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Tag Archives: Antioch

Entrusted to the Grace of God

As a former youth pastor, I have seen how creative teenagers have become to raise money for mission trips.  During my tenure at First United Methodist Church in Columbus, Indiana, three bus loads of junior and senior high students spent a week each summer repairing roofs for a poor community in southern North Carolina.  Anyone who donated money received an invitation to a banquet where pictures and testimonies were shared.  This event was designed to highlight and summarize all that God had done through these young people.

From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the work which they had now completed, Acts 14:26. 

Based upon the words of Luke, Paul and Barnabas began this tradition at their home church in Antioch.  Paul and Barnabas traveled over 1200 miles in a little over two years.  As a result of their travel, more than a dozen new churches were established.  These new partnerships resulted in a series of letters, questions and return visits to help and nurture new converts to Christ.  According to Luke, it took a long time to communicate all that had happened, staying in Antioch an extended period, fellowshipping with Christian brothers and sisters.

Arriving there, they gathered the church together and began to report [in great detail] everything that God had done with them and how He had opened to the Gentiles a door of faith [in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior]. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples, Acts 14:27-28.

While fasting and praying back in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas to become missionary partners.  Luke refers to this event as being entrusted to the grace of God.  The church leaders in Antioch assigned the task of missionaries to these two godly leaders.  Paul was a Roman citizen while Barnabas was a wealthy man, a good combination for traveling throughout the Mediterranean.  Depending upon the gifts, resources and talents you have been blessed with, make sure you listen to God’s calling so that you will fulfill what God has entrusted you to do.

by Jay Mankus

Jesus Does Everything Well

When Bo Jackson began to play professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals and football for the Oakland Raiders during his off-season in 1989, Nike took full advantage.  In one of the most successful marketing campaigns in American history, the Bo Knows movement took off spawning a series of advertisements, commercials and clothing lines with this slogan.  Christian T-shirt companies even got in on this fad by creating its own brand of Jesus Knows merchandise.  The idea behind this concept is that Jesus does everything well.

They were thoroughly astounded and completely overwhelmed, saying, “He has done everything well! He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!” – Mark 7:37

After being an eye witness to ones of Jesus’ miracles, the region of Decapolis developed a similar sentiment.  Known as the ten Hellenistic cities, based upon books of wisdom found in Catholic Bibles, Jesus’ presence left these crowds in awe.  According to Mark, the citizens were impressed by every aspect of Jesus’ life.  This includes his interactions with strangers, overall manners, teaching and willingness to help people in need.  Jesus was one of a kind, demonstrating the love of God daily.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:1.

In a letter to the church of Corinth, the apostle Paul urges his readers to emulate Jesus Christ.  Jesus didn’t just preach a sermon, shake hands afterward and go back into his family room to chill out the rest of the day or night.  Rather, Jesus seized each day, making the most of his 33 years on earth.  The best way to honor the person who did everything well is to imitate his daily practices.  First century converts to Christianity living in Antioch took their faith so seriously that residents began to say, “hey, you remind me of Jesus.”  In a dark world looking for truth, may you strive to do everything well like Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Ready to Jump In?

Every so often I will come face to face with a crisis.  Usually, its a mom or dad not paying attention to their children, wondering off into trouble.  Sometimes I become the good Samaritan, reaching out just in time to prevent an accident or fall.  Unfortunately, this is rare, often consumed with my own life, oblivious to everything else around me.  Thus, I’m not ready to jump in.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross, Mark 15:21.

One Friday morning, a man was minding his own business, possible thinking about what he was going to do over the weekend.  Suddenly, commotion from the crowds standing along the street peeked his curiosity.  Going over to see what was going on, a soldier called out, demanding his help.  Though its unclear if he was a willing participant, Simon jumped into action, carrying a cross for a pitiful soul, full of blood, bruises and open flesh.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16.

The term Christian was first derived in the town of Antioch.  Faith wasn’t just a spoken word.  Rather, the followers of Jesus displayed the same love, peace and servanthood of their former leader.  Pleasantly surprised by these acts, citizens began to say, “hey, you must be one of those Christ followers?”  Overtime this phrase was condensed to simply Christian.  In view of this historical fact, may you be compelled to jump into action, following in the footsteps of Jesus, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

 

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