Archive for the ‘Acts’ Category

Milano Winter Campaigns

February 28th, 2012

In 2012, we held two campaigns in Milan.   There have been many military assaults upon Milan through the years, but this was about a kingdom of peace.   The Lord knows the work of Larry and Karen; Pat and Morissa.   Nearly 35 presentations were made between these individuals.   We appreciate every word spoken in the name of Jesus.   These are the kind of encounters recorded in the book of Acts (See 5:42)—a ceaseless sense of teaching, proclaiming, and caring about the spread of Jesus as the Christ.  Thanks!

Between Castle and Cathedral

December 27th, 2011

 One day in December, while walking between the Castle and the Cathedral of Milan, we heard some very elegant electric guitar music echoing between the stone walls.  There he was sitting on the ground playing Imagine by Lennon.   Short's remembered in MilanHe played slowly with delicate finesse.   Then, while admiring his instrumental work (because the lyrics are wanting), I looked down to see he had no legs (uhm).   His gift was undoubtedly despite his severe limitations.   Again, recently, in the cavernous chambers of the Metropolitana, I heard Mozart being played by a gifted violinist.  We understand such beauty when it comes to music because of the immediate feedback.  But, sometimes in the cause of Christ there are no immediate overtures or encores.   But, we believe that one day things will resolve when the books are opened.

The great Luciano Pavorotti said, “I think a life in music is a life well spent, and this is what I have devoted my life to.”  Brooks remembered in Milan We understand that not long after the Italian tenor said those words he passed on into the great hereafter.    Someday, perhaps not long from now, we may like Pavarotti reflect back on our life and muse about what our gift has been.   And, like the music of Pavarotti, though he is gone, his music plays on.

We recently came across an anonymous line which we dedicate here and now to those of you who have left your gift between the Castle and the Cathedral of Elizabeth and Doug remembered in MilanMilan (Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:11).   “Some people come into our lives and quickly go.   Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.   And we are never, ever the same”  

Only in Milan!

October 11th, 2011

There is an Italian proverb by Marco D’Oggione which says, “A man should learn to sail in all winds.”  As Marla and I walked through the Magenta neighborhood recently (likely that of Leonardo’ da Vinci), we felt the cool autumn winds and saw the bluest sky.  But, the winds of this autumn are not limited to the skies of Lombardy.

Piero e Eveline

Let me explain.  Last Sunday night, we had a couple from Zurich, Switzerland over to our apartment for a late supper (la cena).  They were originally from the lake region of northern Italy.  He was Italian, she  was of German descent.  If you notice the photo, our new friend looks like the actor George Clooney!    A Milanese stopped him to ask  if he was Clooney; he said, “No, I’m his brother.”

Giovani e Lucia

On the evening prior, we had an Italian couple in our home, Giovanni, an attorney in Milan, and his wife, Lucia.




Then, again, last night, I taught two young women from Ethiopia at the office (And, yes, I used Acts 8 to finalize my thoughts; thrilling indeed! ).   Prior to that meeting, I had spent almost an hour answering a question posed by a man from Sri Lanka.  Tomorrow, I will be teaching a young married woman named Vanessa, from Peru, South America.  In the morning, I will have met with a student from Ecuador.

The Italian language  and culture has brought all of these people together from the four winds of Earth.  This is a situation not dissimilar from that of Acts 2 and Isaiah 2 (“and many people shall come…that he may teach us his ways”).

Marla and I feel that we were placed  in Milan for this special moment in history. The breezes of these times are like currents in history.  The apostle Paul believed and taught in Ephesians 1 that  the winds of history serve to connect and affirm that God has entered history through Christ, and that history itself is not static, but dynamic for those who participate by faith.  We will close with a piece from Dante Alighieri: “Remember tonight, for it is the beginning of always.”

David’s Theological Interpretation of All Reality

June 26th, 2009

“…a man after my heart…”

(Acts 13:22)

During Paul’s address at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:13-41), he states God’s assessment of David-“…I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart.  Who will do all my will.  Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised” (Acts 13:22,23).  The King James Version translates 13:22, “…a man after mine own heart…” It is the persuasion of this brief article that the primary meaning  of 13:22 is based upon David’s consistent theological interpretation of all reality. As proof of this proposition, we offer 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; David’s final recorded public prayer.

1. The LORD is supreme over all (1 Chron. 29:10-13).

2. A correct assessment of the human condition (1 Chron. 29:14-15).

3. All material possessions are rightfully the LORDS’ (1 Chron. 29:16-17). 

4. There is divine continuity to history, which links the past to the future (1 Chron. 29:18-19).

5. Religious relationships merge challenge and response (1 Chron. 29:20-22).

Think theologically!

-Robert M. Housby

The Kingdom of God in Luke’s Gospel

May 29th, 2009

(1:32-33;  2:4; 34-35; 3:31; 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:10; 9:2; 10:23-24; 11:2, 17; 12:31-32; 13:20; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:15-17; 19:12; 36-40; 22:14-16; 23:1-3; 35-43)

“…and of his kingdom there will be no end”

(Luke 1:33)

The word kingdom is meaningless to most people.  It may evoke certain ancient images of swords and jousting, but there will be no ultimate personal relevance.  In the face of this casual approach to kingdom, one is confronted with Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Luke.   What should one make of this startling kingdom which is anything but casual?

1.       The Kingdom of God provides a context whereby one may discuss and perceive God in history [bear in mind, your history!].

2.      The primary meaning of “kingdom” is royal power. It more often carries the force of dominion (see Dan. 4:31, where dominion is departed, but not domain); more reign than realm.  In Luke, the ideas associated with Kingdom are heightened (see the Luke references above).

3.       For God’s people (who seeing-see and hearing-understand, Lk. 8:10), it is not the past which determines the future, but the future which directs the present.  For the Christian, the Lord of history is not prominent, but preeminent (Col. 1:16-18).

-Robert M. Housby


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

Resurrection Resources

May 1st, 2009

Helping Us to Live Resurrected Lives

[Adapted from our recent series, The Time of Trouble (with E. Ray Cox), April 22 – 26.]

Resurrection is a central gospel theme (1Cor. 15:1-4).  This resurrection centrality is shard along with the death of the Jesus.  Whereas Jesus’ death is about propitiation, by his blood, for sin (Rom. 3:25); the resurrection is in demonstration of power for extreme newness (Rom. 1:4; 6:4).

The following references show the unfolding importance of the resurrection in biblical sequence:

A.  John 11:25-26      Jesus’ “I am the resurrection” statement

B.  Acts 1:21-26          The qualifying of Matthias involves the resurrection

C.  Acts 2:22-32          Resurrection is a key-note on the Day of Pentecost

D.  Acts 3:12,25-26   The earliest gospel preaching included the resurrection

E.  Acts 4:1-2                Resurrection was annoying to the Sadducees

F.  Acts 17:18                Paul proclaimed the resurrection at intellectual Athens

G.  1 Cor. 15:12-20      A Christian world-view demands a resurrection

H.  Rev. 20:6                The resurrection is critical for being a blessing of God

I.   Rom. 6:3-5,17         To obey the gospel is to fully identify with Christ

J.   Col. 3:1                        Living the resurrected life involves a higher seeking

We are very aware of the state of Christianity in America.   Even the secular magazine, Newsweek (April/2009) reports – “The Decline and Fall of Christian America.”   We could wish otherwise, certainly.  But, in the midst of this paradigm shift, the church will be purged (cf. 1 Pet. 4:12-19).

Resurrection living must happen now.

-Robert M. Housby

Devotional Readings From Brother Lawrence’s,Practicing the Presence of God

April 10th, 2009

[We use the name which this Carmelite kitchen monk went by-“Brother Lawrence,” in the sense of Acts 2:37, where “brethren” is used in a generic sense]

In the area of Christian devotional literature, the classic work by “Brother Lawrence,” Practicing the Presence of God, is certainly worth your time to read.  Surely Lawrence was ahead of many when it comes to a personal spiritual life.   Notice some sample quotes below, from Lawrence:

“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen…I possess God as if I were on my knees.”

“You need not cry very loud, he is nearer to us than we think”

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed”

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God.  Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive”

These quotes serve to make us aware of why we do what we do in the name of Christ (Psalm 116).

-Robert M. Housby

Conversion: A Moral Revolution

March 28th, 2009

“And sinners shall be converted to you”

(Psalm 51:13, NKJV)

Strong’s Greek Dictionary gives the meaning of “conversion” as moral evolution (32).  See Acts 15:3.    Other essential information about “conversion” include:

1.       The Hebrew term shoob means to turn back.  Psalm 19:7 shows the  process of conversion being brought about by God’s law (torah) upon the  human soul.  The Hebrew shoob also has a godly motivation behind it,  propelling it into action (see Psalm 51:13 in context).

2.       The verb form epistrepho (see Luke 2:39) involves 5 groups:

a.      Mk. 4:12 (Isaiah 6:9,10) – outsiders

b.      Lk. 22:32 – former disciples

c.       Acts 3:19 – non-Christians

d.       Acts 28:27 – those in need of spiritual healing

e.       James 5:19,20 – errant Christians

In conclusion, conversion is a turning or returning to God.  The wrong turn is possible, according to Acts 7:39.  But, the primary opportunity is from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to the power of God (Acts 26:18; 1 Thess. 1:9). Moral revolution well expresses Christian conversion.

-Robert M. Housby

The Ascribed Causes of Salvation

March 13th, 2009

“Tell of his salvation from day to day”

(1 Chron. 16:23; see also Ps. 96:1-13)

If the name of the Savior is precious to you, If his care has been constant and tender and true, If the light of his presence has brightened your way, O will you not tell of your gladness today?  O will you not tell it today?  Will you not tell it today?  If the light of his presence has brightened your way, O will you not tell it today? (Jesse Brown Pounds, Will You Not Tell It Today?)

Evangelical churches and individuals are fond of focusing on one particular tenet of the Christian system, to the exclusion and detriment of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27; Ps. 119:160; see example in James 1:24).  Notice, however, that the Bible clearly portrays salvation as being ascribed to multiple logical causes; and, not to any singular emphasis of man’s selection.

1. Grace, the moving cause (Eph. 2:5)

2. The life of Christ, the efficient cause (Rom. 5:9,10)

3. The gospel, the procuring cause (1 Cor. 15:1-2)

4. The death, burial, and resurrection  of Jesus, the disposing cause (1 Cor. 15:13-4)

5. Faith, the formal cause (Acts 16:31)

6. Baptism, the immediate cause (1 Pet. 3:21; Tit. 3:5)

7. Endurance, the concurring cause (Rev. 2:10; 13:10; 14:12)

The New Testament plan of salvation is much too important to relegate to human speculation.  Tell it today!

-Robert M. Housby