Friday, February 3, 2012

Ministry modeled by Peter

Ministry modeled by Peter

S- Act 10:9-23 (NASB)

9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means,Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
 17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; 18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 But get up, go downstairs and accompany themwithout misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” 21 Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” 22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.” 23 So he invited them in and gave them lodging.

O - I love the pattern of ministry that is modeled here in this scripture.  I imagine Peter while following Jesus was in awe at how Jesus knew where to go and what to do.  He saw Jesus retreat to prayer with the Father, He saw Him commune with Moses, Elijah, and God in the cloud on the mountain.  He knew what God was capable of.  And here we see Him leadable and movable by the spirit of God, respond to the ministry God had laid out for him.  God's teaching and prompting came through prayer, interpretation of his dream,  physical witnesses, and final by direct prompting of the Holy Spirit.  

A - The application for me is to understand that I have a model of ministry in the bible.  One in which I can trust God will use parts and pieces of to lead me.   The key is my posture (prayer),  my receptiveness (obedience to the spirits prompting),  and my readiness to go wherever He is leading me.   An important aspect of ministry with God is that our willingness to go where He needs us to go, is often not understood by us during the initial prompting.  For Peter the dream made little sense, and he spent much time thinking about it afterward, until he was told to go to Cornelius and preach the Gospel to the gentiles.  He did not have that in his mind as what would be His ministry, but out of His obedience God was able to lead the church to recognize its larger mission to reach the world with the Gospel, not just the Jews.  The same is likely for me.  I have experiences and preconceived notions as to what God has prepared me for,  I need to be aware of those, but be available to go where the spirit leads, rather than be constrained by my own good ideas.  

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would be my guide and my light unto ministry in your name.  Help me Lord to see those you have in front of me today to speak the good news of your love and grace, and to show the peace that a life following you and living in your kingdom has.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

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