I minored in history, I grew up doing cemetery rubbings on vacation (put a piece of paper over old headstones and coloring it with a crayon), I love love love history, and honestly, confession here, I often times find the book of Acts boring.
I know…maybe it has something to do with its narrative and I’ve read it before so I know how it ends – or maybe there aren’t enough imperatives in it for me to live our in my daily life (like sharing the gospel and being a sold-out Jesus freak aren’t enough). Or maybe it is because I don’t experience the Holy Spirit and his work like that in the book of Acts on a daily basis. Maybe its because my Christian life experience is so different then those in the book of Acts.
A new study, written by Erica Wiggenhorn, helps me and hopefully will help you, learn to love the book of Acts. In this study, she helps you engage with a part of history that you might otherwise find difficult, she helps you personalize stories and the character of the Spirit that otherwise might seem distant, and she helps you see the power of the Word of God.
Here are some insightful questions that Erica took the time to answer for yall:
Most women have two thoughts about Bible Study that hinders them from digging into God’s Word : 1) I don’t have time. 2) I won’t understand it. How does this Bible study encourage women to step out of those two hindrances?
I love these two questions, because they encompass a couple of primary reasons why I felt called to write this particular study. I’ll start with obstacle #2 first! The very first page of this study begins with “Let’s Open Our Minds” and quotes Luke 24:45, where it says that Jesus opened the disciples’ minds so they could understand the Scriptures. My favorite thing about Bible study is how it allows the Holy Spirit to open our minds and understand Scriptures in a new and fresh way we had never thought of before. It allows us to access all of the time, research and background that an author has poured into a passage of Scripture and consolidate it for us, the reader, in such a way that we can achieve greater understanding without having to spend hours researching ourselves! The characters and circumstances come to life in such a way that we can relate to them as real people. So on to #1! What we discover in the lives of the early believers was that their lives were unexplainably changed due to their commitment to following Jesus alongside other believers and to studying His Words and teachings diligently. The truth is none of us “have time” but if we know in our soul that we are missing out on something in our Christian walk, we know in our heart that we are not as intimate with Jesus as we would like to be, and we know in our mind that there must be more to this whole following Jesus thing than we are currently experiencing, then we must intentionally choose to “make time.” Time spent with God in His Word will always return more to us than we ever spend!
The book of Acts can be such a compelling book to look at the work of the Holy Spirit. What are one or two of your favorite characteristics of the Spirit?
I love how the Holy Spirit personalized each conversion story. He never does the exact same thing twice in the book of Acts. It’s as if He knows each person’s heart and does all that He can to help us believe and overcome our unbelief! Another thing I love is how He works in the lives of those who already believe. Again, He does unique things in each person’s experience in order to give them the greatest chances to obey. Sometimes He sends an angel, other times He speaks directly, other times He operates through a vision, occasionally miracles happen, but each and every time the experience is personalized. It makes me realize that He is not some impersonal cosmic force, but a form of God Who knows me, sees me, loves me, and desires to be an intimate part of my everyday life!
How do you balance everything you do? Is balance the right word?
Well this is a funny question, seeing as I how I was just venting to my husband this morning that I “have way too much to do!”. I think balance may be a misnomer as every day contains new variables and unexpected circumstances for which we did not expect or plan. I think “prioritize” might be a better word! Despite what each day brings, am I able to keep my priorities in line with what pleases the Lord? Do I still spend time with Him, still talk to Him, still minister to my family above everything else that needs to get done? One thing that helps me immensely is to go back to the very beginning of creation and realize that the first thing God created was time. He is Lord of time and knows all I have to do and how much time I have to do it! When I intentionally make time for Him each day, whether I get everything crossed off on my to-do list or not, my perspective remains constant, my attitude is more likely to stay in check, and the people I love the most get the best of me rather than the leftovers! When I don’t start by investing in my relationship with God first, but frantically grab my to-do list, I’m usually less effective throughout the day and not nearly as gracious in my relationships :).
What are three things you are loving right now?
Only 3?! One thing I am loving is continuing my study of the early church! I am making my way through the rest of Acts and I am in awe of how the Holy Spirit continued to work in these early believers’ lives! I am starting to wake up and say, “Okay Holy Spirit, what have you got planned today? This cracked pot is your vessel- fill me and use me!” Secondly, I am loving David McCasland’s book Oswald Chambers: Abandoned To God, because it is the life story of my favorite devotional writer. I have gone through My Utmost for His Highest for the last several years and knowing the circumstances behind his devotional entries brings them to life in such a powerful way. It parallels the illumination that occurred in studying the historical and cultural background behind the stories in Acts and allows with me to connect with the apostles and early believers more deeply. Thirdly, I’ll confess I am loving Hannah’s Italian Ice! It’s a little cafe near our home and they mix flavored ice and custard in layers- super delicious! My kids and I love to go there after school and cool off from the hot Phoenix afternoons and share what happened during the day. It’s a little splurge that helps me connect with my kids and when you’re raising tweens, you’ll take every moment you can get!
To win a copy of her new study, An Unexplainable Life, which is a study on the first half of the book of Acts, just answer the following: what are a few things you are loving right now?
Thanks to Side Door Communications for this study and for the giveaway to one of you. All opinions are my own.