Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

28 Weeks Acts Devotion Week 3

8/27/2018

August 27th, 2018

Written by Rev. Dr. Victor T. McCullough, Heartland District Superintendent

“And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.” -Acts 3:5

 

Research studies indicate the average attention span for adults is twenty-two seconds. We’ve all experienced those times when after listening to someone talk, we can barely recall a small percentage, if anything, of what we’ve heard. Have we forgotten how to pay attention and listen? As human beings, we increasingly face the daily distractions of television, computers, social media, video games, cell phones, and tablets. For most, fitting all our activities into the daily routines can be a phenomenal challenge, to say the least. More tragically, in a plethora of distractions, many in life are feeling stuck, disappointed and deflated with hopes and dreams seemingly spinning out of control. Sadly, in this age of distraction far too many are failing to slow down, pay attention and listen to the hurts, hopes and hearts of another.

In the story of Acts 3, two church leaders, Peter and John, “slowed their roll” long enough to engage another human being. It was a transformative encounter between so-called church insiders and a man who was lame, marginalized and an outsider of the church. Note, this man whose life had been defined by his begging for a livelihood, also was challenged to pay attention and listen in a totally different way. The text tells us that Peter and John looked intently at the begging man. In turn, Peter says to the man “Look at us.” The interesting thing was that on the other side of deeper attentiveness was new perspectives, healing, jubilation, praise, gratitude and transformation.

Through the stewardship of paying attention and listening both insider and outsider experienced a fresh authentic encounter with Jesus the Christ. In many respects most of us can relate to being both insider and outsider, beggar and giver. It is still the encounter with Jesus through deeper attentiveness that moves us forward beyond definitions and labels to something more than the limited possibilities life seems to be offering in the current moment.

Suggested Reading Schedule

• Monday - Acts 3:1-3

• Tuesday - Acts 3:4-6

• Wednesday - Acts 3:7-10

• Thursday - Acts 3:11-16

• Friday - Acts 3:17-20

• Saturday - Acts 3:21-26

• Sunday - Acts 3

Reflection question: What spiritual practices can help followers of Jesus to stop focusing on the faults and sins of others and instead cultivate compassion for them?

Prayer focus: The Multiethnic Conversations movement

 

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