Teaching Series
Easter in Acts
Sunday—Easter in Acts

Series: Advancing
Message: Easter in Acts
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Jason Calvert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Acts 12:1-18 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: While we have not covered the whole book of Acts in these two series (MVMNT and ADVANCING), we have chosen to end the second series in Acts 12 for the week leading directly into the celebration of Easter. This means that we will return to Acts at some point in the future—not only because it is an essential reminder for any local church of why we exist, but because there is so much more to unpack and apply to our lives today. 

My wife, Becky, delights in celebrating holidays and events on their actual days. I have tried for several years, decades in fact, to negotiate moving celebrations of special days to other days that work better for everyone’s schedule (my schedule). I hate to admit this, but I am also absolutely horrible at remembering important dates. I have to place them—religiously—into my calendar far enough in advance for me to plan, otherwise they will slip right past. For those of you who are disgusted by the idea that Valentine’s Day can be celebrated on February 20 instead of February 14, I would suggest that you probably need to get some perspective on life. At least that is what I would like to say. Surely it doesn’t matter what day you celebrate? It dawned on me recently, however, that I don’t feel that way about Sabbath, or Easter, or Christmas. The thought of celebrating those days just any old time horrifies me. (Writing this also horrifies me since Becky will have access to these thoughts of mine for the first time when she edits the Daily Walk!) Perhaps timing really does matter after all. Perhaps my perspective toward and appreciation of an event shapes my response to it. Do I value religious holidays more than family and community ones, for instance? 

I was in the middle of a conversation with a person who we will call “Bob.” For the record, this is not Bob Ambler at my church in Boulder. I just happen to use the name “Bob” for nearly every story requiring a level of anonymity for key characters. Bob was explaining to me how he was simply not convinced that the weekly Sabbath we celebrate today is the same Sabbath from the creation account in the book of Genesis. Surely someone must have messed up the timeline, he argued. What about the international dateline? How can we really know the ways in which time has been monkeyed with since the beginning? And so the questions continued. This led to an engaging conversation. The real question Bob needed to ask was this: Why does Sabbath observance matter to Jesus? That was the question he did not want to ask me. Asking that question would have meant facing the possible implication that Jesus has something to say about his life . . . 

Recalibrate: What is something important in your life that you have been ignoring for too long?

Respond: Pray for space to hear the voice of Jesus. 

Research: Read The Sabbath in Scripture and History by Kenneth A. Strand.

Japhet De Oliveira is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado. Originally from England, he has lived in the United States for nearly 12 years. He has been a conference youth director, university chaplain, and director for the Center for Youth Evangelism.

Growing up is hard work—for baby and for you. Swollen gums and red cheeks are signs that some pearly white baby teeth are on their way. The pain while waiting is soon forgotten when that first tooth appears—what joy! Our story this week takes a bad situation and turns it into good. That’s God’s speciality. Enjoy reading Acts 12:1-18.

Have you ever had a really bad day? Nothing seems to go your way and you wonder what will happen next. In this week’s story, Peter was having one of those days. Find out what happened by reading Acts 12:1-18.

Has your mind ever been totally blown by someone or something surprising you? How did it make you feel? Have you ever surprised someone? Have you ever totally stupefied someone so their jaw literally dropped in disbelief and amazement? Which feels better? Would you rather surprise someone or be the one surprised? This week’s gonna be super fun as we unpack a story full of surprises. When was the last time God surprised you? Have you ever surprised God?

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