Resurrection Religion :: Acts 18

After years of trying to convince his own people that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for, and after being repeatedly yelled-at, beat-up, rioted-against, and run out of town, Paul finally snaps.v6

He leaves the synagogue.

And moves next door.v7

And those more captivated by resurrection than religion follow. Even those who have a lot to lose.v8 Because, ultimately, religion cannot bring new life. But resurrection can.

Religion is good when it supports life, when it reminds us of what’s true, when it keeps us focused, when it serves the new life God wants to continually bring.

Religion is bad when it becomes fixed, rigid, thick-walled, defensive, cold-hearted, when it forgets the passion that birthed it in the first place, when it becomes the master of truth instead of its servant.

When religion no longer has room for resurrection, we must lay it down. If there’s no room for life in our religious habits or traditions, we must find a place where the windows are not bolted shut and the light of life shines in.

Religion must always serve Resurrection.

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Resurrection Culture :: Acts 17

While chilling in Athens, waiting for his crew, Paul sees some things that disturb him deeply. Some say he was “irked.” These Athens-folk were not a little bit off. This was one messed up culture.

If Paul were a separatist, he may have thrown up his hands and snipped, “Ah, to hell with them.” But Paul was no separatist.

If Paul’s hope was rooted in military might or political power, he might have snapped some inflammatory photos with his phone and thought up some pithy slogans that would fit will on picket signs and make for good rally chants. But Paul’s hope was in something far greater.

Paul was a resurrection preacher. He knew that bad things, sick things, mean things, heck, even dead things could be filled with new life. Things that were really messed up could be restored and made whole again – like they were created by God to be.

So, Paul took all the broken things that irked him so and made him sad and mad and wonder, “What the heck is wrong with these people?” and used these very things to tell them about Jesus.

Not in an “I’ll show you how stupid you are” way. But in a way that was both totally truthful and also, somehow, affirming.

Instead of saying “you’re so bad.” He said, “You know, you’re on to something here…”

And even in this really messed up culture, “a few” believed and decided to follow Paul and, of course, Jesus.

Paul engaged culture with resurrection. We might call this Resurrection Culture.

[ see/hear the whole teaching at http://www.emmausteachings.org ]

theological musings…

take a back seat to experiencing God’s goodness…