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 Twenty Eight

SCRIPTURE

Acts 28:1-10 (NIV) 1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

OBSERVATION

God had brought them to the Isle of Malta where the native people welcomed all 276 of them and did their best to make them comfortable. The storm abated, but the weather was cold; so the natives built a fire. After all he had done for the passengers, Paul could well have requested a throne and insisted that everybody serve him! Instead, he did his share of the work and helped gather fuel for the fire.

UNDERSTANDING

Paul never once acted like a prisoner or a victim, nor did he act as if because he had helped the crew so much that somehow he was going to get special treatment.  Instead he went to work serving people.  The truth is no task is too small for the servant of God, we must be like Jesus who humbled Himself and became a servant.  That is what Paul is doing here.

LIFE APPLICATION

Wherever we go, regardless of our situations, we can be a sweet fragrance of Christ to whomever we meet.  Are we being the fragrance of Christ to our world by serving them?  Or are we being victims or acting in an entitled fashion?
As we have seen throughout the book of Acts, God’s power is at work in and through us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  WE must continually seek to be filled up with the Holy Spirit so that we can be poured out wherever we go.  
 
Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit!


Acts_27

Scripture 

 
Acts 27:23 
 
“For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me”

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul is on his way to Rome to speak to Caesar on a ship that faces a grave torrent storm. Just the trip he needed after having been in prison for years, flogged, death plotted against him, and having stood before leaders giving his testimony of God’s grace poured out over his life. Paul should have received the death penalty from God. Instead, he is chosen to be the messenger of grace by the long awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

“…the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.”

I noticed that the Greek word for I belong is “eimi” which means I exist or I am. I can’t help to think that this phrase “I belong” was so much deeper than just saying that you “ belong” to someone the way a slave belongs to a master or maybe something more intimate the way beloveds “belong” to each other. I can’t help to believe that Paul was saying “…the God to whom I “exist”. Paul exists like if he had tucked himself inside of God the way a baby is tucked in their mother’s womb and he literally was living and breathing because of God sustaining his life. Serving God was not an option. He should have been dead so many times over, not just physically but eternally, and God chose him. God met him in his sin and brought him to life, thus he “exists.” 

Life Application

Father, we need you, I need you! Your grace and your mercy encase me. I need to stay in you always by reading your word, worship, prayer, and fellowship. Holy Spirit always bring to remembrance being tucked inside of God and now I live and move and have my being because of Him. In all the storms of life, when I am being tossed by the happenings of life; the bills, the chores, our jobs, marriage… and grossly off course with danger all around me, help me to know that I belong, I exist, I am in Him and he is in me! 

-Deborah Lee



Acts_26

Scripture  

Acts 26:28-29  Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

Observation-What does it say?  Paul is sitting before King Agrippa, as part of his appeals process.  He is slated to go to Rome, to be heard by the Cesar himself, but before he goes, Governor Festus and Agrippa want to hear his story.  Paul expounds on his life as a pharisee, his attack on Christians, and his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He goes on to tell them that, through his extensive knowledge of the scriptures, he could not deny that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.  As they were listening, they were trying decide what notification they were going to give to the Cesar as to why he is appealing his case.  Both Festus and Agrippa agree that the Jews have no case to hold Paul.  During Paul’s testimony, Agrippa is apparently deeply affected by  his words.

Understanding-What does it mean?  We all know that one guy, whether it’s at work or just an acquaintance, who is totally committed to whatever he is doing for about six months to a year and then onto the next thing.  Whether it’s mountain biking, or surfing, or snow boarding, it’s all you ever hear about from that guy for a period of time.  He gets all the right gear, spends a ton of money, and apparently masters the skill.  And what’s worse, he gets you interested in it too.  And now you have a new snow board, boots, pants, jacket, helmet, glove, an industrial tuning station in your garage, and you can barely make your way down the bunny slope.  Before you know it, your buddy is onto a new sport and you have just spent your life savings on a sport that you don’t really like that much, but are too committed to quit.

Paul is like that guy, except he takes it to the end.  He never lost interest, or moved onto something else, leaving his friends in the wake of a bored hobby.  Paul is the epitome of a true believer.  He takes the cause to the end, knowing that there is more left to the story.  Paul has the innate sense that he is part of something much bigger than himself.  He has tapped into that source that we are all looking for, and found his purpose.  Like the other apostles, his sense of resolve will carry him to lengths that would be unimaginable to most.  

Life Application  Jesus, I want to know you and experience you like Paul.  I know that this means I must commit myself to taking the time to come to you and to hear your voice.  I must listen through constant time in your word and prayer.  Help me to have the resolve to overcome my weaknesses and to place my trust in you. 

-Tyler Galloway



Acts_25

Scripture

Acts 25:25

I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.

Observation – What does it say?

While in prison, Paul had appeared on different occasions to stand trial before the Sanhedrin, Governor Felix, Governor Festus, and also was given audience with King Argippa. In each instance charges were brought against Paul, then he made his defense and shared the gospel with everyone present. At the final trial before Festus, Paul appealed to Caesar. In each instance, neither governor nor the king found that he was worthy of death or imprisonment. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

In order to fulfill our God-given destiny we may be wronged unjustly and find ourselves in positions of discomfort that we wish to escape. 

If it were’t for this imprisonment (lasting years!) Paul wouldn’t have had opportunity to stand before governors, kings and all these people of influence and present to them the gospel.

How often do we make it all about us? In our immaturity, not recognizing God’s purposes are much more important than our comfort, we complain and play the victim. “I can’t believe I’m here.” “I don’t deserve this.” “God, I’m so frustrated at you.” How can God use us us when we make it all about us and what we want and feel we deserve?! What if we’re in that situation because we prayed and asked God to use us, and so he sent us there to bring his love and truth.

Paul chose to rejoice because he recognized his chains could actually serve to advance the gospel and bring people to Christ (see his letter to the Philippians which he wrote while in prison)! I doubt he was excited about the chains, but he was more than willing to endure them because he was excited about the possibility of being used by God to save the lost.

Life Application

Rather than looking at work or home or church or the DMV through the lens of, “Do I like it here?” I should be looking through the lens of God’s will, “God, I’m here for a purpose, help me to see what it is. What are you doing here and how do you want me to partner with you?”

Ephesians 5:16a,18 Make the most of every opportunity… do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.

God, in every situation may we not look through the lens of personal preference but kingdom purpose. Give us eyes to see what you’re doing and help us, like Paul, to make the most of every opportunity. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Acts__24

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭24:25
 
“As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Some of the Jewish Elders, and the lawyer named Tertullus went to governor Felix to present their case against Paul. Paul was being accused of being a troublemaker who was constantly stirring up riots amongst the Jews all over the world. He was being accused of being a ringleader of a cult, and Paul was being accused of desecrating the Temple. Of course all these accusations were false, but Felix, who wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, left Paul in prison. While in prison, Felix would send for Paul quite frequently. Deep down Felix was hoping Paul would bribe him with money for his release. But instead Paul used those times to share with Felix and his wife Drusilla about faith in Jesus Christ. One day Paul reasoned with them about righteousness, self-control, and the coming day of judgement. This talk frightened Felix. He told Paul to “Go away for now. When it’s more convenient I’ll call back for you again.”
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
What will you do when the power of the Holy Spirit convicts you?
 
As Paul was sharing the Word of God with Felix and his wife, Felix felt the conviction from the Holy Spirit (spoken through Paul) of his wrongdoings in life. Now Felix had a choice to make here. Would he allow the Holy Spirit to convict him of his faults so that he may repent against them? Or would he ignore the calling, try to hide from it, and let pride get in the way of making the right decision? Unfortunately, Felix chose the latter.
 
There will be times in life where the Holy Spirit speaks to us and pierces straight to our heart. It may be something we need to do, or it may be something we need to rid ourselves of in our life. The choice won’t always be easy. But if I was to learn anything from this passage this morning, it is that I can’t just pick and choose sections of the Word of God I choose to follow. Don’t be like Felix and listen to God’s Word, take it in, but as soon as it tells you something you may not want to hear or are uncomfortable with, you shut it out. No! Instead I need to take a long look in the mirror, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal my faults, and direct me in the way He needs me to go. Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to transform me from the inside out.
 
Life Application
 
Don’t let pride get in the way from the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
 
There is one unforgivable sin the Bible speaks of. It is the blaspheming or rejection of the Holy Spirit.
 
“Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
Luke‬ ‭12:10
 
The Holy Spirit is alive! It reaches out to you, trying to guide you to do what is right in God’s eyes. Don’t turn away from Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words, your actions so you may be right with God. Do not blaspheme Him or reject Him. Our time on earth is limited. And we never know when our time here is up. So shouldn’t I be using that time accepting the Holy Spirit’s guidance, instead of rejecting it?
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts_23

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭23:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul was again before the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, having to answer for his ministry for Jesus Christ. There was also a plot to kill Paul; however, before Paul learned of the plot to kill him, the Lord encouraged Paul to be courageous and told him that he was still going to testify about Him in Rome. Basically, he didn’t want Paul to lose heart and told him he still had work to do.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The journey of faith is not always easy, but when we are in line with God’s will, His Spirit will always provide the encouragement we need to continue pressing forward.

Paul could’ve easily buckled under the weight of all the pressure on him. He could’ve easily been so discouraged and decided to quit the mission because the journey was too hard. But, Paul didn’t quit. He kept pressing forward and had hope in the Lord to complete the mission. Why? Because the Holy Spirit was in him and with him.

Life Application
 
Continue being filled with Holy Spirit and lean on His great faithfulness through the journey.

One of my goals during this fast is to memorize Ephesians 6:11-18, basically the passage on the Armor of God. One particular part of the passage talks about putting on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to take our stand, but after we have done everything, just keep standing.

We cannot keep standing without the Holy Spirit. Also, continually being filled with His Spirit is not an option, but a must, especially when we understand who is warring against our souls. Ephesians says that our struggle is against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. It is not just the B-team. It is the A-team heads of evil! The only One able to defeat them and the only One that they have no hold over is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So why wouldn’t we want His Holy Spirit residing in us and being filled with Him everyday? As Pastor explained on Sunday, the constant filling of the Holy Spirit comes through worship, prayer and fasting, God’s Word (which is our offensive weapon against attack), walking in obedience, serving and fellowship with other spirit filled people.

Please join us for 2 great evenings of worship and prayer this week on Thursday and Friday at 7p.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your encouragement to keep standing firm, to keep pressing forward and to keep being on mission for You despite hardships and opposition. May we seek to always be filled with Your Holy Spirit so that we can withstand the pressures that come with living a life completely set apart for You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Acts_22

Scripture

Acts 22:14-15

14 Then He said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.

Observation

Paul shared his testimony – that he used to be well known for persecuting and terrorizing Christians…but that an experience of being struck blind, hearing God’s voice, walked to a stranger who simply said, “receive your sight” and could suddenly see again; then, that stranger gives him the words above.

Understanding

Our testimonies our powerful. We should recognize them, refine them and share them regularly!….but being used in part of another person’s testimony is where it’s at!

I read in a book recently, that a man with an argument has nothing against a man with an experience. As Christians, we get the amazing honor and opportunity to engage people in God experiences, experiences that will speak to people’s hearts and bring reconciliation and transformation. God is the master facilitator – working in all the details, big and small – for the ultimate purpose of bringing people in to relationship with Him; but we get to be part of it.

Once we are saved, our whole role and mission is to stay connected to God and be used by Him over and over again – to love on others, to bless others, to lead others to Him.

Life Application

God, I count it an honor and privilege to be called Yours. But, even greater, I am grateful to be used by you. That even in my brokenness and complete IMperfection, you call me worthy and allow me to be used for the cause of Christ. Let me be a witness! Show me, today, how to share your love, in ways that brings you honor and glory. Help me be cognizant and obedient to that still small voice. And, may people EXPERIENCE you throughout my interactions today. Humbly yours, In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

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



Acts_21

SCRIPTURE

Acts 21: 13

“Then Paul answered, Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

Although urged on several accounts not to go to Jerusalem Paul insists on going for the cause of Christ. He holds to the promise of the unseen and looks forward to receiving the rewards of his faith.

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

What strikes me about this passage is the fact that he was urged by believers not to go to Jerusalem. It was not by people trying to dissuade him of his calling or take him away from God, but people who believed in him and God’s mission. Yet, full of faith, Paul urges to press on into the unknown. He literally “prepares for the worst,” which to him is seen as a reward.

The Message translates it this way “The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience.”

As Christians we are not called to live by consensus or live comfortably, we are called to live a life of obedience. Obedience often denotes action, and action requires moving from where we are to a place we’ve never been. God uses this obedience to do things we have never imagined. He takes our tiny faith and stretches it on forever. He takes us past the point of no return, the point in which death is seen as a reward and obedience comes easily. Paul expected that God was going to move in Jerusalem and he didn’t want to miss out. He went regardless of the warnings not to. With this kind of faith no excuse or reason was going to keep him from the cause of Christ. He had a gift too great to keep to himself.

LIFE APPLICATION

I want to go regardless of the circumstances. So be it if I must leave this world behind to attain a life I can only imagine. So be it I must sacrifice earthly possessions. I choose obedience! I want to see God show up everywhere, and I want to say that I was used by Him. I’m tired of the comfort, I’m tired of the excuses, I’m ready to travel to places I’ve never been, I’m ready. All for the name of the Lord Jesus, to Him be the glory, honor, and praise.

-Allison Khan


Acts__20

Scripture   

So much to say and so little time to say it … 

Acts 20:9

Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

Observation – What does it say?

The uproar in Ephesus has quieted down so the apostle Paul makes plans to leave Ephesus, preach in Troas on his way to Macedonia, and meet up with Titus, all the while continuing the collection for Judea. Sailing from Philippi Paul meets up with the disciples in Troas.  Knowing his time is short he loses no time in encouraging the believers.

Understanding – What does it mean?

He’s alive! Fortunate for Eutychus …

Imagine the setting:  A modest three story structure with “many lamps” casting dramatic shadows and filling the room with a smoky haze. It is Sunday, the ‘new” first day of the week.  A sense of urgency compels the apostle Paul to preach to the believers; perhaps for the last time.  No doubt he had been preaching to them in the morning hours as well but now it is nearing midnight.  Our attention is hijacked by a young man who was sitting in an open window.  Suddenly he dozed off and fell to his death.  Ironically, the boy’s name is Eutychus which means, “good fortune”.  Fortunately for him:  The purpose and activity that has befallen Jerusalem and its surrounding lands was not of “human origin” as suggested by Gamaliel (Acts 6: 33-40).  Fortunately, God’s redemptive plan did not end at the Cross.  Fortunately, the disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).  Fortunately, the evening included the Lord’s Supper as commanded and that it was observed regularly. Fortunately, by faith, the disciples believed Jesus when he said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing …(John 14:12).  As Peter had raised Tabitha (Acts 9:40), so Paul raises Eutychus. Fortunately, Paul risked ridicule or at the very least being misunderstood and simply “threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him,” declaring, “He’s alive” (Acts 20:10).      

Life Application

Studying the Gospel and exercising the spiritual disciplines such as worship, teaching, prayer and the Lord’s Supper is not the exception but the norm for all believers.  These activities should be a regular part of our life experience.  When we are faithful in this we can expect the power of God to be present in signs and wonders.  As it was in the book of Acts so it is today.  God is crazy about people and wants to have a personal relationship with them.  We can’t do this on our own but must partner with God in his purposes and plans. Young Eutychus was very fortunate that the church of Jesus Christ was operating in the fullness of God. 

-Warren   

 



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