A funny thing happened to me the other day, well it was July 17, 2005, to say the least. I was immediately awakened and God spoke to me Matt 6:18, I had no idea what it meant, but it is starting to come to fruition. It is crazy how you can want something for so long, and when you just relax in God. He eventually makes it happen, read Matt 6:18 in the message and you will see what I mean. Can’t say too much more, but God is so faithful!
I don’t know if this might somehow inspire you, but let me know if it does . . . . This is from Today’s Handbook of Bible Characters and Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and a few thoughts of my own. My pastor Bill Gross, suggested the first book, and it is such an awesome resource of biographical information, check it out.
Barnabas was a Levite from the island of Cyprus, who after becoming a Christian, sold his land and gave the money to the Jerusalem apostles. Barnabas later became an apostle himself and accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey. Barnabas visited many locations as an apostle; he traveled to Antioch, Tarsus, Jerusalem, Cyprus, and the provinces of the Asia Minor.
It is thought Barnabas was a Jew from abroad who found Christ along with people like Stephen and Phillip. Barnabas had some in common with Paul, in his spiritual and cultural back ground and even helped dispel suspicion that Paul was not truly converted. Barnabas passed the test of being the person who in many ways was, not the leader but always playing second to Paul, yet he was honest and truthful in what he did. Barnabas was by all counts a promoter of othersÂ good and usefulness.
Barnabas helped a lot in the ministry, he helped churches grow spiritually and numerically by helping with disputes and his character to encourage and lift others up. He started and helped the church in Antioch with their growth, and also helping them grow in their faith and encouragement of others. It is thought after his visit to Antioch, that he was regarded as the leader of the church for a season. Barnabas was much more evident before Saul changed his name to Paul, which would account for Paul’s conversion taking place after Barnabas was regarded as a leader. Yet another account of how Barnabas was an encourager, he really saw the heart of God and stepped out of the way when he saw his Father leading.
He and Paul later brought money from Antioch to the Jerusalem church when it was suffering a great famine (Acts 11:27-30). On a turn around trip Barnabas was led by the Holy Spirit to have the Antioch church commission Barnabas, Paul, and John Mark who was BarnabasÂ cousin (Col. 4:10), to make a missionary journey to Cyprus and the provinces of Asia Minor. Eventually Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over John Mark (Col. 4:10). Barnabas was being his usual self and not giving up on people, and I really think Paul had an issue with John Mark because John Mark had left the first mission to Cyprus while John Mark was in Perga. Barnabas and Paul decidedly took separate paths from then on, Paul to his tough, no nonsense attitude, to Barnabas to his forgiving, although sometimes bitten personality.
There is no record of how that 2nd missionary journey went to Cyprus, but I am sure wherever Barnabas went he was a blessing to so many. I know at least he was a blessing to his cousin, John Mark. It was said that Paul later regretted his tough action on John Mark and even wished to be reconciled to him. Just a good lesson, that we all have something to wrestle with. I enjoy Barnabas because his whole Christian life was used to encourage others and breathe life into the broken hearted. John Mark is mentioned again later in the Bible, and is even mentioned reconciled to Paul laboring with Peter and Paul in Rome. Barnabas disappears behind the curtains for someone else to be elevated, forever to be the encourager and equipper to help others.
Okay everybody, if you do not have iTunes, install it first, just for the sole reason that you can get great sermons online, without having to download them yourself each week. I recently subscribed to Mosaic’s podcast at http://mosaic.org/podcast/, McManus gave a sermon about how we are pregnant with the power of God in our life, people see it and when we live selfishly, we give birth to wind. Of course when we give life, are you giving life today? Do your words bless and encourage others, consider Barnabas read the post above … a recent paper from my Ministry Institute class.
I was recently at the local B&N reading a Christianity Today, thumbing through the typical ad-filled magazine, when I found a jewel of a thought. I found an article that was a one page interview with C.S. Lewis’s stepson, the magazine asked, a rough quote, “What do you say to people who are concerned that the Christian imagery in the movie, could be replaced another set of beliefs?” His stepson said very wisely, there are a couple other religions who believe in a resurrected savior, they may find inspiration in this. He said, “It is more important, to ask yourself, who are you in this story?” I loved it, it inspired me yet again. Do we get so concerned with the Christian viewpoint, that we forget of all the people who have came to Christ through other means. For example, my wife is a phenomonal writer, but a few years ago, I really disagreed with her style. After much growth, I am realizing how powerful her writing is, honest, revealing, and almost tearing the reader away to a base emotion. I see that there is so much freedom, in knowing what we are capable of as humans, yet knowing that Christ knew that temptation, amazing. Dan Kimball had a great post on this on http://www.dankimball.com, check it out. Thanks to Chris for the link!
Aren’t we all after the same goal, without being critical of each other, what are the strands that run through all approaches to church . . . Do you have any thoughts? Please post some comments, I think in our approach to how we reach people, we must to be careful to not shut out or put down proven methods or even traditional methods. The end result is the real evidence, are people’s lives being changed?
I had a recent conversation with a friend. We talked about how some people really look for churches based on what type of music they provide. Why has this happened? I have thought about this and wondered if it was because a lot of the church’s seeker approach. A lot of churches are very similar in everything except two basic things, doctrine and music. I think this is a preliminary thought on the matter, but it still is interesting to think about. I could go to most churches in my area and really get something out of it, maybe even an attendance to the local Morman church could make me think? Now I do not say that Mormans are Christians, because they clearly cross the line of doctrine, but it does make you wonder if people have always struggled with the music thing.
Just a thought, could we blame all this on Elvis and his flailing hips, on Dave Matthews for making engaging music again for the masses, or to Bob Dylan for having lyrical, thought provoking lyrics? Did Keith Green really have a point? Please post your comments on your opinion.