Sermon Transcript



This morning the first Christians we want to talk about, Acts 11.  And let me begin reading in verse 19.  “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.  But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.  The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.  So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people.  And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”



Let’s pray.  Our Father, we come to You.  And we use that phrase, that salutation “our Father” because that’s the way you taught us to pray.  And because you call us your sons, your daughters in Jesus Christ.  And we’re grateful to be part of your forever family by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ unto as many as received Him—that is, Jesus—to those He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe.  And, Father, we affirm that this morning.  We sang about it.  And we’re just grateful to be your children.  And thank You that you are our Father, you’re a good Father, and that every good gift and every perfect gift comers down from the Father above.  And we thank You for the good gift that is this book we hold in our hands, the Bible.  This is the Word of God.  And we ask You to speak to us today, as we do every week, asking You to open up the pages of Your Word.  And help us to understand, help us to receive it into our hearts.  Give us truth that we can put into practice right where we live today to where our hands and our feet…that we’re putting shoe leather and the grip of our hands to the truth that You’ve given to us.  And we’ll look forward to what You’re going to do and how You’ll change our lives, how You’ll feed us today, even as the bread of life.  And we pray this in Jesus’s name and for His sake, amen.”



Well, 2000 years ago Christianity was born into a culture that was hostile to the faith.  It would be a gross understatement for me to say that Christianity was born into a culture that was kind of unfriendly to it.  No, it was hostile to the faith.  Much persecution came against the early followers of Jesus.  And we’ve been learning that as we’ve been studying our way through the book of Acts.  But let me give you an example from history as to how hostile the culture was to the Christian faith.  By the time the gospel reached Rome, an emperor named Nero was doing everything he could to stamp out Christianity.  You’ve heard of the Roman coliseums and the lions and all of that kind of thing.  Another thing that Nero did is he would take Christians under force, tie them to a post, extend that post high into the sky, and line the streets of Rome at night.  And he would light the Christians on fire.  You ever heard of a Roman candle?  I know that’s kind of a 4th of July thing, but I think it comes from that right there.  Next time you light up a Roman candle on July 4th to celebrate your independence, just remember the early followers of Jesus who paid a huge, huge price.  Who were born into this thing called the church and Christianity, born into a culture that was hostile to our faith.



Now, most of us grew up in a time over the last, I don’t know, 40, 50, 60, 70 years when, for us in the west and in America, we’ve lived in a culture that is relatively friendly and accepting of our faith.  I remember a time when businesses were closed on Sunday.  There were blue laws in the books.  And the wheels of commerce stopped on the Lord’s Day, out of respect to this being the Lord’s Day and out of respect to people who went to church, which were the vast majority of people, we might say, in our culture, many more than do so today.  It was a friendly time.  It was relatively easy to be a Christian during that time.  We called it cultural Christianity, a culture that, relatively so, accepted our faith and participated in it and all of that.  Well, those days are gone, friends.  Somebody recently just even pronounced the death of cultural Christianity.  It’s no longer a culture that is friendly to our faith.  It’s becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith.  Maybe not in a Roman candle kind of way, but one example popped up in southern California just this week.



Some of you may know a pastor named Greg Laurie.  He is a local church pastor in, I believe, Riverside, California.  But he’s also known for a larger ministry that he started years ago called Harvest Ministries or Harvest Crusades.  He’s been doing crusade style evangelism for years in southern California, filling stadiums with tens of thousands of people and winning people to Jesus Christ.  I believe he sits on the board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  Greg Laurie is a wonderful man of God.  He has been used in a wonderful way.  He’s been doing Harvest Crusades for…I think this is their 29th year.  And this year they what they’ve done every year, which is to put billboards all throughout southern California advertising the Harvest Crusade.  And this year the billboard had a picture of Greg Laurie holding up what looked like was a Bible.  And as those billboards came out, the complaints came in to the advertising company.  And the complaints turned into threats.  And the advertising company just in the last week or so decided to pull all of the billboards.  And Greg Laurie, in much kindness and grace, in various news organizations has said, “When did this book called the Bible become a threat in our culture?”  Well, cultural Christianity is gone.  And the hostility toward our faith is beginning to grow.  We’ve all felt it at some level.  And to some extent, it’s not bad.  Because I think in cultural Christianity for the past 50, 60, 70 years, the church has kind of been lulled to sleep in the west.  Now we’re back to perhaps the kind of culture that the early church was born into, one that was not friendly to our faith.



And that brings us to Acts 11 and the latter part of the chapter, verses 19 and following, where it tells us that the gospel finally made its way to the city of Antioch.  Many Bible teachers see this story that Luke puts into the book of Acts here as the most intentional step the early church took to take the gospel to the Gentiles.  You see, remember Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that the scope of the mission was to go from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth.  And quite frankly, the church kind of drug their feet a little bit on that.  They got very comfortable in Jerusalem through Acts 1 all the way through the beginning of Acts 8.  It took some persecution.  It took the stoning of Stephen and Saul of Tarsus, who was then Saul the terrorist, to turn up the heat on the church…God allowing that to happen to the people scattered from their comfort zone in Jerusalem out into Judea and then later into Samaria.  And we talked earlier about the ethnic hostilities between Jews and Samaritans.  But Jesus says the gospel needed to get even to the Samaritans.  But it still hadn’t been fully implemented all the way to the Gentiles.  We don’t get to that until about Acts 10, some scholars say about 10 years after the day of Pentecost.  And again, it came kind of reluctantly to the Gentiles to a guy named Cornelius, the centurion who was in Caesarea.  It was Cornelius that initiated the engagement with Peter.  The Lord had to do something with Peter while he was in Joppa—remember the vision?—and begin to soften Peter’s heart even toward the idea of the gospel going to the Gentiles.  But we finally get there in Acts 10.  We finally get to the uttermost parts.  We finally get to…as Jesus said, “Make disciples of all nations.”  The implication is even the Gentile nations.  But the church is coming along kind of kicking and screaming at that point.



In Antioch in chapter 11 it’s the first time that the church makes what one scholar calls “the most epic making of all steps.”  It was the most intentional step that the church takes in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles.  And you say, well, why Antioch?  Let’s talk about the city of Antioch for just a moment.



Antioch was one of three great Roman cities after Rome itself, Alexandria, and then you had Antioch, a great Roman city.  It was famous for pleasure-seeking, for nightlife, even for loose living.  I’ll just call it the Las Vegas of the ancient world.  That was Antioch.  And people would travel to Antioch just to have a good time.  The temple of Diana was there.  It was a place of pagan worship.  About five miles outside the city of Antioch was this temple.  And in Greek mythology, Apollo and Daphne have this lewd relationship.  And in pagan worship, which was always filled with gross immorality, the temple prostitutes at the temple of Diana would reenact the lewd love affair between Apollo and Daphne at this little temple about five miles outside the city of Antioch.  From Texas we would call that the best little whorehouse in Texas, and that was the temple of Daphne.  And people would go there.



But Antioch is also known as the place where the early followers of Jesus are called Christianos, Christians, for the first time.  And it’s not a term of endearment.  It is a nickname full of ridicule and contempt.  It means “those Christ folks.”  You know, those uneducated, kind of country bumpkin Christ folks.  Those Christianos.  They’re first called that in a place called Antioch.



Now, nicknames are kind of an interesting thing, aren’t they?  Antioch was known as the place, and if you go there you might get a nickname.  Our president today loves nicknames, doesn’t he?  And he often nicknames his political opponents, and he did that during the campaign in sometimes a humorous way.  He nicknames certain world leaders.  My favorite is his nickname for the North Korean dictator.  He calls him “rocket man,” you know, because of all those ballistic missiles that he is firing off over there.  Sometimes a nickname is a term of endearment.  I’m told that President George W. Bush had liked to nickname people.  And he liked a particular journalist who was a tall guy, and he called him “Stretch.”  You know, “Hey, Stretch, how you doing today?”  And when George W. would nickname somebody, you know, you knew he liked you.



But other nicknames are not because they like you, but because they’re trying to ridicule you.  They have contempt toward you.  And when the early followers of Jesus were first called Christians, it was a nickname they got in Antioch, this cesspool of pagan religion and loose living.  And it was a term not of endearment, but of contempt and hatred toward these people.  Remember that the next time you say, “I’m a Christian.”  The roots of it were not very kind.



But the question…as I think about this and as I fast forward 2000 years into our culture today, the question is this.  How do we as followers of Jesus, how do we as Christians, as Christianos, how do we respond when the culture ridicules us, when the culture becomes more hostile to our faith?  Do we return insult for insult and ridicule with ridicule?  Or is there a better way?  Well, you might guess I think there is a better way and a more biblical way.  And we’re going to learn some lessons from this story from the early followers of Jesus who found themselves in Antioch.



Let me give you three suggestions this morning.  When somebody ridicules your faith, when you find yourself in your context in a place of work or in your neighborhood or even in your own family where somebody is ridiculing your faith and has contempt toward you because you call yourself a Christian, a follower of Jesus, number one, stay focused on the mission.  Stay focused on the mission.  Let’s go back to verse 19.  It says, “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.”  Now, this goes back to Acts 8 when the persecution heated up and people began to scatter from Jerusalem out into the surrounding area of Judea and Samaria.  Some of them, according to Luke here, got all the way to Phoenicia, Cyprus and this roman city called Antioch.  But it says they spoke about their faith only to the Jews.  I say they played it safe.  Persecution heated up.  They scattered to these cities.  But they only spoke a word about their faith to a safe, nucleus of fellow Jews.



The story goes on in verse 29.  It says, “But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also.”  These are the Greeks.  These are the Gentiles.  And they were preaching the Lord Jesus Christ.  They didn’t play it safe.  No, I’m going to suggest to us all that they understood the larger mission here.  And they weren’t “play it safe” kind of people.  These people were risk takers for the gospel mission.  One Bible teachers calls them “nameless pioneers of Christ.”  Nameless because their names are not mentioned here.  You would think with such an epic step that the church was taking to take the gospel now directly to a Roman and Gentile city like Antioch, that names like Peter and Paul and John and other big dudes in the early church would be mentioned here.  But there is no mention of the names.  We don’t know who these people were, these pioneers for the mission of Jesus Christ, these risk-takers.  It just says “men of Cyprus and Cyrene.”  Isn’t that great?  Because it’s a reminder to us, friends, that when it comes to the bigger mission, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.  And anybody who is standing up trying to get the credit just gets in the way of the mission in some way.  This giant step the church was taking toward the Gentiles intentionally for the first time, we don’t know who the leaders were.



And again, it’s just a reminder to us.  There is a mission that is bigger than any one of us in the room, including myself.  And it’s the mission that Jesus gave us.  Eight words, one mission, one mandate.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”  That’s the mission, friends.  It doesn't matter who gets the credit.  In fact, as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we fade into obscurity just to get the mission done.  And they had great risk.  This was not a friendly culture.  The earlier ones that came, they placed it safe, and they kept the conversation just among the Jews that they knew.  But these men from Cyprus and Cyrene knew that the scope of the mission was bigger than just a Jewish thing.  And praise God that, at great risk, like pioneers going west, you know, they take the gospel even to the Greeks and the Gentiles here.



And it says in verse 21 that “the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.”  The Lord met them there, and there was a wonderful harvest of souls that took place therein Antioch.  When people ridicule your faith as we’re living in a time where there is greater and greater hostility toward Christianos, toward Christians, let’s stay focused on the mission, friends.



Secondly, respond with grace.  Let’s go on in verse 22.  It says, “The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (0:19:00.1).  And a great many people were added to the Lord.”  That’s the second time that is mentioned.  Verse 25, “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people.  And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”



So this thing was going on in Antioch.  And people, many people it says, were coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And word got back to the leaders in Jerusalem.  And they said, “Well, we need to send somebody out there to take a look at what’s going on.”  And isn’t it ironic that they choose Barnabas to go.



Now, what do we know about Barnabas?  He is the son of encouragement.  I mean, Barnabas in the book of Acts and elsewhere, he is just an encourager.  Barnabas is a kind, generous, gracious person.  He is generous of spirit.  Barnabas is the kind of guy that just his (0:20:00.0) personality and nature when he walks into the room, you know, he’s loving on people.  He’s hugging on people.  He is full of kindness and generosity and grace.  He is the perfect guy to go into a situation and even into a culture that might be a little bit tense because a gracious person like that might be able to soften the tenseness that is there.  And it says that Barnabas has a ministry while he is there, and a great many people were added to the Lord.



But Barnabas was smart enough to know that the church needed more than just Mr. Smiley to show up, as contagious as he was a person and as encouraging as he was.  So Barnabas, who was captivated by what he saw of the grace of God coming to the people in Antioch, he is smart enough to realize the church needs more.  And so he sends off to Tarsus for Saul.  Remember Saul of Tarsus?  We know him as the apostle Paul.  The last time we read about Saul I believe was in Acts 9:30.  And by this time he is escaping Caesarea because a threat has been made on his life.  And he goes from Caesarea to Tarsus, his hometown.  He basically goes home.  And he is there for a period of time, no doubt living out his faith and ministering in Tarsus.  But God had bigger plans for Saul.  And Barnabas brings him from Tarsus to Antioch.  I saw it’s a second dose of the grace of God.  One came in the person and personality of Mr. Encouragement, Barnabas himself.  The second came in the apostle that we know as the apostle of grace, who otherwise…his personality was known to be a little gruff.  I mean, Saul of Tarsus, he was the terrorist who murdered Christians.  And he’s not as effervescent as Barnabas is.  He’s not Mr. Smiley.  No, he is Mr. Straight Shooter.  But it’s exactly what the church needed.  It needed someone to teach them about the grace of God, not just let pour out of every pore in your body through your personality and all that, but to actually teach them about the grace of God.  And this is what the apostle Paul does.  Through all of his New Testament he is so captivated, so amazed by the grace of God, Paul is, the grace of God in his own life, that you just can’t read through the New Testament without getting the sense…as we call him, he’s the apostle of grace.



Let me give you one example.  Hold your place here in Acts, and let’s go to 1 Timothy 1 for a moment.  And Paul is writing to his disciple, his protégé Timothy.  And he says in verse 12, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.”  And that’s what Paul was.  He was a 1st century terrorist, the terrorist from Tarsus.  He says, “But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”  You see, Saul, who later became Paul, never got over the grace of God.  It never became commonplace for him.  He never became indifferent to the grace of God.  He was forever amazed at just how kind and how gracious and merciful and generous God had been to him.  Nobody knew just how much he deserved the eternal judgment and damnation of God more than Saul did.  But he writes over and over again about the grace of God.



And Barnabas had gotten a little taste of Saul.  And he knew him, and he was there in some of the beginning.  And Barnabas could lead grace into the congregation, yes, though his kind and generous and encouraging personality.  But he knew the church needed something more substantive.  And so Saul comes, and they minister at Antioch for about a year, just pouring the grace of God into this place.



How amazed are you at the grace of God?  I mean, really, we sing about it.  “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”  Do you just let your words mumble over that or are you still amazed by the grace of God to where you just haven’t gotten over it yet?  It just still impacts you that God would be so kind and so gracious and so generous to you.  And this was Paul.  Let us never become indifferent to the grace of God.  You know, as part of our strategy we talk about the five G’s around here- gather, grow, give, go, and we say let’s do that within a grace-filled community.  Does grace just pour out of every part of you that oozes in conversations?  Maybe that’s part of your personality and you’re more natural in that.  Or maybe the Holy Spirit has so impressed you with the grace of God that you can’t help but be kind and gracious to other people.  That’s what the body of Christ is.  Even in the midst of a culture like Antioch that was full of ridicule and contempt and hatred for Christians, a culture that’s kind of becoming our own culture, how do we respond like that?  Well, we stay focused on the mission.  There’s a mission that’s bigger than all of us.  But we also respond to such ridicule and contempt with grace. Not returning insult for insult.  We will never insult the pagan world into faith in Jesus Christ.  We will never ridicule them back enough to where they say, “Okay, you know, you're right.”  No, we’ll love them to Christ.  We will be kind and gracious to them.  Why?  Because we are recipients of the grace of God.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”



Which, by the way, differentiates Christianity from all the other major world religions.  I’m talking about Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.  Christianity is the only one that talks about salvation by grace.  It’s the gift of God.  The generous expression of God toward us.  How kind and how gracious He is.  Don’t ever get over that, friends.  And become so impacted by that that it just oozes out of every pore in your being and lubricates the body of Christ with kindness and graciousness, such that if somebody in the world walks in, they’re like, “What’s going on in this place?  I’ve never met such kindness.”  Because it’s a hard, cruel world out there.  It’s a dog eat dog world out there.  And our world is becoming more coarse, more hardened, more loveless.  What an opportunity for the body of Christ to shine, right, as recipients of the grace of God, to be grace givers and to just let it pour out of every aspect of us.



So how do we respond in a culture like this?  Well, we stay focused on the mission.  We respond with grace.  Thirdly, respond with what I call tangible generosity.  Let’s read on in verse 27.  It says, “Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.  And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).  So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.  And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.”



Just a couple of things here.  It says that in these days the prophets were in and around the church.  A prophet in the Bible is somebody who does two things- foretells the future and/or forth tells the Word of God.  There were prophets in the Old Testament where God predicted the future through these prophets.  They foretold the future.  And by the way, the standard for an Old Testament prophet was whatever he foretold as he said, “Thus saith the Lord,” 100% of it must come true or he was considered a false prophet.  So you can just scratch off all of, you know, horoscopes and astrology and Nostradamus and all that kind of stuff because they don’t achieve that standard of 100% accuracy.  During the apostolic era there were still some prophets who foretold the future.  The prophetic ministry today is primarily the forth telling of the Word of God.  That’s a whole other conversation.



But there was a prophet back in the 1st century named Agabus.  And this is the only time that we’re told of him.  And he foretold about a famine that was going to happen.  Luke even puts it in a historical context.  He says, “This took place in the time of Claudius.”  And this famine took place, and the early church in anticipation of this…what did they do?  They received an offering.  They passed the plate, and they put tangible expression to their response to the grace of God.  Why do I say that?  The Bible tells us in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He gave.  He gave.  Not just, you know, He said in an emotional kind of way, “I love you.”  No, in a very tangible way He expressed His love.  He gave His one and only Son.  I always like to say the God of the Bible is the most generous being in the universe.  And we who are on the receiving end of His generosity, how can we not be a) generous of spirit toward other people, kind and gracious in our responses to them, and b) have tangible expression of that generosity through giving?  And I want you to notice here.  It says in verse 29 there every one according to his ability participated in this offering for these needy people in Judea who were going to be impacted by the famine.  Everyone participated.  It wasn’t just 10%.  It wasn’t 20%.  It wasn’t the 80/20 thing.  Everyone according to his ability.  In other words, with the economy God has given you, you respond.  It’s not about equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.  And they didn’t have to worry about, you know, whether they would give a big offering to this.  Everybody participated.  And when everybody participated, wow, it was a great thing.



Now, I know some of you, perhaps, have been dancing around that intersection between your faith and your finances for long enough now.  I’m here to tell you that as a believer in Jesus Christ as a recipient of the grace of God…you know, Peter tells us to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  One of the ways we grow is through tangible generosity, the tangible expression of our response to the grace of God toward us, a God who loved us so much that He gave.  Listen, if you’re not a more generous person tangibly speaking with the things that God has entrusted you, if you’re not more generous today than before you met Jesus, you need to examine your heart.



My son Reagan when he was little, when he was in kindergarten, we introduced him to football.  And he’s not a football player today.  Those of you who know him, if he were stand up you’d say, “I know he plays basketball.”  And he does.  He plays college basketball.  But as a kindergartener, you know, we put some football pads on him and put him into a peewee football league.  And we soon learned that probably football was not in his future, because he’d be sitting there and the ball would snap.  And, you know, football is a contact sport.  And all the kids would, “boom,” they’d kind of…he had a way of kind of turning this way and running away from the contact.  And it was amazing how he could come around just when the whistle blew, and right where the ball was, there he was every time.  He avoided the contact, all right.  We later learned that basketball is a contact sport, too.  But we put him on a different path than football.  Some of you have been doing this when it comes to that interesting between your faith and your finances and growing in the grace of tangible generosity.  You’ve been trying to avoid that for a long time.  And God keeps bring you back to a moment…maybe it’s through a campaign, maybe it’s through some appeal in a church.  And you’re squirming in your chair about, “Oh, there they are talking about money again in the church.”  No, God talks about it.  And He wants us to grow in the grace of giving as a response to His grace in our lives.



And it’s no accident that Luke, as he’s telling this story in the book of Acts here puts this little story about this prophet named Agabus right here in the context of the church responding to a culture of ridicule and contempt, and responding with grace.  Responding with grace first through Barnabas, then through Paul, and then through an opportunity to give graciously and generously.  My prayer is that we as a church would model this and we would grow in generosity not because we have a lot of money or anything like that, but because we’re so amazed by the grace of God in our own lives.  How can we not respond in increasing levels of generosity, even tangible generosity, as we together invest in the mission, the mission that is larger than all of us?  As together we meet needs here and there and yonder.  We’ve seen the body of Christ throughout the book of Acts really adopting a stewardship mentality and casting aside this ownership mentality that says, “What’s mine is mine, and I’m going to keep it.”  No, this is an early church that says, “What’s mine is God’s, and I’m going to share it as the opportunities come along.”  And may that be true of us, even in the midst of a culture that becomes increasingly hostile, that spits in our face, that calls us Christians with contempt and ridicule.  How do we respond to that?  We stay focused on the mission, a mission that is larger than any one of us.  We respond with grace, with kindness.  Some through kind and gracious personalities like Barnabas, but certainly through the teaching of the Word of God as we lubricate this place with a grace-filled community, always amazed by the grace of God.  And then through tangible expressions of grace and generosity as those opportunities arise.



We’re living in different times today.  Cultural Christianity is gone.  And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, because now we get to wake up as a church.  People have been saying for decades, as long as I’ve been ministry, “We want to get back to being an Acts 2 kind of church.”  Well, here we are.  That culture is beginning to return.  Maybe not in a Roman candle kind of way, but certainly in a way where the ridicule, the nicknames, the contempt come.  And let’s equip ourselves with a biblical response even as we talked about today.



“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG