“Believing that the kingdom of God is already present and breaking through on the earth presents us with an invitation, a calling as believers to partner with God in what in what He is accomplishing in our cities and towns around the world.”
Nish Weiseth from Speak
From Peter’s miraculous escape we take a bend in the road.
The first part of our journey, the early church, community at its finest moment, disciples making disciples, growth, persecution, healing and miracles.
We have glimpsed at Saul, saw him as the wretched wreck he was. With mouthes gaped open, witnessed his personal encounter with God. Awed as transformation takes place.
Three years pass between Saul’s transformation and the beginning of his ministry. It’s speculated he spent the three years alone with God. Three. Years. Alone. With. God.
We squabble over and negotiate terms, our terms, on time alone with God. If we go there at all. When we see what the investment did for Paul, I have to pause and consider the importance of the time I spend alone with Him. I am prompted to probe you with the same. Are you spending quality time alone with the Lord?
I will tell you I am committed to that time, first thing in the morning. I call it plugging in to the Power Source and I treasure it. I could, and often do, fill up page after page in my journal, stepping away filled and ready for my day.
However, I am afflicted with spiritual ADD. One eye peeled on the Word, another peeled on information flashing across the screen, or screens, placed off to the side. Easily distracted, but not willing to place them in another room. Occasionally, bordering on legalistic in my need for the time, desiring order, watching the clock, sticking to a schedule. Somehow, I picture Paul’s time alone with God as looking much different than mine. His investment,looking more like that of Jesus. Flesh and skin, the Son of God, often went off by himself to be alone with his father and to pray.
Our man Paul, no longer breathing threats and persecution, rather inhaling and exhaling the Word of God. A servant on fire. Called to teach, to preach, to proclaim, Paul takes to the mission field, as a duck to water.
“In other words, Paul’s life from the time of his conversion was one of almost constant travels punctuated with a few periods of staying in one location for a time. This is exactly what I would expect from someone gifted by God as an apostle. Remember that the term apostle is from the Greek term that means “one who is sent.” Paul lived as one who was sent by God from place to place.” ~from Bible Study Tools , written by Alan Knox, a PhD student in biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Paul comes out as one who was sent! Sent by a Power stronger than his own.
The rest of our journey we will spend highlighting Paul’s ministry, his trials and tribulations, the hardships he endured as he answered the call to proclaim The Gospel. To share what he had. At all costs.
Barnabas has taken Saul under his wing. Today they will be commissioned, hear and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.
The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers. One day as they were worshiping God-they were also fasting as they waited for guidance-the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.” So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off.
Sent off on their new assignment by the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas…~Acts 13:1a-4a The Message
I hope to see you on the trail!
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I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor.
“If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook
Gifts of Grace