For the week leading to worship, Sunday, April 18th
This week’s Theme: Faith with Works! Reading: Acts 6:1-7 – 7:2a, 44-60
Summary of the Reading
This week’s reading spans most of the brief story of Stephen, from his being chosen to help run early Christian outreach, to his Spirit-filled preaching, to his stoning and martyrdom. EBC focuses on two features of his brief ministry. Stephen was a relative “outsider.” He was a Hellenite - an early Christian follower, but born outside of Israel and speaking Greek, rather than Aramaic or Hebrew. He was chosen to focus on “outreach” (derisively referred to as table-waiting), while others focused on “serving the word.” In Stephen’s great speech before his stoning, he decries much of the misguided and sinful Jewish power structure of the day (and perhaps even takes a swipe at those who would separate earthly ministry from God’s word). Our excerpt highlights his reference to the story from 2 Samuel 7, where King David wants to build a Temple for God, but the prophet Nathan tells him no. Stephen echoes the story: “God does not dwell in houses made with human hands.”
A Joyful Action Question:
Do you see the intriguing “positives” and “negatives” in the story of Stephen being delegated to “outreach?” On the one hand, we are all one body with many members and many different roles. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). On the other hand, “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26). Does the church dividing itself into those who serve, and those who focus on prayer and the Word as a good thing? A bad thing? Are you yourself one or the other? Both?
An Everyday Question:
As we excitedly work toward coming back together in in-person, in-building worship, Stephen’s missive that God does not live in a temple is good and gentle reminder. What are you most looking forward to about an in person, in-building worship? Will you feel “closer” to God there? Where have you found yourself close to God even without the building? Where would you say God dwells?
An Action Step:
Do a “prayer and Word” thing! Do a service and outreach thing! Both are essential to faith!
Don’t like these questions? Do these verses say something different to you? Great! What it is?
Find a friend (or two or many) and take an EBC coffee break! Find 15-25 minutes somewhere in the week and come to share or just listen and enjoy (virtual) company. Have fun finding God this week in your Everyday Life!