Journal Acts 26 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: (Paul is speaking…) ““Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they:


  • Should repent and,
  • Turn to God,
  • Performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.


For this reason, the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me.


To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that (by being the first to rise from the dead) he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”


And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”” Acts 26:19-24


Observation:  Even Paul got called “crazy” because of the Gospel.  Most of us avoid the exposure of being called crazy…


Analysis: Do I have a prepared testimony, or am I content with “winging it” when called upon?  How do I communicate my conversion experience?  Do I even remember?  Do I practice the “20 words or less” exercise?


Preaching the Gospel to the face in the mirror perhaps should be more than being able to recite the steps of the Gospel from beginning to end; perhaps it should be reconciled with what I did responding to the Gospel and what happened to me?


I look at Paul’s testimony and think, “Short, sweet, concise: Is my testimony like that?”  Probably not.  I tend to think for now and for the future, not much for my past.  But should I not think about the past?  This comes directly to mind:


“…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way…” (Phil 3:13b-15a)


My bet is that this scripture reference is taken out of context most of the time.  Earlier in Philippians 3, Paul lists all of the things he may have taken confidence before God in.  It is all of those things, attainments, perceived successes, etc., that the Holy Spirit is counseling is of no value in appearing humbly before the Throne—and Paul is recognizing them verbally.  History is important.  Forgetting history is dumb.


Let’s face it: The Gospel is diametrically opposed to the World’s way of thinking; the principles of the Gospel focus on God whereas the principles that Man uses focuses on Man.  That is why Felix exclaims that Paul is crazier than a loon due to his “great learning.”  Disciples should be familiar with this as well because Christianity is supposed to be counterculture to the World.  The Gospel is not supposed to be a “better way of living.”  That attitude leads a person into moralism.


I came to Christ when I was fifteen.  What was I like back then?  What was my heart chained to?  Did I know I was not innocent?  Did I take pride in my life about how much better I was than the guy next to me?


Did I think I was a prize for Jesus?


Probably—I don’t quite remember, although the same stinking thinking I had when I was fifteen, I probably had the day before yesterday…


The point I must remember and keep in the front of my mind is that it is all about Christ and the Cross, it is NOT about me.  I am a recipient of His Grace, not deserving of His Grace.


Prayer:  Father, how do I go further in you?  The more I grow, the more I should be…what?  Teaching/influencing my wife, my children, my family?  The people I see at the grocery stores?  My neighbors?  Elsewhere?


At the moment I feel stuck in a rut, learning, packing my head with You and your principles?  Will I ever have an outlet?



Ricky Two Shoes