Acts 18:1-11 Video Devotional

“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” (Acts 18:1-11)

To me, it is fascinating to connect Biblical dots, so to speak. It’s fun to see Paul’s time in Corinth told through the book of Acts and then see Paul’s heart come through the letters to that church. He put a lot of effort into those people! He even took on a bi-vocational role to spend the time in Corinth that he did – the trade of tentmaking. Speaking from personal experience, bi-vocational ministry is difficult! Putting that much time and effort into something, especially something that can’t pay the bills, shows the importance and value he placed on his ministry role in Corinth. That’s saying a lot, and when the Jews had enough of him and reviled him for his work, even that didn’t stop him from his ministry.

He just turned and put his focus on the Greeks. Following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Paul planted an amazing church through bi-vocational efforts and relentless dedication. And yet he wasn’t alone. I love what God told him in the vision – I have many in this city who are my people – as this quickly became a community and family project. Both Jews and Greeks, men and women; people from all aspects of life came together, worked together, played together, and argued together in building up this church family.

This story puts real skin on what Paul says in 1 Corinthians – he planted, Apollos watered, but it was God who caused the growth. And He used regular people just like us working together. I hope this encourages you as much as it does me.

Acts 17:22-28 Video Devotional

“So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” (Acts 17:22-28)

This sermon is incredible in so many ways. What Paul does in reaching out to the Greek people is brilliant in both its efficacy as well as its poetry. What I love most about it is the introduction. Quickly and powerfully, Paul connects to his listeners with softness and respect. He acknowledges their different beliefs and doesn’t chide them for it, but honors them instead, recognizing their tomb to the unknown God and turning that into a positive strategy by offering to introduce them to that unknown God.

He spoke to them in their interests, culture and ways. So much today we tell people how they are wrong. We speak in memes, highlighting our point-of-view at the expense of others. We criticize and tear down so that we can build our argument. Paul brought peace instead of challenge, consideration instead of criticism and love instead of hate. This is a perfect example of being a peacemaker. Though some mocked him, others believed, but it was overall accepted by the Athenians. They listened and respected.

Amazing how this came from a man known for being a wrecking ball! It goes to show the value of being a peacemaker.

Acts 17:10-15 Video Devotional

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.” (Acts 17:10-15)

The church in Berea does not get much “screen time” in the Bible, yet their value to all churches and individual Christians should be crystal clear. As much confidence as we have in our training and experience, no pastor has ALL the right answers. In fact, we should be acknowledging with humility every day that we may not be right in our exposition. That’s a much better position to put oneself in when trying to exposit and teach a Biblical interpretation – remember, the only one with the completely correct interpretation is the One.

That said, good pastors work through the scriptures daily, seeking to go deep and discover God’s truth for themselves as part of their own journey, and many of us come up with solid, faithful teaching as a result. Yet, that is not enough for any particular church or individual believer. Each and every one of us believers need to be searching the scriptures on our own and praying for understanding through the Spirit and learning as much as we can. Do not just be a listener or spectator, jump into the game and learn on your own. Grow discernment and desire knowledge that leads to wisdom.

Just like the Jews that came to Berea to try and mess everyone up, that strategy is employed by the enemy today (think health and wealth gospel) over and over again. The ones who stay true and learn for themselves are the churches/individuals who will be best equipped to endure to the end and combat against the lies. So, in short, pick up your Bible and study! Have a great afternoon 🙂

Acts 16:25-34 Video Devotional

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” (Acts 16:25-34)

Definitely not the first jail rescue performed by the Holy Spirit, but a very interesting one, to say the least. Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi after removing an evil spirit from a slave girl. They were beaten and thrown in prison; jailed in stocks. And then the two men prayed and sang hymns. Talk about an attitude of obedience!

The Holy Spirit breaks them out with an earthquake, but then a curious thing happens. Before the guys get out of the jail, they see the guard prepare to kill himself over his “failure”. Instead of running (the seemingly wise choice), they stayed provided a physical and spiritual rescue for the jailer. He then leads them to his house where his whole family gets saved.

Think about a situation you were in that you couldn’t wait to get out of. And then you had your chance to get out. Would you have stayed in for the benefit of the one who was holding you there? Paul and Silas nearly sacrificed themselves for the salvation of this man and his family. Talk about confidence in God! Paul was so confident in God’s plan that he didn’t think for one minute about himself or his safety, but about bringing peace to the enemy.

Would you be willing to risk your freedom (or your life) for someone who could be considered an enemy? That should be a difficult question to answer. But Paul showed us the way – not by our might, not by our power, but by His Spirit. Trusting in Christ is our only way to live with that kind of confidence in God and His plan.

Acts 16:11-15 Video Devotional

“So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 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. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:11-15)

Luke’s travel journals tell a much larger story than sometimes we think. Acts 16 is a good example of that – the story of Lydia’s conversion actually tells the first documented story of a person coming to Christ in Europe! Talk about an incredible legacy! Lydia’s not responsible for the entire continent’s Christianization, but being the first convert and providing an open door for more ministry is certainly a great start for a continent that holds some HUGE moments of history (good and bad) for our faith.

You have probably heard me say this before, but we are seeing as we walk through Acts a very clear recurring theme of God not showing partiality to genders, races, ethnic types, etc… God’s desire is that ALL people would know Him, and he is happy to highlight truly different people in some amazing and vitally important stories. From the Ethiopian on the road, to Timothy’s lineage and now Lydia (to name a few), God clearly has His sights set on men and women of all nations, economic status and backgrounds.

What does that mean for us? It means our witness should be much bigger than our friends who are just like us. It means that we should be friends with all different types of people, allowing God opportunity to use us for His glory to whomever He desires to bring onto your path. Are you friends with people who aren’t like you? Maybe someone of a different race or nationality? Or how about a different political persuasion? Or someone who has made significantly different lifestyle choices?

I hope that answer is “yes”, and I hope and pray that God uses you to share His love (as opposed to “His rules”).

Acts 16:1-5 Video Devotional

“Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:1-5)

During Paul’s second missionary journey, he comes to the towns of Lystra and Derbe, thereby meeting a young man of a Jewish mother (who was a believer) and a Greek father. Meeting the dear, gentle-spirited Timothy, Paul was moved to bring him along and disciple Timothy into a young leader. We hear much about this young man in scripture and although he faces some intense trials and almost quits his post (some could argue he did leave his post) as the pastor in Ephesus. Yet, he led a fruitful, victorious life and (according to sources) died a martyr for Jesus.

One of the cool things to learn about Timothy is his maternal heritage. Both his mother and grandmother are named in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:5) as his Christian legacy. They led by example and gave him a torch to pick up and run with. When Timothy was struggling, this legacy of women served as a reminder to him to fan the flame of the gift of God.

This serves as a reminder to us that however God calls us to lead and to whomever He calls us to lead, it makes no difference who we are: male/female, Jew/Greek, black/white, old/young, or anything else. God doesn’t look on the outside, He looks on the heart and places us in the situations He wants us. Paul told Timothy directly not to let anyone look down on him, but to lead by example (1 Timothy 4:12).

We are also reminded from the verses above of an interesting insertion in the text of Timothy’s late-in-life circumcision. This is interesting, because Paul notes in other places (specifically Galatians) that circumcising one’s self is not necessary for salvation. So why have Timothy circumcised? Why bend to the pressure of the Jews? By reading any other of Paul’s writings about the topic, it is clear that he does not bend to the pressure of the Judiazers, but focuses on salvation by Christ alone.

He has Timothy get circumcised because of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians – about being all things to all people so that by all means, he may save some. Timothy’s ministry included a lot of Jewish people, and Paul foresaw it being a hindrance to them if he was not cut. His circumcision would make it easier for some Jews to come to Jesus and learn the full truth.

That is a good note to us. As believers today, it is easy to push our rights on others – especially when we realize we do have it better. But pushing our rights (or perceived rights) on others usually tends to turn people away from us and Jesus, not towards. Maybe we could give up some of our freedoms for the benefit of others? Wouldn’t that be leading by example? I want to hear your thoughts! let me know in the comments.

Acts 15:22-29 Video Devotional

“Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:22-29)

Acts 15 is an important chapter in Christian history. As the church grew, it more and more had to figure out how to deal with different people, with all kinds of backgrounds, expectations, and ideologies. What was the ground floor, no room for grey area tenet for being a Christian believer? What exactly did everyone need to have in common to all be part of this believing core?

Many people wanted to force all new believers to convert to Judaism first, making sure they follow the practices and rituals they and their ancestors did for a long time. But when Jesus declared that He fulfilled the law and established a new covenant, didn’t that abolish the need for those practices? The Jewish Council that we seen in Acts 15 helps to begin the process of theologically refining what it means to be a believer in Jesus and does answer that question about Jewish conversion. It is not necessary.

The apostles did not want to burden new believers with unnecessary expectations and so focused on the top priority issues. And in the wording, even those were not absolute, but wise recommendations that would do them well to keep them. The only requirement was true belief in Jesus (which is usually when the Holy Spirit would show up). That makes me wonder how many ecumenical councils could have been avoided with a better study of these chapters in Acts?

Today, many people like to add on to the basics of salvation. Some require membership in their church or giving a certain amount of money or a determined level of service to be part of their church – but Christ’s church – the church universal only requires faith in Him. What are some things you have heard from people as they’ve encountered Jesus that they THOUGHT was required of them? Have you been able to comfort them that it is trust in Him alone? Or have you added some “requirements” of your own in your gospel presentations? How about certain behavior changes? Or preferred clothing?

Let me know in the comments!

Acts 14:8-18 Video Devotional

“Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.” (Acts 14:8-18)

I always found this story hilarious and yet sad. An entire town go so crazy after a miracle that they start worshiping Paul and Barnabas there on the spot! It seems like such an absurd premise and that anyone with a clear head should have figured out that there was something bigger at work. And yet, if God or His goodness working in the world is a totally unknown or foreign concept, then what else is there to think?

What we have in the Holy Spirit is so different than anything anyone ever has experienced outside of God. While we can easily take that for granted, the blessings that we have been blessed with in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1) are so amazing that it is all beyond what we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3). That is some seriously amazing stuff!

Friends, it is good to be in the family of God and to experience His blessings. Knowing that He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8) and then getting to experience that goodness and joy over giving us such good things; well, I hope that you see this as a reason to shout from the rooftops and live out loud in the joy you have as a believer in Jesus!

How have you seen God’s amazing power at work lately? I would love to hear from you!

Acts 13:42-49 Video Devotional

“As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.” (Acts 13:42-49)

Paul and Barnabas, here towards the beginning of their missionary careers, developed their plan. Basically, as they come into each new city, they would first go to the synagogue and preach to the Jews, then after to preach to the Gentiles. Here in the city of Pisidian Antioch, however, the disciples saw quickly that though there was fertile soil to work with, the Jewish community as a whole was infuriated and would stop at nothing to destroy the work of these men.

At that reception, Paul turns his attention towards the Gentiles and sees immediate fruit. And even though they faced persecution, Paul and Barnabas were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit as they headed on towards the next town.

Paul knew he had a job to do – reach the Gentiles. Though his love for the Jewish community meant that he would keep trying to reach as many of them as he could, it was clear there would be fertile soil with the Gentiles. He obeyed the Spirit’s leading and saw many local churches start with many saved believers. In the face of persecution and attacks, these missionaries were filled with joy – they knew what they were doing and who they were serving. And they were glad.

Are you glad? There are a lot of things going on in our world that are causing suffering, heartache and frustrations. Are you glad to face those for the sake of Christ? I hope so, because that is our calling and the people who need us most. Tell me your story in the comments!

Acts 13:1-3 Video Devotional

“Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:1-3)

In Matthew 16, Jesus tells Peter that “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Though, since then, Christianity has faced the murder (and subsequent resurrection) of its founder, multiple martyrdoms and widespread persecution, it grew at an amazing and unstoppable rate. With His last words, Jesus tells the disciples that they will be His “witnesses in Judea, Jerusalem, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), and so far, despite everything it has faced, the church has grown tremendously. 

Though the church had already started spreading outside of Jerusalem (and the surrounding regions), it was time for the church to get intentional about its mission. It needs to start working towards the ends of the earth, and the Holy Spirit said, in chapter 13 that it was time to go. And thus begins Paul’s missionary journeys. Paul’s ultimate destination is Rome (where he is located at the end of Acts), but the missionary journeys themselves build pockets of Christianity all around the Roman world. By the time he reached Rome itself, Paul was a famous father of the faith and sought after leader of the Christian movement. That was because of the time he invested in so many people during the missionary journeys.

Paul was all things to all people, so that by all means, some of them would come to Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:22). He couldn’t do that if he hadn’t built countless intentional and deeply personal relationships with individuals across the landscape. Paul went and shared the love and grace of Jesus one by one. He spoke to many large groups, of course, but he knew and loved passionately each of the people he served with the gospel. 

We know Paul’s story is building up to be this huge catalyst in Rome. But while he certainly wanted to go there, I doubt he saw it the way we do now. He was just sharing Christ’s love to whomever would listen. He wasn’t focused on the fame or the influence. He was focused on the mission. I’m pretty sure he thought of little else. 

How much do you think about the mission? Where does your focus stick? Are you willing to be all things to all people (a particularly important question today)? Let’s pray together that we, as the church, would make sure this is our top priority. God bless you in your efforts to share His gospel!  

Acts 12:6-11 Video Devotional

“Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 12:6-11)

By now, Herod was getting tired of these newly formed Christians making such a noise. It was an annoyance to him, and he was no friend of God. Thus, Herod decided to turn up the heat on those agitators. After killing James, the brother of John, Herod got approval from the Jews and began his pursuit of Peter, arresting him.

This side of heaven, we will never know why people like James was allowed to be martyred and others like Peter were rescued, so all we can do is trust in God’s plan. But, regardless, it is clear here (again) that the Holy Spirit is working full force for the glory of Christ and the building of His church. Peter was in prison and completely helpless. And throughout the course of his rescue, he thought he was dreaming! God was running the show and putting people exactly where He wanted them. Again, we aren’t able to understand why some live and some don’t, but we do know that God is good all the time and that all the time, God is good. Therefore, he choice to rescue Peter (but not James) is the right choice for the best of everyone.

Peter is rescued, purely by the power of the Holy Spirit and winds up on the street, safe and sound. He then went to Mary’s house where they thought they were seeing Peter as an angel. There was significant cause for concern in regards to Herod’s persecution, and while they trusted in God, the early disciples were right to be wary of Herod’s efforts to eradicate the faith. Yet God still has His plan, and Herod, shortly thereafter, was struck down by an angel of the Lord.

God is moving the pieces around an opening up an opportunity for Paul to meet Agrippa (Herod’s successor) and share Jesus with him. Though we don’t tend to understand all of what God is doing and allowing, His plan is complete and perfect and good. And we can trust in that.

Acts 11:19-26 Video Devotional

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (Acts 11:19-26)

We are seeing that God is making clear His plan to reach the WHOLE world – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or nationality. For those who want to skip ahead of the end of the book can see in Revelation 7:9 that people of every nation, all tribes and peoples and languages were standing before the throne in worship of Him. That means heaven will be colorful, vibrant, and incredible! God loves diversity!

As the gospel moves out from Jerusalem, we are introduced to churches in other cities – today’s passage focuses on the church in Antioch, which is an amazing example for us today of true multiculturalism in the family of God. With Peter’s dream establishing previously that all people are welcome to join God’s family, we meet some guys from Cyprus and Cyrene that together have the novel idea of talking to people that aren’t exactly like themselves. Huh? Can we invite people that aren’t like us to church? Absolutely!

The hand of the Lord was with them, and their conversation with the Greek influenced Jews (Hellenists) led to a fruitful harvest of souls. This multicultural acceptance of each other in Antioch also opened a door for Paul to begin his fruitful career in ministry. And now we have the term Christian – developed and first used in Antioch to describe the family of God without using culturally or nationally specific language. Every time we use that word – Christian – we should be reminded that its inception was because anyone can be a Christian – Asians, Africans, men, women, Jews, Greeks – the word has room for all people; the only requirement is that we trust in Jesus.

Blessings to you – and to our wonderful, beautiful, multicultural family!