Friday, May 1, 2020

Acts 16

Key Verse: Acts 16:6
Big Idea: The Church of Jesus operates when and where her Lord wills. 

This chapter of Acts involves some unexpected turns, as you probably noticed as you read it. The missionary team wants to reach out to a region, but are stopped by God from doing so. God forbade them from preaching! Then, he sent them to Europe instead, and they had great success in the place they did not expect to ever go (the church at Philippi would later be a big help to Paul, as we will see in a few weeks).  In that city, they were arrested and beaten publicly. When God released them, the prison keeper thought he would be executed for failing at his charge, but instead he found eternal life in Christ. Although they had been beaten, their Roman citizenship forced the magistrates to embarrass themselves (and validate the Christians they would leave behind). 

No master strategist could have laid out that course. There are too many moving parts and too many uncertainties. The work of the churches of Jesus can never rest on their own ingenuity or planning, because our plans are based on insufficient data. Only one knows where we need to go, and we must be dependent on His guidance every step of the way. In the Old Testament, the Israelites got into generations of trouble by failing to consult God (Joshua 9). Whether in our churches or our personal lives, this chapter ought to make clear that unexpected paths might lead to precious places and the path that looks the most appealing might actually go the wrong direction.

Discussion idea: Have one family member look at a picture, and try to describe to the rest of the family how to draw it (for younger kids, trying to duplicate an unseen Play-Doh sculpture might be better). How difficult is it to make something you cannot see? What is the value of a guide who has all of the information?

Prayer focus: Pray for God's guidance in decision making, and the wisdom to recognize our own inadequacy for seeing the path ahead.

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