shake the world!
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Shake the World!
A number of years ago, Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man decided he wanted to see his world from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus story and bought 45 used weather balloons.
Later that day he strapped himself into a lawn chair while several of his friends tied the, now helium filled, balloons onto the chair. He took along a six pack of beer, a sandwich, and a bb-gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to descend and land.
Walters assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet into the air. Was he ever in for a surprise? Instead of a 100-foot lift, the balloons took him, the chair, the beer, the sandwich and the bb-gun to over 11,000 feet into the sky. It carried him smack into the landing pattern of Los Angeles International Airport.
Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for over 2 hours. This forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from all over the country.
After he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions; “Were you scared?” He replied “Yes.” “Would you do it again?” He answered, “No.” and finally, “Why did you do it?” To which he answered, “Because, You can’t just sit there.”
When we look at the work of Paul and his missionary companions in the book of Acts, you see Christ followers who determined that they would not “just sit there” with the message of power that had shaken their lives and given them life like they had never experienced. They moved throughout the Roman Empire telling people that the Son of the only living God, Jesus Christ, had come to live in their skin. He had become a human being and experienced the same sufferings, temptations and challenges people endure every day. Yet, he had overcome the world. He had died on a cruel cross to rescue every one of us from the consequences of our sins. Then they explained how this same God/Man had been raised from the dead in power and victory giving everyone, all he died for, opportunity for new, abundant and eternal life. This powerful message shook the world. It shook the lives of all who heard and believed their message; all who trusted Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.
In Acts 17, Paul and his partner, Silas had just come from a literal earth-shaking experience in a Philippian jail. Now they were in Thessalonica, a major trade city and the capital of the province of Macedonia. They immediately began to preach the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ in the large Jewish synagogue and began to have discussions with the non-Jews; the gentiles who were mostly Greek in heritage and in worship. They worshiped many idols, or, false gods. But many of them were believed in Jesus that day and became Christ followers.
So great was the impact of their message, that the entire city and culture was shaken. Many, who rejected the message, rejected the missionary team as well. They searched for Paul and Silas in the home of a man named Jason where it was known they had been staying. Paul and Silas were already in the process of escaping to Berea, so they were not in the group arrested. Interestingly, Paul and Silas’ critics paid them a huge complement when they said in Acts 17:6 & 7; “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” Some translations say, “These men who have turned the world upside down…”
What better thing can be said of people who follow Christ than that they, “have turned the world on its ear.” Too often modern day Christ followers do their best to blend into the woodwork of the world. They just don’t want to be noticed for their faith. They just quietly “sit there.” The truth is that the powerful message that has changed our lives must not be hidden. It must be shared. You can shake the lives of your family, friends and neighbors simply by telling them about Jesus. In fact, through Jesus, you can shake the world.
Through Jesus, you can shake the world.
Beginning this Sunday morning I will bring to you a series of sermons based on Acts 17 and the two letters of Paul to the Thessalonian church titled, Shake the World! We will look at how God shook the world of Thessalonica and can do the same in our world. This week’s message is “God’s Power Changes Lives” based on Acts 17:1-9 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. Perhaps you know someone who’s world could stand some shaking. Bring them along. I believe God will shake all of our worlds in a positive way by following this Spirit-led series of messages.
Seeking to be a shaker,