Pastor Adam taught on the 16th chapter of Acts, comparing the 3 incidents from this second missionary journey to “postcards” or “Instagram” postings. Luke (who wrote the gospel of Luke) recorded the incidents that he, Paul, Silas and Timothy experienced as they travelled through ancient Macedoni. Adam encouraged us to see these missionary journeys not as simply a history lesson, but to enter the readings looking for the character of God and for what the Holy Spirit might be saying to you personally and individually.
The three “postcards” written by Luke which recorded the important incidences from this journey can be summarized as follows: 1) To the affluent, who seem to have everything all together in their lives, the missionary team shared Christ boldly; 2) To the lower class and more marginalized and abused, the missionary team demonstrated justice; 3) To the middle class and working class, the missionary team lived selflessly.
INVITATION: Join us this week in Acts 16 as we travel with Luke, Paul, Silas and Timothy looking for where God might use them. The love of God is waiting to soften and open hearts all around you and all around me. Where might God give YOU an opportunity this week to share boldly when nudged, or stand up for someone who cannot do so for themselves, or live selflessly?
MONDAY: Acts 16:6-10: How have you experienced God’s call or God’s guidance during your life? Perhaps through a dream like the one Paul had? Through “closed doors” such as this missionary team experienced in these verses? How do you discern the voice of God along life’s path? As you listen prayerfully to the people, places and events in your life right now, where can you hear God? What responses are you ready to make?
TUESDAY: Acts 16:11-15: Lydia was affluent and doing well for herself. From these verses, it appears she had a spiritual hunger and God opened her heart to Paul’s message. How open is your heart to the things of God and to the things He might desire in your life? How open are you to share with others what God has done in your life? Do you ever pray for God to give you opportunities to share with others? Are you willing to be bold and pray such a prayer and then be on the lookout for availability and opportunity?
WEDNESDAY: Acts 16:16-18: These verses record a supernatural event which occurred during the missionary journey. This “slave girl” was being used and abused by others in order to make money for them. The missionary team was open to helping people be set free both spiritually and socially, even knowing there could be resistance. Doing justice can often lead to persecution and pain. Are you willing to follow God even in the presence of possible hardship?
THURSDAY: Ephesians 6:12 & John 10:10: Have you even considered that “your struggle is not against flesh and blood” and that the evil one seeks “to steal, kill and destroy” you? What is your attitude about things in the supernatural realm? Do you believe them? Do you consider such things in your prayer life and for the prayers of your loved ones?
FRIDAY: Acts 16:19-24: The slave girl’s masters were angry and seized Paul and Silas, taking them to authorities where they were stripped and “severely flogged.” They weren’t just taken to prison, but to the “inner cell.” The worst of the worst of prison cells. What is your attitude toward God when unfair things happen in your life? What feels like a prison cell in your life right now? Have you asked for God’s help with it? Can you turn it over to Him?
SATURDAY: ACTS 16:25-40: In spite of following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Paul and Silas were imprisoned. Rather than sulking and being bitter, they were “praying and singing hymns to God.” Are you able to lean into God when things don’t go as planned in your life? Are you able to reframe things into the realm of possibility that God uses even unfair, unjust and even evil things to have good come from them? God is still in the business of making “beauty from ashes” (Isaiah 61). Are there some “ashes” in your life you might turn over to God’s care? How might you use this incredible “postcard” experience from Paul and Silas as motivation to live selflessly this week? At work? Within your marriage and family?