Saturday, February 4, 2012

An early church plant - introspective

An early church plant - introspective
S - Acts 11:19-30 (NASB)
19 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came toAntioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
 27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them namedAgabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.

O - This story of Antioch (also my hometown namesake) in Acts is pivotal in the early church's history, for we see God's plan unfolding for the spreading of the Gospel, and for the early giants in the church to be developing there ministry.   We see the seed of persecution of Stephen causes some to scatter and this scattering caused the spread of the Gospel to this new region in Antioch.  Now the Apostles back in Jerusalem likely got word of the large growing population of believers in Antioch and sent a faithful disciple Barnabas to go down and nurture them.  At that same time Saul still yet a young Apostle was honing his skills back home in Tarsus, where the leaders in Jerusalem had sent him (for he was boldly preaching in Jerusalem to the point of death threats).   So as Paul practiced and developed his skills in his home town, he was being prepared to one day go and help in Antioch.  For a whole year him and Barnabas taught the people of Antioch.   You can imagine the growth and impact they must of been having and the interest it had for the Church back in Jerusalem.   So much so that some prophets came down to give word to this new church in Antioch.

A - The application for me is to understand that the work of God's ministry cannot be planned it must be obediently and faithfully be experienced.  It is not in doubt that God has a plan, but for me what part I am to play.   I know in my heart I want to participate, and when I can die to my expectation of what that should look like, and simply look and respond to the ministry God is placing in front of me I will be ready to say yes, Lord send me, or here I am Lord use me today in this situation.   

P - Lord I confess today, I am feeling a bit lost in my calling in this season.  I am waiting patiently, and trusting in your timing, and prayerfully using this season for all it is intended.  I pray Lord that you would refresh my spirit, and help me to not be slothful with the time, and resources you have given me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

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