Day 1 of 30

Now is the Time: Acts - Youth


Acts 1.1-26

1 Theophilus, I first wrote to you about all that Jesus did and taught from the very first 2 until he was taken up to heaven. But before he was taken up, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen with the help of the Holy Spirit. 3 For 40 days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God's kingdom. 4 While he was still with them, he said:
  • Don't leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do.
  • 5 John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
6 While the apostles were still with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?” 7 Jesus said to them, “You don't need to know the time of those events that only the Father controls. 8 But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” 9 After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud. They could not see him, 10 but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky. Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them. 11 They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky? Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way you have seen him go.” 12-13 The Mount of Olives was about half a mile from Jerusalem. The apostles who had gone there were Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon, known as the Eager One, and Judas the son of James. After the apostles returned to the city, they went upstairs to the room where they had been staying. 14 The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind. The women and Mary the mother of Jesus would meet with them, and so would his brothers. 15 One day there were about 120 of the Lord's followers meeting together, and Peter stood up to speak to them. 16-17 He said:
  • My friends, long ago by the power of the Holy Spirit, David said something about Judas, and what he said has now happened. Judas was one of us and had worked with us, but he brought the mob to arrest Jesus.
  • 18 Then Judas bought some land with the money he was given for doing that evil thing. He fell headfirst into the field. His body burst open, and all his insides came out.
  • 19 When the people of Jerusalem found out about this, they called the place Akeldama, which in the local language means “Field of Blood.”
  • 20 In the book of Psalms it says, “Leave his house empty, and don't let anyone live there.” It also says, “Let someone else have his job.”
    • 21-22 So we need someone else to help us tell others that Jesus has been raised from death. He must also be one of the men who was with us from the very beginning. He must have been with us from the time the Lord Jesus was baptized by John until the day he was taken to heaven.
    23 Two men were suggested: One of them was Joseph Barsabbas, known as Justus, and the other was Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “Lord, you know what everyone is like! Show us the one you have chosen 25 to be an apostle and to serve in place of Judas, who got what he deserved.” 26 They drew names, and Matthias was chosen to join the group of the eleven apostles.

DAY 1: WHAT IN THE “WORD” IS GOING ON?

PRAY:

Lord Jesus, your Word takes a place of honor in my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Let your power radiate in my life that I may, like the members of the Early Church, lead others to you, no matter what it costs.

READ:

Acts 1.1—2.47

The book of Acts tells of the dramatic accounts of what the apostles and the Early Church accomplished and endured, and it literally takes one’s breath away. The birth pains are harsh, but the joy that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit makes them worthwhile. There are conflicts within the Church, and outside of it. There are issues of prejudice and race; miraculous healings and martyrdom, riots and revivals, but all in all, God’s message finds its way into the hearts and lives of God’s people.

The writers of these Journeys did so from the heart, pulling out from their very being what the Spirit was saying to them. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, records Peter’s speech to those who stood in amazement when the Holy Spirit rested on those gathered in “one place” at the time of Pentecost. They wondered what in the world was going on, and Peter explained: “When the last days come, I will give my Sprit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions…” (Acts 2.17). It is fitting then, that these youth should share the Word, in their own voice, as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

REFLECT:

How are you encouraging those around you to share God’s Word? Are you empowering them? Do you know that every believer, no matter how old or young, has a story to share?

RESPOND:

Continue in God’s Word. Read and study Scripture daily. Join a Bible study group or meet with believers who will encourage you in God’s Word. Check out the Acts 1.8 Assignment and do something worthwhile in the life of someone else. Travel light for the journey ahead!

Lord, as we commit to reading and studying about the birth of the Early Church and the men and women whom you commissioned to bring it to fulfillment, I pray you will give us your Spirit and a vision of building your kingdom. Amen.

Acts 2.1-47

1 On the day of Pentecost all the Lord's followers were together in one place. 2 Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. 4 The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak. 5 Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. 6 And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. 7 They were excited and amazed, and said:
  • Don't all these who are speaking come from Galilee?
  • 8 Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages?
  • 9 Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia,
  • 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome,
  • 11 Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.
12 Everyone was excited and confused. Some of them even kept asking each other, “What does all this mean?” 13 Others made fun of the Lord's followers and said, “They are drunk.” 14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:
  • Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I have to say!
  • 15 You are wrong to think that these people are drunk. After all, it is only nine o'clock in the morning.
  • 16 But this is what God told the prophet Joel to say,
17 “When the last days come, I will give my Spirit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams. 18 In those days I will give my Spirit to my servants, both men and women, and they will prophesy. 19 I will work miracles in the sky above and wonders on the earth below. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke. 20 The sun will turn dark, and the moon will be as red as blood before the great and wonderful day of the Lord appears. 21 Then the Lord will save everyone who asks for his help.”
  • 22 Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.
  • 23 God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross.
  • 24 But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.
  • 25 What David said are really the words of Jesus, “I always see the Lord near me, and I will not be afraid with him at my right side. 26 Because of this, my heart will be glad, my words will be joyful, and I will live in hope. 27 The Lord won't leave me in the grave. I am his holy one, and he won't let my body decay. 28 He has shown me the path to life, and he makes me glad by being near me.”
    • 29 My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here.
    • 30 But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David someone from his own family would someday be king.
    • 31 David knew this would happen, and so he told us Christ would be raised to life. He said God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay.
    • 32 All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!
    • 33 Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and this is what you are now seeing and hearing.
    • 34 David didn't go up to heaven. So he wasn't talking about himself when he said, “The Lord told my Lord to sit at his right side,
    • 35 until he made my Lord's enemies into a footstool for him.”
    • 36 Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross.
    37 When the people heard this, they were very upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Friends, what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Turn to God and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you and your children. It is for everyone our Lord God will choose, no matter where they live.” 40 Peter told them many other things as well. Then he said, “I beg you to save yourselves from what will happen to all these evil people.” 41 On that day about 3,000 believed his message and were baptized. 42 They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread and prayed together. 43 Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked. 44 All the Lord's followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. 45 They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever was in need. 46 Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, 47 while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.