Before You Begin: Read Acts 11:19-36
The Church in Antioch
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. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 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. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 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.
Stop and Consider: Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
Questions Asked of Me: What experiences have you had with people who take bold risks to share the faith of the gospel? Do they make you feel guilty? Annoyed? Suspicious? Challenged?
I hear great things that great people are doing in not so great areas; just to get Jesus’ name out there. I even hear great things about everyday people doing amazing things in not so great areas; and yet it wasn’t me. I feel challenged but am I challenged enough to do something about it? Every time I don’t think it possible to do something; that dang Jesus shows up and points out exactly how I can do something. I love writing this blog but sometimes I feel it is me being transparent but in a safe place. I know the people looking at this blog are Christians or open to the idea of Christianity but am I sharing my faith of the gospel with others I am not so sure about?
I have. I think I did that this time last year but it isn’t something you put on a “To Do” list and once it is done you don’t have to worry about approaching it again and I know that… but what am I doing about it.
I have a secret to reveal in my “Detour” section that follows. Soooo excited. A bit “renegade” ….but excited.
What kind of difference would you love to see your church make in your community? How could you be part of God’s plan in following through on this desire?
I wish I could answer this question but being SUPER new to the community of “Nineveh” and even newer to my church, I wouldn’t have a clue what to hope or pray for. BUT…. I have committed to Jesus to be part of his plan by simply getting “plugged in” as quickly as we have, but I can’t take credit for any of it.
A phone call to an area church before moving here just because I can see it from our apartments was purely logistical. A visit to a larger church like what we were used to was by design and comfort level and just enough for my husband Robbe in the six months before I followed him here; Jesus’ involvement behind the scenes for each scenario of course.
But, getting plugged in was a necessity and one I ‘think” I would have followed up on for sure. Just as I said I was going to call the church office I phoned before moving here… but I didn’t get around to it. Jesus decided not to leave it to chance and must have gotten tired of waiting because she “just happened” to call me this afternoon; following up. Of course she was.
Needless to say, I don’t know the needs of the community and I don’t know what our new church is or is not doing….yet. But I DO know that we are now connected with the right people at the right church and are committed to doing what we need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. AND, if that benefits others in the community…. Even better.
Those who took God’s Word to the streets remind us that adversity gives our faith a place to shine. What can you do to keep your faith sharp in advance of its greatest challenges? How can you ensure that struggles will not lead you to doubt but to daring deeds?
It is my opinion that the best thing we can do to keep our faith sharp is to stay connected with those that are looking to do the same thing. “Although one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
Just as I went down a bad path by following the wrong people, it is nearly guaranteed to be a good path when following the right people; or perhaps even leading…depending on the situation and the plan that Jesus has laid out before us. Another way to deter struggles leading to doubt instead of daring deeds is to be transparent in what we are going through with friends Jesus has put in our path. If we are encouraged and also do the encouraging; we can be stronger together for His purpose instead of isolation and doubt. I am excited at the opportunity and to prove this theory with the new people Jesus continues to put in my path daily….even in Nineveh. =)
Detour: When asked before about people taking bold risks, sharing the faith of the gospel I answered that I felt challenged, and I do… but I also don’t feel prepared to meet the challenge; or so I thought. I was asked to write an inspirational, business driven blog about Avon; being a new Representative. I wrote the blog and will continue to do so but it has taken a direction all its own.
For me, being an Avon representative is more than playing dress up and that is the gist of my blog in its entirety. I am going to be blogging beauty tips, product information, business hints, and inspiration; inside and out. As I wrote the first blog something began to happen…. Jesus showed up and reminded me that this was yet another opportunity that He had put in my path; an opportunity to make new friends in my area, offer them great skin care and makeup products, and share the opportunity of becoming a representative and begin their own home business. BUT what I didn’t realize was that this new blog was also going to be an opportunity to share the faith of the gospel to those that may not already have a relationship with Him. What??
No one was more surprised than me but when I wrote my second blog today it hit me. The one book that I turn to for advice, proof, and confirmation for my Avon business AND in real life is the bible. I was assigned to read a book on inspiration and business and share what I learned with other Avon representatives for them to improve their “business” as well.
This is more than improving businesses but a way that Jesus has given to me to be bold and take a risk. I have been given this challenge that I didn’t think I was ready for but Jesus seems to think that Nineveh and Avon are the best ways for me to practice living boldly for Him so I am doing just that.
Who knows? Maybe this blog that is written for Avon can reach someone that is looking for success. Someone that is struggling with more than selling makeup and skin care but looking for answers in all the books except for the one I use daily. If just one person reads and gets something more than beauty tips from this other blog (www.morethanplayingdressup.blogspot.com ), I am certain that Jesus won’t quit challenging me with other opportunities to take risks for Him.
Praying God’s Word Today: We are aware, Lord, that during times of hardship and cultural deception, the people who know their God will be strong and take action. Those who are wise among the people will give understanding to many (Daniel 11:32-33). May we not be those who are lulled to sleep by the times or driven to despair. May we instead be like warriors in battle trampling down the mud of the streets, fighting because You, Lord, are with us (Zechariah 10:5).
I know that there are many people going through many things. I know that you want those that have a relationship with You and have put our faith in You to show them a way out by living as a Christian. Thank you for the challenges and opportunities that you have given to me lately. I am scared of the unknown but know that You would not put me in a position that You are not already there.
The things that I have gone through in the past are not a shame to You but proof of what You can do with ANYONE. Please continue to give me the strength You give and remind me that no matter what we have gone through, those that call ourselves Christians were not given the gift of Your love and salvation to keep to ourselves but to share with those that are unaware of what is out there.
I am ready to take some risks and live boldy for You; more boldly than I think I have been by just “preaching to the choir”. Thank You for trusting me with those that are still lost as I was and for allowing me the chance to make a difference for You.