Series: The New Humanity
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Tim Gillespie
Live Wonder: Verity Were
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Moe Stiles
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
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 2:14-21 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Are you a dreamer? Not everyone is. Some of us can’t see what is not already there. If you are one of those people we need you because you have a tendency to be practical in nature, and that is so important. But some of us are dreamers. We seem to be able to see things that are not yet there, and that is where we want to live.
This text talks about people’s ability to dream and see visions of what can be. Dreaming is something that we do when we think about the most amazing situations. When we connect that ability to dream with God’s ability to reveal and make things happen, we begin to realize that people really do receive visions about the way things can be for the church and for God’s people.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to dream about what your local church could be? Do you still attend, are you still excited about where it is heading? Or have you been lulled to sleep by the often overwhelming redundancy of what we do each week? Did you stop dreaming because it was too painful to see the dream but live the reality?
When you were young, did you dream of what you might choose to be, of who would choose to be with you? Did those dreams become a reality? How can we begin to dream again when it comes to our lives of faith?
Recalibrate: When was the last time you got to dream about what church can be? What would it look like if you could start over and build it from scratch?
Respond: Lord, please give me the ability to dream about what church can be again.
Research: Take some time to visit churches of other denominations and see how they worship. Is there anything you can learn from them?
Remember: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions” (Acts 2:17, ICB).
Dr. Timothy Gillespie is lead pastor of Crosswalk Church in Redlands, CA. He also teaches at several universities and consults on mission integration for Adventist Health.
Ask your little one what they find exciting or enjoyable about going to church. If there was one thing they could change about your church, what would it be? It may be something aesthetic, an activity, or role/job your little one would like to take on at church. If your child is too young to vocalize their thoughts, perhaps you could think about an activity your child likes and how that could be incorporated into their Sabbath school.
Our Words to Remember are found in Verse 17 of Acts Chapter 2. God says: “In the last days I will give my Spirit freely to all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.” Read Galatians 5:22-23 and find out what God’s spirit is like. I would like God’s spirit and lots of it. How about you? Imagine what your heart, your home, and your community would be like if they were covered in God’s spirit.
I have only just arrived home from time spent with young leaders from around my conference. I was asked to be one of the mentors and presenters at what we call Step-Up, which is a leadership training camp for selected Grade 7 students. These young leaders were specially chosen to represent their school at this training event at Big Lake Youth Camp, Oregon. I spent just a little over 24 hours with them as a mentor, pastor, friend, and just, I guess, another adult on camp. (Sometimes I had to remind myself that I was the adult.)
Here’s what I have taken away from my time with seventh graders. They’re capable, they’re smart (sometimes too smart for their own good—and smarter than some adults), gifted and talented, brave and courageous! Some of the activities they were asked to do were hard even for adults, but they got in there and gave it a good go!
This week we are going to spend some time in the book of Acts, specifically the passage from Acts 2:14-21. I love the book of Acts. At the beginning of this passage, young Peter speaks up. When you read the whole chapter, you discover that when Peter decides to lift his voice or speak up, it wasn’t just to a small group of people—there were hundreds of people present to whom he had to muster up the courage to share some truths about Jesus and His call on young men and young women. It takes a good amount of courage to let your voice be heard on things that matter! This week, we are going to delve into this passage a bit more from the perspective of young men and young women whom God has anointed to prophesy and share vision. Yes, you young man and young woman of God! Let’s go!
Sometimes I lack the patience to sit through an entire movie without knowing the ending. If I’m not in a movie theatre, I’ll discreetly search the web for the movie title with the word “ending.” Movie= spoiled. At times I’ve started a really good book, and when I see that I have 20 chapters to go, I’ll go ahead and read the last few pages so I know what happens at the end. There was a Netflix series that came out with great reviews. As I watched the first episode, I decided the plot was moving too slowly so I just watched the last episode. I know there are some of you who are horrified at the idea of someone doing this—spoiling the ending on purpose? What is the point? Well, there's a great point to it all. There is something that I enjoy: knowing the future. I watch the rest of the story knowing that the main character falls in love or that the mystery never gets solved. It’s like I have a secret power.
There are quite a few books in the Bible written by prophets, people with a gift from God to see into the future through dreams and visions. As soon as you read these books, you’re setting yourself up for the ultimate spoiler alerts. God has set things up for humanity so that we can receive messages from prophets and know what is to come. It’s my dream come true! How about yours? How do you feel about spoiler alerts? Can you see any benefits to God sharing the future with us or would you prefer otherwise?
Verity Were is a registered nurse at the largest pediatric intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia. She attends Kellyville Adventist church with her husband and two toddlers.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Moe Stiles is lead pastor at Oasis Church in Vancouver, WA. She is married to Adrian and is mother to Caleb and Johnny.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist at a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the faith engagement pastor at Boulder Church.