Worthy to Suffer

Persecution is part of being a follower of Jesus. He was “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53). As His followers, we not only know the “power of His resurrection,” but also the “fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). Stephen was a respected man in his community, filled with the Holy Spirit, wise, and one through whom miracles and wonders were manifest. Yet, the truth he spoke was fiercely rejected, resulting in his arrest and eventual death by stoning. Truth confronts. Many people reject truth because they don’t want to face their… Read More

When a Decision is Required

The Apostle Paul had some of the strangest life experiences of any one person in the Scriptures.  A culturally diverse and highly educated man, “Saul” (his original name) took his religion so seriously that he sought to annihilate this new sect called “The Way” (the early church’s original name). So zealous was Saul that he was named as being there and consenting to Stephen’s death – the church’s first martyr.  One day Saul had a life-altering encounter with Jesus Christ. Traveling down the road with a team of men, Saul was struck… Read More

Accepted by God; Rejected by the World

“Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”‭‭Acts‬ ‭7:58-60‬ ‭ESV‬‬ As believers and followers of Jesus we can expect resistance and persecution. The spirit of anti-Christ is vehemently opposed to… Read More

Eyes on Eternity

Yesterday I learned that another Christian was recently beheaded for his faith in Jesus Christ, the gruesome details of which were recorded on video and distributed to the world via the Internet.  Christianity is controversial and costly in a world who has rejected God. Since the very genesis of the church in Acts 2, believers have faced and endured persecution. But, no matter how hard he tries, satan cannot conquer the church.  In fact, the church grows in strength and number in the midst of persecution. Jesus said: “I will build my… Read More

Under Attack

From it’s humble, yet miraculous, beginning as a prayer meeting attended by 120 devoted followers of Jesus Christ, the church has been ridiculed, persecuted, and under attack.  Each of the original disciples, with the obvious exception of Judas, suffered greatly for their testimonies of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Nearly all of them were killed for their faith.  Paul endured beatings, arrest, being stoned and verbally abused because he had come tI recognize (and preach) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the… Read More