Acts 19 When there is spiritual revival

Acts 19
When there is spiritual revival there will be ..
Disciples who are growing, v1-5
The gospel being shared effectively, v8-10
The acts of God, v11-12
The honouring of the name of Jesus, v13-17
An increase of the price to pay, v18-19
Those will be the signs.

Journeys of Life Acts 20: 1-12 To the Je

Journeys of Life
Acts 20: 1-12
To the Jewish mind as they read of Paul’s travels and the journey of the Gospel they would also be thinking of another journey parallel to this. The travel story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt into the Promised Land. To those from a Gentile life they would know all too well of the 2 great travel stories of the ancient world, The Odyssey and the Ilyiad.
Homer wrote a story of Odysseus who returned home from the Trojan war travelling from one place to the next with all of lifes ups and downs. The other, Ilyiad, is a similar war journey of personal battle and struggle.
Here is Paul, the new hero, on a journey. And the story connects with the reader who even 2 centuries later are on a similar journey of life.

Our journey of life involves:
1. Relationships with people
• Where we have been the encouragers, v1,2,12.
The word is paraklesis, which means to appeal through exhortation to comforting and consoling.
• Where we have people accompanying us, v4-5
Paul did not work alone. He is a team player and a builder of teams.
Our experience in our journey is that of all kinds of people accompanying us along the way.

2. Responding to the ups and downs
• We have known what it is to be threatened, v3. For Paul, we are not told the nature of the plot but can rightly assume it is not only to harm him but also to take the money.
• We have faced life’s many accidents, v7
The story of a young man called Eutychus.

3. Focusing on His resurrection.
• The resurrection is everything to us
Eutychus’ resurrection was the church’s reminder that Jesus was indeed the resurrection and the life. This passage is speaking loud and clear from beginning to the end of resurrection.
• Resurrection means we know when its not over, v10
Pauls declaration is a reminder that even though something appears over and finished, only God is the announcer of such things.

Mission needs relationships Acts 18 We a

Mission needs relationships
Acts 18
We all need to have people in our lives.
As I write this today I am thankful to be staying in a home of a couple who over the years have been the Aquila and Priscilla of my life. They pray for me and cheer me on. They don’t need to do this as they’re not family with those kind of responsibilities but they do it because they believe in me.
We all need friendship-partners in the work, people pursuing the same cause, people wanting us to succeed in God v2-3
One horse can move 2 tons of weight. But two horses in harness, working together, can move 23 tons of weight.
Partners pick up the weight and accept responsibility for it. They may be your marriage partners or simply your friend. Paul would later write of his partners and call them ‘fellow-soldiers’ Romans 16:3
There are three levels of relationships: acquaintances who have contact only occasionally; core friends who you know by name and see regularly; then there are intimate friends who are woven together and deeply involved in our lives.
There are some that are only friends for the sunshine, it takes the clouds of life to blow them away and then you are left with your true friends. Adversity, mistakes and failures will prove your true friend.
Friendships must be worked at and before the crisis occurs.
If you haven’t drawn people into your life then don’t blame them when crisis strikes and they are not there.
If you have an Aquila and Priscilla thank them today! If not, ask God for such people, you need them in mission.

The Bible and Mission Acts 17: 10-15 In

The Bible and Mission
Acts 17: 10-15
In this reading we find Paul is in a place called Berea with his Bible in hand, preaching from the Bible, proving Christ is the Messiah from the Bible. The Old Testament scriptures played a big part in Paul’s ministry.
And in this backwater of a place called Berea he found people who were more advanced than the Thessalonians in that they were noble or open-minded to the Bible, they received the message of the Bible with great eagerness and they examined the Bible for themselves every day.
The purpose of our life is to be re-shaped into the likeness of Jesus. Every sermon, book, every Bible verse we read , conference we attend , experience we have can be used by God to teach us how to grow in Him.
There is a cartoon of Charlie Brown at the beach building a magnificent sand castle. When he had completed it, he stands back and admires his masterpiece. Suddenly there is a downpour of rain and it flattens his brilliant structure.
The last caption Charlie Brown is looking at the leveled ground and he says, “There must be a lesson here, but I don’t know what it is”.
Let that not happen to us!
Are we open-minded to be taught from the Bible the lessons of life? And will the Bible teach us to be open-minded to the Spirit leading us in our life?
I hope the answers are YES

God will guide you Acts 16 • The obvious

God will guide you
Acts 16

• The obvious way is not always the right way.
It was the most natural thing for this missions team from where they were to look south-west along a famous Roman road called the via Sebaste toward Asia. Surely this is the way to take.
But the natural choice was the wrong choice.

• We need to trust the bigger picture that we cannot see.
Moving north-west they try to enter Bithnyia but again they cannot. But surely Bithynyia needed the gospel? It did and it received it apparently: 1 Peter 1:1 Peter took the gospel there.
Perhaps the Spirit was saying “No leave this for Peter”. But Paul at the time didn’t know this, he had to trust the bigger picture.
Sometimes God has to say no and you cant see why, there is no explanation, and you have to trust that it is serving the bigger picture. One day you will step back and see how your life was part of a wonderful tapestry that God had out together.

• When one door closes another opens
Everyone knows the closed door experiences and the hurt it causes.
Particularly when you have given time and effort to something. Paul had travelled south-east to north-west by a strange circular route. He can’t get into Asia and he can’t get into Bithynia. But they were to learn that when God closes doors it is only to open others.
The door that opens is not only a miracle, a circumstantial move of God, but it can be through thinking together corporately, mulling over a situation, reaching a communal mind. This is what the word in v10 ‘concluding’ has its meaning in.

Today someone reading this will need to know the truth that God is guiding her.

I think Paul was right Acts 15 This was

I think Paul was right
Acts 15
This was a tough mission. His second missionary journey was already proving difficult with abuse and stonings etc. he didn’t need John leaving him.
This was a mission needing perseverance. It was Jesus who said don’t put your hand to the plough and then look back.
This was a mission that received support. In v40 good people from the church at Antioch were endorsing Paul.
Paul was right not to take John Mark, this was a tough mission, a mission calling for perseverance and it seemed plenty people supported him.
He should have been listened to.

I think Barnabas was right.
He had invested so much in Paul. He had introduced Paul to the apostles. He had travelled to Tarsus to then open the door for Paul to preach. He had stepped aside to let Paul become the leader of the missions journey even though he had originally been the leader.
He believed in God’s grace. He believed in the God of the second chance.
He should have been listened to.

Paul was right. Barnabas was right.
The worst of arguments happen when both people are right.
You can be so right, the holder of the truth, justified before God and men. Yet how you handle the truth, how you conduct yourself with that truth will determine whether you remain in the right.

Mission truths Acts 14 Effectiveness and

Mission truths
Acts 14

Effectiveness and trouble can exist side by side, v1-2
Watch out for disappointment coming during a time of success.

The gospel can birth faith to enable what has never been done v9-10
Just because something has never happened does not mean it will not.

What you try and rescue people from could end up trying to trap you, v11-15
Not every attack of the enemy is painful, flattery can be his strongest weapon.

You may flee the enemy but the enemy can follow, v6, 19.
Freedom is sometimes only found in the valley of the shadow of death.

It is only courage that will take you back to where you have been expelled, threatened and stoned, v21.
Commitment to people will continue to drive you forward.

Mission goes forward. Acts 13 Why did Jo

Mission goes forward.
Acts 13
Why did John return to Jerusalem?
We learn later how Paul saw the severity of this referring to it as desertion.
So was it because of fear for being a missionary?
Was John simply homesick?
Or did he have a problem with Paul’s leadership?
We are not told, just that he returned home.
Luke teaches us that it is not always necessary to air our dirty washing in public or other people’s for that matter. Just say what needs to be said. Sometimes less is better. Not everyone needs to know the details.
In actual fact when fewer people know the reasons for the failure then it is easier when the fallen is restored as John Mark was.
Just say the bare facts and move on.

But the church was praying … Acts 12 S

But the church was praying …
Acts 12
Some Christians had been arrested … but the church was praying.
Christians were facing persecution … but the church was praying.
Their leader, James, was martyred … but the church was praying.
Apostle Peter was captured … but the church was praying.
Peter was in prison … but the church was praying.
The angel of The Lord came to Peter … but the church was praying.
Chains fell off Peter … but the church was praying.
Peter was led out of the prison … but the church was praying.
Peter was knocking on the door of the church … but the church was praying.
Peter kept on knocking on the door … but the church was praying.
The church needs to know when to stop praying as much as when to pray.
Sometimes we talk too much.

Prejudice needs breaking Acts 11 Prejudi

Prejudice needs breaking
Acts 11

Prejudice will blind you to what is the most important matter.
When Peter arrives with the good news of household salvation what was he faced with?
Questioning over why he had entered a Gentiles home and what he had eaten!
What concerned them was not the baptism of the first Roman soldier but the sudden break with the unquestioned way of life!
They were blinded.

Prejudice makes us act like we are God
It leads us into the most desperate of sins, that of taking His name in vain, assuming and declaring He is saying what He is indeed not saying. God does not always believe what we believe in.

Prejudice keeps us outside of being able to influence.
v3 and v12 they went into the house!
Influence was inside not outside the Gentiles house.
God did not speak a message to us outside of the house. But “He was in the world.” Up close and personal. Who with? Us! Mankind, the sinner. He was the incarnation of God. God in flesh. God came into our home. The holy entered the unholy and influenced it forever.

Prejudice keeps us opposed to the Spirit of change.
v12 The Spirit told me (to change) …
v17 who was I to think I could oppose God (I had to change, will you?)

Broken prejudice welcomes the Spirit of blessing
v17 As I began to speak (Pentecost happened all over again!)
There is no mission with prejudice.