Hi Five Oakers, The weekend's coming and there are a few things I want to share with you.
I'm very excited to share with you this weekend because I know this text will speak to everyone who is going through a crisis right now and everyone who will go through a crisis in the future. In other words, it speaks to everyone.
We're in Acts 12. James is executed. This is the first of the original twelve to die (excluding Judas) and the first to be martyred. Herod Agrippa I has him beheaded, and the people in Jerusalem cheer. Things have deteriorated in the ten years or so since Jesus was crucified. Then Peter is seized and put in prison. Herod is going to kill him as well, but he wants to get all the PR he can get, so he puts him in prison for the opportune time.
Here's the catch: No one, including Peter, expects him to survive! They pray. They pray earnestly, but when God answers, they're all surprised.
There are some important lessons here for us. First and foremost is that God's gracious answers to our prayers do not depend on great faith. All is required is faith. And if you pray, that's enough faith. But there's more. Lot's more. Don't miss it!
John Stonestreet on "To Boo or Not to Boo: What Christians Should Do with Halloween"
Steven Wedgeworth, a pastor writing at the Calvinist International, gives a third perspective. In one of the best overviews out there on Halloween’s history, he concludes that neither story gets it all right. There are definitely echoes of paganism in Halloween, and All Hallows Eve had a major influence, too. But the holiday of today—especially the costumes and trick-or-treating—is a recent invention. Like the commercialized secular Christmas, he writes, Halloween as we know it has more to do with department stores than druids.
Michael Hyatt on "My Secret Weapon for Extra Energy at Work"
It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to affect our brains. Because of the way sleep affects our neurochemistry, a cup of coffee just before a brief nap actually increases the impact of the caffeine when we wake. In fact, it seems that a coffee nap is better for boosting memory than a nap alone.
Mathew Block on "Misreading Scripture Alone: How we end up heretics"
A new survey on American Evangelical beliefs reports grim news, according to an article published yesterday by Christianity Today. The first line says it all: “Most American evangelicals hold views condemned as heretical by some of the most important councils of the early church.”
One More Thing
Suffering can derail our faith. Trusting God in our suffering can deepen our faith. Here's a thought from Tim Keller's new book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.
If you have a God infinite and powerful enough for you to be angry at for allowing evil, then you must at the same time have a God infinite enough to have sufficient reasons for allowing that evil.