  Time and time again, the Bible tells us how God speaks to us when we need it most. 

  • Acts 17:16-24

    Acts 17:16-24

    We can create virtual realities, alternative truths, and material idols to foster and support only what we see, want, and understand.  We can be proud of our clever selves, and fashion God in reasonable and comfortable ways.  We can even establish religious and educational systems to sift and define credible “official” beliefs.  We can certainly ridicule others for “new” ideas and faith in things unseen.  Or, we can believe, somehow, God gives us what we need to love and support one another. 

  • Acts 17:1-15

    Acts 17:1-15

    Let us also celebrate the unnamed, unsung heroes and heroines of the faith who fulfill important supporting roles in the drama of Acts.

  • Acts 16:31-34

    Acts 16:31-34

    Is it time you paused for a sunrise?  Is it time you paused to embrace the many facets of God’s presence in your life?  Perhaps there is someone to whom you might speak the word of the Lord?  Certainly, some extra joy in your day is a welcome proposition.

  • Acts 15:30-16:5

    Acts 15:30-16:5

    The world is full of stories.  We all each of us have our stories to tell.  And we have the deepest need to listen to them and be listened to.  That’s the dignity and discipline of listening.

  • Acts 15:12-29

    Acts 15:12-29

    It’s nearly impossible for us to imagine the enormous significance of the following three things to the Jews of Jesus’ day, and thus the early Jewish followers of Jesus: 1. Circumcision 2. “Clean” vs. “unclean” 3. Being Jewish – not Gentile.

  • Acts 15:1-11

    Acts 15:1-11

    The Gospel of Jesus, offered to the whole world, challenges many traditional, ceremonial, and congregational restrictions. It is certainly easier for the “establishments” to open their doors and accept people and ideas that fit into or enhance their existing beliefs.

  • Acts 14:8-28

    Acts 14:8-28

    Sometimes I feel like everyone is talking, but no one is really listening. We hear everything through the filters of our own experience and sometimes it seems we are speaking two entirely different languages.

  • Acts 13:42-14:7

    Acts 13:42-14:7

    Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, Paul and Barnabas are overflowing with happiness. Paul and Barnabas find their joy, their happiness, their self-worth, and even their ministry effectiveness not from anything they say or do or accomplish, but from the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives.

  • Acts 13:14-41

    Acts 13:14-41

    Through Jesus EVERYONE who believes is put in right relationship with God! Regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, faith tradition, social class, or any other qualification (or disqualification) you could possibly imagine, through Jesus EVERYONE who believes is put in right relationship with God! That is, indeed, Good News!

  • Acts 13:4-13

    Acts 13:4-13

    Our main focus today is the pro-counsel’s advisor or wizard who wanted to prevent Barnabas and Saul from sharing with Paulus.  Interesting that Saul calls on the Holy Spirit to invoke blindness on the wizard just as he had been blinded at his conversion earlier.  Nothing to miss here.  Paulus was converted and full of enthusiasm for the Word.  

  • Acts 12:18-13:3

    Acts 12:18-13:3

    God overcomes.  God wins the war.  God provides hope and saves those who need God most.  We need to understand that God has no limits.  God wins, always.  It’s the timing that we have a problem with!

  • Acts 12:1-17

    Acts 12:1-17

    I wonder, if privilege and comfort leads to complacency. How might my faith be deeper, stronger, more adventurous if it came with risk? How might I depend on God more, if my next sermon might lead to imprisonment, or worse?

  • Acts 11:19-30

    Acts 11:19-30

    When we as believers are filled with the Holy Spirit and we actively share our love and faith with others who are different than us, then God’s amazing grace and the growth of the church will have no limits.  This limitless reach can be visualized by the endless horizon of the ocean.

  • Acts 11:1-18

    Acts 11:1-18

    Oh, that the Spirit will open our eyes and ears to God’s will for our lives, our community and our church.  That we will worship God together without divisions.

  • Acts 10:23b-48

    Acts 10:23b-48

    God does not favor individuals because of their station in life, their nationality or their material possessions. He does, however, respect their character and judge their work.

  • Acts 10:1-23a

    Acts 10:1-23a

    I am watching and listening for the Spirit. I am willing to respond to the Spirit’s call. I hope you will join me in watching for and listening for the Spirit to guide us as a church. May we be so courageous to go where the Spirit leads and do what the Spirit calls us to do.

  • Acts 9:32-43

    Acts 9:32-43

    Miracles performed by the apostles served a very important purpose: to authenticate their message that Jesus was the one, true Lord and Savior. Jesus came to save sinners and to restore our relationship with God. Peter’s acts are symbolic of the love and mercy that God has for us. 

  • Acts 9:23-25

    Acts 9:23-25

    Rejection and persecution are unfair and lamentable. Yet, these emotional, human experiences are, at times, byproducts of following Christ. Truly living a Christian life is not a popularity contest; it is a life of sacrifice, struggle, and hurt. We are called to be the hands, voices, and feet of Christ in difficult circumstances.

  • Acts 9:1-22

    Acts 9:1-22

    God didn’t, hasn’t, doesn’t, won’t take “no” for an answer. When God calls, God already knows our objections, our feelings of inadequacy, our prone-ness to disobedience, our fears. God tolerates our objections, already knowing we have them, and the call remains. God doesn’t give up so easily!

  • Acts 8:4-25

    Acts 8:4-25

    For years, Peter and John, and the rest of the disciples, were raised to despise and avoid Samaritans. Now, transformed by the Holy Spirit, they overcame a lifetime of prejudice and hate, and shared the most precious gift they had – the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Acts 7:2-29

    Acts 7:2-29

    God never limits himself geographically to one dwelling place or locality. Even in the distant land of Mesopotamia, God was present with Abraham.

  • Acts 5:1-11

    Acts 5:1-11

    When you tell people you are a Christian, what sort of reaction do you get nowadays? Are you lauded for your presumed faithfulness and loving-kindness, or are you primarily associated with the murder of Indigenous peoples, racism, homophobia, sexism … etc?

About First Church…

The vision of the First United Methodist Church of Orlando is to,


Basically, just three simple words: SEEKLOVESERVE.

To “seek” means, “the desire to find or obtain.”  At First Church, we seek God through prayer, study, worship, and discipleship. Psalm 53:2 says, “God looks down from heaven on humans to see if anyone is wise, to see if anyone seeks God.”

To “serve” means, “to render or assist, or be of use.” We serve people, inside and outside of the church, through warm hospitality, helpful service, and generosity.  Galatians 5:13 says, “Serve each other through love.”

Love is at the core of both seeking and serving and central to all we are and do as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus said the first and greatest of all commandments is (Luke 10:27), “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You will love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus is the self-definition of this kind of love, exemplified by his sacrificial death on the cross. We are called to exemplify that love in words and deeds.

First Church Orlando

We specifically believe God has called First Church to SEEK, LOVE, & SERVE at the urban core of Downtown Orlando. First Church is uniquely, centrally placed at the intersections of government, the arts, commerce, education, and culture. The cross in our logo also resembles the points of a compass, with arrow points directing us outward toward our neighbors. We believe our calling is to SEEK, LOVE & SERVE, as we intersect and engage each unique element of the Downtown community.

Our vision and calling are to SEEK, LOVE, & SERVE.  

Downtown Orlando is our mission field.

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