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The Acts of Bradley J. Moore (Re-post)

April 30, 2010

I have spent that past few weeks reading intently through the four Gospels, and finally finished the last one, the Gospel of John. The next morning I went to sit in my Chair of Quiet Meditation like usual and picked up the bible to start reading again.

But where to go from here? Those gospel stories were so good! Should I brace myself for the intellectual rigor of the letters of Paul? Enjoy the free form manic-depressive beauty of the Psalms? How about giving the minor prophets a whirl, to switch things up a bit?

But, mostly out of laziness, I simply turned to the next page to begin reading whatever was next. It happened to be the Acts of the Apostles.

Ah, yes, Acts. This narrative tale is Luke’s sort of follow-up story to what happened after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken back into heaven. Acts tells of all the amazing feats and adventures of those first Christian leaders. After enjoying the gospels so much, it only made sense to read the sequel.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed at first. Sure, those Apostles are okay, but I missed Jesus. After spending so many weeks immersed in stories focused entirely on the life and ministry of Jesus, I had gotten quite attached to him: charming, witty, super-smart, compassionate, doesn’t take BS from anyone, intense – and then coming back to life from the dead! What can possibly compare to that? But I stuck with Acts. And sure enough, before long things started to pick up. Most notably in Acts, the Holy Spirit makes several surprise appearances, getting right down to business and giving a super-size spiritual boost to those early Christians.

The Holy Spirit is quite a mystery. Luke, the author of Acts, goes around talking about the Holy Spirit like it’s something we should have known about all along, even though there really is never a good explanation to set it up. I mean, the Holy Spirit shows up right away in Acts chapter one, verse two, when Luke is speaking about Jesus:

“…after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the Apostles…”

And then again in  verse 5,

“You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Huh? Who? Will it hurt? Can we back up a sec?

It reminds me of a friend of mine who, when talking to me, will mention names of people I have never met before. I have no idea who they are, but they happen to be starring characters in the story he is relaying. “So, Brad,” he starts telling me, “I flew out to headquarters last week and Barry said that he wanted to smash the two divisions under one leader so that they would be more integrated and he asked me if I would step up…”

I might have stopped my friend mid-story to ask who this Barry is, but part of me is thinking that maybe I am supposed to know Barry. Perhaps my friend is thinking that Barry and I met at some function in the recent past, and my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I am embarrassed to ask. Plus, my friend has built up such momentum in recounting his story, that interrupting for such a minor detail would kind of throw off his gait. I figure that maybe I can piece it together a little at a time, based on the context.

After a few minutes I draw the conclusion that Barry must be the Chairman of my friend’s company, or something like that. At least that’s how the story ends up making sense in my own mind. “Yeah, no. Sure. Barry.”

It’s the same thing with the scriptures. There really isn’t a formal introduction to the Holy Spirit at any point, and you are left trying to figure out how he/she/it fits into the scheme of things.

It seems to me that the Apostles should have written an intermediary book between the Gospels and the Acts that describes in more detail how this Holy Spirit system works, rather than leaving it up to centuries of confused theologians and scholars to put forth theories to try and make sense of it. A Holy Spirit Primer, of sorts, would have been very helpful. Is the Holy Spirit a form of God? Is it Jesus’ envoy to replace his physical presence? A separate ghostly wisp of a thing that hangs out in a parallel spiritual dimension alongside God and Jesus? Can I pray to it? Can it forgive my sins? Is it a form of energy, or is it more like a person? I am left a bit sketchy trying to piece it all together.

*          *          *         *         *        *

Acts is chock-full of miracles and supernatural events. There are plenty of healings, raising people from the dead, (as well as some unfortunate souls who are struck dead), angelic visits, dramatic rescues, Visions, foretellings of things to come, and even an incidence of teleporting.

The Holy Spirit is definitely the starring attraction of Acts, giving the early church quite a boost in getting the Word out about Jesus. It must have been an amazing time to be a Christian. But reading this leaves me wondering why there are not more miracles taking place around me now.

Why should those early Christians get all the action? Maybe it’s because I am not out spreading the gospel of Jesus full-time, the way those apostles were. I am just a corporate wonk with a lousy management job, which doesn’t necessarily warrant miraculous intervention most of the time.

Although it would be cool to be at a Board meeting where everyone breaks out into speaking in various tongues. Most of our employees speak in tongues other than English, anyway: Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic. They sure would be surprised to walk past the Board room and hear excited chatter in their own languages. They would also be quite impressed to think how culturally sensitive the leaders of the company had become, to finally get with the program and learn all of their respective languages.

Or, maybe a teleportation would take place, where to everyone’s surprise I would disappear in the middle of a gripping strategy presentation, suddenly finding myself in the Harrisburg office, sent by the Holy Spirit to do God’s bidding there.

For whatever reason, we do not see those types of miracles taking place at work too often. But just because I haven’t seen any teleportations lately doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is not still at work.

Maybe I need to pay more attention, and if I did, I might just tune in to the Holy Spirit doing miracles right before my very eyes. There may be dramatic events transpiring all around me, and I simply take them for granted.

If I would take a moment to stop and look around, I would probably notice that there are miracles happening all around me, all the time. But I am so used to TV and movies and technology and special effects, that everything that happens gets diluted, reduced to rational explanations or replaced with coincidence, glitches or everyday occurrences.  And I am in such a hurry to move on to the next thing, that I don’t reflect very much on what happens to me.

But the truth is, if we look closely, we will see miracles. Maybe they are more subtle than what you read in Acts, so you may have to pay closer attention.  What I do know for sure is that I have experienced quite a few. It’s a miracle I even have this job – a job that I really like, doing something that I am good at, with a company that is growing and thriving. It’s a miracle that I found a beautiful woman to marry and that we have been together for almost twenty five years, still going strong, still loving, still learning, still looking forward to what’s next in our lives. It’s a miracle that I have two healthy teen-age daughters who are beautiful and smart and growing into young women who are in the process of developing their own journey with Christ.

It’s a miracle that I am even writing this, that I can post it up on a Blog, that other people can read it and maybe somehow get some meaning from it for their own lives. Even if it is just one person.

It’s a miracle every morning that I can wake up and have the gift of another day, a chance to let the Holy Spirit work through me to do his bidding, wherever, whatever.

No question. This Holy Spirit, whoever he is, is at work in the Acts of Bradley J. Moore.

And miracles abound.

Thanks to nAncY for the photograph.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew Turner permalink
    April 30, 2010 9:02 am

    When a person considers the infinite damaged diversity of the universe and our world, it really is amazing that anything good happens at all; the amount of information required to even sit and type on a semi-functional computer is incredible.

    I like miracles. Once you start looking, they’re everywhere.

  2. April 30, 2010 9:52 am

    smiling. big.

  3. April 30, 2010 1:51 pm

    i think i have been looking with eyes of dilution on some things lately. your repost is timely.

    thanks for using the photos. your words make them look good.

    i also like how you used a second photo which serves to break up the text, leaving a bit for dessert.

  4. May 2, 2010 12:38 pm

    Good insight, Bradley. I like how you mentioned the lack of a “formal introduction” of the Holy Spirit. I’d never thought of that until you mentioned. Sort of adds more mystery to that already mysterious character of God.

    I, too, tend to leave my spiritual eyeglasses on the bed-stand as I head to work, no doubt missing most of the Holy Spirit’s work taking place right in front of me. Or how often I completely miss the invitation of the Spirit during a conversation with a coworker or neighbor.

  5. May 4, 2010 8:08 pm

    Thanks Bradley for this inspiring post. And thanks for reminding us that God is working in our lives whether we recognize it nor not.

    I do believe in miracles.

    Just this morning I experienced a “small” miracle.

    I turned on my PC and nothing came out on the monitor. I thought it’s broke again. I prayed hard because it’s so much inconvenience to have it repaired and besides I don’t have cash right now.

    I shut the PC off and waited after some time before I turned it on again. This time it worked! For some it may mean nothing but for me it’s already a big thing.

    Life has many “big” and “small” miracles and we have so many things to thank God for.

    Jose

    • May 5, 2010 5:30 am

      Good for you, Jose, for recognizing the miracles when they occur! They are happening all around us, I’m sure.

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