A.D. THE SERIES E.P. RECAP 8 “THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS”

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”
Air Date 5/24/15

After ordering Saul to Damascus after the apostles, Caiaphas tasks Reuben with making sure he doesn’t come back – by escorting him there. This way, Jerusalem will be free of Saul’s campaign of violence, hopefully until Tiberius departs for Rome. Reuben is none too happy, but the apostles are delighted when they hear the news. Philip has sent word he needs their help in Samaria, and now leave Jerusalem safely.

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

The next day, Philip pauses while baptizing new converts to welcome John and Peter to Samaria. The apostles sit down with Yitzhak and Simon the Sorcerer, who excitedly explains his conversion and offers to help spread the word of Jesus. Walking into the marketplace, the men are surprised to find a crowd full of the sick and injured, who have been lured by tales of Philip’s miraculous healing. Peter and John begin praying, beseeching the injured to let Jesus into their lives – and thus more miraculous healings ensue. Afterwards, Simon turns over all his money to Peter, telling him to use it to help spread the power of Jesus. All he wants in return is “a few drops of the Holy Spirit.” Suddenly, the sky grows dark and the wind picks up. A furious Peter throws the coins in Simon’s face. God cannot be bought! When John senses the danger of God’s wrath brewing, Peter urges Simon to repent as blood flows from Simon’s eye sockets. Peter begs God for his mercy, and the skies clear in the nick of time. Simon’s life is saved.

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

Pilate and Tiberius are aghast to confront a tableau of utter debauchery: Caligula and Agrippa are passed out naked with a woman in a room that looks like a bomb went off. Tiberius laments that Caligula has much to learn, and certainly the Jew Agrippa is a bad influence. Tiberius is just saying Claudia shouldn’t see this when she walks in to spy her name, scrawled across the woman’s chest. Fuming, Claudia stalks off, leaving Pilate to clean up. Elsewhere in the palace, Joanna, now working in Antipas’ household, gives her old pal Mary Magdalene a discreet hug; they have to be careful not to show their connection of faith. When Joanna laments the death of Jesus, Mary explains his ascension – Jesus is very much alive and he is the messiah! Joanna’s husband, Chuza, interrupts their conversation and is immediately suspicious. Walking through the hall with Mary, Joanna is just explaining that she agreed to hide her faith to protect them both, when they run smack into Agrippa and Caligula, freshly drunk and on the prowl. Mary pleads for their escape, but Agrippa is intent on sexual congress with Joanna. Luckily, Herodias comes upon her brother Agrippa in the clinch and sternly admonishes him not to play with “her things.”

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

Having forged a respectful friendship with Claudia, Tiberius asks whether he should have Agrippa killed. Claudia advises taking Caligula back to Rome; Pilate will deal with Agrippa. Tiberius compliments Claudia. Her wisdom will surely have an impact on her husband’s career, especially when he’s appointed to the long-awaited position in Rome! Claudia is overjoyed until she spies four vultures circling outside the window – a repeat of Tiberius’ vision of death – a sight she keeps to herself. Meanwhile, Pilate finds Caligula nursing his hangover with Agrippa in the sauna. When Pilate broaches the insult to Claudia, Caligula calls her the daughter of a whore. In an instant, an enraged Pilate has his blade to Caligula’s throat, demanding a retraction. Unapologetic, Caligula dares Pilate to proceed. After all, he’s next in line to the Roman throne… Later, Pilate tells Claudia he should have killed Caligula on the spot. But she doesn’t sense the danger since she’s over the moon with news that, thanks to Tiberius, they’re finally returning to Rome. All they have to do is keep Agrippa and Caligula away from each other. Later, Tiberius gives a grateful Pilate a written order: his new position in Rome is official!

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

As Tiberius leaves, an angry Caligula confronts Pilate. Tiberius has ordered him back to Rome, while Agrippa is to stay in Jerusalem – which can only be the result of Pilate’s plotting! Pilate is making a grave mistake if he thinks Tiberius will always be around to protect him! Caligula sneers, spitting on Pilate’s feet to signify his ill intent. It’s not long before the Romans are leaving the city, with all pomp and circumstance and Caligula screaming and spitting his intention to wreak revenge on Pilate.

The road to Damascus is harsh, 70 miles of nothing but desert. Even though he’s the only man with a horse, Reuben is miserable and pleads with Saul to turn back. Why does he hate Peter so much? Full of passion, Saul explains that the creator would never choose a simple fisherman to articulate his message – Jesus is an imposter!

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

That’s when the sky turns dark and Jesus appears only to Saul in a ball of light to ask, “Why do you persecute me?” Saul freaks out, claws the dirt and demands to know what Jesus wants from him. Jesus instructs Saul to go to Damascus where he’ll be told what to do. Saul’s companions find him in the dirt, screaming for help, as he has suddenly become blind. Once in Damascus, Saul secretes himself in a cell, blindfolded and shaking, while his men stick to the street, pondering their next move. They don’t see Barnabas, who runs scared to report his sighting to Ananias Damascus. Barnabus wants to flee the city, but Ananias convinces him to stay. They’ll find strength together through their mutual trust in Jesus. Later, Jesus appears to Ananias and sends him to find Saul. When Ananias shows his doubt, Jesus assures him that Saul is his chosen instrument, who will proclaim his name to the Gentiles and their kings.

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

None of the Romans are resting easy this night. Disturbed by prescient, vulture-filled dreams about Tiberius’ death at Caligula’s hand, Claudia bolts out of bed. The next morning, Agrippa reports to Antipas and Herodius that he overheard Joanna praying to Jesus. They need to punish blasphemers! Knowing Agrippa has a prurient interest in Joanna, Herodias nevertheless summons Joanna and her husband Chuza, demanding to know the truth of her faith. Chuza claims Joanna is subject to fits of madness, and sometimes imagines she’s talking to Jesus. When Joanna confirms that she once was cured of demons, Antipas orders Chuza to control his wife, much to Agrippa’s disgust.

Photo from the episode "The Road To Damascus"
Photo from the episode “The Road To Damascus”

Ananias does Jesus’ bidding. Taking a desperate Saul’s face in his hands, he delivers Jesus’ message. Suddenly, Saul’s sight returns, and he gathers his men to tell them what happened to him in the desert. He felt so sure that he was right about Jesus, but now he knows he was wrong. What starts as a smile of relief on Reuben’s face morphs into a furrowed brow as he’s forced to trudge back to the desert after Saul, who’s intent on having Ananias and Barnabas baptize him. Once he’s been plunged into the water, Saul emerges, shouting his passion for his new mission of spreading the word to the heavens. After bearing witness, Reuben rushes back to report the bad news to Caiaphas, as Ananias and Barnabas scurry after Saul, trying to dissuade him from preaching about Jesus inside Damascus’ synagogue – this act could kill them all! Saul doesn’t listen…

Antipas and Herodias are scanning Pilate’s palace, plotting their return to their former home in Jerusalem after Pilate’s departure. But Antipas, Pilate and their wives are stunned to find a smirking Caligula lying in wait for them with shocking news: Tiberius has died peacefully in his bed. Caligula makes a beeline for Pilate – was he looking forward to his new position in Rome? Grabbing Tiberius’ written commission out of Pilate’s hand, Caligula rips it up, then screams at him to kneel in the presence of his new emperor.

Preview Next Weeks Episode “Friends or Foes”

Caligula strikes at the heart of Jerusalem: the apostles rejoice at winning new adherents;Saul’s conversion puts his life in grave risk.

Here are a few added resources from A.D

Beyond A.D. A digital talk show Hosted by “E” Jason Kennedy 

“EMPIRES” BY HILLSONG UNITED CD GIVEAWAY

united_empires_cover

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” Giveaways are valid in US & Canada only.  

HILLSONG UNITED has had it’s fans waiting for their much anticipated “EMPIRES” Album which is due to be released May 26th. Great news, Outersparkle has has the opportunity to listen to all the tracks prior to the release (which is amazing! look for my review in the next few days) and lucky you, you get to enter to win a copy of the EMPIRES Album in my latest Giveaway!

UNITED it committed to writing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound, connect with churches, individuals and ultimately connect people everywhere with God. UNITED serve in a church as a part of the wider Hillsong Worship and Creative team back home in Australia.Their prayer is that their ministry would arrest hearts and point people to Jesus, impacting individuals, local youth groups and churches.

Tracklist

  • 1Here Now (Madness)
  • Say The Word
  • Heart Like Heaven
  • Touch The Sky
  • Street Called Mercy
  • When I Lost My Heart To You (Hallelujah)
  • Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)
  • Prince Of Peace
  • Empires
  • 10 Rule
  • 11 Captain
  • 12 Closer Than You Know

ENTER a Rafflecopter giveaway <<HERE

TWITTER PARTY: YOU’RE INVITED TO SPEND AN HOUR WITH HILLSONG UNITED’S TAYA SMITH

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YOU’RE INVITED TO SPEND AN HOUR WITH HILLSONG UNITED’S
T A Y A • S M I T H
Thursday, May 21st 4pm CST (5pm EST, 2pm PT)
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– PLEASE use #EMPIRES AND #FLYBY on every tweet that you send 
– Here are Taya’s socials: 
Twitter: @taya_smith
Instagram: tayasmith
– Here is Hillsong United’s Social:
Twitter: @HillsongUnited

A.D. THE SERIES EP.7 RECAP “THE VISIT”

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

Air Date 5/17/2015

Emperor Tiberius arrives in Jerusalem to decide Pilate’s fate-along with his debauched and dangerous nephew Caligula.

Saul and his men are tearing Jerusalem apart looking for Peter and the apostles. With screaming and mayhem outside, the mood inside the safe house is calm, as the apostles eat bread and drink wine, a symbol of their unity of belief in the teachings of Jesus. Philip has just suggested a trip to Samaria to spread his word when the group hears Saul’s men pulling apart the structure above them. Finally, after they haul their prisoners off, Mary enters the safe house with a group of children whose parents Saul arrested, as Philip heads off in hopes of finding good Samaritans. Unfortunately, he stops on the outskirts of the city to help a woman in trouble and is beaten and robbed of a gold necklace and his shoes for his trouble.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

Pilate barges into Caiaphas’ mansion with troubling news: Emperor Tiberius of Rome is nearing the gates of Jerusalem! If everything is not just so, they’ll stand or fall together. The violence on the streets has to stop, and what’s more, Pilate expects Caiaphas to help pay for Tiberius’ visit. Caiaphas is quick to say the Temple can’t spend funds thusly; maybe the money can come from a private source? Leah and Caiaphas summon Annas, offering forgiveness at a price. But Annas is no dummy, knowing the exorbitant amount is headed for Roman pockets. Since most of the city’s money is going to feed the Romans, Mary Magdalene decides to seek employment at Caiaphas’ mansion in hopes of securing food for the apostles.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

A man named Yitzhak happens upon Philip and helps him back to his feet. After hearing of his misfortune, Yitzhak promises that wonders are about to occur in the market, where Simon the Sorcerer murmurs over an unconscious woman, attempting to heal her. When the woman remains impassive, Philip makes his way to the stage to look heavenward and exhort the woman to rise in the name of Jesus. When she does, Philip and the power of Jesus win the crowd – and Simon the Sorcerer, who asks to be baptized. Afterwards, Yitzhak asks Simon if he feels any different. Grabbing a knife, Simon slices Yitzhak’s hand, then tries to heal the wound. When nothing happens, he beseeches the heavens: why, now that he’s baptized, does he not have the same healing powers as Philip?

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

Saul invites himself into Peter’s house, where he finds Maya alone. His introduction is a threat, and he lets her know that he’s seeking her father. Saul’s tactics are effective; a scared Maya rushes to the safe house to warn Peter. Outside, the streets are covered in rose petals as the citizens of Jerusalem gather to welcome their Roman overseers. Old Tiberius is cranky after his long journey, ordering no banquets, gifts or speeches. After a bath, he wants an audience with Pilate and “anyone else running this province.” Spying Tiberius’ nephew Caligula fondling Mary Magdalene, Claudia whispers to Pilate that they must indulge Tiberius’ possible successor to avoid dishonor. It’s a detestable chore that’s easier said than done for Pilate, who faces a grilling from the Emperor. Tiberius has no patience for the Sanhedrin and the civil unrest that’s been plaguing Jerusalem. Serving dinner, Mary Magdalene eavesdrops while Claudia claims that diplomacy requires more skill than the sword. Impressed, Tiberius allows Claudia to keep talking, telling him of Jerusalem, while she escorts him to his bedchamber.

Late that night, Peter and the apostles surround Saul in an alley to deliver their message. Saul’s persecution only makes their faith stronger – and there’s no way he can put an end to Peter or God’s will. James can’t believe Peter only means to talk to Saul, when he’s finally in their clutches. Saul uses this as ammunition: If God were in fact talking to the apostles, wouldn’t their collective vision be stronger? Back at the safe house, Peter, John and Simon bid adieu to Barnabas, James and Maya, who will seek safety in Damascus, where they hope to be able to preach freely.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

The next morning, Claudia and Pilate are none too happy to see Antipas and Herodias, whom Tiberius has summoned to Jerusalem to attend a review of Pilate’s governorship. Nervous, Pilate pleads his case: only one Roman has died, and his assassin was caught, and the Nazarene was crucified, his followers scattered. Antipas does his best to undercut Pilate at every turn, while Caligula demonstrates his mercilessness. Tiberius is stunned when Pilate calls Caiaphas to speak on his behalf, explaining that over the years, he and Pilate have come to an experienced understanding on how to keep the peace. When the discussion turns to God, Tiberius impatiently dismisses everyone, leaving them no inkling of his intentions. Elsewhere in the mansion, Cornelius recognizes Mary Magdalene as a follower of the Nazarene. When he asks whether she’s working for her friends, she says everyone’s fled. And if Cornelius has to arrest her, he should go ahead; she’s not scared because she’s been taught to love her enemies.

Photo from the episode
Photo from the episode “The Visit”

That night, Leah berates her husband for defending Pilate in front of the Emperor. What happens to them if Pilate is replaced?! Reuben interrupts with more bad news: Saul has resumed his campaign of arrests. In the streets, a drunken Agrippa and Caligula playfully join the arresting mob. But when a man grabs him, Caligula strangles him to death, then revels in his accomplishment. Later, Reuben brings Saul before a flayed prisoner. Under the whip, the man claims Peter has headed to Damascus. Once a happy Saul leaves to begin his pursuit of Peter, Caiaphas steps out of the shadows, having paid the so-called prisoner for his lashes. Saul took the bait.

Once again, Claudia escorts Tiberius to his bedchamber where they agree that Jerusalem has a very specific energy, which is infectious. Feeling contemplative, Tiberius tells of seeing four vultures on the coast road, though his augur told him not to worry about bad omens. Moreover, he dreamt of a funeral procession. Claudia soothes his fears and puts him to bed, then tries to soothe her husband, promising him that Tiberius is a tired old man who’s starting to feel the shadows closing in. Right now, they just have to hold their nerve.

Preview Next Weeks Episode “THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS”

Jesus appears to Saul and turns him from his path of wickedness.

Here are a few added resources from A.D

Beyond A.D. A digital talk show Hosted by “E” Jason Kennedy 

BBMAs 2015 Top Winners in the Christian Music Category

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Last night winners Hillsong United and Lecrae were 2 time nominees for a 2015 Billboards Music Award. Carrie Underwood won for Top Christian Song “Something in the Water” which has become not only one of the biggest hits of the year, it’s also Underwood’s longest-running No. 1 song to date. Mercy Me was nominated for three awards this year but came up empty handed.
TOP CHRISTIAN ARTIST
Casting Crowns
Hillsong United — WINNER
Lecrae
MercyMe
Newsboys

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TOP CHRISTIAN ALBUM
Lecrae, Anomaly — WINNER
Casting Crowns, Thrive
MercyMe, Welcome to the New
NEEDTOBREATHE, Rivers in the Wasteland
Chris Tomlin, Love Ran Red

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TOP CHRISTIAN SONG
Francesca Battistelli, “He Knows My Name”
Hillsong United, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
MercyMe, “Greater”
Newsboys, “We Believe”
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water” — WINNER

BBMAs + Taylor Swift + “Bad Blood” World Premiere = an interesting night in Vegas

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The 2015 Billboard Music Awards is the Hot ticket tonight! But then again when isn’t it? This years show has swiftie (aka Taylor Swift) fans in for a treat, as they await with bated breath the release of her World Premiere video “Bad Blood” which will air during the broadcast on ABC. This years show will take place in Las Vegas and will be hosted by Ludacris and Chrissy Teigan.

Taylor Swift’s video is all the talk, as many celebrities will be making a cameo. The “superheros” cast will be : Lily Aldridge, Zendaya, Haley Williams, Gigi Hadid, Ellie Goulding, Hailee Steinfeld, Lena Dunham, Kendrick Lamar, Karlie Kloss, Serayah, Jessica Alba, Selena Gomez, Martha Hunt, Ellen Pompeo, Mariska Hargitay, Cara Delavigne, and Cindy Crawford.Each cast member chose the alter ego themselves.  I’m not a follower of the tension between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry,but this video may add some fuel to the fire. Guess we’ll have to wait and see for ourselves tonight. And then check social media to see the world’s reaction between the #katycats and #swifties.

Meet the 12 2015/2016 Sun Sentinel South Florida Parenting Magazine “Mom Approved Panelist”

sfpm badgeI am happy to share a big announcement with my Outersparkle readers. I’m so honored to have been selected for the second year as one of 12 South Florida Parenting Mom Approved Panelist with the Sun Sentinel’s South Florida Parenting Magazine. I will be attending South Florida Parenting Magazine events, reviewing products for the magazine, sharing about fun local places to go with families, and lots more. When I share about upcoming South Florida Parenting Magazine events I’ll be sure to let you know if/when you’ll be able to come meet me at the official South Florida Parenting Mom Approved Panelist booth/table. Each month I will also be posting here on Outersparkle to go along with South Florida Parenting Magazine’s monthly theme.

Janet of Outersparkle Aileen of Newsyparents Jessica of Beauty Delicacy Lucy of 2genbeauty
Janet of Outersparkle Aileen of Newsyparents
Jessica of Beauty Delicacy
Lucy of 2genbeauty

This years panelist were announced by SFPM Editor Jennifer Jhon during the CarnivalMama’s Pre-Mother’s Day event held on the Carnival Breeze cruise line on May 3, 2015.

The 2015-2016 panelist are as follows:

•Aileen Van Pelt of Newsy Parents

•Dana Brillante – Peller of Pellerini Proclaims

•Colleen Shibley of Shibley Smiles

•Cristina Ramirez of Triathlon Mami  

•Joanie Cox Henry of Eye Need Glamour

•Erica Chao of Mama’s Mission

•Melissa Roy of Beyond Mommying

•Jessica Teixeira of The Beauty Delicacy

•Christina Nicholsan of Mascara Maven

•Heather McMechan of Local Mom Scoop

•Heather Lopez of Bloggin Mamas

•Janet Eltaktouk of Outersparkle

Please take the time to visit each of the bloggers and peruse their pages.

Related Links

5 Ways to create an attitude of gratitude in your kids

Parent to Parent: Teaching Kids Gratitude

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