Archives for posts with tag: Peter

We’ve all heard the expression, “Pray for sunshine, prepare for rain.” At first glance this seems to be what might have happened with the believers in Acts 12 when they gathered in Mary’s house to pray for Peter’s release. Perhaps they were praying but didn’t really expect a positive outcome.

But something miraculous did actually happen and when Peter showed up at the house where they were meeting, having been released by an angel, everyone thought the girl who had seen him outside was insane.

Is that really what happened? Maybe. But maybe we’ve have been a little harsh on those early believers and here are some reasons that might be the case:

  1. The text does say that the believers were praying “earnestly for Peter” (12:5), but in 12:12 it simply says that “they were praying.” It is possible that by then their prayer had evolved from praying for Peter’s release to praying for themselves?

Consider this: it was now the eleventh hour, the night before Peter was supposed to be presented to the religious leaders. His death was imminent and the believers now had to think about their own fates. So they took the unusual step of locking their door. They knew they were next, they were exhausted, not knowing where to turn. Perhaps they were now praying primarily for wisdom on what to do next? Or for strength to endure to the end?

  1. The believers had good reasons to think that Peter may have already been executed. Herod Agrippa had inherited malevolent genes from his grandfather, Herod the Great. He had already passed James, John’s bother, through the sword. To please the religious leaders, he was going to kill Peter next.

When the servant kept insisting that Peter was at the door, some people said, “It is his angel.” There was a traditional belief that when a person died, his “angel” (guardian angel?”) paid a visit to his/her friends. This would be another indication that the believers may already have thought that Peter was dead.

Now it wouldn’t be the first time in history that believers prayed for something and were quite shocked that they actually got what they were praying for, but I am just not sure that this was one of those cases.

How about you?

Do your prayer requests evolve over time?

Do you think there is anything inherently wrong with praying against all hope?

Do you truly believe that “nothing is impossible with God?”

Do you remember a time when God miraculously granted a request that you and/other people were praying for?

And finally, what do you think is the meaning of Mark 9:24, when the father of a demon-possessed boy said, “I believe, help me with my unbelief”?

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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As I read Acts 10 and 11, I’m forced to ask myself: who do I resemble more? Peter or Cornelius?

Most of my life I have been part of a group that is on the outside looking in.

In my pre-teens, after my family moved from the islands to the city, we were the “hillbillies.” Our accent betrayed our origins. We bore the marks of the underprivileged and the undereducated. We were not even accidental urbanites.

We were also poor. That was not necessarily a minority, but in a school where everyone was trying to pretend they were somebody, our plain and smelly rubber shoes gave us away too easily.

During my teens I became aware of another type of label I would have to contend with. I was a “Protestant,” usually the only one in my classes, all the way through high school. Mocking does not even come close to describing it. I was downright abused by my Catholic friends, who tried to force me to kiss “pictures” of Mary and came up with songs about how my dad robbed his parishioners of 10% of their salaries.

My four years of university were not much different, only this time I was swimming in a sea of Marxist-Communists or people who were so confused that the mere sight of somebody who claimed to believe something sent them into a tizzy. I also kept having interest in girls who were from a higher economic class than me. I could aspire to be their tutor, never their suitor.

Then in the early 80’s I landed in a small town in Indiana to start graduate school. My wife and I arrived in January in the middle of a blizzard that forced us to stay in Miami for 24 hours. When we were finally allowed to fly, after landing in what appeared to be Antarctica, from all we knew, we got off the plane, my wife promptly fell on her back after taking only a couple of steps, and I heard my brand new leather shoes cracking, as I walked on ice for the first time ever in my life. Apparently my tropical shoes had not been made for these extreme northern temperatures. We knew we were in for the trip of a lifetime.

Now for the last 22 years, my family has sojourned through this fascinating land of the free and home of the brave. We feel very much at home here and yet we are fully aware that we are also different in so many ways. Like they say in SE Asia, “same same but not different.”

I should say am different. I mean, I like to wear silver rings. I keep my nails neat (and polished!). I am known to have a few “man-purses.” I used to wear hats a lot (inside and out) until I decided recently that this was not a hill I was willing to die on. I have created some discontent among some who don’t think preaching from an iPad is kosher. I have a weird sense of humor and I eat sandwiches with a fork and knife. I could go on…

So who do I tend to resemble most? Peter or Cornelius? Neither. I am Ivanildo. I am unique. I am rare and the phrase “God is no respecter of person” (Acts 10:34) tends to electrify my bones.

If you ask me, I am beyond exhilarated that the gospel is also for people like me, quirks and all. The details are trivial; what matters is the core, not the superfluous. And here is the conclusion of it all to me: “I am a sinner saved by grace and Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Pastor Ivanildo Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

Care2Share Blog

Whenever I hear the word “evangelism” I think of my pastor during my university years. He was one of those natural-born soul winners, if there is such a thing. He practically filled an entire church building with people he led to the Lord within just a few months of his coming to Christ. And he never ceased to talk about it, Sunday after Sunday: how we ought to be “evangelizing;” how easy it was to do it; how we would have to give an account to God one day; ad infinitum.

His preaching, however, didn’t motivate most of us. It made us feel bad, guilty, and like incomplete Christians. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered how one-sided that pastor was. What he called “evangelism” had little to do with the biblical teaching on the subject.

What I find in the Bible is that everyone who says s/he is a Christ follower must be involved in some aspect of sharing the good news of the gospel, but the styles and approaches vary as much as the individual personalities of those followers.

First off, if you are a believer in Christ, you ought to be sowing seeds of hope everywhere. Jesus said as much in John 4:37-38: “Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Notice that he even calls sowing “the hard work,” a correct translation of the Greek here. I understand this passage to mean that not everyone will reap but everyone must sow.

But the process of sowing takes different approaches. Some are more direct like Peter, others more indirect, like Matthew who threw a party for his friends or the woman at the well who gave an attractive invitation to the people in her town: “Come and meet this man who told me everything about my life. He couldn’t possibly be the awaited Messiah, could he?” Paul used the more intellectual approach and Dorcas became a community activist for the destitute.

The beauty of the Body of Christ is that people come in all color and shapes. God wants us to use our unique make-up and experience to leverage our lives into the lives of Christ’s other friends, so instead of worrying to paralysis that we may not do it right, how about this? Let the Spirit guide you into an approach that most naturally fits you and leave the results up to God. He is the one who makes all things grow.

If you want to hear more, come Sunday morning. I guarantee you: what I have to say will change the way you think of evangelism once and for all.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade