Review of Simply Jesus

I have been wanting to read Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright for a while but just never got around to it. Thankfully I had the opportunity to read it for one of my classes. I have a high appreciation for Wright because not only is he a theologian, but he is also a historian. I was a history major before I switched my major to biblical studies. Simply Jesus is written in a way that helps one understand the cultural conflicts and expectations when Jesus arrived on the scene. It also reveals that these cultural conflicts and expectations are still relevant today, and Jesus is still showing us that he surpasses our expectations of who he is what that means for the world.

In the first part of the book, Wright focuses on “The Perfect Storm” that was taking place when Jesus was born and eventually began his public ministry. At the time, the Jewish people were under the rule of the Roman empire. The Jewish people being taken captive by another nation was unfortunately a common position for them. Reading through the Old Testament, one can see that it is a common theme that God’s people were frequently taken captive, and then God would save them. Wright explains how this is central to the Jewish understanding of their story. This goes back to their most memorable and celebrated story of God setting them free: the exodus from Egypt. They believed that God would free them again from the Romans. They hoped and prayed for a Messiah that would eventually free them once and for all and set them up to be the world’s leading power.

From the Roman perspective, they were the world’s leading power because it was their divine destiny. Julius Caesar allowed for people to think that he was divine. His adopted son, Octavian, rose to power and declared that Julius was divine. Octavian was renamed Augustus and was now known as the “son of god” or “son of the divine Julius.” This pattern carried on with his successor Tiberius who took on the title of “Augustus Tiberius Caesar, son of the Divine Augustus.” One can see how this could cause some tension when a Jewish man arrives on the scene claiming to be the son of God and announcing that God was now in charge, that the kingdom of God had arrived.

Wright devotes the second part of the book to what it means when he says God is charge and why Jesus had to die and rise again. Reading through this section, we understand that God has always been in charge, so this is more of an announcement that Jesus is making. This announcement has to do with the long awaited messiah that would defeat an enemy and rescue his people, although this would not be the enemy that everyone thought and they would not be rescued in the way that they thought. His battle would be against Satan and he would rescue them from their sins.

Wright wrote on how western culture seems to be divided on the idea of a Satan or dark forces of any kind working behind the scenes. He writes that “The modern world divides into those who are obsessed with demonic powers and those who mock them as outdated rubbish (p. 121).” There are some that do not believe that there are dark forces at work at all. Then there are those that would demonize everything and everyone that is contrary to their beliefs. Reading from scripture will show us what is truly evil and what is truly from God. Jesus himself was even accused of working for Satan (or the accuser) in Matthew 12:22-32. Jesus makes it clear that he and Satan are fighting for opposite kingdoms and this battle would conclude with the death of Jesus on the cross. His death was not a defeat though, it was a victory where Jesus freed his people from Satan, sin, and death.

In the third part of the book, Wright does a great job of writing on how Jesus is the ruler of the world and what that means for the church. He asks the question, what does it mean for God’s kingdom to come to earth as it is in heaven? To help explain this, he created four fictional characters that all had different points of view. These views range from Christianity being a personal spiritual experience to Jesus not being the ruler of this world yet, but that he will come back one day and set everything right. Another view is that God is working through the world outside of the church and the church should take notice and help where they can. And then there is the view that we need a fresh revelation from God and that is why the world can still be a mess at times.

These views fall short of what it means that Christ is the ruler of the world. God can and does work through mysterious ways. We saw this throughout the old and new testament. He revealed himself through a burning bush, angels, dreams, etc. However, God has also chosen to work through people. Humans are wonderful beings. We have our flaws and cause plenty of damage, but we are made in the image of God and can do good. God has chosen to redeem people through Jesus and give them a purpose to further his kingdom. Wright worded it like this: “God works through Jesus; Jesus works through his followers (p. 213).” These redeemed followers of Jesus are what is known as the church. God calls the church to be a light and to make disciples of all nations. Now, there are good works outside of the church. There is no doubt that these are glimpses of people still bearing the image of God whether they have been redeemed or not. However, the main tool that God uses is his church.

Wright pointed out earlier in the book that Jesus’ mission was based off the exodus which consisted of these 7 themes: wicked tyrant, chosen leader, victory of God, Rescue by sacrifice, new vocation and way of life, presence of God, and promised/inherited land. When we look back on Jesus’ mission, we see that he fulfilled some of these and will eventually fulfill the rest. The kingdom of God has come but it is still coming. Wright describes this as the already but not yet kingdom of God. There is still more to come, where our God will dwell with us when all things are restored (Rev. 21).

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it to anyone. You can purchase the book on amazon here.

Starting Seminary

As of today, I am one week into my first semester of seminary. I am pursuing my MA in Theology at Fresno Pacific University. I also work in the marketing department at the university. The above picture is the little makeshift desk that I’ve been using for work (since I am still working from home) and is now being used for my school work in the evenings. It’s set up right next to our bed in our room. I set it up every morning and take it down every night before bed.

Pursuing my MA 5 years after completing my BA is a bit difficult. I’ve been out of school for 5 years so jumping back in, takes some adjusting. I’m only taking classes part-time so the workload hasn’t been too heavy (yet). I also have 2 kids now so I’m making sure to spend time with them and then study after they go to bed.

Making the decision to pursue my MA wasn’t an easy one, especially since I decided to study theology. Since I was 19 years old, I wanted to serve the local church in some kind of pastoral role. I assumed it would be a lay (non-paid) position. Before moving to Visalia, I had spent 6 years in vocational ministry and it wasn’t the greatest experience. I thought I was on a track for ordination and it did not come to fruition.

Now, when making the decision to study theology, I had thoughts of “What if I’m not called to pastoral ministry?”, “What if I’m not gifted in teaching and leading like I thought I was?”, “What if I had my time, and now God is done with me?”

I know this is the enemy getting in my head. I don’t truly know the answers to these questions, only God does. What I do know though is that I enjoy studying theology so why not? Having an MA in Theology can only be beneficial to me, my family, those around me, and the church we serve in. Maybe I will never be in vocational ministry again and that is okay. Maybe I’ll just serve the church in a lay role like I always thought I would.

One more thing, because I am an employee at the university, I get to be a part of their employee tuition reimbursement program. I get to pursue an MA at almost no cost. I already don’t have any student debt from my BA (you can read about that here), and God-willing, I won’t have any after pursuing my MA. I just want to do my best to be faithful to where God is providing.

George Floyd was a man made in the image of God.

(Photo from Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

George Floyd was a man, made in the image of God. He was a man, made in the image of God that did not deserve to die. The cops that killed him need to be held accountable for their actions. I’m not just talking about being fired from their jobs. They killed a man in cold blood. There needs to be justice. They need to be charged with manslaughter because that’s exactly what they did. They slaughtered a man, a man, made in the image of God. To my black brothers and sisters, I’m sorry. I’m grieving with you. I love you. I’m with you.

To those protesting, please continue to protest, please continue to pray, and please continue to plea for justice. I support you and I am praying for justice with you.

To those looting and rioting, is this really about George anymore? Businesses are being destroyed and more importantly, more people, that are also made in the image of God, are being injured and some have even been killed.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, we are called to be peacemakers. I realize that there isn’t peace until there is justice. We need to keep grieving over the injustice in this world. We need to keep having these conversations. More importantly, we need to keep praying. There are corrupt men and women in this world and nothing will change their hearts except for God.

Above all, let us remember that no sin goes unanswered for. Ultimately, God will bring justice.

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'”

Romans 12:19

“Home” by Josh Garrels

I was listening to Josh Garrels’ album from 2015 titled “Home” the other day and I was reminded how this album really got me through a difficult season. I don’t even remember how I discovered this album because I honestly don’t even listen to any of his other music. But I really enjoyed the sound and the lyrics of this album. Now I’m not a musician so I’m not going to give an official review. I’m just going to share how this album helped me process what I was feeling during this season.

Last year, my wife and I were living in Stockton and we didn’t really have a lot of family around. My parents were 3 hours away and so were my in-laws. We had a close group of friends but we had 2 kids and we were starting to really feel the weight of not having our family around. We wanted our kids to grow up around their grandparents.

At this point, I had been living in Stockton for 9 and a half years. My parents were living in Visalia. I had never lived in Visalia but I went to junior high and high school in Porterville which is about 30 minutes away. Visalia started to feel like home for me because my parents and siblings were there. When I moved to Stockton, I wanted to get out and do my own thing. I honestly never thought I would live in the Visalia area again. But with my family there, I started to really miss it.

Josh Garrels has some lyrics on this album that really spoke to these longings. Even the sound of the music, I really related to. It opens with this almost oldies style sound and then concludes with this more country/folk sound. This oldies sound reminded me of my family and even though I’m not a fan of country music, it reminded me of the Visalia area.

Throughout the album, there are themes of missing and longing to return home. There are lyrics that deal with remembering who you are and where you are from. Lyrics like, “I’m my mother’s child, I’m my father’s son” and “Forgot where I came from, Somewhere back when I was young, I was a good man’s child”. During this time, I really felt like my relationship with my dad got better as well. Not that it was bad before, but he was really there for me during a really hard time, and we got a lot closer because of it.

There are also themes of God calling us back to him. Now I wasn’t running away from God but I felt distant from him. I didn’t feel that he was close or that he was giving me any direction with my life. After 7 months of prayer, we believed God was calling us to move to Visalia.

In the song, “At The Table”, Garrels wrote these lines that really spoke to the latter part of this season:

So I put my hand upon the plow
Wipe the sweat up from my brow
Plant the good seed along the way
As I look forward to the day
When at last I see
My Father run to me
Singing oh, my child

Come on home, home to me
And I will hold you in my arms
And joyful be
There will always, always be
A place for you at my table
Return to me
My child

Reading these lyrics right now is even bringing me to tears. After building a life in Stockton, it seemed that God was calling me to return home. To my family and to the area that I spent a good majority of my childhood in. God was never distant from me, I was just growing in my dependence on him. I had never felt the “fatherly” love of God like that before. I was like a worried and hurt little boy that needed my dad. And I got that with tons of conversations with my dad and through my prayer life. It was like my relationship with my Heavenly Father grew stronger while my relationship with my earthly father grew stronger.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out this album, you should give it a listen: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Oj3NQVZjlhji59z6bSKl1

We’re Moving to Visalia

Almost 10 years ago I moved to Stockton to be a part of a church. I worked a few different jobs and served at the church in different capacities before getting hired by the church for an administrative position. I didn’t think I would stay in Stockton forever but I wanted to make it home while I was here.

I met my wife here. She had just moved back from LA and started coming to the church. She joined the community group that I was leading and hosting in my apartment above Empresso, one of the local coffee shops. We ended up dating and the rest is history. Both of our kids were born here. We got to see them be in the nursery at church to running around the sanctuary with their little friends.

I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here. My homies in Stockton who I would play FIFA, dominoes, and watch movies or binge watch Netflix shows on Sunday nights with. I’ve had friends that have been there to check in on me and pray for me when I needed it most. And my homies outside of Stockton, well we played some dominoes too, some spades, and ate all the wings. These are all friends that all the way up until our last days in Stockton told me “whatever you need. I got your back.” I really didn’t deserve friends like this but I’m thankful God blessed me with them.

A big part of us staying here in Stockton for as long as we have is because of the friends that we made and my job at the church. I had been on staff at the church for a little over 6 years. Although the church and our close group of friends were our family away from family, we started realizing how much we were missing being around our family. My parents live 3 hours away in Visalia. Steph’s parents live 3 hours away in Pacific Grove. We started to feel like Stockton was becoming less and less like a home to us. We started praying and seeking if God was moving us in a different direction. Then about a month ago, I was told that my position at the church was being phased out. We took this as a confirmation that it was time to move on.

We prayed through a few cities for where we would want to live but wanted to keep in mind that it had to be for a reason. We didn’t just want to move somewhere to be there. We made the decision to move to Visalia to be close to family. We decided that we needed to make this a priority since we had been without it in Stockton. We want our kids to grow up around their grandparents and their aunts and uncles.

As I was looking and praying for jobs in the area, I didn’t know where I would be employed next. The first job I applied for was the Marketing Production Manager position at Fresno Pacific University. Then I applied for a lot of other jobs through Linkedin but nothing seemed promising. After about a month, I got a call for an interview at Fresno Pacific and then I got a second interview. Just this last week, I got the job offer. God has been so good to our family.

What’s crazy is that I almost went to Fresno Pacific right out of high school. I actually lived on campus for a couple of months while taking a summer class and was going to be on their water polo team. Financially it just didn’t work out though so I moved home and went to Porterville College.

The thought of moving to Visalia just seems like such a relief. Although I’ve never lived in Visalia, I spent 11 years in Porterville which is only like 30 minutes away so Visalia is pretty familiar. The distance from Visalia to Pacific Grove is just about the same distance from Stockton to Pacific Grove so we still won’t be that far from our family there. And we’ll only be 3 hours away from LA so I’m hoping to see my family down there more often.

We only have about 2 more weeks left in Stockton. As sad as we are to say bye to our life here, we are really looking forward to this next season in Visalia.

Officially 30 Years Old

Yesterday, I turned 30 years old. Before my birthday, multiple people asked me how I felt about turning 30. If I was afraid to turn 30. If I felt old or not. Honestly, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I got a beautiful wife. Two amazing kids. And I’m thankful for the family and the friends that I have.

Every time one of our staff has a birthday, we go out to lunch and ask what our goals are for this new year. I’ve been dwelling on this for a few months so I guess it can be considered a goal for this year. I just want to be faithful. A faithful follower of Christ. A faithful husband. A faithful father. A faithful son. A faithful brother. A faithful friend.

There are examples of men in scripture that are described as just faithful, God-fearing, and a lover of God and people. And sometimes, that’s the only way the Bible describes them. And you know what, I think that’s great. What a way to be remembered.

Here are a couple of examples of this:

Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.

Nehemiah 7:1-2

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.

Acts 10:1-2

The Importance of Scripture

I’ve never really been the guy who makes new years resolutions. However, at the beginning of this year, I thought I would set some goals for the year. So I guess you can call them new years resolutions if you want.

One of the goals that I had was to have a regular rhythm of reading scripture.

This may seem odd because it implies that I didn’t have a regular rhythm of reading my Bible. Especially being a Deacon at my local church and having a degree in Biblical Studies. But yes, I did struggle with this.

Why did I stop regularly reading my Bible?

It’s not that I didn’t read my Bible at all, but rather, I didn’t have a daily devotional time. For anyone that has a daily devotional time, you know that it requires discipline. I can admit that I was not very disciplined in this.

Most people get up early before work/school to read their Bibles. I am not a morning person. I would rather sleep until I have just enough time to take a shower, grab some coffee, and barely get to work on time. This was honestly just laziness on my part.

I would make excuses saying that I would just read my Bible at night since I considered myself a night owl but I rarely actually did. Or I would say that I don’t need to set aside time to read my Bible in the morning because you can spend time with God anytime and anywhere.

Now, these things are true but if you’re someone that says this, honestly ask yourself if you actually ever spend time in scripture?

This was a question that I had to ask myself and I honestly answered that I didn’t really spend any time in scripture. So it was time to make a change.

I started to wake up a little earlier so I could read my Bible before work. I’ve been reading 1 chapter of a book from the Old Testament and 1 chapter of a book from the New Testament.

Does it have to be in the morning?

No.

But there is something about communing with God in the morning.

The morning has been the best time for me to sit down and read my Bible. I start off my day with scripture and it really has been refreshing.

I’ve heard this quote before that says:

“The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.”

– George Muller

There is nothing better than starting my day off with the Word of God on my mind and my heart is because it reminds me of the truths of God throughout the day. The Holy Spirit uses the scripture that I read that morning to remind me of my need for him and how to pray for my own soul.

I am able to examine my heart daily, repent of sins and be reminded of the grace of God. Be reminded of my new life in Christ.

I am reminded of what the Psalmist says:

“I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.”

– Psalm 119:11

It is also reminds me to pray for others throughout the day. For those family members and friends that have not believed in Jesus. Or to pray for my church family and that they would continue to grow in the love of God.

So why am I sharing this? 

I really just wanted to share on the importance of scripture, how I struggled as a christian to read it daily, and how it has affected my life since I started.

I also wanted to share it because if you are a christian but are not regularly reading scripture, it is your flesh that does not want you to be in God’s Word. Your flesh wants you left with your own thoughts and opinions throughout the day instead of the truths of God.

I encourage you to put aside a time during the day, whether be in the morning or not, to read and meditate on scripture. It is needed for the christian life.

Jesus says this in Matthew 4:4:

But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

If You Seek God, What Else Do You Need?

“The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” – Psalm 34:10

Over the past couple of years, I have read this verse and believed it to be true. However, I still looked to other things for fulfillment. This almost seem natural for me to do; to look for something else other than God himself. I would honestly say that I am still learning that God is all I need for fulfillment.

If I am anything true to my generation (yes, I’m a millennial), I have had this burning desire and longing for change and fulfillment in every part of my life.
At one point, I got tired of the city I was living in. I wanted to move away from Stockton because I “felt” that God was calling me elsewhere. This was honestly because I was tired of living here and wanted to move to another city, meet new people, and try different things.

I have had multiple jobs over the past few years. Working for each job for only 1 year at a time. I would play this off as bettering myself and my career, but if I was honest with myself, I would get bored with my job and start to look for another to fulfill me.

This one is pretty great too. How about for the longest time, I wanted to work for a church because I was at the time, earning a degree in Biblical Studies. Then after about a year of working for my church, I wanted to get a job outside of the church. I know I know, but I still currently work for my church and have been for about 3 years.

Maybe for you, you are trying to find fulfilment in other things or people, but here’s the truth….

….Only God can fulfill you.

God patiently shows us time and time again that he is the only person that we need. This is because he is truly good. He is not like someone else that you say is “a pretty good person”. There is no wrong in God. Everything in his character is good and all that he does is good.

He is not only good because of the things he gives us or has done for us, but he is good regardless. That is to say, that he is good whether you and I think so or not. His goodness is completely separate from us because it is his character. Good, is simply what he is.

This is why he is the only thing that can satisfy our hearts because there is nothing or no one truly good except for God.

And because he is good…

…everything that flows from him to us, is good. He created the world, and everything in it, including us, and called it good.

When we sinned and brought death and destruction into this world, he sent the most perfect gift he could give us, his Son Jesus. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been blessed abundantly.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”
Ephesians 1:3

The greatest gift that God can give us is himself.

For the Christian, not only have we been blessed so abundantly in Jesus but he also tells us to ask him for good gifts because he is our Good Father and we are his children.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:11

Lastly, if you are not a Christian and do not know the goodness of God, I would encourage you to seek him through reading a Bible, and praying to him, asking him to reveal these truths to you. I’ll leave you with this last scripture passage:

“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel 36:8-11

 

(originally posted on www.realitystockton.com)

The Hope in God’s Immutability

immutability

Have you ever looked back at your life and thought about all of the ways you have changed? Some of the things you liked, you don’t like anymore. Or some of things that you didn’t like, you like now. Think about some of the things you were passionately against, you probably support now. We live in a culture that is constantly changing.

Have you ever just desired something that is sure and steady? You see, the Bible would point us to God as this something that our hearts long for as sure and steady. Even greater than that, He is not just a thing, He is a person that is sure and steady. He is unchanging. This attribute has been termed His “immutability”.

Malachi 3:6 lays this out word for word:

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”

Isn’t that crazy to think about? The God who has always been, before creation, and will always be, has not changed. As a people that are constantly changing, we cannot even begin to fully understand this. But that is okay. He is God and we are not. If we were fully able to understand this, would He truly be God?

Where is the hope in this?

As God is unchanging, so is His Word. In fact, God’s Word is very much a part of who He is. Scripture would tell us that Jesus is the Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-14). So every statement, plan, and commandment that God has said in the Bible has not changed and will fulfill his purpose because it was fulfilled in Jesus.

Luke 21:33 says:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

There is hope in this because the God who does not change and whose Word will fulfill His purpose, has made promises to us in Jesus, if we have placed our faith in Him.

2 Corinthians 1:20

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Jesus). That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

This is what our hearts have been longing for whether we know it or not. A sure and steady hope in the person that has always been and always will be. This God came to us in the form of a man named Jesus.

Hebrews 13:8 says:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

These promises that have been made to us in Jesus are: the forgiveness of sin (Eph. 1:7), the power to conquer sin (Gal. 2:20), being reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10), His return for us (Rev. 22:20-21), eternal life with Him (John 3:16), where there will be no more pain, suffering, or death (Rev. 21:4) and many more promises.

We can take God at His Word because we can look to his already fulfilled purposes in scripture. Even more, we can take God at his Word because of the great lengths that He went to reconcile us to Himself. He took the full weight of sin upon himself, gave His life for us, and rose from the dead for us, in Jesus. This is the unchanging God that we can place our hope and faith in.

(Blog originally posted on http://www.realitystockton.com)

Common and Bold

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13

I recently starting reading through the book of Acts again. I always enjoy reading this book in the Bible because it’s beginning of the New Testament church. We, as the church today, carry out what began in this book with these men and women.

Now I got to chapter 4 and I noticed something that was pretty interesting. In this chapter, Peter and John had just healed a crippled man and were preaching the good news of Jesus to a crowd of people. Then the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came and arrested them. After they held them in jail over night, they asked them by what power and by who’s name did they do this. Then Peter, filled with Holy Spirit, responds with:

“Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

Acts 4:8-12

Peter and John are still under arrest, and then Peter responds by preaching the gospel to these leaders. Pretty crazy. These leaders were pretty blown away as well. Their reaction was:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

Acts 4:13

Eventually, the leaders have nothing to say in opposition but still ask them to not teach these things. But Peter and John say they have to do what is right by God, and not man. So they were released because they couldn’t be charged with anything.

What’s interesting about this whole thing is that Peter and John were perceived as uneducated and common. But it is when the leaders saw the boldness that Peter and John had, that they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus. They recognized this because Jesus was perceived as uneducated and common but spoke with boldness as well. I challenge you to read through the gospels again and see how Jesus was.

If you are like me, I struggle with sharing the good news of Jesus sometimes. It could be for a number of reasons of being afraid of rejection, wanting to be accepted, or by trying to stay “relevant” but in a “missional” kind of way. It’s kind of ridiculous to think about because as Christians, we are all called to share what has been shared with us, the good news of Jesus.

Even if we think we are common or don’t know enough about the Bible to share the gospel, we as Christians are called to. We need to spend more time with Jesus, in our Bibles and in our prayer life. And we need a boldness to share this good news just like Peter and John. This boldness isn’t just something they mustered up on their own though. It’s not just because they might have been extroverts. These verses tell us that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we all have the Holy Spirit in us and boldness is gifted to us by the Spirit to preach the good news of Jesus.

If we lack boldness, let us pray and ask God for it. That’s what the disciples did later on in this chapter. They asked for the boldness to continue the ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus. And they were given this boldness:

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

Acts 4:31

Even if we are rejected, people will recognize that we have been with Jesus.