Hi Bethel family, this is Rachal, and I’m glad
you're here. Today, I’m joined by a special guest, my 2nd grade daughter
Annabelle. Bella is going to read to us from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
(Bella reads from the Jesus Storybook Bible,
Sally Lloyd-Jones - pg 340. The Jesus Storybook
Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name:
Thanks Bella! Now, that was a really concise
summary of Paul’s message and missionary journeys. It isn’t confined just to
the chapters we are reading today, but provides a high level reflection on the
central message and mission of Paul.
Today in our reading we are reviewing four
chapters, Acts 17-20. As I’ve read and reread these chapters, I’ve been reminded
of how Paul kept the message of Christ central in his message and in his
mission. He didn’t get sidetracked by customs or grumpy, angry people. He
didn’t get caught up in false accusations or take the minor things and make
them major. He didn’t get caught up in his own comfort, but continued on in the
mission before him.
Acts contains, just as the title implies, the
actions and movement of the gospel outward, the storyline and action packed
scenarios. As we’re reading Acts, I’ve loved taking the brief detours and
reading the letters Paul wrote to the local churches. In these we see more of
the heart behind the message, the words of encouragement, exhortation and
recalibration. We see both the movement or spread of the gospel, and how the
gospel takes root within the local body of believers. How the church is made up
of actual flawed people who are learning to live out their faith, and the ways
they are pastored through the letters Paul wrote.
In the midst of these last four chapters we’ve
read through the letters to the churches in Galatia, Thessalonica and Corinth.
We’ve seen Paul finish his second missionary journey and embark on his third
journey. Tomorrow we jump into Romans, but today, let’s pause and pray for our
own church, reflecting the heart of the mission of Paul.
God we pray to You, we
humble ourselves and repent. We seek to live as your followers, for Your
kingdom, not our own. That every eye will see, that every heart will know, the
One who is You Jesus, You who took our sin, You, who died and rose. All worship
and praise belongs to You alone. Pour out your presence as we seek you. For, it
is Your church, work in us and then through us, that here and in every nation
Christ would be known. You, Christ Jesus, alone are our hope and salvation.