July 2024 Message From Pastor Stephanie “Bold Love”

Do you remember the last time you did something scary? Something that you weren’t sure what the outcome would be? Something you had to take a leap of faith on?

Like flying the first plane solo over the Atlantic. Or leading a campaign against slavery in 1933 Britain? Or hiding a group of Tutsi women in a 3’ x 4’ bathroom during the Rwandan genocide?
Or maybe even something harder – trying to really love someone you don’t like. At all.

In Acts chapter 4, we are told the story of how Peter and John stood before the Sanhedrin in an act of bold LOVE. It’s a story of two men doing powerful things so that Jesus could be proclaimed as Lord and Savior, and how they faced grave danger as a result. But danger didn’t stop them from sharing the truth about who Jesus is.

Peter had failed miserably just a few months before. Because of his denial of Christ, Peter’s story stands out as one of powerful transformation. Jesus had claimed earlier that it would be on Peter that he would build his church.

Build he did – Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, performing healings in Christ’s name. Eventually he stood boldly before men who had the power to destroy him and John.
Acts 4 is both post-resurrection and post Christ’s ascension. The Holy Spirit had descended on the people and they began to spread the good news of the Gospel. Christianity, a new religion known as “The Way,” was starting a wave across the Middle East. The people were devoting themselves to teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers. Wonders and signs were being done through the apostles and the Holy Spirit’s power was making itself known.
As the apostles proclaimed the truth of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, it . . . annoyed people.

Imagine having the kind of power to arrest someone just because they annoyed you. There wouldn’t be enough jails in the world. Later they were also arrested because they healed the beggar at the temple gate. This healing and these proclamations of a resurrected man were true. Even though at that time it was cause for persecution, arrest, and death, the apostles did it anyway. What could compel a person to risk their life in this way? Risk offending others? Risk the comforts of everyday life. What else could compel this but love?

To make their case even bolder – the crippled man Peter had healed in Jesus’ name stood before the council so they couldn’t deny this miracle. So they told Peter and John not to speak of the name of Jesus.

Did it work?

No, of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. They didn’t stop preaching the Gospel to the world. No matter what forces of the world tried to halt the spread of the Gospel, the love that God has for His people was too strong to be stopped. His love reigns against all forces of evil.
And that includes the sin in the hearts of each person on this earth. Each person in the United States. Each person in Thomaston, CT.

When Peter and John stood before the council, they had a choice: to be bold and proclaim or to retreat and run. They believed the bold love of Christ was enough to sustain them no matter what circumstances would come from their

actions. They believed the bold love and truth of Jesus would prevail over evil, but they didn’t know what that would look like. That could mean they would be killed. It could mean further imprisonment. It could mean unimaginable punishment.
Bold love proclaims the truth of Jesus Christ.
Bold love also pushes us beyond our comfort zone.
Bold love prevails against evil.

With this kind of love in our corner, how can we possibly fail?

In Christ, Pastor Stephanie

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