The Spirit, the Church and the Mission

Part 1: Wait for It

Acts 1:1-11 • October 6, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

Pastor Luke opens a four-month series covering the book of Acts. In the opening scene, Jesus instructs the Apostles one last time before he leaves Earth. Nothing much — just go change the world. And, he adds: Soon you'll have help like you never imagined. What do Jesus’ instructions look like for us today?

Part 2: Cut to the Heart

Acts 2:22-37 • October 13, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

It’s Pentecost, and Peter definitely has the crowd's attention. Newly filled with the Holy Spirit, he explains exactly who Jesus is, and the heavy cost of sin. The people’s stunned response then was the same as ours today: What shall we do?

Part 3: The Model

Acts 2:42-47

It’s THAT section — the one every modern congregation reads and then says, "Why can’t our church be like that?” And then we think about all of the legitimate obstacles. Was the early church an unattainable ideal for us today? Or, as we dig into this passage together, might we discover something we’ve been missing?

Part 4: The Means to an End

Acts 3:1-10; John 5:39-40 • October 27, 2019 • Pastor Josh Pardee

Christianity is not a relationship with a book. The Bible points to life's ultimate meaning: a relationship with Jesus and a response to the power found in his name alone. As the apostles Peter and John discovered, this radically changes the way we see and interact with the world.

Part 5: Ordinary People

Acts 4:1-21 • November 3, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

Peter and John healed a lame man in Jesus’ name, then spoke to a crowd about Jesus. Now the religious authorities wanted answers — and they got an earful. Here’s what we tend to forget: The same power and boldness are available to us today through the same Holy Spirit. How might that change the way we live?

Part 6: Bold Prayer

Acts 4:23-31 • Pastor Luke Uran

Peter and John pray for boldness and for miracles … and then God’s answers shake the world. What does our prayer life say about our view of God? If he answered what we prayed for this week, how would the world look different?

Part 7: Extra-Ordinary

Acts 6–7 • Pastor Luke Uran

C.S. Lewis wrote: “We may be content to remain what we call ‘ordinary people.’ But He is determined to carry out quite a different plan.” Stephen was an ordinary man who valued following Jesus more than he valued his earthly life. The disciples recognized him as “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” and “full of God’s grace and power.” The entire book of Acts pivots on his bold obedience. Stephen’s story has much to teach us today, too.

Part 8: Super Power

Acts 8:1–27 • November 24, 2019 • Pastor Josh Pardee

The church is being persecuted and scattered. In Samaria, a man named Simon sees the Holy Spirit’s power and wants to buy some for himself. Bad idea. But Peter's response tells us a lot about the heart of God.

Part 9: Chariot Chaser

Acts 8:26-40 • December 1, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

For Philip, following Jesus meant going to a place he never imagined going, hitching a ride, and having a conversation he never imagined having. God changed the world when Philip said “yes” to the Holy Spirit’s leading. The same thing happens today.

Part 10: An Unlikely Story

Acts 9:19-31 • December 8, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

The Holy Spirit tells Ananias to go find Saul. Yes, that Saul — the man who, as far as Ananias knew, wanted every follower of Jesus locked up or killed. Saul’s story after this is familiar, of course. But it hinged on the obedience of a man hardly anyone remembers.

Part 11: The Gap

Acts 9:19–31 • December 15, 2019 • Pastor Josh Pardee

Saul has just been radically transformed. He’s preaching boldly. So of course, the next move for this future world-changer is … go away and wait for 14 years?! We sometimes forget that before God works through us, he works in us … patiently.

Part 12: Good News for All

Acts 10:34–43 • December 22, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

The gospel is for all people, for all time. This is a radical message, and not just for the first-century Jewish and Roman cultures. It’s equally radical and life-giving for our world today. Our whole world.

Part 13: Drift

Acts 15:1-32 • December 29, 2019 • Pastor Luke Uran

Over time, churches can drift from a heavy, outward focus on transformation to a subconscious, inward focus on conformity. Even the early church struggled with this. What questions do we need to ask ourselves to keep from becoming a barrier to people seeking God?

Part 14: Transformed

Acts 16:11–34 • January 5, 2020 • Pastor Luke Uran

Paul & company arrive in Philippi, where God is about to change the lives of three very different people: a rich merchant woman, a slave girl and a jailer. Their stories have much to teach us about the power of the gospel and the heart of God.

Part 15: The Unknown God

Acts 17:16-34 • January 12, 2020 • Pastor Luke Uran

Paul remains true to his faith while also engaging the thinkers and culture makers of his day. His wise approach in Athens applies equally well today in Rockford, Illinois.