When I was fairly newly saved a guy who prayed for me at a youth group meeting said he felt God wanted me to go home and read Acts 29.
Now you may have just gone through the files of your mind and thought, wait a minute…. there is no Acts 29. Acts finishes, albeit somewhat suddenly and with the hint of a comma in Acts 28.
As a new Christian I had no reference and I went home, and yes, searched diligently for Acts 29.
Was this guy wrong? Was he not hearing God?
Or was he mocking me??? What was going on!
I talked to him at church on sunday following and I confess, I was kind of miffed. I leaned more on the “he was mocking me” side of things.
And then he told me that Acts 29 is the chapter that is written by MY LIFE. That I am Acts 29. That it is the exploits that me and God do together for the sake of His Gospel and His Church. It is the adventure that God and I have together with prayer and seeking His face, and God working through me to reach those around me.
Acts 29 is the church today, you and me today, expressing and living for Jesus in power, authority and love.
Acts 29 is the adventure that YOU have in your family, in your circle of friends, at your school, at your job, making God real. It is the record of exploits you do to make God famous. It is the conversations you have that are about spiritual things. It is the moments you make a stand for righteousness, it is the decision you make to not fit in with what the world says but to follow God with everything.
So how do we live an Acts 29 life?
- BE BOLD ON THE INSIDE
The disciples and followers of Jesus made bold radical stands and said bold radical statements and did bold radical things. We need a radical boldness on the inside that empowers us to rise up and step out.
Acts 4:13 says “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” Note the 2 things that this passage says about the disciples. They had been with Jesus and they were bold. They were not Bible scholars, or uber spiritual or had any special training. They were ordinary people who did extraordinary things because they had been with Jesus and then stepped out and did something about it. They LIVED Acts.
You don’t need any special training. You don’t need to know the Bible inside out, upside down. You might have been a Christian all your life, or become a Christian last week… that doesn’t disqualify or qualify you.
How do you turn your boldness up? Further on in Acts 4 we can read that the Christians, after hearing about Peter and Johns arrest and beating prayed.
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31
They needed boldness. They prayed and asked God to do something on the inside of them. They asked for a supernatural encounter that would shake their lives so that they would live inside out.
But do you note the rhythm. They prayed and then they preached. They prayed and received boldness and then used it. They prayed and boom, on the inside they were bold. Then boom, they went out and preached the gospel. Something happened on the inside and then they went and lived that out.
- BE BOLD ON THE OUTSIDE
It’s not enough to just be bold on the inside – boldness is boldness because it has an action, it does something, it does something from the inside out. When we step out God steps in. But it takes that stepping out first. That amazing God conversation doesn’t happen unless you SPEAK. Your friend doesn’t come to HKC unless you INVITE them first. That person doesn’t get healed unless you LAY HANDS AND PRAY.
What has God done on the inside of your life that you need to let out? What answer has He given you that someone else needs to hear? What healing has He done that someone needs to know about so they’ll know that God is for real? What power is inside of you waiting to be unleashed as you pray for someone? What adventures are screaming for attention? Are you holding back?
A few years ago I prayed for radical boldness. I wanted to talk to strangers about Jesus. I had seen a video where some teens were doing it and well, they made it look easy. So I prayed, asked for boldness and then just went about doing my errands. I was pushing a book into the returns flap at the Highland Park library when I felt God say on the inside of me, “well then, just do it. This is it.” I turned round and walking behind me was the most massive pacific islander that i may have ever seen not on a rugby field. He had sunglasses on, lowriders that were soooo low and did I mention he was massive.
The boldness inside of me was having an argument. YES DO IT and OH MY GOODNESS HE IS MASSIVE! YES DO IT and HE MIGHT SQUASH ME!
So…. I walked up and said “excuse me” – as he turned and totally blocked out the sun…. “yeah?” I introduced myself, said I was a Christian and that I felt God wanted me to talk to him and encourage him. Now I confess at that point because I had been arguing on the inside as to whether I would actually talk to him or not I hadn’t been listening to God for what to say next. But thankfully, just as Peter and John didn’t need special training I didn’t need to be anything special apart from open to God…. I paused and then went with what popped into my mind. I then asked if I could pray for him and asked if I could put my hand on his um, elbow (there was no way I could reach his shoulder!) He said yes, bowed his head and so I prayed. When I finished, he took his sunglasses off and wiped tears away. Thankyou mamn he said and then carried on his way.
I had an Acts 29 adventure!
You live an Acts 29 life when you take what God has done on the inside of you and you make it real outside of you. You know God and make Him known. It’s real on the inside and you reach out to those around you.
You live an Acts 29 life when you invite a friend to come to church or youth group. That’s inside out.
You live an Acts 29 life when you make a choice to live pure even though you’ll cop flack for it.
You live an Acts 29 life when you ask someone if you can pray for them.
You live an Acts 29 life when you pray and ask God to unleash something radical and extraordinary THROUGH your life. You are not made to fit in, you are made to be a light that shines glory to your generation . God has positioned YOU here to make a difference for His Kingdom. That’s our heartbeat. That’s our mandate.
Don’t keep it in – let it out.
So there you go, “add a chapter” to the Bible and live your life wholeheartedly and servantheartedly for Jesus for His Glory and His heart.