77. The First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1-14:28).
I can’t imagine how many times in my life I have read this passage, but it’s been a while. In some ways it seems like a random account of Paul’s missionary journeys: Paul goes here, Paul goes there. This happens, that happens. Not quite so random, though. My son Tim tells me that the Book of Acts shows how the spread of the gospel unfolds geographically. You know Acts 1:8 well by now, don’t you? “…in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Well, now we are going to the ends of the earth with Paul. The ends of the earth as he knew it anyway.
The book unfolds biographically, too. The first part of the book of Acts tells more about Peter’s ministry to the Jews, and at this point (ch.13) the focus goes to Paul and his ministry to the Gentiles. But who is the real main character of the Book of Acts? It’s God. This is not so much a passage about what Paul is doing, as it is about what the Holy Spirit is doing. Though the Suncrest mission statement says that we want to be used by God to change lives, that could have been the mission statement for Paul’s life as well! It is God who is at work in the Book of Acts, in a mighty way, and he used the church to get his work done.
And folks, we are the church. God might not be calling you to the uttermost parts of the earth, but he is calling you next door or down the street. He is calling you to share your heart with your “one,” the neighbor, co-worker, or family member who needs his unconditional grace. Pray for opportunities and pray for open minds and open hearts. The early church did not pray for ease and comfort, they prayed for boldness and power. Let’s do the same!
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