RECAP Acts: They Understood the Assignment

During this season, Sunday entries will feature an Acts Recap then transition to Advent and Christmas readings. Be on the lookout for a fresh Sunday approach in the New Year. If you enjoyed the In Christ readings by E. Stanley Jones, you can find that in our store here.

From now until the end of the month we will be re-releasing highlights from our Wake-Up Call Acts journey together. Join us on December 1 when we begin our new series celebrating Advent—Protagonist by Matt and Josh LeRoy. 


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 5:12–16 (NIV)

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.


Today’s text is a dramatic scene we might caption with the following phrase:

“They understood the assignment.”

It is a good moment to remember the original assignment. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

There’s a convergence of three different scenes coming together in today’s text. 

Scene 1: The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people.

Let’s call Scene 1, “The Kingdom.” 

Scene 2: And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.

Let’s call Scene 2, “The Church.” 

Scene 3: No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.

Let’s call Scene 3, “The World.” 

All of this converges to unveil Scene 4: Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

Let’s call Scene 4, “The Church Jesus Is Building.” 

The world is in awe of the church because the church is in awe of God. When the church lives in awe of God, the kingdom breaks out into the world. When the kingdom breaks out into the world, the world begins to believe in God. When the world begins to believe in God, the church receives them into community. 

In my experience, the church is getting it backward.

We want people to be added to the numbers of the church where we hope they will come to believe in God. In other words, we start by mixing up the church and the world. We hope the church will rub off on the world, but it has just the opposite effect. In no time, people can’t really tell the difference between the church and the world and they don’t want much to do with this community. There are no signs and wonders because the kingdom is nowhere to be found. 

Yes, these first-generation Christians understood the assignment. They were completely changed into fire. Let’s call it the burning bush effect. It is anomalous—the bush is burning but it’s not burning up. The closer one gets to it the more in awe they grow. They begin to believe. They are compelled to belong. We have thought that an unbeliever must feel like they belong before they will believe. What if the opposite is actually true? 

What might repentance look like for us? Asked another way: How do we, the twenty-first-century church, become first-generation Christians? 


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness. 
I receive your love and release my selfishness. 
I receive your clarity and release my confusion. 

Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen. 


What will it take for our churches to live in awe of God? What will it take for me to live in awe of God? How about you? 


Today let’s sing the banner hymn: “How Firm a Foundation.” It is hymn 46 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P. S. Would You Share a Word Back?

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

8 Responses

  1. “What will it take for our churches to live in the awe of God?” The answer to this question demands a straight forward, possibly hard to swallow response. In my honest opinion, repentance means unlearning a lot of how we’ve done church for a long time. It will require another Reformation, or rather an extension of the first one. Because of the relationship brought on by Constantine’s Christendom, the Church was domesticated in order to merge it with the world. As a result there really is very little contrast between the ways the world goes about it’s business and the business of the church as it is now projected. The so called “ Church Growth Movement “ only made it worse. The “Seeker” type of congregations while successful at filling auditoriums with many consumers of religious goods and services, totally failed at making Biblically defined disciples. It’s high time to get back to the basics, all the while knowing that the Church will lose some of what Wesley referred to as “almost Christians”. Christ will build His Church His way.

  2. Our assignment is to live in the awe of God as we daily partake of the tree of life.

    Open, humble hearts experience overwhelming awe as they become “partakes of the divine nature” by ever tasting and feasting on the tree of life. But trusting in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil produces human pride. “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”

    Twenty-first century Christianity trains people to be knowledge dependent — “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” First century Christianity trained people to live in awe of God by continually keeping their heart open to and their will surrendered to the presence of the living, resurrected Jesus. Let’s return to the awe of early Christianity. (Open your heart and search for: The Joy Of Early Christianity.)

  3. The power of unwavering belief in believing in Jesus is unmatched. Acts 5:15, “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.” Peter’s shadow is enough.
    It reminds me of “If I only can touch His Robe, I will be made well” (Mathew 9:21). Jesus’ robe is enough.
    Today it seems that Jesus has become seen as a ticket to heaven and not a healer of the sick.
    Doubt is such a strong force of the devil. Doubt lives by what we witness or don’t witness, the evidence we don’t see. Doubt reinforces the negative. Doubt says, “I’ll believe when I see.”
    However, belief comes from God. That’s why we live by faith, not by sight.
    “I believe, therefore, I see!”

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

  4. “What will it take for our churches (actually Jesus’s churches) to live in the awe of God?” First of all, I believe that “awe” and “reverent fear” are synonymous. Therefore, the first step would be to repent for our almost universal lack of fear of God in the modern Western institutional church. Step two, would be to engage in a thorough self introspection to determine how far we’ve strayed from the ancient paths of the early Church. Step three, would require a commitment to make whatever changes were necessary to get back on track through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, a tough pill to swallow, and not likely to happen, but in my honest opinion, the only option.

  5. The kingdom assignment is to hear and obey God.

    The kingdom of God comes where people allow themselves to be Spirit-led and begin to intentionally follow God’s will instead of their own will (or human programs). God’s will, will be done in and through us, when we humbly do it, not when we ignore it or rebel against it. His kingdom comes and is manifest in and through us as we listen to and obey the living Jesus.

    God spoke like this: “A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.’” After Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into a cloud and disappeared from sight. However, when the Holy Spirit came, Christ’s followers were made aware of His ongoing presence and power. They were overcome by the awe of His living residence within them and of His manifestations among them. As long as they opened their heart to focus on King Jesus, they experienced the supernatural kingdom (government) of God.

    Let Jesus be your daily-coordinator and call all the plays in your life. Run His plays not your own. Gather with Christ-followers in order to experience the reality of the risen Jesus together (like the disciples did), not just to hear a message about Him.

    If we weren’t fallen and sinful human beings, we would have no need for Jesus’ actual presence. We could get by just hearing a weekly talk about Jesus. We could earn and deserve a ticket to Heaven because of our church attendance. However, that’s not the case. We humans need more than religious words about Jesus. We need King Jesus and His present reality continually working within us and causing us life to daily reflect His glory. That’s the assignment!

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