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The greatest part of accepting that God holds the plan for our future and its timing is the discovery and recognition of the plan coming to fruition. First, God brought the newly founded church to Jerusalem. There he empowered it with His Spirit to start its growth. Once its growth was established, he used various trials and tribulation to put a structure in the church and then spread the church throughout the region.
Now, as the church was growing out among other parts of the region, God used Antioch as the launching pad for European expansion—he prepared for a Mission. God brought in a godly servant-hearted man named Barnabas (Son of encouragement). Barnabas sought out that reactionary former Pharisee named Saul. He found Saul back in his home town. He brought Saul back to Antioch and mentored him and prepared the two of them to begin the first “Christian” missionary journey–that was designed to primarily to collect food and funds for the new church to provide for a famine God was going to allow.
In these times, God is still in charge. He is still executing his plan. While it seems we live in a time that is post-Christian and his impact diminished; truth is, he is preparing a new group to carry on his mission in these chaotic and difficult days. We do not know who will be this generation’s Saul and Barnabas. But we do know that God has led for thousands of years, and his plan has worked every time. We must continue to trust him, humbly follow and listen to his teaching. We must also allow the trials and discipline he puts in our lives to prepare us for the days ahead. It may be that we will be the next Paul and Barnabas. It also may be that we are simply the structure God uses to prepare and send them out to change the world—either is fine, especially if we allow God to lead!
God Bless You
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.