Tuesday, July 23, 2013

going new places

Good morning friends,
Today's reading is interesting, first because of the direct guidance about travel that Paul experiences. The text doesn't give any reason why they were "forbidden" by God to preach in Asia, but the vision of the Macedonian man is a key image for missionaries everywhere. The other part of this passage that intrigues me is that in Philippi, instead of going to a synagogue on the Sabbath like he usually does, Paul goes outside the city to a place he thinks people might pray. I see this as a progression in the ministry to the gentiles; Paul isn't just looking for gentiles who already worship God. It's also a reminder that if we want to reach people, we need to go where they are, not just where we are most comfortable.

God bless,

Acts 16:6-15
6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.

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