Day 54

Acts 13 & 14

I admire missionaries. I’ve had the privilege of meeting missionaries on six continents. I’ve stayed in their homes, preached in their churches, witnessed their sacrifices and seen the fruit of their labors. They are some of the greatest people I know.

Missionaries: Ministers commissioned by Jesus through the church to take the gospel to new places and plant new churches. Missionaries are spiritual pioneers. The most effective missionaries are those with real apostolic anointing.

In our reading today we met the first missionaries of the church: Paul and Barnabas. In A.D. 46 they were sent out to preach the gospel and plant churches after being commissioned by the Holy Spirit through the spiritual leadership of the church in Antioch. Acts 13 and 14 are the record of Paul’s first missionary journey; a three year tour of ministry through Cyprus and Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).

Pioneer missionaries live lives of incredible adventure. Some of them make Indiana Jones look like nervous schoolmarm. I think of the adventures of men I have known like Lester Sumrall and P.G. Vargis — Hollywood should make movies about their real-life exploits! Miracles happen most where people risk much to advance the gospel. This is just a fact.

You should read the biographies of the great pioneer missionaries; men like William Carey, Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd and T.L. Osborn. The lives of these men have altered the course of continents!

But the pioneer of these great gospel pioneers was the Apostle Paul. What adventures! Miracles healings. A sorcerer trying to oppose the gospel is struck blind (that’s like healing in reverse). Paul is stoned to death — but pops back up and keeps right on going! And in his wake are new believers and new churches.

I’m reading this book right now. It’s excellent!

Today I was impressed by the emphasis on prayer and fasting and the reliance upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we find demonstrated in Acts. The church is unlike any other institution on earth. We cannot operate like any other entity. We cannot emulate American corporate culture and expect book of Acts results. To have what they had in the book of Acts we must do what they did…we must pray, fast, rely upon the Holy Spirit and audaciously expect God to show up with miracle power.