Category Archives: Acts

Acts 2:1-11

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”
Acts 2:1-11

Dear God, the first thing I thought of when I read this passage this morning was the first: “…all the believers were meeting together in one place.” Together. Community.

I’ve never liked church services. You know this. I’ve told many people this. The act of me going to church is an act of pure self-discipline. I remember when my kids were little and they said they didn’t want to go, claiming they didn’t get anything out of it. I would respond that maybe there was someone there that morning who needed them. For my own part, there are times when I go that I am actually very moved. There are times when someone really blesses me. And there are times when I am able to visit with someone who needs someone to talk to or to maybe just say hi to them. If I am not there to greet that visitor who comes looking for you, and everyone else takes my attitude then who will be.

Just think of the people who weren’t there that morning 2,000 years ago. Was there anyone who intended to be with the disciples and didn’t make it? Did they miss you?

Father, I need to wrap this up, because I need to board a plane, but I just want to say that I’m sorry for the times I was too lazy and I either missed you and what you had for me or I missed what you had to do through me for someone else. Thank you for community. I pray for community for those I love.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,


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Posted by on May 28, 2023 in Acts


Acts 28:16-31

When we arrived in Rome, Paul was permitted to have his own private lodging, though he was guarded by a soldier. Three days after Paul’s arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders. He said to them, “Brothers, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Roman government, even though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors. The Romans tried me and wanted to release me, because they found no cause for the death sentence. But when the Jewish leaders protested the decision, I felt it necessary to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no desire to press charges against my own people. I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel—the Messiah—has already come.” They replied, “We have had no letters from Judea or reports against you from anyone who has come here. But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.” So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening. Some were persuaded by the things he said, but others did not believe. And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

‘Go and say to this people:When you hear what I say,you will not understand.When you see what I do,you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened,and their ears cannot hear,and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see,and their ears cannot hear,and their hearts cannot understand,and they cannot turn to meand let me heal them.’

So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.” For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.
Act 28:16-31

Dear God, this is such an amazing book by Luke, and then it comes to this abrupt end.

But beyond all of that, I don’t think I ever noticed this last line before: “And no one tried to stop him.” What an interesting thing for Luke to point out. What it says to me is that you put him in a unique position, through being imprisoned on house arrest, to share the gospel in a way he probably wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do. For two years, he preached, taught, and debated unfettered. He was already arrested and awaiting his appeal. What else could those who didn’t like him do to him.

It reminds me of other people in the Bible who were living through difficult situations, but they ultimately ended up accomplishing amazing things through them. Hagar comes to mind. Through Sarah’s anger and Abraham’s weakness, she was sent off with Ishmael into the desert to die. But you were actually freeing her from her slavery and setting her and her son up for a brand new life. In the moment, I’m sure it looked like she was losing, but you were orchestrating it for something better.

Jesus’s death is another example. To everyone in the moment, Jesus’s death looked like losing. But it was part of something so much bigger—the grace you would offer to all of humanity.

Going back to Abraham, I have no respect for him given the way this story portrays his interactions with Sarah and Hagar. He could have done a lot of things, and to me he chose the weakest path. He did that a lot. With Pharaoh. With another king. Telling both of them that Sarah was his sister because he was afraid for himself. He just made so many bad decisions. But you made allowance for that in your plan. You used it. It makes me think about some of the mistakes I’ve made and how you’ve redeemed them. It makes me think of some of my pain now and how you might be working to do something wonderful through something that seems like a loss to me.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I’m doing something interesting today. I’m doing something that demonstrates my faith in you and what I think is obeying your Holy Spirit. Use this not for me but for you and your plans. For your glory. Help me to decrease so that you might increase in this world.

I pray all of this in the name of my Triune God,


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Posted by on May 27, 2023 in Acts


Acts 20:17-27

But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
Acts 20:17-27

Dear God, this is the New Testament reading for the Catholic church today, but it plays into what I’ve been praying lately. I’ve even referenced verse 24 a couple of times (…my life is worth nothing to me…).

So I just finished watching an episode of a very secular television show (Ted Lasso), but it is one that does its best to emulate what I would call your values of loving others and forgiveness. It recognizes that that is the right thing to do and it knows that there is healing. At one point tonight, one character told another character about the power of forgiveness. And it’s not really for the other person. Its for the forgiver maybe even more than the forgiven.

I was telling my wife earlier tonight that I still have some forgiveness issues that I’m not totally sure how to address. I’ve worked on it with you. I’ve tried to do the right things. But I have to say that I’m not sure what it looks like beyond this point.

I think this fits because, on a much smaller level than what Paul was dealing with here, a lack of forgiveness is NOT considering my life worth nothing to me. When I hold on, well, then I’m holding on to me. I’m putting myself ahead of who you need me to be–for my own sake!

Father, I consider my life worth nothing to me. If only I may finish the race and complete the task you have given to me. The task of testifying to the gospel of your grace. Father, help me. Jesus, help me. Holy Spirit, help me.

I pray all of this in your Holy Name,


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Posted by on May 23, 2023 in Acts


Acts 16:22-34

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
Acts 16:22-34

Dear God, mob mentality is an interesting thing. Reading this just now reminded me about one of the many powerful scenes in the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird. In it, there is a mob ready to lynch the prisoner in jail and only his lawyer is standing in their way. Then the lawyer’s children come and his daughter Scout starts talking to one of the men in the mob whom she knows. I just pulled it up on YouTube and it still brings tears to my eyes.

I know people lose their heads and mobs like this happen often. Maybe even more so now that we have social media. I guess you could look back on January 6, 2021, and all of the people who now regret going into the capitol building. They got caught up into an emotional state because they felt threatened, afraid, or cheated through injustice. Whatever the reason, the things that mobs respond to are never exhibited through the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, and self control).

So the passage right after this one tells us that, the day after Paul and Silas had been flogged and jailed, the city officials sent word to let them go. Had they come to their senses? Did this ponder it all night, discuss it apart from the mob and decide they needed to rectify their mistake? I don’t know. But I know they seemed to change course when cooler heads prevailed.

All of this is a reminder to me. It’s a reminder to pause before acting when my emotions are high. It’s a reminder to be very careful before I join in with an angry crowd. This can include my coworkers when they get upset and emotional about something. It can be good to take a beat in those situations and let the emotion calm down.

Father, help me to be wise. Help me to not be in a hurry when I feel threatened, afraid, or cheated. Help me to respond, even in the worst of times, with love, joy, peace, etc.) Thank you for this day. Thank you for meeting me in it. I needed a good productive day, and you gave it to me. You blessed me in so many ways I can see, not to mention the ones I cannot see. Continue to use me as my wife and I go to have dinner with a friend tonight. Make us a blessing to her and her family. Let your kingdom come and you will be done on earth through our lives.

I pray all of this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,


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Posted by on May 16, 2023 in Acts


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“The Unknown God” Acts 17:22-23

22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

Acts 17:22-23

Dear God, I heard a sermon on this passage this morning. Of love the idea that Paul used this as his entry into the intellectuals in Athens at the time. They thought they were so smart. They made themselves feel better about themselves by leaning into intellectualism. In this way, their gods were subject to them because they had created them. Yes, they had gods to which they ascribed power, but these were gods their minds created. These gods needed the people of Athens to survive because they only existed in their minds.

But Paul points out the one that even their intuition has told them they haven’t figured out. The one that explains the unexplainable. The one they didn’t create and don’t know. It’s quite a beautiful story.

Last night, I saw a short video with an astrophysicist talking about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and what it has shown us in less than 18 months of operation.

Astrophysicists have determined that, of course with no involvement of you at all, the universe in which we live is 13.8 billion years ago. But the JWST is showing us fully developed galaxies bigger than our own that were that big that long ago. So things must be much older than they thought. As one scientist put it, it’s upsetting the applecart. The faith they’ve put in their knowledge and the certainty they have that you are not necessary for any of this to happen astounds me. It seems to my limited mind that the “belief” they have in their theories requires even more faith than it takes for me to believe in you because you are the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the god of their own mind is constantly coming up short.

I guess I’m saying all of this because I am grateful that you are not unknown to me. I don’t understand you, to be sure, but I know you. I know you’re there. I know some of what you’ve done for me, although there is much I cannot see. I don’t know what you are doing or what you will do, but I trust you. I’ve seen enough evidence to know that it doesn’t have to all work out for me in order for me to know you are in control and working all things for your good. My role is to submit myself to you and let you use me as much as possible to enable your kingdom to come and your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven as much as possible.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, thank you. Thank you that you didn’t have to recalculate your understanding of the universe when the JWST discovered new data. Thank you that you are patient with us as we fumble around and try to prove how smart we are, all the while proving how little we know. Thank you for being patient with me as I struggle to make sense of my life in the midst of trying to let go of understanding it and simply loving you. Thank you for everything you mean to me. And now please prepare me as I head back to work tomorrow after my vacation. Help me to tie into you so that you will be my only God.

I pray all of this dependent upon your grace and in submission to your will,


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Posted by on May 14, 2023 in Acts



Acts 15:1

While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

Acts 15:1

Dear God, I was listening to a podcast yesterday about how our current American Evangelical perceptions of the rapture came to be. It turns out that this understanding is less than 200 years old, and, apparently, started with a layman from Ireland. I don’t want to get into that here or debate tribulation/rapture stuff. Mainly because I don’t care. But this passage made me think about it this morning because this is another example of people feeling like they need to have an opinion on something and then getting it wrong.

The truth is, we know and understand so little. Your ways are not our ways. Your logic is not our logic. Your understanding of the universe is so far beyond us they do not even resemble each other. We are small. You are God. At the end of the day, the answer to almost any theological question should be, “I don’t know.”

For example, right now there is a movement among some conservative Christians to put the 10 Commandments or “In God We Trust” up in schools, as if that will really turn people around. But only two of the 10 commandments are even against our human written laws (murder and theft–although in certain circumstances, you can be punished for lying too, but only in certain circumstances). These are mostly things that cannot be legislated. They must be embraced by the individual heart and then followed as a personal commitment/decision. They won’t be followed by just putting them up on a wall as a sign that is ignored. We will only follow them when we come to the end of ourselves, repent, take up our cross and follow you.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, please help me to simply pursue you and let your fruit from your Spirit grow from there. I don’t have to have all of the answers. Frankly, I have almost none of them. I can’t tell anyone how to be a father, husband, friend, or boss. All I can offer is pursuing you, telling people how I pursue you, and then letting your Spirit grow fruit in me that they will want for themselves. But it starts with my own decision to pursue you. To observe your commandments (and not just the top 10). But to think that I have the authoritative opinion on anything as it relates to you is complete hubris, because I am a foolish man in the hands of a forgiving and loving God. Thank you.

I pray all of this because you gave me a path through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and it is in his name I pray,


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Posted by on May 10, 2023 in Acts


Acts 14:5-20

Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. And there they preached the Good News. While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them. Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
Acts 14:5-20

Dear God, not that anyone thinks I’m a god, but I certainly get way too much admiration and adulation that I deserve. I used to love it when people would be “impressed” by me. I used to crave it. And there’s a part of me that still likes it, of course, but it makes me more uncomfortable than it used to. In fact, I find myself, more and more, just wanting to work behind the scenes and not be seen. Of course, in my job, in order to do my job, I have to be seen. I have to be the front person. The face of the organization.

My biggest thing in all of this is to make sure I do my best to not promote an image of myself that is inconsistent with who I am. I want to be the same person in my private life, at home with my wife, in my interactions with my family and friends, through the work I do with my coworkers and volunteers that I am on that stage.

The other part of this is that you have given me gifts in the area of public speaking and teaching. I think I allow lethargy to maybe get in the way of what. You have planned for me in that area. For example, I’m here on vacation. I brought my computer with me so I could work on some of the writing projects I’ve started, or I could sit and just listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos while the waves roll in. Which will I do? I hope I can look back on this week as one that was used for restoration and also for building a strong foundation in you upon which I can build.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, be my supply this week. Be my Healer, Counselor, and Comforter. Be my Friend. Most of all, be my God, whom I worship with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I offer this to you.

I pray all of this under your authority,


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Posted by on May 8, 2023 in Acts


Acts 4:23-24,29-31

As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:23-24,29-31

Dear God, I’ll confess that there are some moments when the idea of being filled by the Holy Spirit excites and thrills me and there are other times when it terrifies me. So I guess the question is, what am I afraid of?

I was reading a story this morning about an actor who had lost 150 lbs. He talked about how his diet has changed. he said he now eats food he used to make fun of people for eating. He talked about lifestyle changes that I, frankly, wouldn’t want to make for myself. For my part, I used to weigh over 300 lbs. Now I weigh about 240. I could stand to lose another 20, but it would take even more lifestyle changes than I’ve made to lose the 60 lbs. Am I ready for that?

Father, help me to embrace the idea of being totally filled with your Holy Spirit. Even though, like eating habits, it might cost me things I think I need to enjoy life, I know your a Holy Spirit will bring me joy and peace beyond my imagination of conception. Please help me submit to it completely.

I pray this through the grace of Jesus,


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Posted by on April 18, 2023 in Acts


Acts 4:13

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 

Acts 4:13

I was listening to the Bible in a Year Podcast from Ascension Press this morning and Father Mike highlighted this verse. I thought it would be a good prayer for me to pray over myself today. If I am to be bold, will they recognize me as an arrogant person who is foolish, or will they see that I am a man who has been with Jesus (you)?

Oh, Father. Oh, Jesus. Oh, Holy Spirit, please forgive me of my sin. Forgive me of my pride. My self-pity. My sense of independence. My need for approval from the world. My craving for things of this world. I am sorry. All of them get in the way of others seeing you in my life. They all get in the way of my branch being attached to your vine. When people look at me, I want them to simply see you and wonder what they might do to have the wonderful gift I’ve been given through Jesus’s life, death and resurrection. Through the Father’s love. Through the Holy Spirit’s presence with me. Help me to be all of those things.

I pray this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,


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Posted by on November 21, 2022 in Acts



Dear God, I was listening to the Catholic Bible in a Year podcast from Ascension Press by Father Mike Schmitz recently when he was reading from 1 Maccabees. As a Protestant Christian, it was my first time to hear any of the stories. While I was listening, something occurred to me. Judas Maccabeus was a Jewish military hero less than 200 years before Jesus was born. There were two of Jesus’s 12 disciples who were named Judas. I don’t remember reading the name Judas in the Old Testament other than Judas Maccabeus. Is it possible that Judas was a common name to give boys during this era in Israel? Finally–and this one is a big leap–could Judas Iscariot have been wanting to live up to his namesake and frustrated by this fact even more that Jesus didn’t seem to care about Rome’s rule over Israel?

After that, I decided to see who else in the New Testament was named Judas. Just how common was this?

  • Judas Iscariot (we all know him)
  • Judas (not Iscariot): John 14:22
  • Judas, Jesus’s brother: Mark 6:3
  • Judas, called Barsabbas: Acts 15:22 [I wonder if he changed his name because of Judas Iscariot]
  • Jude (author of Jude)–some debate if this might be a duplicate–Jesus’s brother
  • Judas of Galilee: Acts 5:37–rebel leader

Yeah, I think this naming your kid Judas might have been a thing at the time. Of course, that went away over time. Judas Iscariot has become as abhorrent in Christian circles as Benedict Arnold or Adolf Hitler have become in our modern times. I don’t know how many people in Germany currently name their son Adolf, but I would be surprised if it was many.

Father, I don’t know what is in this story for me, but it’s interesting to stop and think about how little decisions, like what to name our child, might impact their lives. I have a few things happening today. Help me as I prepare to go through this day. Let your Holy Spirit go with me. Go with me to work. Let there be healing. Go with me to Rotary. Go with me to San Antonio tonight. Go with me as we strive to bring you glory for all that you do in our lives. Help me to be part of you bringing your kingdom and will being done into the world.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on October 31, 2022 in Acts, John, Jude, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Uncategorized