Grow Deep - Sent Vol 2 - Week 2

Week 2: June 30-July 6

Sent With Grace and Power

Memory Verse: “And the God of grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
1 Peter 5:10

One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. In a spirited exchange between Buttercup and the Man in Black, Buttercup says, “You mock my pain.” The Man in Black responds, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” The Man in Black is right. Life is hard. It involves pain. There is no escaping it. But, of course, that is nothing new. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, life took a turn for the worst. The consequences of sin are real. To the woman in the Garden God said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16) To the man in the Garden God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:17)

Fast forward to Acts 6-7. There we meet Stephen. He is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit … full of grace and power.” Stephen was a man of God. He was sent by God to tell the Good News of Jesus. One would think that with Stephen’s God-given wisdom, grace and power all would go well for him—after all, he was doing God’s will. But life is hard. Sin impacts everyone’s life. Stephen felt that, too. He was the object of false witnesses and was eventually killed for speaking God’s truth. Being sent can be hard.

The good news is that God has an answer for lives that are hard. That answer is Jesus Christ. He took the consequences of our sin and our pain upon Himself and took them to the cross. We go to church to be strengthened by Word and Sacrament for lives that are hard. Jesus comes to us and tells us to cast all our cares upon Him. Jesus comes and folds His loving arms around us and gives us the security we need. We are sent with the grace and power He gives to tell others about His love!

Sunday, June 30

Read: Acts 6:1-7
Seven men are chosen for the administration of food and material needs to widows and orphans, who were the neediest in Jerusalem. This freed up the apostles for prayer and study of the Word. One of these men filled with the Spirit was named Stephen.
Reflect: How will you use the Word of God wisely today? Why is it important that the church grow? How does the church grow? Where is God “sending” you to share the Gospel message?

Monday, July 1

Read: Acts 6:8-15
Stephen performed great wonders and signs among the people. The Spirit gave him powerful words in witnessing to hearers who resisted his message and spread lies about him. He was finally arrested by Jewish leaders on "trumped up" charges.
Reflect: God’s grace and power were evident in Stephen’s life. How are they evident in your life? Even in the midst of opposition, Stephen’s face looked like the face of an angel. How do you respond to difficulty?

Tuesday, July 2

Read: Acts 7:1-8
Stephen faced his accusers and delivered a powerful speech. He began with Abraham and the call of God on him. God sent Abraham to a land far from his family and countrymen to be the father of all nations.
Reflect: Stephen was a powerful witness to what God had done in history. What is it about Jesus that makes all the difference for you? God’s promises are sure. What promise of God do you cling to today?

Wednesday, July 3

Read: Acts 7:9-19
Stephen continued his speech explaining that Joseph was the "forgotten" and hated brother of Jacob's sons but was sent by God to Egypt to save His people in a time of drought.
Reflect: How does the church grow? God was with Joseph and rescued him from all his troubles. How has God rescued you? God blessed Joseph with wisdom. What blessings has God given you?

Thursday, July 4

Read: Acts 7:20-29
Stephen recited facts that would be familiar to his listeners about Moses from the time he was a young child until he was 40 years old growing up in Egypt. Then Moses was sent to Midian where he lived as a foreigner and had two sons.
Reflect: Moses knew that God was using him to rescue His people. How is God using you? How has Stephen’s review of history challenged you?

Friday, July 5

Read: Acts 7:30-50
God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and sent him back to Egypt where he performed many wonders and signs there and at the Red Sea as he led his people out of slavery. They wandered in the desert for 40 years.
Reflect: How has Stephen’s review of history encouraged you? How has Stephen’s review of history comforted you? How has it helped you to experience being “sent” with the power and grace of the Holy Spirit?

Saturday, July 6

Read: Acts 7:51-60
Stephen leveled an indictment against the Sanhedrin calling them "stiff-necked" people who resisted the Holy Spirit. They stoned him to death. He was full of the Holy Spirit, and he looked up and saw the glory of the Lord and Jesus standing at the right hand of God in heaven. Stephen asked God to take him and asked that God would forgive those who stoned him.
Reflect: Stephen prayed for his accusers. How are you praying for those who don’t know Jesus?