Stephen was one of seven men who were selected a deacons in the church. He was preaching to the Jewish religious leaders in hope that they would receive the Good News about Christ when they dug him outside the city walls and threw stones at him until he died. Once the news made it to the church, their individual commitment and devotion to Christ was exposed. Persecution is a powerful event in the life of faith. It is interesting that the stronger the persecution the stronger the devotion of the church in the persecuted area. A persecuted church believes in what it is there for and is devoted to it. It could be that if persecution hit the western church, we would lose 90% but the remaining 10% might be the only church that was ever really there in the first place.
This blog was originally written by Pastor Doug Bartel of Hillcrest Church, starting in Spring 2009. Keep that in mind if you read anything that doesn't quite add up to the time of year.