On Trial for God

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – Acts 26:28-29

Paul had a singular focus in his life after his conversion experience with Jesus: to tell people how to follow Jesus.  The difficulties and persecutions he faced, all gave him access to a larger and more diverse audience.  He never would have been able to speak to the Judean King Agrippa, nor Festus or Felix, the Roman governors, if not for being put on trial by the Jewish leaders.  What the leaders planned to harm Paul, God used for spreading the message of Christ far and wide.

King Agrippa was struck by Paul’s passion and compelling arguments, but didn’t come to faith instantly.  Paul was not swayed, but replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – Acts 26:29  Paul wanted everyone to come to faith.  He believed it was life and hope in a world filled with death and despair.  He also believed it was the key to eternal life with God.  He was urgent in sharing the good news of salvation with as many people as he possibly could.

Not everyone is called to be an evangelist like Paul.  But everyone and everything is called to worship and shout for joy to the Lord.  Psalm 100 reminds us that the Lord is God.  He made us.  We can give glory and honor and praise to God’s name in the way we live our lives.  Being honest and helpful to others.  Giving generously.  Sharing God’s work in our families can give people an opportunity to encounter Christ.  As we worship in the park this week, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation, may we shout for joy and witness to God’s power, majesty, and saving work in our lives.  May others become believers because of our bold witness.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.  Amen. – Psalm 100

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