In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.

 

Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days. You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” Acts 3:18-26

Peter just healed a lame beggar on the steps of the temple before launching into the sermon that includes our reading for today.  Now I am going to tell you an absolutely true story that happened just a couple of weeks ago in my office.

We have a job opening at our church for a Director of Youth and Family Ministry. A very nice young man applied for the job so I scheduled a conversation with him in my office. When he arrived he was so excited the words were just rushing out of his mouth.

He told me that he woke up that morning with a clear message from God that he should feed hungry people that very day. So he and a friend went to Wendy’s and bought 300 sandwiches, then brought them to downtown Houston to find homeless people to feed and to pray for. I’m not making this up.

At that point in my listening, I thought about how we send our high school kids downtown on the 3rd Sunday of the month to feed homeless people. I thought we might have a fit here with this guy.

Then he told me about how he found a guy who couldn’t stand up to get his sandwich. He had a painful problem with his lower leg that made walking difficult. So our job applicant asked if he could pray for his healing. The prayer happened and suddenly the guy with the bad leg jumped up and started dancing around. Our guy captured the moment with a video on his phone. He showed me the video.

I thought about how we envision ministry at Faith around the three foci of worship, learning, and healing. And yes, I also thought about how handy it would be to add a faith healer to our staff instead of just a run of the mill Director of Youth and Family Ministry.

This kid was PASSIONATE about the Christian faith. He wanted to give his entire life to helping other people discover the power and presence of God in their lives.

This is an absolutely true story.

No, he did not make it past that initial interview with me. He wasn’t going to fit at Faith. But I did pray with him and for him, that God continue to open doors and that God continue to use him to do good in the world. But not at Faith.

This morning I’m wondering if this story doesn’t have a whole lot to do with why so many people weren’t terribly convinced by Peter’s speech even though they saw a lame man dance just a few happy feet away.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we all have our own peculiar boxes that we like to keep you in. For some, you fit in the box of supernatural wonders and emotional hype; for others, in staid liturgy and decorum. We pray for our health but never for our money; we pray for our faraway enemies but not for that co-worker who drives us crazy. Today we pray for the grace that might blow our boxes wide open, leaving us open to the possibility of newness and resurrection in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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