Acts 11:19-30

Today’s devotional is by Erik Lindborg.

Acts 11: 20-21 CEB:  Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene.  They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to the GentilesThe Lords power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.

Many years ago, when I was a college student, my mom gave me a UNICEF necktie with images of culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse people with linked hands and big smiles.  These days, I don’t have many opportunities to wear a tie so I have donated most of them, but I will always cherish this tie as it reminds me of the importance of loving and being in community with those who are different from me.  My mom taught me from a young age that there is strength to be found in diversity and when the Holy Spirit intercedes in these relationships truly amazing things can happen, beyond our limited human understanding.

In Acts 11: 20-21 we find followers of Christ coming from places far away including Cyprus and Cyrene.  We are told that the “Lords power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.”  This began a period of early growth in the church as believer’s shard the good news with people from around the world; including Gentiles and likely many others of dissimilar cultural and religious backgrounds.  It was during this exciting time of growth that these early disciples of Jesus Christ began to be known as Christians.  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 in this photo of the ocean.

What would have happened if these early believers did not have the courage from the Holy Spirit to share their new faith with Gentiles and others who were not like them? 

Are their people in your life who are somehow different than you are that you are being called by the Holy Spirit to love and share your faith with?

What are some things that could happen at First Church if we truly love and engage with people who are different from us, whether that be their race, sexual identity or their religion?

What else can we learn from the early believers in Antioch as we seek to grow the positive impact that First Church Orlando can have on our community?

Please share your thoughts, comments and questions. We love to hear from you!

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