Unstoppable! 'The Tumbleweed Phenomenon' — Acts 8:1-4

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

— Acts 8:1-4 NLT

Key Thought

Years ago, notable New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce wrote a book on Acts called "The Spreading Flame." As I read his book in grad school, I couldn't help thinking about living in West Texas as a pre-teen boy. We had 70 acres to explore, fish, make forts, and play. Anytime we had to make a fire when camping, we would find a tumbleweed, stomp it into small pieces, and use it as fire-starter for dead mesquite limbs. We learned that you NEVER put a full-sized tumbleweed on a burning fire. As it burned, the tumbleweed would pop and shower the air with red-hot embers that floated on the wind threatening to start a wildfire. The more you tried to stomp out the burning tumbleweed, the more you spread the embers on the wind. The unstoppable gospel was a Spirit-ignited tumbleweed phenomenon. The more adversaries of the Jesus movement tried to stomp out the spreading flame, the more the wildfire spread throughout the Roman empire. When Jesus' followers are scattered, the spreading flame brings God's love, grace, and salvation!

Today's Prayer

Dear Father, ignite us, inspire us, and use us to spread the flame of your love, grace, and salvation in Jesus. I ask this for the world's benefit and for Jesus' glory. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:1-8
  • Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:19-23

Illustration

Illustration of Acts 8:1-4 NLT — Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. 

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. 

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.

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About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.