Greetings to my dear church family,

As I have pondered a bit on the
passages that I wish to share with you this week, I
find it fitting to tuck them into the series that we were
exploring in the Book of Acts. Having studied this
amazing continuation of the Gospel of Jesus, I am
more and more drawn to the calling that Jesus left
upon the hearts of His faithful followers. Theirs was a
special mission, they were given their marching
orders by Jesus, Himself.

Throughout our study of the Acts of the Apostles we
can likely agree that the ‘Privilege of Discipleship’
that they experienced held both joy and challenge,
success and struggle, growth and suffering. While
these early church pioneers witnessed incredible
evidence that the works they had seen Jesus perform
were still showing up in their midst, sometimes even
on a daily basis, they also walked directly into the
persecution of the Jewish leaders.

No doubt they remembered the teachings of Jesus on
the hillside as He described and defined the Kingdom
of Heaven. In this Sermon on the Mount Jesus told
them that certain people, such as the poor in spirit,
and the ones who are meek, will receive His
blessings. He also told them that His blessings would
be given to those who were hungry to learn about,
and to put on, the righteousness of Jesus. All of this
sounds pretty good.

However, I can imagine that they might have found
themselves reaching deep to try to relate to, or even
accept, the way this teaching concludes. His words
got personal for the disciples as they hung there in
the gentle breeze of a Galilean afternoon. “Blessed
are you”, Jesus said, “when people insult you,
persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against
you ‘because of me’…

It was clear that these early church leaders
experienced the meaning of these words as they
came under fire for their work of continuing the
mission of Jesus. Sufferings are not something that
we seek, persecution doesn’t sound inviting to us, yet
Jesus has promised that there will be a special
blessing for the disciples who personally experience
these challenges for the cause of Christ. May we
know that we are never alone, even when we are
called to be disciples in difficult times.

Pastor Phil