A new sermon series, focusing on the book of Acts, starts Sunday, Oct. 6. We spoke with Lead Pastor Luke Uran about this series, which will run through January 2020.
Why Acts? Why now?
As I was praying through the preaching calendar for the upcoming year, one of the books that kept coming to mind was Acts — the work that the Holy Spirit does through the early church, and the way that the church back then was truly a movement. It was growing and healthy and full of life. That’s not to say the church can’t be like that today. But I also look at the early church and think it looks very different than it does today.
Do you think today’s American church typically misses something in this book?
We tend to think, “That was the church then. Those kinds of things aren’t for the church now.” And yet the same Spirit that indwelled the church then indwells us now. The disciples preached, taught, healed and showed the love of God in schools, homes, marketplaces, roads, courtrooms, streets, hills and even on ships. Wherever God sent them, lives were changed. Now it’s our turn.
What do you want the takeaway value of this series to be for our congregation?
Three main things. One, to have a better understanding of the birth and the growth of the church. Two, to know that we, too, have been given a mission like the early church to go and make disciples. And three, to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in the church.
Luke wrote the book of Acts very methodically, and yet at the end of chapter 28 he just kind of stops in the middle of a story. What do you make of that?
We are still living between that 28th chapter and Christ’s glorious return. It’s very open-ended — almost like Luke is saying, “OK, write your own ending.” As a church, our mission is to bring people into relationship with Jesus Christ. Our vision is to go, tell and show the love of Christ in the city of Rockford and around the world. Those statements drive home that the 29th chapter of Acts is us.
What would you suggest as a quick way for someone to get a big-picture view of Acts?
The Bible Project has two animated videos that take you through the whole book in about 8 minutes each. We even showed these to some of our staff as we started thinking and praying through developing this series.
Any suggested reading to go along with this series?
There’s a seven-day Scripture reading plan from the Bible app themed around The Forgotten God by Francis Chan. We’re doing this one in our Life Group. It doesn’t focus specifically on Acts, but on the Holy Spirit.
And then of course you can read ahead for the coming Sunday’s sermon. The weekly email sent on Thursdays always contains the sermon preview and text.
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.