Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week 7 – Devotional 3 – Working as a Team – Creating Opportunities for Growth

Wednesday (16/04/2014) - Read Acts 11:19-26

The death of Stephen caused persecution to start. What was the result? What happened when the men from Cyprus and Cyrene arrived in Antioch? The church in Jerusalem sent whom to Antioch? What did He do there? Whom He looked for to help him? What did they do together?

When Stephen died the disciples were persecuted and were scattered for all places. At first this seems to be something bad, but God used this situation to take the Gospel to other lands and people. Sometimes we are confronted with bad situations and our reaction is to pray, asking God to end with the problem, but we never think that maybe God is working, using that situation to teach us something or that maybe the blessing will come as a result of this situation. In the midst of problems we should pray, “Lord, what do you want to teach me?” The persecution caused the Gospel to arrive to Antioch.

The men from Cyprus and Cyrene preached the Gospel to the Greeks and many believed because the hand of the Lord was with the evangelists. Many times we pray asking the hand of the Lord to be with us, and we wait, and we do not take any action. But the text says that they preached and the hand (the grace, the anointing) of the Lord was with them. And as a result, many believed and converted. Do not wait, just act, and the hand of the Lord will be with you. Because of that Barnabas was sent to check these events and when he arrived there he saw the move of God and he started to do what he did best. He started to encourage people and more and more people were added to the faith.

Such was the size of the task that he needed help and Barnabas was reminded of Saul. He went after him and brought him to help him to teach and train the new converted people. People are getting converted? Encourage them. Walk with them. Teach them. You need help? Seek for qualified people or with the potential for the job. Train them, put them to practice what they are learning. Saul was a new Christian. Few years before he had an experience of conversion, was persecuted, spent some time hidden in his homeland. But Barnabas saw the potential in him. Invested in him, spend time with him and put him to work. Be an encourager, teach through example, and create opportunities for people to grow.

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