Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Acts_19

Scripture  Acts 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 

Observation-What does it say?  While Paul is in Ephesus, he is introduced to Apollos.  Apollos was well educated in the scriptures (the old testament), but only knew of Jesus from the teachings of John the Baptist.  He had apparently missed the part of the story where Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended up to heaven.  During his time in Ephesus, Paul not only teaches Apollos of the miracle of Jesus, but he also converts many of the worshiper of Artemis to follow Jesus.  Paul catches Apollos up to speed on Jesus just in time to see major opposition from the silversmiths in the city, who made a considerable amount of money from the Temple of Artemis.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I’m not very good at video games, my brother was great at them.  He beat me so many times that eventually I just gave up the pursuit.  That is until I met my wife, she was really into a certain game, so I tried to like them again.  She too beat me so many times that I almost ruined the whole relationship at it’s infancy by being a poor sport.  There is something about the lack of actual physical space in video games that I struggled with.  But one thing I learned, in video games they only give you what you need to succeed in the moments before you have to use it.  You don’t even get time to figure out how to aim the snipper rifle before someone comes up behind you, then it’s like “Game Over.”

Before his death, Jesus tells the apostles how important it is for him to go, because he was going to send the Holy Spirit.  John 16:7 says,  But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  When we are saved through Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit, which is our new frame of reference on how to live and breath and move.  Paul writes in Romans 8:9-10 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 

Paul goes on to write in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  When we believe, we are equipped with the resources we need to overcome our trials and temptations in this world.  The Holy Spirit dwells in us, we just have to ask for His help.

Life Application When I am in need of your strength, I will run to you.  When I am lost and confused, I will run to you.  For in you I have my purpose and being.  Help me to overcome myself, for though in my mind I want to serve you, my body is weak.  Thank you for leading me to You.
 
-Tyler Galloway


Acts_18

Scripture

Acts 18:21

But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 

Observation – What does it mean?

As he was leaving Ephesus, Paul declared that his return would hinge on one thing: Not his personal preference, not convenience, not if they begged him to come back, but God’s will.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal to us the will of the Father. He will show us where God wants us to go and what he wants us to do when we get there. The decision we have to make is beforehand is, when God speaks, will we choose to obey? Will we do what we want to do, what we feel like doing, or will we surrender to God’s will and do what He wants even if it’s difficult?

Paul chose rightly, even when later it meant going to Jerusalem where he knew he would most likely be imprisoned and put to death. For Paul, the only option was joyful obedience. May it be the same for us!

Life Application

Seek God’s will and submit to him.

It is easy to make decisions based on personal comfort instead of purpose. You and I were created on purpose for a purpose. God has a plan for your life and mine. But we have to answer, “Am I ready to obey no matter the cost?”

God, thank you for your faithfulness to guide and direct us in all things! Help us to trust you and obey. Please forgive me for the times I make decisions based on personal preference or preservation rather than on what you are directing me to do. May I joyfully obey, regardless of what it may cost me. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson 


Acts__17

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭17:32-34
 
“When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this passage, Paul is heading from town to town sharing the gospel of Jesus. He starts off sharing in a town of Thessalonica, then to a town of Berea, and he ends this passage preaching to the people in Athens.‭‭‬ ‭‬‬Everywhere Paul went he shared the Word of God. Some took to the message and believed, while some laughed at his teachings and others were jealous and sought to bring him down. But no matter how many accepted or rejected the Word of God, Paul knew his mission was to GO and SHARE the gospel wherever he went!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you say, no matter where you go.
 
Paul was led by the Holy Spirit. He was obedient to the Holy Spirit no matter what the cost. Paul would go to foreign lands and share the good news to whoever would listen. He didn’t care about what the people thought of him and what he had to say. Paul was going to preach the truth even if it made him appear to be foolish to a room of Greek scholars. Paul knew that he would rather be a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10), than to be popular with others. At the end of the day, Paul was entrusted by God to share the good news wherever God would send him, even if that location was behind bars in a prison. It really didn’t matter for him. He had a job to do, and he was going to do it. Now that’s a man on Fire for God, empowered by the Holy Spirit!
 
Life Application
 
Like Paul, God has given me a responsibility to do.
 
Ezekiel‬ ‭3:18-21‬ ‭NLT
“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”
‭‭‬‬
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts__16

Scripture  
 
Acts 16:6-10
 
“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Holy Spirit had stopped Paul and his companions from preaching in the regions of Asia. However, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him for help, and he concluded that God had called them to go to Macedonia to preach the Gospel next. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The Holy Spirit speaks through visions and dreams. That’s one of the outward gifts that he gives believers. 
 
““ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17 NIV
 
As a result of Paul being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading through his vision, Lydia and members of her whole household were saved and baptized. Also, Paul and Silas became imprisoned, but God used that situation by giving them an opportunity to save the jailer from physical AND spiritual death.  This also led to his whole household being saved and baptized! These events would not have occurred unless Paul and his companions followed the Holy Spirit’s lead, which started with them not preaching in the province of Asia and then Paul’s vision from Him.
 
Life Application
 
When the Holy Spirit leads, whether through a vision or dream, a prophecy, a tongue, or a conviction of sin that we must turn from because it goes completely against the Word of God and His fruits in Galatians 5, listen and respond. Obey Him. 

Throughout the book of Acts so far, I’ve noticed the following theme and work of the Holy Spirit in the early church. 

  1. They were open to Him and the gifts He wanted to give them, both inward and outward gifts.
  2. They obeyed His leading. If He said stop, they stopped; if He said go, they picked up and went. 
  3. They witnessed people get saved and baptized and the church increase in numbers. 

As a church that believes that the gifts of the Spirit are still living and active for today, I pray over us (myself included) that what the early church experienced is what we at DSC would all experience too. I pray that we would see ALL the amazing things the Holy Spirit can accomplish in and through us individually, and as a church body as a result of being open and obedient to Him. 

Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday, 1/23, at 7p as Pastor Gary leads us into a time of prayer  geared specifically towards being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It’s something we do not want to miss. 

Thank You Jesus for leaving us Your Holy Spirit as a means to finish the work of Your Kingdom. May we all be baptized in Him so that His power would flow freely in our church body. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Acts_15

Scripture

 
Acts 15:8-11
8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Observation

People were sharing “fake news”…well, at least old and outdated news.

People had come from Judea and Antioch saying “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (verse 1). So the church sent Paul and Barnabas to share the truth. As they made their way, their message brought relief. When they came to Jerusalem, though, 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses” (verse 5).

Understanding

Lots of good stuff packed in here!

God’s heart for us is love and a desire for relationship.

The message that was being shared – having to live by old testament law and being circumcised – was raising up anxiety in the people. And, Paul’s message explains why – it was “a yoke that neither [they] or their ancestors [had] been able to bear” (vs 10). This reveals God’s heart for us – love. He doesn’t want us living in this low level sense of anxiety focusing on the legalisms of an old law. He wants us to seek Him, love Him and have relationship with Him. And, yes, He wants perfection; but knowing we cannot sustain that, He loved us enough to create a way that we may still be saved and still experience Him.

The Holy Spirit’s presence marks God’s children.

Like PG shared yesterday, the Holy Spirit is not just for a select few…it’s for EVERYONE! That’s the gift of salvation. And, that gift, shows God’s acceptance of someone.

Furthermore, experiencing the Holy Spirit CHANGES us. It’s a marked change, we are not the same. Also, as PG said, it’s not a one and done thing; there’s regular infillings of God when we walk in obedience.

Life Application

Know and tell the truth!

People share “fake news” about God daily. Like Paul and Barnabas, we are called to share the truth, with God’s heart behind it…so without judgement and for the cause of turning their hearts to God.

Check your Holy Spirit action.

We need to be LIVING IN the Holy Spirit…it’s Holy Spirit experiences that transform lives and we are called to be conduits of that! [Quite an honor!] It requires that we seek God’s face, that we turn our ears and open our eyes to where God wants to use us and we obey when we hear that still small voice. And we need to be dissatisfied with camping on HS experiences of that past…instead, pressing in for more and living with expectancy to be used by Him DAILY.

God, I’m grateful that you call me yours. I’m grateful that we get to experience your Holy Spirit – and the joy, the fullness, the power that comes with it! Use me today. Show me who you want to impact, give me the words, increase my boldness in you…and may you be known and experienced by all those I encounter today.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Acts__14

ScriptureWhat stood out to me?

Acts 14:19-20

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Observation – What does it say?

Previously in Iconium Paul and Barnabas learn of a plot to stone them and they flee to Lystra. Unfortunately the Iconium Jews find Paul in Lystra, incite the crowd against him, and stone him. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

We have been asked to read the book of acts with the lens of the Holy Spirit as our filter. So you might be wondering why I felt led to highlight these two verses when I clearly had some amazing other options to choose from in this chapter. My defense lies in this vision I had of Paul when I had finished re-reading chapter 14 five or six times.  I was asking God to highlight some areas for me and I was slowly awestruck. 

He was stoned. He was stoned and then he got up and went back into the city that stoned him. Wait he did what? And the next day he left to go preach in Derbe.

The lack of emotional and spiritual details during this moment in Paul’s life might seem discouraging. What was Paul thinking when he was stoned? What did the group of disciples do when they gathered around him? What was Paul’s spiritual state? Was he mad? Was he sad? These are all questions we might ask. I think that the lack of such details is exactly the point that the author and God is ultimately trying to make here.

Paul was stoned, nearly to death. The disciples responded by gathering around him. Perhaps a small miracle was performed by God. Perhaps not. What did Paul do next? He got up. The next day was business as usual. On to the next city to continue his God given mission. No fanfare. No sob story. Paul and Barnabas sum up their response in part of verse 22, ““We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” 

I can’t stop seeing Paul shrouded in the Holy Spirit as these events unfold. As he was being stoned he was filled with it. As he was left for dead I see him shrouded still. I picture the disciples glowing as they gathered around him. I see him wrapped in the Spirit as he is revived. And I can’t help but picture him continuing to glow as he moves on to the next town. 

Life Application – How can I apply this today?

In Paul I see a man who was just so devoted to his mission in life. I see a man that constantly stayed connected to the Holy Spirit for as much as possible. That is what I want for my life. I don’t want the Holy Spirit once a week on Sundays or even twice a week. I want it all the time!

Father God, 

Please teach me Lord to live my life like Paul did. I feel like sometimes if a pebble is placed in my path I am grumbling and groaning. Instead would you teach me to live like a man always filled with the Holy Spirit every moment of every day for the rest of my life. For when the stones are thrown I want to simply get up and continue on like Paul did. For your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Your Son,

Kenneth Lee

 



Acts__13

Scripture

Acts 13:3 

“So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Observation-What does it say?

While in Antioch, Barnabas and Saul spent time in a church fellowshipping with other believers. Among them were the teachers and prophets: Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen. While they were praising God the Holy Spirit specifically called out Barnabas and Saul to be set apart to do God’s work. They obeyed, but not before praying, fasting, and officially being sent off.

Understanding-What does it mean?

United through Christ.

Jesus said: “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23 

There is no such thing as a being a “Sideline Believer.” Being a believer denotes action, even when we’re aren’t on the front lines we are always about God’s business. 

While visiting this church, only Barnabas and Saul are specifically called by God to go. Yet, the other believers didn’t just tap out and wait for the next announcement. Instead they also fasted and prayed with Barnabas and Saul, and before sending them on their way they prayed over them. 

Whether or not we are directly called out, we are always united together under the same God. It is our job to come alongside our fellow Christ Followers and walk firmly beside them.

You can’t be a Christian and stand on the sidelines, it’s an oxymoron. There is always work to be done, we are all called to go out, but as soon as we get back it’s our job to support those heading out next. 

Life Application

God is always moving, and many of us, myself included, are yelling from the sidelines, waiting for the coach to call us in. We forget that we’re actually supposed to be in game. The minute we turned our lives over to Christ, we were in. It’s time to jump in, whether we’re specifically called out or not we’re on mission. We are all called to be active and integral participants in securing the Kingdom.  

-Ethan Khan




Acts_12

Scripture  Acts 12:8-10  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron-gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

Observation-What does it say?  Herod has begun a full scale attack on the followers of Jesus.  He recently put to death James, the brother of John, and has imprisoned Peter with the same intention.  One thing we see of Peter’s character in the passage is his trust in the Holy Spirit.  When faced with imminent death, he is calm and secure enough to be sleeping amongst the guards.  He was ready to accept his fate as a result of following Jesus, without any expectation of deliverance.  Peter’s deliverance from prison may be seen as an allusion to our deliverance from sin.  When we least expected it, the Holy Spirit calls us out of our bondage and leads us to freedom.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I love to watch Disney’s animated version of Robin Hood.  The one where Robin Hood is played by a fox and Little Jon is played by Balu from the Jungle Book.  I always get excited when Robin Hood is in the castle, stealing the last bag of gold, right from underneath Prince John’s arm.  The peak of the climax of the story is in sight.  Soon Prince John will wake up and call for his guards.  Then Robin Hood will attempt his daring escape as the castle of the evil Prince John is burning to the ground.  

I really love a good story, and all the elements that it takes to fill that story and make it come alive.  I love the conflict between characters, even within individual characters, the little twists in the plot.  And forgive me, but I am a sucker for the stories that end with the good guy winning.  The bible is one of the best examples of great story, with smaller stories playing themselves out within the entirety.  

In the moment where Peter is stuck between two guards, he is miraculously saved by a messenger of the king (plot twist).  Peter’s part in the story wasn’t done; God had bigger plans for him.  It’s like this often for us in our own story.  Just when we think we have hit rock bottom, God swoops in and saves us from imminent death.  God has good plans for the ones who serve Him (Jeremiah 29:11).  And we know He always wins, I cheated and read the end of the book.

Life Application  Jesus, help me to look at your story and understand my part in it.  You have given me the wonderful responsibility of being a herald of the king.  You have placed me in charge of announcing the good news of your return.  Help me to find my voice, so that all will know that you are king.  Help me to teach my children to take up the call as well.  

-Tyler Galloway



Acts_11

Scripture

Acts 11:12

The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them.

Observation – What does it say?

Immediately following his mysterious vision from God, the three men sent by Cornelius came to the house where Peter was staying. He heard the Holy Spirit speak to him, commanding him to go with these men. So he did.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What stood out to me was the intimate relationship Peter had with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit spoke to him. Plainly. Clearly. Scripture doesn’t say, “Peter thought it might have been the Spirit speaking to him.” It was a matter of fact, because Peter had come to discern His voice.

And, the second side of the coin here is that Peter didn’t just hear, he obeyed. Jews didn’t associate with Gentiles, much less journey with them and step foot in their home. This would seem like an absurd thing for God to ask him to do. Yet, he didn’t question God and went.

Life Application 

Hear and obey.

I long to hear God’s voice more clearly. And, when God speaks I want to steward his voice well by obeying. How many times have I asked God to bless me to hear his voice, and yet how many times has he spoken clearly and, because of fear or what he was asking seemed too hard, I hesitated and ultimately disobeyed?

God, forgive me for the times you have spoken and I didn’t obey! May your voice become more clear to me and grant me the faith to trust you, even when what you say doesn’t seem to make sense or to be what I would prefer. Make me like David, a man who will do everything you have in mind for me to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

– Levi Thompson


Acts__10

Scripture
 
Acts 10:44-45
 
“Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
A devout, God-fearing man named Cornelius received a message from an angel of God. The angel instructs him to send some men to a town called Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. So Cornelius sends his servants to bring Simon Peter back to his home.
While at home, Peter receives word from the Holy Spirit to follow these men that God has sent for him. Peter listens and obeys without any hesitation. Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, and although the custom back then was that a Jewish man was not supposed to enter a Gentile’s home, Peter understands now that he should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Cornelius invites all his family and friends over to his house and explains to Peter the message he received from God. Peter now realizes that God doesn’t discriminate against anyone to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. So Peter begins to share with Cornelius and all his family and friends the message of Jesus Christ, and while Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening. The people began speaking in other tongues and praising God. This amazed Peter and the other Jewish believers who were with him that day.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Being obedient to the Holy Spirit is the first step to witnessing amazing things.
 
Looking back at this story I’m realizing the amazing thing that happened that day for Cornelius and all his family and friends. They were all baptized into the family of Jesus Christ! Christ Followers were multiplied that day! And none of this would have happened if Peter or Cornelius weren’t obedient to the Holy Spirit. In verse 7 Cornelius didn’t wait and ponder on what the angel had instructed him to do. It says as soon as the angel left him he followed through with the instructions. In verses 21-25 Peter invites these total strangers into his house to stay the night, and leaves with them the very next day. Who would do this?! Especially knowing these men were Gentiles and Peter being Jewish, and the history between the two groups. That takes faith and obedience! But because of Cornelius and Peter being so obedient to the Holy Spirit, they were able to witness multiple salvations that day and they were able to see the power of the Holy Spirit move within the whole household of Cornelius as they began to speak in tongues, giving God praise.
 
Life Application
 
Take time to pray and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
 
Prayer is a way we communicate with God, but communication is a two way street. Who likes to be in a relationship when the other person does all the talking and they don’t even take the time to listen to you? That can be quite frustrating. I hate to admit, but sometimes I may treat God like that. Sometimes I can get caught up praying to Him and asking Him for all these things, but I forget to take the time to sit and listen to Him and hear what He needs from me.
 
Father God forgive me for my selfishness. Allow me to sit in silence and truly take the time to listen to your voice. Whether it’s through reading Your Word, or hearing the voice of Your Holy Spirit, help me to be keen to Your presence, and be obedient to what You ask of me. I know You are willing to do the amazing, but You just need obedience on my end. Bless me dear Lord with the strength and courage to do so. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  
 
-Moses Gaddi