Friday, August 27, 2010

behind the scenes

As I read through the book of Acts and watch the amazing "actions" of the early church apostles and leaders I realize that the real excitement comes from "behind the scenes".  The miracles of healing, deliverance from prison and coming to faith all have a Heavenly source...a spark plug in eternity.  They aren't the actions of men.  Men are the instruments of God.  But it is a beautiful thing to see the harmony that can occur when men are in close relationship, and committed obedience, to the living God.  In chapter 13 we see Paul and Barnabas embark on the first missionary journey.  It is interesting to consider how the journey began.  We see that the church in Antioch was Paul's base.  In that church were a mix of people, with different and complementary gifts, including prophets and teachers.  They were in the practice of regular worship, corporate prayer and fasting.  Their attitude of worship was that they were "ministering to the Lord".  I often think that we consider worship God's ministry to us.  It was as they were in the midst of corporate worship that the Holy Spirit  spoke and directed Barnabas and Saul (Paul) to be sent out on the first missionary trip.  Once again, the church prayed and fasted and participated by laying hands on these two.  And the Holy Spirit led them specifically to the island of Cyprus and into some challenging frontiers of preaching and presentation of the Gospel.  I think the challenge that emerges to me is to see the benefit of worship.  We minister to the Lord and He ministers through us.  We don't "figure out" the Lord's will...we follow Him...just as the disciples followed Jesus.  It is as if the Lord is telling us that if we will make Him the object of our greatest affection, He will share His affection through us.  The wonder of worship is its solidification of our two-way relationship with the God who would bring eternity to natural men.
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Rob Smith

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