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Oct 21, 2018

This is Us: Engaged

This is Us: Engaged

Passage: Acts 17:19-31

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: This is Us

Category: life, kindness, minister

Keywords: kindness, life, minister

We engage in the world by sharing how God has moved in our lives.


"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."  - Acts 17:24-27


When reading the scripture passage in Acts 17 for this week's sermon, the first verse that stood out to me was Acts 17:21. This sentence is offset by parentheses in my Bible, but what I thought to myself as I read it was that if Luke had perhaps owned a smart phone while he was writing this, he might have inserted the eye roll emoji. 

"All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas." (Acts 17:21) 

Oh my, how very similar is our experience in today's culture! We live in a time when there is so much information, so much innovation, and so many compelling thoughts being spewed around the world every minute of the day that we could quite literally spend our time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. Whether it is through podcasts or books or commentaries or talk shows or conferences, this era in which we have so much information at our fingertips can fool us. We think if we just search enough and consume enough we will be sure to find some magic idea or theory or even some pop culture celebrity who can give us a sense that we have finally found the perfect knowledge we need. Then we proceed to tweet, retweet, share and post until we have effectively created 21st Century idols and can easily - just as the Athenians did - "think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone - an image made by man's design and skill." (Acts 17:29) 

It occurs to me that I am not so different from the people Paul came across in the marketplace that day. I am a voracious reader and consumer of media. I have an opportunity to hear, read, or discuss any number of new theories 24/7. And while, I wholeheartedly support a life spent in curiosity and a love of learning, this passage reminds me that there is one and only one truth that will set me free. It was available to me way before I knew what a Google search box was. And that is the truth of Paul's proclamation that "the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He does not need shrines built by human hands in which to dwell." (Acts 17:24) He is already among us no matter where we are. "He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all humans life and breath and everything else." (Acts 17:25) Everything else - every thought, every idea, every gift, every talent. 

As Christians we are commanded to spread the good news. And it doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be entertaining or flashy or charming or re-tweetable. We just have to tell the truth remembering that we aren't the headliner. "We are his offspring. For in him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) We need look no further for knowledge and wisdom than to the Creator of the Universe. He holds the key to every good and perfect thing. 


Holy, Divine Creator. We are a people searching desperately for truth and in that search we can become misguided. We can give credit to people and ideas and theories forgetting that it is You who have made the heavens and the earth. It is You who have given every being life and breath. Help us to look only for You and only to You for truth and light. We are so grateful that You are never far from each one of us. Amen.

Written by Jennifer Skinner, member of Arcola Church and a Texan (Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient, funny husband, and three very impatient, funny boys/ball players. She is also a blogger, The View From Behind Home Plate, who writes about finding extraordinary grace and blessings among the cleats and dirt and testosterone that fill her ordinary days.