The ACTivate adventure continues as usual, but always be ready for things to change… todays post from ACTS chapter 14 is by Charl Chapman, pastor of our congregation in Brentwood.
Spiritual Living does the “usual”, and experiences the “unusual”…
I am someone who thrives on spontaneity – much to my wife’s annoyance. Often, on the spur of the moment, I’ll take a different route home. I love the unusual. Now my wife gets a kick out of working out the shortest route, and that become her usual way. Let’s just say, we are learning to celebrate our differences!
We all want to experience the extra-ordinary, at least on occasion even if you’re someone who loves routine and predictability.
This chapter 14 kicks off with this statement: “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.”
The rest of the chapter details how their speaking always provoked reaction – either resulting in people trusting in Jesus for salvation or opposition to their speaking. This results in this extraordinary passage: (v19 &20) “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” Now this is incredible, because he is stoned to point of death, then he makes a miraculous recovery. Later Paul recounts having been in heaven (Read the account in 2 Corinthians 12:2). Many believe that Paul is referring to this occasion when he had a near death experience.
Now I realise that no-one would like to have a near death experience if it can be avoided, but to experience what happened here was extraordinary! And we do want to experience extraordinary spiritual living, right?
The key to experiencing the extraordinary is to do the ordinary or usual things like going to church, attending connect group and spending time with God in personal devotions through Bible reading and prayer in the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was usual for Paul and Barny to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. The believers also met from house to house usually.
The Holy Spirit will turn our usual into unusual by his power, but the usual is the launching pad. Set your self up today and this next week for the extraordinary by doing the usual, ordinary Christian disciplines – and expect the Holy Spirit to surprise you!