Day 61

Acts 27 & 28

Acts 27 and 28 read like a script for an adventure movie. The perfect storm…drama on the high seas…shipwrecked and snakebit. (Somebody needs to tell Steven Spielberg to check out my blog.) And I love how Paul always rises to the top. He get’s on board a prisoner, but in the end he’s calling the shots. And not to mention it was his faith alone that saved 276 lives. What a great man!

I’m not going to try to teach the many lessons from Acts 27 and 28 in a simple blog, but I am looking forward to a “Supernatural Spring and Summer” as I preach through the 28 chapters of Acts in 28 messages — The Unvarnished Church. During the centennial anniversary of the Azusa street outpouring and the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement I think it is highly prophetic to preach through the Book of Acts. I am really looking forward to it.

So let me just comment on the last word of Acts: Unhindered. Not every translation reflects the sentence structure of the Greek, but Luke concludes his account called Acts with the word akolutos. The word means “unstoppable.”

That’s what the church in Acts was — unstoppable. You could fight those Christians, persecute them, throw them to the lions, burn them at the stake, fill the catacombs with their bones — but you could not stop them! They were determined to turn the world upside down, and they did. They absolutely changed the world. And we are called to follow in their steps. We have believed the same gospel, we preach the same message, we have the same commission and the same Holy Spirit as Peter, Paul, James, John, Barabbas, Silas, Timothy and all the rest. We can do what they did. Hallelujah!

Some have noted that Acts doesn’t really end, it just stops. But you can’t even say that because the final word is “unstoppable.” The message is very clear: The mission of turning the world upside down with the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t end with the first generation, but carries on from generation to generation and is continued by all who will dare to live the adventure of faith.

You and I are writing Acts 29 with our lives. Let’s make it good!


So we’ve reached the end of our two months of discovery — The Unvarnished Jesus.

But it’s not the end. The end of the Jesus story and the Acts story is the beginning of your story. So now what? Now it’s time to repent. Unfortunately the word repent is often connected with all the wrong things; either negatively with harsh legalists or comically with delusional fanatics. Most people are familiar with the caricature of a sweaty tent evangelist screaming “Repent!” at the top of his lungs to a group of brave souls who have probably done nothing worse that week than drink a Pepsi. Everyone has seen a comic depiction of a bearded and barefoot “prophet” with his sign, Repent! The End is Near! But when you come to understand that the word repent really means to rethink your life, you understand it as a word filled with hope and you can imagine a more appropriate sign might read, Repent! The Beginning is Near! That’s what I want to say to you (say it, not scream it), rethink your life, the beginning is near. If you will allow what you have discovered over the past sixty-one days to change your thinking you will find that you are beginning a new life: A life of discovery that never ends but keeps leading you further down the endless highway of God’s grace. That’s the road I’m on and I want to say it to you one more time…come with me.


Well, I’ve written sixty-one blogs in a row on the Unvarnished Jesus. That’s really a bit of challenge — if you don’t think so, try it sometime! I plan to continue to blog two or three, maybe four times a week, but not everyday. And I won’t be blogging at all for the next few days. Right after church today Peri and I are heading for Estes Park, Colorado to spend a few days in our beloved Rocky Mountain National Park. (Yes, it’s our park. We just let other people use it and the federal government is kind enough to pick up the tab.) This time of year we will need our snowshoes. On Wednesday we will celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. Last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary in Oskaloosa, Iowa — where I was preaching. Don’t get me wrong, Oskaloosa is a wonderful town (and if you’re reading this Pastor Bill, you know I love you and your church) — but it’s not exactly the best place in all the world to celebrate your anniversary. So this week Peri and I are going to celebrate our 25th ANNIVERSARY (plus 1) in one of our favorite places.

Don’t forget about the “One Church” city-wide prayer meeting on the National Day of Prayer this Thurday evening at 7:00 at Word of Life Church. I’ll see you there.

Let’s turn the world upside down for Jesus!