When we look at the story in Acts 9 of Saul’s conversion to Christ, and becoming Paul, it’s really hard, for me anyway, to not acknowledge how awesome God is. Just like God gave Abram a new identity by renaming him Abraham, He completely turned the life of Saul around on its heel, and sent him in the opposite direction.
In Acts 9, we can see that Saul has begun to destroy the brand new church. He was dragging men and women off and putting them in prison for following the teachings of Jesus. Saul was present at the stoning of the first martyr, Steven, and after watching him be stoned Saul felt a passion for destroying Christianity.
As he’s walking down the road to Damascus, Saul sees a bright flash of light and hears a voice that calls out “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?!” Saul responds, “Who are you, Lord?” (Lord in this case probably more like ‘sir’ than that Saul would have immediately recognized the Lordship here.) Jesus answers, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” The men traveling with Saul saw the flash of light, but they didn’t hear the voice. Jesus was speaking only to Saul. Saul stands up after this encounter, and he’s blind. He can’t see anything. Matt made the excellent point that there wouldn’t be much that would limit your power like suddenly becoming blind and having to rely on people around you even to hold your hands while you walk into town. Saul would have felt helpless.
Saul spent three days not eating or drinking ~ which I can kind of understand. I’d be so anxious about how different my life was about to become if I didn’t regain my sight that I don’t think I’d be able to eat or drink anything either.
Ananaias, one of the new disciples sent out after Jesus’ death, received a really specific vision, telling him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street in Damascus, and ask for Saul of Tarsus who has been praying. Ananaias is shocked. “The one who’s been persecuting us??”
At the same time, Saul has a vision of a man named Ananaias coming to lay hands on him and restore his sight. God assures Ananaias that Saul is an instrument ~ the perfect fit ~ for what He needs to do. He needs Saul. So Ananaias does what God asks, despite his apprehension. He lays hands on Saul, and scales fall off of his eyes. Saul is immediately baptized, he eats, and regains his strength. He uses his renewed strength to immediately start preaching in the Synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
People would have known Saul. They would have known he was famous for persecuting those who believed, and they would have known he was a man to be careful of. But imagine the Glory to God when a man like Saul can have an encounter with Him and be changed, and instead of persecuting those who believe, can set his life on a path where he convinces many of the truth. Our God is an awesome God.
If God used Saul, God can use me for His glory, and it doesn’t matter what I’ve done. God can use me when I’m willing.
Our God is an awesome God.
I spent all day yesterday on the water. If your kids were in water sports, tubing, or the Boot Camp activity, they’ll be in here. The first two activity periods gave us rough waters again, so we loaded the kids and the gear onto the Pontoon Boat and took them into the bay where it was much calmer, and had excellent water sports water. By the time tubing rolled around, it had calmed down and we were able to stay at the ski dock. Many of the kids see me in the boat and start to make sure that they’re giving thumbs up or waving to the camera. I love it. This is why I come out! It’s also really great to see the progression both in skill level and in confidence of the kids who’ve gone through several years of kids camp, doing water sports each year, and learning so many more skills as they’ve gone. They’re at a point now where Paige was trying to drop a ski and slalom, Bridgely was doing jumps with the wake board, and Emma was cutting in and out of the wake on her skis like she was born for that. It was awesome.
Also check out our canoe majors….
Our Outdoor Pursuits kids who were snorkeling for fishing bait (supervised of course by Lifeguard Uncle Ben, director Uncle Randy, and marked off by a kayak and a flag showing that there were snorkelers in the water courtesy of Aunt Lynn. We’ve made sure they stay safe while they’re in the water!
Lastly, check out our Boot Camp activity participants, who were practicing the swimming aspect of their training. I imagine today they’ll be doing their triathlon, so I will do my best to get some pictures of that, as well. Their leaders ~ Hope, Noah, and Jordan, have been showing them many of the skills necessary to continue with fitness when they get home! It’s really nice to see such a big group interested in this as well.