No Government Shut Down – Acts 17:1-9

Statue of Augustus Caesar

Have you ever heard a parent say to a child, “Who taught you to say that?” God the Father surely says that to his children when we speak vainly of him or damagingly to others. It is wise and good that we carefully use language that glorifies and honors our Creator. This is especially true when we are directly speaking about him and the Kingdom of his Son that he is building by his Spirit.

Out of fear and reverence of God, therefore, we speak honorably of God.  But is speech that is reverent toward God equivalent to religious speech? Can we only use religious language when speaking about Jesus Christ and his Kingdom? Acts 17:1-9 clarifies that we can and should speak of God in terms of the world we live in. In Dr. Ben Witherington’s commentary on Acts, he writes that in Thessalonica there was a growing “imperial theology and eschatology” and “the essence of this theology was that the emperor was the universal savior whose benefactions and aid should be proclaimed as good news throughout the region.” Note how Paul’s Thessalonian contemporaries understood his gospel claims to be political in nature when they accused him of “acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17:7). In terms of theology, Jesus, and not Caesar, is the true Son of God, Lord, King, and Savior. Paul uses these titles in contrast with the Emperors of Rome who also laid claim to these titles. In terms of eschatology (i.e., how the story ends), Jesus is the one who will bring ultimate regional peace and security to his people from God’s bountiful store in the Capitol City of God. In this way, Paul contrasts the Capitol City of God (i.e., heaven) with the Roman Empire, which also claimed to be able to bring “peace and security” from its capitol city, Rome.  Witherington notes that, “the politically charged language in 1 Thessalonians is evident and becomes even more apparent in 2 Thess. 1:5-2:12, where the discussion is again couched in the language of the coming King and the coming kingdom.”

Clearly Paul uses more than religious language for the Kingdom of God and we should too. As we do so, we ought to remember that whenever Jesus enters the picture, he ought to transform it. Just as Jesus is like Caesar, he is also much different from Caesar. Jesus’ friendly act of laying down his life and God’s faithful act of raising his Son by the Spirit for the sake of sinners must color all language devised to communicate Christ.

Allow yourself to consider the Kingdom of God in terms other than the traditional. Consider Jesus from the perspective of our world. Seek to imagine him in terms fitting to today’s world and let him transform and broaden your and others’ horizons. He is coming to bring his government to earth, and it will never be shut down.


Prayer Focus for Mauritania, Africa – September 29, 2013

Expatriate Christians in Mauritania are few. Most are from various West African countries working at menial jobs, although some work as professionals. Others work in diplomatic services, development and commerce. Expatriate Protestants are petitioning the government for legal protection from sporadic police harassment in certain precincts. Expatriates suspected of proselytizing Mauritanians are subject to harassment, interrogation, brief imprisonment, expulsion and even murder. The murder of a foreign Christian by Islamic terrorists in 2009, as well as extremist activities, have led to many expatriate believers leaving the country. Pray that the lives of Christians might clearly demonstrate the love of Jesus. Pray also that the Lord might grant them wisdom, protection and make them powerful witnesses for His name.



Acts 16:16-40

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Prayer Focus for Martinique – September 22, 2013

Martinique, Caribbean: The legacy of slavery remains strong in Martinique, as with its sister department, Guadeloupe. The white minority controls a disproportionate amount of the economy and land, while many Creole find themselves increasingly hard-pressed due to high costs of living. The protests and riots of 2009 show deep needs for reconciliation and for society to be built on equity and justice – and that there are those who would manipulate such events to empower themselves.



Acts 2:32-41

“…Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”


“…This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,


‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.


English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001

by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Crossroads Youth Schedule – July through December 2013

Crossroads Youth Schedule

20 Jul  – Pool Party

10 Aug  – PW County Fair

24 Aug  – Pool Party

7 Sep  – Rafting

8 Sep  – SNL

14 Sep  – BGC Work Day

22 Sep  – SNL

29 Sep  – Fellowship Lunch

5 Oct  – Trip to Belvedere  Plantation

6 Oct  – SNL

19 Oct  – Traveling Dinner

20 Oct  – SNL

9 Nov  – Parents Night Out

17 Nov  – SNL

24 Nov  – Pie and Praise

8 Dec  – SNL

Mid Dec  – Dumfries Christmas  Parade

Prayer Focus for Malta – September 15, 2013

The most religious nation in Europe, Malta has deeply Catholic sensibilities. The majority regularly attend mass and over 80% feel that their religion is important to them. However, not many Maltese enjoy a personal walk with the living Lord Jesus. Pray that their strong religious tradition may serve as a door into and not a barrier against greater commitment to the Kingdom.


Acts 16:6-15

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.


English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001

by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Care Groups – Fall 2013

Care Groups ~ Fall 2013


Each week, these small groups gather in homes for prayer, fellowship, and Bible study. The following is the current listing of Care Groups and what each group is studying. Please call the care group leader for more information.


Dumfries/Woodbridge Area – Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Is your prayer life a check on your To Do List?

Do you present God your Agenda to bless?

Are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to pray for?

Hosts: Kim and Kimberly Haney

17822 Oyster Bay Ct. Dumfries, VA 22026

Call 703-221-4130 for more details.

Study: This fall as we discuss Paul Miller’s book, “A Praying Life” and challenge ourselves to know God in a deeper, more personal way.

Montclair Area – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. (starting September 18)

Begins with soup & salad at 6:30 p.m.

Leader: Fritz Thornton and Jim Neice

Hosts: Jim and Linda Neice (703-730-3281)

15027 Holleyside Drive, Dumfries, VA 22025

Study: Exodus


Lake Ridge Area – Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Leaders: Colin Dunn and Aaron Root

Hostess:  Maria Dunn (703-583-1388)

12706 Knightsbridge Drive, Lake Ridge, VA 22192

Study:  A video/discussion biography series on key people in the Reformation, and an apologetics series on creation, evolution, and DNA.

Manassas Area – Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. (starting September 18)

Leader and Host:  George and Linda Roller (703-794-0665)

7424 Norwalk Ct, Manassas, VA 20112

Study: Focus on the Family Video Series called Faith Lessons (The Early Church; In the Dust of the Rabbi; and Walk as Jesus Walked).

We invite everyone to join us for these valuable lessons.

Prayer Focus for Mali – September 8, 2013

Mali’s socio-economic quandary is sobering. It is one of the poorest nations on earth, with people making on average $1.5US/day. Cotton growing employs one-third of the population but is highly vulnerable to world market fluctuations and competing growers elsewhere. Functional literacy is low and secondary school enrolment is under 20%. About one-fifth of children will not survive to the age of five, and of those who do, one-third will be malnourished. Two-thirds of the land area is desert or semi-desert, and the threat of desertification is ever present. Pray that Mali’s leaders have wisdom and insight in knowing how to provide health, education, gainful employment and long-term stability to their people.