Reading with the Pastor
Acts 18 and Psalm 24
Too much Starbucks coffee too late in the day, so now it is nearly 2 AM and my mind is wide awake. I’m learning not to resent or regret these mistakes in judgment. There is an undistractedness to these hours that lets the heart soar and mind explore new territory.
Acts 18 highlights and thoughts:
- Paul starts on his third missionary journey in this chapter.
- When Silas and Timothy join Paul in Corinth, Paul begins to devote himself to the preaching of the word exclusively. Previous to their arrival he preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath but busied himself with mending tents to pay for his room and board until they arrived. Good picture of teamwork. Perhaps they (Timothy and Silas) worked to pay their way so that Paul was freed to preach.
- Paul is bluntly decisive when the majority of Jews in the synagogue blaspheme and resist the gospel (vs. 6). I wonder if there are not times in today’s world, even here in the USA where we labor fruitlessly too long and refuse to be as free as Paul was to move on to people groups and locations that are more responsive to the gospel?
- Verses 12-17 are perhaps the surest way to date the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Corinth and from there, to estimate all of the dates in the book of Acts. Gallio was pro-counsel in Achaia for only two years, A.D. 51-52. It serves the N.T. like Solomon’s death (931 B.C) in the O.T.
- Paul never wavers from a consistent strategy. The synagogue and the Jews first (vs. 19) and then to the Gentiles. I wonder what Paul would think of churches that change up their strategy to reach the lost every other month? I suspect he would be puzzled!
- The only real port in Roman times in Israel was at Caesarea due to the building genius of the obscenely wicked Herod the Great. When Paul arrived there he had quite a trek to make it back to his home church in Antioch in the north to give his report on how the second missionary journey went (vs. 22).
- I suspect Apollas knew more than John did during his ministry in the early years of the Messiah’s sojourn but it is also possible that Apollas knew only a bit more than “He who was to come” calling out the witness of Isaiah, –another “voice crying in the wilderness.” Clearly, the Scriptures that he was “mighty in” (vs. 24 28) were the OT law and the prophets.
A reflection on Psalm 24
(especially on verses 1-2)
(Trigger Warning: Bad free verse but a part of The Poetry Project: Don’t expect art. Expect honesty.)
Just a Prayer Shouting Joy
There is joy in thoughts of You.
Not the superficial or fleeting thought,
Not the unexamined or base thought,
But the roots-of-the-mountain thought,
that dares to gaze at the depths of Your greatness.
Everything I see is Yours.
More than that,
Everything, visible and invisible is Yours.
The fullness of it all,
The completeness of it all,
It was all created by You and for You and declares You.
Others claim it and name it and clutch it.
But all of its fullness,
all of its richness,
all of its mystery,
all of its beauty,
all of its complexity,
all of its tantalizing wonders are Yours.
The ones who dwell here,
Me and them, all of them, all of us,
We are ALL Yours!
You put us where we are.
You determined our boundaries.
Those neighbors on my right and the ones on the left too,
You placed them as much as me.
And in them, You give me a people,
to be a brother’s keeper.
O God of wonders,
O Christ who is all and in all,
Who made all that I see.
Help me to know
That You are the King of Glory.
2:40 AM. Maybe the Spirit will let me sleep now. Have a great Tuesday.
Go to Psalm 25