Friday, August 1, 2014

Controversy is Not New

I was reminded recently that each believer has their own interpretation of God. We may agree on the foundation of biblical principals, but  God has revealed himself to each of us individually. While there may be many similarities, our faith looks and feels different to each of us. 

God does this because he is relatable.  He is not trying to hide from us. He is trying daily to reveal himself to us. Therefore, we all have our own ideas of who He is and how he works. This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing because it allows each of us to know him intimately.

However, these different interpretations of God can cause people to get cross with each other. 

Found at

One of the most controversial times in the bible is in the book of Acts. It continues today to be a point of contention amongst believers. Just how real is the Holy Spirit?  Does everyone speak in tongues? Do we need an interpreter? The list goes on. I don't want to debate the book of Acts, but I want you to see that the disciples were certainly at a different spot spiritually than others. 

I found this cute art over at 

God revealed himself to the disciples after he died. He spent 40 days with them. It makes sense they would be a little different after that experience. I'm thankful this happened or the gospel would not have gone beyond Jesus' death. But, at the time, it was not well received by some. 

"He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3) Then, he ascended back to heaven. Then they waited for the Holy Spirt just like he told them to do. (Along with them were the women and Mary the mother of Jesus (Acts 1:14). 

And, after the Holy Spirit came down on them, they were filled with power. (YAY!!!) 

These guys began operating in the power of the Holy Spirit like no one had ever seen at that time. And, it was not well received by some of the Jewish people. They were skeptical to say the least. But, God had a bigger plan. He wanted them to take this power and go into the world and spread the gospel. It didn't matter what the Jewish people thought of them. They were on a mission from God. They had a job to do. 

"Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. ...It is Jesus' name and the father that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see."(Acts 3: 12, 13, 16)

The book of Acts continues to be well debated amongst different denominations. Even inside the "spirit filled" church, there are many who don't like people to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is good, but don't lay hands on anyone...and sure don't speak in tongues. Praise and worship is great but don't lift your hands or clap. Right? 

My point is we are all at a different place in our walk with God. Some are not walking at all. They have never really entered into a relationship with God. Some are showing up on Sunday mornings and getting fed completely by the Pastor of the church and never open their bible. Some are in such deep relationship with God they can't find a church on their level. Some are in the middle.

The good news is that God loves each person...right where they are. The challenge is for us, the people, not to get crossways with other believers. We should all be understanding that God only takes a person as far as they are willing to go. And, that is not always a bad thing. It can be extremely frustrating from time to time. It can cause some people to leave the church, but God will continue to be God. It is our job to do what God is telling us to do. It is not our job to force others to do it too. 

If the enemy can keep us frustrated with one another, he can keep God's will from being done - or so he thinks. Our focus needs to be on God and his purpose for our life. If we keep HIM as our focus, the rest will fall into place. 

Your battle may end in you shaking the dust off your feet and moving on to the next place. The disciples were never going to convince the Jewish people to change.  

They (the Jews) stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:49-52)

The trouble makers thought they had won because they ran off the holy rollers. But, what really happened is God moved them on to the next place. And, they were not bitter about it. They were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. 

I realize this is much easier said than done, especially when you are in conflict with another believer. But God is God and his love for us abounds any frustration or political point we may want to make. And, we all need to remember not to get to comfortable where we are. God may want to move us and use us in a new location. 

So, the next time you get frustrated, just remember that nothing is new under the sun, and God loves you and the other person!! 

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