Friday, June 12

The Scripture focus of our online and on campus worship this coming Sunday is Acts 7:54-8:5

The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him   and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.

You can read the entire narrative about Stephen in Acts 6 and Acts 7 .  

Stephen was the first Christian martyr. Our word martyr comes from the Greek word martureo, which means “witness.” Stephen was a witness who was willing to die for the sake of the Good News. He was the first in a very long line of believers though the centuries who were willing to give their life so that others might become connected to Christ.

What does it look like for you to be a witness for Jesus Christ?

Why would you be willing to give up everything, even your life, for the mission of Christ? 

Prayer: Lord, as I remember the witness of Stephen, remind me the foundation of his faith is the same foundation for my faith. Jesus, you are that sure foundation.  Fill me with your Spirit that I live as a witness for you every day, everywhere. Amen.

This week's podcast
Pastors Al and Doyle continue their conversation with licensed counselor Christine Foster in today's podcast. They offer suggestions to improve marriage and family dynamics in the midst of the pandemic, nationwide unrest and other modern stressors.