Begin Again” is a weekly devotional for 2022, that walks through the Book of Acts. In “Begin Again”, I write about how to make new beginnings with God, yourself, and one another.

Begin Again”: Week 46: ‘If you were to experience God for the first time, would you prefer: An out-of-the-box encounter that was so different from anything you’ve experienced before, that it left you saying “Wow!”? Or would you want that first experience to be more ordinary (not in a bad way) – the result of a longer process of asking questions, discerning, and maybe, at last, receiving a strong, unshakeable sense of God’s presence?’

Begin Again”: Week 45: “You can have all the answers. You can argue for them forcefully, accurately, and still be utterly alone.”

Begin Again”: Week 44: ‘Sometimes the Christian Faith sounds like it floats far above ordinary life. In the New Testament, we hear about people we admire – even people we think we should imitate. But we also wonder if that’s possible: “That world sounds amazing, and those leaders sound brave, but I’m just not sure how that all fits into my day to day life.”’

Begin Again”: Week 43: “One of our greatest challenges in getting to know and walk with God, in America, is that we have a history of not liking kings (and for good reason). But…”

Begin Again”: Week 42: “Unless you have come face to face with someone like the female slave, it is hard to imagine what this is about and how to deal with it. For just a couple of minutes, set aside how strange this may sound to you, and enter into how Scripture describes Paul’s encounter with her.”

Begin Again”: Week 41: ‘Do you have someone in your life who is a “worshiper of God” – someone who believes there is Someone out there, and that He is worth our time and effort and prayer? Or is that you: You know there is a God, you’re just not sure what his name is?’

Begin Again”: Week 40: “Is there something like this in your own life? In the life of your family, or where you work? Two people disagreed, sharply, and went their separate ways. You would love to fix it, but you just don’t know what really happened.”

Begin Again”: Week 39: “It is possible to have a very good sense that we are doing the thing we should be doing, at work, at home, and in the world. We generally get feedback from those around us in each of those areas, that indicate if we’re on the right track. The trouble is…”

Begin Again”: Week 38: ‘“I don’t know… If I did follow him, what would I have to give up? I mean, it seems like there might be several, important things that I’d have to let go off…” “Oh boy, I thought I dealt with all of that, but the last few months and years have shown me that it’s all still with me… What do I do?”’

Begin Again”: Week 37: “In this next season of life look at how you can continue to be “on the go” – where the new thing God wants to do in and through you, is. And ready to rest:…”

Begin Again”: Week 36: ‘What has knocked you down, recently, maybe for the fifth, fiftieth, or one-hundredth time? Are you thinking this: “Should I go back in? Should I try again? Does God want me to move on?”’

Begin Again”: Week 35: “If you love your story – if it’s the story of your life, and your people – that’s a really hard thing to give up on, even when you’re faced with incontrovertible proof that a new, different story has arrived. It’s even harder if you can’t escape the new story – if the new story is here to stay.”

Begin Again”: Week 34: “When we walk out the healing that begins in accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we know it is a life-long journey – we are not made perfect in this life, nor can we make ourselves that. Sunday by Sunday, that is the promise that God makes…”

Begin Again”: Week 33: “Is this a time for courage and boldness? Or a time to be cautious? I think many of us are stuck between these two extremes. Perhaps we are stuck, because we see: examples of boldness that seem downright foolhardy or shrill; and examples of caution that – we think – are simply cowardice.”

Begin Again”: Week 32: “Have you experienced dramatic reversals and/or deep disappointments in the past, few years? Maybe you’re at that point now. If that’s you, I found this question very helpful when I was at a similar point:…”

Begin Again”: Week 31: ‘I would bet that you’ve found the same to be true in your conversations with people who do not believe – or who are “spiritual, but not religious”: It’s never good enough to say: “Because God said so…”, or: “Because the Bible says so.”’

Begin Again”: Week 30: “Wow. This is one of those stories from Scripture that leaps off the page. And you’re either fascinated by it, or you kind of turn away and wonder why stories like it made their way into the Bible.”

Begin Again”: Week 29: ‘There are any number of things, in the past few years, that have given us the perfect excuse we need to “go it alone”: COVID, polarization, church scandals, etc.. But we may also have backed away, because it was easier… more comfortable: “I’ll just wait and see….” But that is not the Christian Faith…’

Begin Again”: Week 28: ‘Are you in a season of life where you think: “That’s it… That’s over… No way forward… Might as well stop.” Well, it may be – God may be telling you to stop one thing, and begin another. But…’

Begin Again”: Week 27: ‘The past two plus years has had the disastrous effect of isolating many of us. Perhaps we should take the example of the prophets, and join with others who make it their priority to ask: “God, what do you want us to learn in all this?”’

Begin Again”: Week 26: ‘Numbers matter. Yes, they do. They can be an indication of health, growth, and fidelity. But more important than the numbers, are the individual people who make up any “great number”.’

Begin Again”: Week 25: ‘We certainly live in a time when when a lot of money, time and effort is spent on keeping a hateful eye on “those people”, rather than developing a Jesus-like heart for each person. But this is also something Peter had to deal with: Namely, the temptation to stick to “my people”.’

Begin Again”: Week 24: ‘We can also fall into the habit of thinking that extraordinary measures are necessary to “get back to normal”, to “get back to the way things used to be”, and so on. But often, we just need to do the ordinary things of God, regularly – in fact, God may be asking us to do those ordinary things, as a way of asking us to come down off our high horse…’

Begin Again”: Week 23: ‘Are you at the place where you are wondering: “Okay, what comes next? Because I have no idea, and I don’t even know what the next right, or good, thing is!”’

Begin Again”: Week 22: ‘The whole point of Christ coming to earth, is to do what He begins to do in this story: Take good, faithful people, who seem to be living well enough without God, and say: “You are missing something – me, and my Kingdom.”‘

Begin Again”: Week 21: ‘Have you ever been sick – not seriously sick – but it clarified this for you: “People who are not sick, don’t know how good they have it!”?’

Begin Again”: Week 20: “Have you ever lived with a bad habit, for a long time, and everyone knew about it – especially your friends?”

Begin Again”: Week 19: “Each of us has that one person…. You know the one I’m talking about: The one you’re convinced is neither loved by God, nor worthy of God’s grace. That person.”

Begin Again”: Week 18: ‘”Oh, I don’t think God would want to listen to me…” “Well, I kind of know myself, and I’m pretty sure I’m not worth listening to…” “Why should He bother with me, you know, just given what I sometimes think, never mind what I sometimes do?”‘

Begin Again”: Week 17: ‘“I can do this on my own.” “Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.” “I don’t want to put you out.” These are all things we say to ourselves, when we want to show we are up to the task, or want the satisfaction of doing something, completely, on our own.’

“Begin Again”: Week 16: ‘“Wait… There’s more?” That question usually comes from one of two places: anxiety or excitement.’

Begin Again”: Week 15: ‘How does it get to that point? A person does something we deeply disagree with, and the thought occurs to us: “It would be great if he just went away, and never came back.”‘

Begin Again”: Week 14: “We live in a time when people long – intensely – to change other people…”

Begin Again”: Week 13: “It would seem that if Stephen was the man Scripture says he was, he should simply go from strength to strength, blessing to blessing – no weapon formed against him, would prosper. That’s not what happened.” 

Begin Again”: Week 12: “It is very difficult to know when you are doing too much….”

Begin Again”: Week 11: “Almost everyone I know has a rescue story of some kind, and often it is a brush with death…”

Begin Again”: Week 10: “How often is that true of us? Something new, mysterious, powerful happens in our community, and we hesitate: We are not sure if it is good, and to be joined? Or harmful, and to be shunned – or at least, ignored?”

Begin Again”: Week 9: “What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine. This is the way of the world. Or is it?”

Begin Again”: Week 8: “Do you remember a time when you lacked courage to do the right thing? What did you feel in that moment? Who was there, and how did they react?”

Begin Again”: Week 7: “Remember that feeling of doing group homework, and you did all the work, but the teacher gave the other group members all the credit?”

Begin Again”: Week 6: ‘“Look at us!” is an invitation to look outside yourself: The world you’re trapped in; the one you think will never change. And the invitation is not to see Peter and John, but to see the One who sent them: Jesus Christ.’

Begin Again”: Week 5: “Even if every other aspect of your life is in “good working order” – even if you enjoy security that most do not know – it is still true that you can be lonely to the point of despair.”

“Begin Again”: Week 4: “People we thought we knew, change dramatically, and for the worse. We begin to see “signs on the earth below”, and become more and more convinced that this is definitely not the ordinary, normal world we thought.”

“Begin Again”: Week 3: ‘… we often allow that person a seat at the table in our mind, our emotions, in our hearts. They’re still on our “leadership team”, and are leading us, even though we really wish they weren’t.’

Begin Again”: Week 2: “Is there something you hope for in the future, that you would like to know about today? If you could press a button, and hear the answer, would you?”

“Begin Again”: Week 1: “You could try any number of new beginnings in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but if they don’t begin with God, where will they lead?”

Is It Over Yet?“: “You’re ready… You’re so ready… For COVID to be over and done with, and for life to return to ‘normal’. Me, too: I am totally ready. And this is the thing that I’m discovering:…”