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 New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I used to sit in class looking outside at the other students as they were playing at recess. Sometimes my teachers would get upset because I seemed to be living outside rather than inside and was not focusing on my studies. The truth is, I would have rather been at recess, like most of us. While the studies were important, I had a hard time concentrating while my head was at recess and my feet were planted firmly in math class. That was the paradox of windows for me. I was out there and in here at the same time.
This is a little bit like how we live our lives when we allow ourselves to dream about the Kingdom of God and what it can be like here on earth (Matthew 6:10). We live with our heads in God’s Kingdom, but our feet planted firmly here on earth, in the dirt. This creates the dichotomy of the Christian life. If we are truly living a Christian life, we will always be deeply discontented with how things are, and dreaming of how they might be.
Traditions, while containing the possibility of being catalysts for the ability to dream, often crush the dreams of the new. This is not the fault of traditions, but of how we have held them up as sacred. We have a saying, “Date the process, marry the principle.” This allows us to look at old traditions and see the new things that can come out of them. Traditions aren’t bad but traditionalism can be. We need to delineate between the two and bring old traditions to new life by dreaming of imbuing new meaning into them.
Recalibrate: What old traditions in your life can be re-imagined in order to create new and more relevant meaning?
Respond: “God of Heaven, might we see the world, our faith, our family and friends in dreams and vision so that we might imbue them with new meaning, purpose, and use.”
Research: Write down a list of traditions that you think can be looked at with new eyes. Make a list of new traditions that could replace them or think of ways they could be done differently.
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.
Use small figurines, branches from your garden, building blocks, and more to create a diagram of heaven with your little one(s). My family enjoys creating scenes from Duplo, incorporating all the things the people we love are looking forward to when we get to heaven (eg. tigers and elephants). Remind your little one that it’s not just the animals or beauty we can look forward to in heaven but the reality of being in the presence of our Creator and Savior.
Write out the Words to Remember (Acts 2:14). Circle the words that tell us who is going to prophesy and see visions and dreams. I love that this includes everyone—young and old, sons and daughters. We—you and me—can be full of God’s spirit. Imagine that! Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what the Spirit is like. Imagine if we were full of God’s spirit.
I’m a bit of a dreamer. In fact, my husband says he’s glad dreams are for free because if they weren’t we would be in a whole lot of debt! Seriously, I was the student often sitting in class and staring out the window. (I always sat by the window.) Sometimes, my staring out the window was just for the fun of people- watching, wondering about their worlds, families, hobbies, joys, happiness, etc, and sometimes I would sit and dream about being out there with them instead of being stuck inside. Sometimes I would let my mind wander to a whole other world far, far away. But of course I had teachers and professors (yes, I did this in college as well), who would often snap me back into reality . . .
This week’s Words to Remember read, “Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions” (Acts 2:17, ICB). The passage mentions three specific ways we look into things that have not yet happened (or wish would): 1) sons and daughters prophesy, 2) old men [and women] dream dreams, and 3) young men [and women] see visions. It suggests that “old” men—and I would imagine old women—dream. Why wait to dream when you’re old? Are their dreams in your heart that you can sense God has placed there for you? What are they? I still dream! I dream about the kind of world I wish we had, one where people loved each other deeply without prejudice and biases. I dream of a world where no child ever goes to bed hungry. I truly honestly believe in a dream-giving God. He gives the kinds of dreams and visions where His heart for humanity is revealed and reflected in His people—where love reigns and communities operate under this banner. Share your dreams!
As you read the passage, you’ll note that Peter starts his statement by saying “these people” are not drunk. Without reading the beginning of the chapter, you may be confused about why Peter is saying this. Go ahead and read Acts 2:1-13. The beginning of the chapter tells us that the believers had gathered together to celebrate the Feast of Harvest, a Jewish festival where people would celebrate early wheat crops. As they were celebrating, the Holy Spirit filled the whole building and the disciples spoke in different languages. The Spirit was prompting them to do this—amazing, right? Well, this caught the attention of many people in Jerusalem—and some people assumed they were drunk. For this reason, Peter starts out by explaining that what they were seeing wasn’t drunkenness. It was a prophecy being fulfilled, a prophecy first shared by Joel a long time ago. Can you think of another prophecy that other people witnessed in the Bible?
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.