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Summary: The Book of Acts should be called the Book of the Holy Spirit chronicling the lives of spirit filled missionaries, ordinary, everyday people who are possessed by the spirit of Jesus. It describes their “Pioneer Adventures” because it’s about the in-breaki

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Pioneers

Acts 4

George Washington Bush was born in Pennsylvania in 1778 and was a veteran of the War of 1812 fighting in the battle of New Orleans. In 1830, he moved to Missouri where he met and married Isabella, a young German American. One of the first African Americans to head out West, Bush purchased six wagons for the journey, four of which were for white families including his friend Michael Simmons and together they set out. George hoped to put the racism of Missouri behind him but by the time they reached the Oregon Country four months later, the Oregon government had passed laws preventing Black Americans from owning land. As a result, they moved northward into what today is the state of Washington. There, all 30 settlers in their party had to share a single cabin during the first winter. In 1846, two years after setting out from Missouri, they finally set about clearing their own land and building their own cabins. The winter of 1852 was a particularly hard one, and grain supplies had run low. Bush had enjoyed a fine harvest that year. His neighbors had not. He had plenty of grain in storage which instead of selling, he gave to his neighbors to live on and have enough for seeding their fields in the spring. These pioneers are credited as having been in large part responsible for bringing the land of the state of Washington into the United States because they’re established presence attracted other settlers and strengthened the American claim to the area.

Being a pioneer was fraught with difficulty. First and foremost were the Indians, many of whom would attack the pioneers and try to steal everything they had, even people. Then there were the blizzards. The snow would make it very hard for the wagons to travel which would just sink in the snow. It was even harder to walk in the snow. In addition, the pioneers were in danger of freezing to death and the wagons didn't offer much shelter against the snow and wind. If that wasn’t enough, there were prairie fires, started either from lightning strikes or from unattended campfires or from careless workers that burned the grass after clearing the land to plant crops. If the wind was very strong and in the wrong direction it could start the pioneers' homes on fire, threatening their lives. Finally were the heavy rains which made the rivers overflow. It flooded the land and made it hard to travel in the mud. Winds from a storm could blow over a wagon. Contrary to that, the hot, dry weather caused the wagon wheels to crack in two or even shrink. Iron rims would loosen and fall off, making repairs difficult at best.

The Book of Acts should be called the Book of the Holy Spirit chronicling the lives of spirit filled missionaries, ordinary, everyday people who are possessed by the spirit of Jesus. It describes their “Pioneer Adventures” because it’s about the in-breaking of the kingdom of God and the move of the Holy Spirit in the frontier of a pagan world.

There are four recurring themes in the Book of Acts which reflect the pioneer spirit. These themes help us to understand what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. Now every person is filled with the Spirit when they surrender their life to Jesus Christ. That makes them like a pioneer because they are called to leave comfortable places. Imagine what it must have been like to leave a civilized territory or city, with clean paved streets, street lamps, jobs, plenty of food and water and established homes as well as safety. How hard that must have been to go into the wilderness but that’s exactly what the pioneers did. The repetitive mandate in the Book of Acts is “Go!” “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem ( that’s the the WestBank), and in all Judea (that’s Orleans, St. Tammany, St. Bernard and St. John the Baptist) and Samaria (throughout Louisiana), and to the ends of the earth." In Acts 1:8 What’s interesting is that up to Jesus’ death, the call of Jesus was to follow Him. After Jesus’ resurrection, the call of Jesus is to “Go!”. “Go and make disciples.” So the reoccurring mandate in the Book of Acts for every follower of Jesus is to leave their comfortable places for the sake of the Gospel and go into the wilderness with the Gospel. The consequence of being possessed is to be compelled by the presence of Jesus in you to take risks and leave your comfort zone. If you don’t then you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can’t help but give up control and move out of the comfortable places of your life.


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