Acts 27 Part 2–God Directs What Lies Ahead

Paul could see what was ahead.  He advised the Ship’s Captain not to make the voyage, but to no avail.  So as the ship got to sea, a huge storm hit.  Not only did the storm hit, but it lasted for days.  All aboard had given up and expected to die–well all but Paul.  God had already prepared Paul for this journey.  The trials and beatings he had already received convinced Paul to trust the Lord to deliver him to complete the mission to Rome.  So just as everyone was taking final tally of their lives, Paul was assured by an angel that they would not lose even one man to this storm.

One can be sure that the others aboard ship would have liked to have received the message personally, but, Paul had been dead on so far.  Paul did not promise that the journey would be without loss–simply without loss of life.  It was  going to be a difficult cruise, but God promised to deliver all that were with Paul for Paul’s sake.

In our lives, we need to trust the Lord that has taken us through so many trials to continue to prepare, protect and provide for us.  We are never promised an easy journey, in fact, the opposite is true.  The Lord does promise to walk with us and, if we will allow, assist us in completing the mission for which we have been called.

We must keep moving forward and never long for what might have been.  Paul was so clear in Philippians 4: 11-13,”We must learn to be content–WHATEVER the circumstance.  Whether well fed or hungry living in plenty or in want–WE can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.”  The men on the ship would soon learn that principle in no uncertain terms.  My prayer is that I live it in my own life.

God Bless You


When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so, they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid, they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor[b] and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

Acts 26–Pressing on toward the Mark

Paul continued upon his journey toward Rome. This day Paul stood before regional leadership of Festus and Agrippa.  He was to defend his behavior transforming from being the former Jewish enforcer to becoming the proponent of changing the world for Christ.  Agrippa had listened to Paul before but, now the Roman leader Festus heard Paul speak of his transformation.  At the end of the day, not much was different.  


Remembering that Paul had a single purpose is critical.  He was not out to win his freedom.  He was out to reach Rome and change the World for Christ.  Festus called Him crazy.  Why would such a gifted scholar waste his time giving a simple testimony of how Christ changed his Life? Paul was clear–I am not crazy, I am simply telling How God changed me.  Festus responded by asking if He thought he could so quickly convert him.  Paul smiled and replied he was not concerned about when he was converted–JUST THAT he was converted. 

 
Then Festus made the golden statement–If he had not asked to see Caesar, He would be free to go! Point was that he did ask, and as such, to Caesar Paul would go.  God’s plan executed with precision.  Paul said in Philippians that the Philippians did not need to be worried about his imprisonment in Rome.  Because Paul was in chains it had become clear throughout the entire Praetorian guard and everyone else that he was in chains for Christ.  One can only imagine the number of instances that Paul gave the testimony he spoke to Festus.


In the charge of the light brigade, Tennyson writes, “Ours is not to reason why, ours is just to do or die!” As warriors for Christ, We, like Paul, must charge forward and face the enemy no matter the cost.  If we will, he will lose, and we will make a difference in the lives of our family and our community.  We made be called crazy, fanatical, or even criminal; but truth is we cannot help but to share the difference Christ has made in our lives.


God Bless You


“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests, I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so, I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Acts 22 Part 2–When a Roman, Do What Romans Do

We are uniquely prepared for our mission.  Paul was very outgoing about his mission.  He was uniquely placed by God to minister to the Gentiles and to change the paradigm of the Jewish community.  So, as he ventured across Asia and Greece, he had amazing success in building churches in cities that would change the world.  Well, when Paul returned, He was destined to be persecuted; and persecuted Paul was.

The Roman Legion in Jerusalem did not like the Jewish community.  They were quirky, rebellious, and hard to deal with.  Paul was causing a riot in the square and from the soldiers’ perspective, he was a rabble rouser himself.  Paul was dragged off to jail and was about to be beaten–when he told his accusers he was a naturalized Roman citizen.  That changed everything.  It was one thing to beat the nameless, faceless people of the empire’s occupied lands. It was another story to treat a Roman citizen shabbily–even when they were criminals.  Paul was uniquely Roman and Jewish giving him access to all things Roman–even the Emperor.  So, when Paul announced his citizenship, it began a set of events that would ultimately change the course of an empire.

We never quite know how God is going to use us.  The circles we run in, the jobs we do all impact certain people and communities that need Jesus and a person to introduce them.  Paul was such a person.  We are also such people.  If we would be willing to share our faith with those whom we encounter each day, Paul told us that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all Who would believe–both Jew and Gentile. 

We simply need to share Christ with those we meet and do life with.  We trust God to use His Spirit to change lives, all we can do is make the message known. Once we do, the world will take all its best shots to stop us.  But God promises that the Lord who calls us is faithful, and he will do it–prepare, protect, and provide what we need to complete the mission God has set for us.  Paul was a citizen of Rome, of Israel, and mostly of Heaven–So are we!!!

God Bless You


The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”

23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”

27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”

“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.

29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Acts 19 Part 1–Paul at Ephesus

Paul moved on from Corinth and ended up in Ephesus.  When He arrived in Ephesus he met up with some disciples.  They repented and accepted Christ, but only was baptised for repentence. Paul laid hands on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit. They immediately spoke in tongues and prophecied.  Paul continued his ministry and grew the church in Ephesus.  He had an amazing ministry and even healed people by touching handkerchiefs and aprons and sending them out.  It was great two year ministry and provided great growth and stability for the church and region.

 How important did the Church become? Well Timothy became the pastor for a time. Then the Apostle John became the pastor for a time and was finally exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote Revelations.  Interestingly, the first church John reviewed in revelations was the Church in Ephesus.  That church was known as a great church that did great things.  John told them that they had simply lost its first love. 

Ephesus was significant in the group of churches.  The Ephesians taught us that it is not what we accomplish that makes us a Christian; it is our faith that redeems us.  Our acts and traditions do not improve our standing with God, we simply need to trust and love the Lord with our hearts.  It is also Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that reminds us that “It is by faith we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves.  It is a gift from God not of works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.  The Church at Ephesus became a central church in the growth of the faith.  We see it was started because Paul continued his journey as God led Him.


God Bless You


While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 17 Part 2–God Created Man in His Image…

As the missionary journey continued, God was blessing the team with amazing success.  As is always the case, with that success came spiritual attacks.  So, Timothy and Silas put Paul on a boat to Greece and Paul landed in Athens.  While he was taking in the city, He made an amazing discovery.  These people who did nothing but sit around and search for meaning and purpose missed the one true source of both.  


Paul addressed the philosophers and noted that these people had fashioned gods for every thought or situation.  They had a God for every possible scenario. They even had a place for the unknown God.   Paul went on to explain that they could know the unknown God, and that would in-fact change their lives.  Some laughed at him, some simply pondered the notion as thinkers do, but there were some whose lives were changed.  


My old preacher used to say, God created man in His image, and men have been trying to return the favor ever since.  Paul was talking to a group of folks that had been trying to return the favor.  They wanted to make gods that fit their plan rather than follow the true Adonai and allow His plan to unfold and shape their lives.  Nothing has changed.


In our culture, we shape for ourselves gods that bring success, power, gratification, or any other self-perceived need we think we have.  Since we are the designer of our gods, they have no real value–yet, we worship them with an intensity that would transform anyone that directed the energy in serving the one true God.  Paul told these mighty philosophers and now tells us, “Use the wasted energy you expend upon your idols to seek the one true God; and get to know this ‘unknown’ God in your life.”  


If we would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all the other things we want, and need will be added to us.(Matt 6:33).  That was a promise from the Lord then and remains so now.  God is a gentleman, though. He will not force that upon us, we must follow willingly.  But, if we will, He will meet our needs, fill our spirit, and prepare us for an eternity with Him in Glory.  I think it well worth the effort to trust and follow the Lord!


God Bless You


14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.

Paul in Athens

16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Paul Addresses the Areopagus

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[c] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;[d]

as even some of your own poets have said,

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’[e]

29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Acts 16 Part 2–Big Changes, Big Conversions, and Big Battles

So, the Lord called the team to Macedonia. it was a new adventure far from the other cities they had ministered to.  When they landed in Philippi, the adventure continued.  It is interesting to note that this was the first instance where Luke spoke in the voice of first person.  in verse 11 Luke says WE made a direct voyage to Samothrace and in verse 12, WE remained in the city for several days. That is a significant change in perspective.  Luke was watching events unfold rather than reporting information he had gathered from others. 

 
Paul starts the adventure by leading a top businesswoman in the area to the Lord.  This would be a great thing in the days ahead.  Next, Paul freed a demon possessed girl, but in doing so, he cut off her owner’s income stream.  This, of course, caused much anger and retaliation.  Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed.  What was to happen next would be the beginning of a major revival. 

 
God continues to move and build in His way and time.  If we are faithful, we can be a part of what is happening.  Like Luke, we begin to see His plan in person, not just hear of God’s work from others.  With that, however, comes the spiritual battles that accompany spiritual activities. 

Knowing that, we must arm ourselves through prayer and study.  In addition, we must surround ourselves with fellow travelers to support our journey.  It was no coincidence that Dr. Luke accompanied Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  As Jesus told the crowds, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33.


God Bless You


11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[d] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16 Part 1–New Teammate and New Direction

Paul and Silas were sharing the Gospel boldly.  They came to Derby and Lystra and met Timothy.  Paul was drawn to Timothy and knew He would be a great leader in the Church.  So, Paul brought Timothy onto the team.  Timothy was half Jewish but had never been circumcised.  So, Paul had him circumcised so that he would be more effective in preaching to the Jewish people on their journey. 

It was ironic, since they had just established that circumcision was not a prerequisite to being saved or part of the Church.  Paul knew that it would save a lot of problems within the Jewish communities and give Timothy, a young preacher, one less issue to have to confront as he built up churches.

Paul was also intent to preach the Gospel to the people in Asia.  So far, God said not to preach there.  Every time Paul would start that way, God would stop Paul cold.  Paul was faithful and followed God’s lead. Paul simply preached wherever the Spirit led.  Then one night, Paul had a vision to go to Macedonia.  That vision was like a flag releasing Paul and the mission to expand the Church in a new direction.  Paul took off immediately.  

The Church was growing daily.  The men that God used to spread the Gospel would do whatever it took to lead as many as possible to the Lord. We must have that kind of boldness in our lives as well. We must be willing to make sacrifices, like Timothy, if that will open doors to lead people to Christ.  We must be willing to wait and listen for God’s prompting to move forward; even if we are excited to take on a challenge.  Sometimes, our timing and God’s simply do not align.  His timing, however, is always perfect! We cannot confuse our enthusiasm to help God’s mission with God’s prompting and leadership.  Our time in the word and in prayer will give us clarity and confidence as we move forward to serve Him.

God Bless You


 Paul[a] came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers[b] at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

The Macedonian Call

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul[c] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 15 Part 1–Jewish Law and Tradition Do Not Save US

A decision had to be made.  Clearly, God made the choice to spread the Gospel to both Jews and non-Jews.  Clearly the Holy Spirit was working in people’s lives even when they had not and would not follow Jewish law.,  This was causing an uproar inside the Jewish church and out on the road where Paul and Barnabus were on mission. So, all the leadership gathered and sought the Lord to decide the issue firmly and finally.  As they listened to Peter, Paul and Barnabus, it became clear that God was working in the Gentiles’ lives, without them conforming to Jewish law and tradition.


The decision was made by the Apostles and Elders that Gentiles need not follow Jewish Law to be saved.  They did need to live lives that Honor God–so no sexual sin and no practicing other heathen faith traditions.  But, trying to live up to Jewish law did not work for the Jews, and will not be demanded for the Gentiles.  This is what God made clear to the Church leadership and this is what the church has practiced ever since.


Men always want a to do list to show that their accomplishment somehow affects their holiness and salvation. God sent Christ because, try though they may, Men simply cannot live perfect lives and earn their salvation.  We are incapable of checking enough boxes or living perfect enough to overcome the sin in our lives and our desire to be in control.  God’s gift of salvation was wholly that, a gift.  It had no extra requirements.  Even now, we still try to do things to win favor with God, believing somehow, we will get some preferential treatment.  It is simply not the case.  Paul said it best, in Ephesians 2: 8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest, any man should boast.”


God Bless You


 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.[a] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
     and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant[b] of mankind may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
     says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

Acts 14 Part 2–Rock Star or Heretic, God is Still in Charge

People are fickle.  Paul and Barnabus were literally being treated like gods.  They preached the Gospel, healed the sick, and the crowd loved it…well they did until they didn’t.  Paul and Barnabus told the crowd to cut it out.  They were just normal guys, like the rest of the crowd.  They continued to point back to God not to themselves.  Well, somehow the Jewish leaders in the area used that to stir the crowd up and change their mood from deifying Paul to killing him.  The next thing that we read is that the crowd stone Paul to what seems to be death and dragged him out of the town.  That could not have been pleasant.

The disciples were crushed.  Their leader was dead…or was he? Nope! Paul stood up and went back into town preaching and training leaders for the churches in the area.  Dr. Luke does not share details, but stoning is not a form of execution that one can easily fake.  God healed Paul.  There is no telling the amount of damage their stoning would have done to Paul, but Paul rose, went back into town, and carried on as if nothing had transpired! That was a miracle.

Each time I read one of the amazing stories of healing, I am reminded of 2 things.  First, God does not promise this journey will be easy, pleasant, or painless.  As soldiers in battle, we must expect opposition to take many forms and be in our path.  Sometimes we can easily confront it and move on, but other times, it will seem life altering and overwhelming.  We cannot see any way to get past it.  It is those times when God shows Himself the most amazing.  He promises to prepare, protect, and provide for His own.  What form that may take is often different than we would hope or expect.  When we see God’s handiwork, however, we know without a doubt it was Him all along.

Paul did not gloat or draw attention to himself upon His return.  Instead, he and Barnabus simply continued the work of the Gospel.  No fanfare, no revenge–simply showing grace and love for the people in the churches that the men helped to establish.  As our Lord’s soldiers, we must remember that serving God is simply not about us.  Whether we are being courted as Rock stars or stoned as heretics; we must focus on the Lord and His mission for our lives.  If we will, He will be glorified, and we will be blessed!

God Bless You


14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14 Part 1–From Serving to Being God???

Paul and Barnabus were on a roll.  People were coming to the Lord from all walks of life .Jews, Greeks were all coming forward and following the Gospel.  The Jewish leaders and Greek religious leaders became angered and built-up resistance and tried to have the men tortured and killed.  No worries, Paul and Barnabus moved on. They went to Lystra and were preaching when Paul connected with a man that had been crippled from birth.  He told the man to stand up and the man did he was marching around healed.  It was great, well it was until the people started worshipping Paul and Barnabus…

The men were doing what they were supposed to do and living like Christ.  They were doing it for God’s glory, and He was blessing it.  Then, as men will, the people quit worshipping God and started worshipping His messengers.  It literally broke Paul and Barnabus’ hearts.  They wanted no recognition or glory, they simply wanted to provide the Gospel to people so that they would worship God.  They pleaded with the people to stop, but they would not hear of it.

This happens so much in our time as well.  Great preachers set out to fulfill their Christ centered mission and are amazingly effective.  Then as their message resonates, they become Rock stars.  They do not set out to become celebrities, it is a simple by product of representing God effectively.  Sadly, more times than not, this causes the preachers and evangelists to lose sight of the mission and begin to believe the HYPE.  When that occurs, not only do they lose their effectiveness, but often they are destroyed. 

The enemy loves the opportunity to set them on their own pedestals only to knock that pedestal out from under them at just the right time.  We need to pray for our pastors and leaders.  We need to help them to be effective but also pray that the enemy not be able to sift them like wheat.  It is our prayers and support that will allow great men of God to be effective and unaffected by a world and church looking for Super heroes.

God Bless You


 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.[a] So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[b] 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds