2 Kings 10:32-12:21, Acts 18:1-22, Psalms 145:1-21, Proverbs 18:1
Today is the 27th day of June. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is pleasure, of course, and an honor and a joy to walk in here and sit down around the global campfire together and just kinda come in out of whatever’s going on and let it recede and fade and allow this peaceful place to begin to take hold as God’s word speaks into our lives. So, we’ve been reading from the Contemporary English Version this week. We’ll continue that. And we’ve been working our way through the book of second Kings, which is what we’ll continue with today. Today chapters 10 verse 32 through 12 verse 21.
Okay. So, we’re working our way through the book of Acts, which obviously comes immediately after the Gospels. So, we had been spending our entire year in the New Testament with Jesus. And now in the book of Acts we’re mostly looking at what came next through the ministries of the apostle Peter and then the conversion and the ministry of the apostle Paul. And Paul has been on these missionary journeys sharing the good news wherever he goes. That’s why he’s on these journeys and we’ve watched Paul kind of be an attraction. Like he’s ground zero for something. Like he’s saying these things and people are beginning to wrestle with and think about. And, so, for some, their hearts are awakening to Jesus, while for others they’re rejecting this and like looking at the disruption that Paul’s causing in these cities and inciting riots against him and so on and so forth. And we’ve watched the apostle Paul adapt, adapt to the people that he’s speaking to, so that they can actually have a dialogue instead of something more confrontational. And we get to this point in the book of Acts, and we have a little bit of ground underneath our feet now about how it was that the early church began to form. And, so it’s about here every year that we get to this point that we have to reframe what we might have thought the early church was like. I have been all over the place. I have been all over…I’ve traveled and traveled and traveled and many of you have too, but it’s often that I encounter people who will say something like, “I just wish that we could go back to the beginning. Like, this faith, this religion, it’s bloated. It’s different than it was. I wish we had it more true back then when the Holy Spirit was working the way he was and just paving the way.” As if the formation of the church were an easier, more joyous time, but somehow the Holy Spirit was working in a way that he doesn’t work today. It was a more powerful time. That is a miscalculation. Like, that’s a false assumption and the book of Acts completely and clearly shows us that the Paul’s missionary journeys…like…he wasn’t on vacation, right? Like he’s not sailing around on a cruise ship docking and going and doing these fun events where he’s sharing about Jesus and then gets back on the boat in luxury and sails to the next port. Everywhere Paul goes, he certainly shares the gospel, but it also causes disruption and all of the early believers were experiencing this. What Jesus had invited people into was a clash of kingdoms, where a kingdom, the kingdom of God, that is within and among us is being revealed. And kingdoms don’t clash without disruption. So, in today’s reading Paul’s in Corinth and he’s ministering to his fellow Hebrews, the Jewish people, trying his best, over and over and over and over to explain the implications of Jesus life in the Hebrew context and all he got was opposition and insult. So, he had to shake the dust off of his feet and he’s like, “look, I have tried, I’m innocent, like I’ve tried. Your blood is on your head. I’m going to preach to the Gentiles.” That’s pretty much what Paul does for the rest of his life and when we get into Paul’s writings we’ll see exactly what he thinks about his Jewish heritage as well as the Gentile people been welcomed into God’s kingdom. The irony in Corinth, though, is that Paul didn’t leave town, right? Like, so many times a mob has been stirred up against Paul or he’s been thrown into jail or beaten or whatever and then they leave. In Corinth, he’d been spending time in the synagogue, but he was getting nowhere. And, so, he shook the dust and is like, “your blood is upon your own heads”, but all he did was go next door to the home of Titius Justice who was a Gentile, who worshiped God. He just happened to live next the synagogue. And, so, Paul moves next door, so Jew and Gentile alike can hear what he has to say. But the point is, this was all experienced through challenge and disruption and hardship. And we need to remember that as we continue to bring the good news to the world. When we’re engaged with the gospel we’re at the clash of kingdoms where light and darkness are colliding. So, that’s gonna be disruptive, but we need to remember that we’re running a race that that were planning on finishing and that’s language. That’s the kind of language that Paul will use as we move into his writings. And, so, let’s remember what the Lord spoke to the apostle Paul and apply it to our own lives. “Don’t be afraid. Speak out. Don’t be silent. I’m with you. No one will attack or harm you. Many people in this city belong to me.”
Father, we acknowledge that we’ve often looked at the stories in the Scriptures through rose colored glasses, especially here in the New Testament as if all things were easy and if we could just go back to an easier time it would be better when it’s never been easy and that’s essentially what You said all of the time about this faith and about what we’re participating in battling darkness. Not just battling darkness in the world but battling our own darkness so that we are children of the light and can shine light into the darkness. So, come Holy Spirit, help us understand that we are a part of a long line of brothers and sisters who have carried this message forward thousands of years and we are still struggling - darkness and light. And You’ve given us an irreversible role to play in that story. Come Holy Spirit, may we live true, and in the light today in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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We have July 7th coming up on the radar here. And July 7th is our own little internal holiday here for the Daily Audio Bible. It will be our…I believe…11th annual Daily Audio Bible long walk. So, every 7th of July we give ourselves permission to just realize we are in the middle of the year and it’s time to regroup. It’s time to take a day and set it aside and actually spend it with God. And the idea is just go somewhere beautiful, whether you’re walking down the street to a park or whether you’re getting in your car and driving for hours. Go somewhere that you find compelling and beautiful and quiet and serene and go for a long walk and become amazed at how much life is happening when you’re being still and quiet. And realize that now you’ve just carved out the space to say everything needed to say, right? All the chaos that swirls around life, all the obligations and responsibilities, all of the depression and anxiety that are attached to things inside of us that we can’t find any more because we’re moving too fast, so we can’t deal with anything. What If we took a day with God and dealt with some things? How would that affect the rest of the year? Do you think that the one day with God where you regrouped would pay off in dividends far worth more than a day? Of course! We’re learning to walk with God, His Word is revealing Him to us. So now let’s do it. Let take a day. And, yah, its individual. Like, when I go on my long walk, usually by myself…I’ve done it one year…one year with my wife, we do both do it, but usually it’s an individual experience. And, so, I’ll be doing it by myself, but I won’t be doing it alone. It’s just like the Daily Audio Bible community. Yeah, you might be listening to this right now solitary, but you are not alone, and you are not listening alone. So, this is what we do, just go somewhere, spend the day with God, snap a picture or take a video wherever you go, post it back to our Facebook page, which is facebook.com/dailyaudiobible and we open windows into each other’s lives and get to enjoy the beauty of God’s earth all around us all on the same day. It’s great. So, make plans for that. That’s the Daily Audio Bible long walk this 7th of July, which is a Sunday this year.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.