Scripture: Acts 26: 22 “To this day (Paul said) I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: 23 that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
Observation: Just as they had done with Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders appealed to their Roman rulers to have the apostle Paul put to death. For, as was true of Jesus, Paul’s teachings were incredibly threatening to their status quo.
Application: I’m currently in Minnesota to learn more about “adaptive change”. Adaptive change invites us to think differently about a problem or situation rather than limiting ourselves to applying tried-and-true methods of the past. Some of you reading this blog post are members of the church I lead in suburban Dallas, or one like it. You might be thinking, “Things are going well in our church. Why mess with that?”
Yes, things are going well – for now. But we are not immune to the cultural forces that have led to an overall decline in the American church. As we prepare to celebrate our church’s 25th anniversary, we do so aware that our next 25 years will need to be quite different. What exactly does that mean? I don’t know. That’s what makes it so difficult. With adaptive change, there is rarely an established pattern or process we can imitate. Much of our learning will be trial-and-error.
What stuck out at me in our passage for this morning is the push-back Paul got from the Jewish religious authorities who had an enormous investment in the status quo. They persecuted Paul as they had Jesus. And while we make them out to be bad guys as we read about them 2,000+ years later, their response is more the norm than the exception in the face of adaptive change. My hope is that we might embrace adaptive change more gracefully than many who have gone before us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us grace to move into an uncertain future with grace, dignity, and the peace that passes understanding. Amen.