Preaching is important. People need the sustaining Word of God not the tepid moralizing of topical advice, but the authoritative preaching of the living Word of God.
Our world needs heralds of the gospel who take the stance of an ambassador of a King and offer the truth of God rather than the smarmy salve of the ancient (and false) shepherds of Israel as expressed in Ezekiel 34:4-5.
“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside,
where we supposed there was a place of prayer,
and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.” (Acts 16:13, ESV)
There was intentionality to Paul’s visit to the riverside, “we supposed there was a place of prayer.“Ten men was the threshold for a Jewish synagogue and apparently, there was too small a Jewish population for a synagogue presence in the city. The custom was that without such a gathering place, Jews and proselytes would gather near a river on the Sabbath for prayer. Paul knows this custom and intentionally heads to the riverside “supposing” he would find a gathering of believers in the true God.
From the description in Acts, it is likely that there were …
only women gathered
perhaps only a few women gathered, and
possibly, only or mostly, Jewish proselytes gathered.
So the scene is quite possibly, Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke, near a riverside in a Roman city on a Saturday (Sabbath) morning when the gospel first comes to Europe on the second missionary journey of Paul. But notice, they are there by intention. They are looking for an opportunity and they simply sat down and began to talk to the women who had gathered there.
Three dynamic simplicities:
They were intentional.
They were looking for an opportunity.
They were available for the Spirit to use them.
Where are the places of opportunity where you can be intentional and available to the Spirit of God today so that lives might be changed for eternity? What might happen in your community if you began to pray and look for these opportunities to be available to God?
“Lord, why do we need to wait until tomorrow? Make us boldly intentional in our lives today. for your glory and our neighbors joy, in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.”
Sometime today, carve out some time to think about those you know who are hurting because of a betrayal, an unfaithfulness, a disappoint of some kind. Pray for those who have survived through great loss in Oklahoma. Pray for them and ask God to wrap his arms around them and tell them “you shall have spring again” because the Sacrificed Lamb is the Soon and Coming King.
Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD. Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law. Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O LORD, and keep your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.
Lord, You, the God of All Comfort, have graciously and generously provided Your Word for my comfort and guidance. My heart overflows with gratitude, knowing that as I listen to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I will live in the region of righteousness, peace and joy that is life in Your Kingdom.
One of my principal challenges is to come to You for wisdom and guidance in all situations, no matter how minor, before setting off on my own course of action. Lord, help me to learn this lesson.
John Nunnikhoven is a member of The Fellowship of Ailbe and has begun working toward what, Lord willing, will become a re-awakening of the Church as a body directed into living the Kingdom in the here and now as it awaits the yet to come. John is another online friend who I have come to appreciate. Have a great Lord’s Day.
Enjoying a visit with an unsung hero of this generation, Terry Ivy. A man mighty in faith and obedience who God has quietly used to effect the planting of 44 churches in the 10-40 Window of India in just the last 18 months. Thousands have been converted and are being deployed to plant new churches and proclaim the gospel, often in the midst of significant persecution. Praise God for such servants and may God raise up hundreds more like him from our midst.
Visit his blog atTerryIvy.comfor spiritual direction, nurture and a God-exalting vision for life.