Seekers, Fact Checkers, and Trend Chasers

John 3:16In the 17th chapter of Acts, we find Paul preaching to three different types of people. Seekers. Fact Checkers. Trend Chasers.

Seekers

As was Paul’s custom, upon arriving in Thessalonica he went to the synagogue service. Three Sabbaths in a row, he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. Paul told his listeners he was telling them about Jesus.

Many Jews, Greeks, and prominent women were persuaded by Paul’s message because he used the Scriptures to prove his case for Christ being the Messiah. Our Risen Savior.

Fact Checkers

From Thessalonica, where he was driven out, Paul traveled to Berea. When he arrived, you guessed it, Paul went to the synagogue to preach Christ crucified.

The Bible tells us the people in Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica. They listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul was teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews and prominent Greek men and women believed.

But those who stirred up trouble against Paul in Thessalonica, followed Paul to Berea. They stirred up trouble there. So, Paul left Berea and went to Athens.

Trend Chasers

In Athens, Paul was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles. He spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. Paul also debated with some of the philosophers. When he told them about Christ’s resurrection, some called him a babbler with strange ideas. Others said he seemed to be preaching about foreign gods.

Then they took Paul to the most learned council of philosophers in the city. They invited Paul to tell them about this new teaching. They told Paul he taught some rather strange things, and they wanted to know all about them.

Acts 17:21NLT says, in parenthesis, (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

The Athenians were professional trend chasers. They spent their time seeking new things. New ideas. New ways. It didn’t matter what those things, ideas, or ways were. If it was new. If it was trendy. They wanted in on it.

At that, Paul gave his great speech. Men of Athens, I notice you are very religious in every way, for as I walked along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: To the Unknown God. This God whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. Paul met the Athenians where they were.

Paul went on to explain who God is and what he expects. Telling them God has set a day for judging the world with justice through Jesus. The man who was raised from the dead.

Some laughed. Some dismissed it, saying they wanted to hear more at a later time. Others joined Paul and became believers.

Seekers. Fact checkers. Trend chasers.

Paul shared facts from Scripture. He let God’s word speak for itself. Some, like the seekers in Thessalonica, believed after Paul explained the Scriptures. Some like the fact checkers in Berea put everything Paul said against Scripture to know if he spoke truth. They were open-minded, willing to receive new truth, but it had to be God’s truth. Not just any willy-nilly thing someone spouted off.

Then we have the Athenians who made it their job to be trend chasers. These folks were so open-minded, they couldn’t distinguish truth from falsehood. It didn’t matter. Just as long as it was new, they chased after it.

Those folks were forever seeking, chasing, looking, but they weren’t interested in finding. What would be the fun in that? If they actually stopped chasing, and settled on the Truth, they’d have to give up their chasing.

In each of these situations recorded in the 17th chapter of Acts, we see people who accepted the truth of who Jesus is. We also see people who didn’t.

What about us? Are we a seeker, a fact checker, or a trend chaser?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father God except through him.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

So they took Paul, brought him before the city council, the Areopagus, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.” (For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing.) Acts 17:19-21 (GNT)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Olly Olly in Come Free

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Hide and Seek. What a fun game if all the conditions are right. Don’t you think?

My early pre-school attempts at the game found me standing in the middle of the yard in full view of everyone with my eyes closed. I couldn’t see them so they couldn’t see me, right? Wrong.

By elementary school, I knew enough to hide. There were a dozen of us kids from four houses who enjoyed playing hide and seek on dark summer nights. One problem though, was when the older kids decided it would be more fun to include the ravine that sat behind all our houses as a place to hide.

The ravine that held copperhead snakes.

The ravine that dipped to a treacherous bottom that made the climb back up difficult.

The ravine covered with tree roots, large rocks, poison oak, and who knows what else, that waited to snag an unsuspecting sneaker and fling its owner to the ground with a thud.

Yep.

The ravine my best friend and I were scared of at dark. The ravine we hid in together to stay safe. The ravine we tugged the other through to reach home base so we wouldn’t be left alone, or until the person who was It called “Olly olly in come free.”

Sometimes I ended up being the Seeker, It. Let me tell you I dreaded that. Those wily junior high kids sure could zip to safety without me ever getting to base first. There was too much territory to search through. I wasn’t fond of going beyond the glow of the back porch light to look behind trees. And I definitely did not like it when everyone got home free and I had to be It. Again.

Whenever I got stuck being the Seeker several times in a row, Butter, bless his soul, sympathized and took my place. Besides, he knew where the other older kids hid and could out run them. Even the couple who preferred to stay together in their hiding spot looong after the game was over.

Some nights I didn’t want to keep seeking. I didn’t want to stare into the dark abyss and search for people who could see me but whom I couldn’t see.

I didn’t want to keep rushing to home base, only to trip and fall over rocks in my path. I didn’t want to keep getting beat by those who weren’t afraid of snakes, or tree roots, or scary sounds in the night.

My heart was no longer in the game. I wanted to give up and go back home.

The Bible says when we seek God with all our heart, we’ll find him.

Unlike hiders in a game, God doesn’t make us dodge boulders, tree roots, snakes and darkness in our search for him. He stands out in the open light for everyone to find.

Jesus doesn’t run faster than we can to beat us to home base. He waits with open arms. Arms that stretched all the way across the rough beams of a cross on the hill called Calvary so we could go home free.

And like my brother, Jesus takes over when we’re too tired, too afraid, too defeated to keep going.

This life we travel is full of ravines populated with tree roots, boulders, snakes, darkness and scary noises, is it not?

Fortunately, we don’t have to travel it alone. Jesus wants to go with us and make sure we reach home safe and sound. Once we seek him with all our heart, he will be found.

Jesus is the True One who calls out, “Olly olly in come free” and means it. There is no reason to hide from him.

Any Hide and Seek adventures you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

You will look for Me and find Me, when you look for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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