Series: Introduction to Pauline Letters
Acts 1:9-11 (The Ascension)
Scattering throughout Judea and Samaria was always the “plan” that God had for our world. AND, as is always the case with God we are not given anything to do on our own.
Whenever God is part of what we are doing, God shows us the way to do it and gives us the power. Sometimes (at least for me) the key element is allowing God to change me with His power and give me the desire to listen and carefully watch for where God is at work so I can join Him there.
Nothing is done by my power and will.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
By the power of God the Spirit, we are God’s witnesses.
In my case, God called me to a life of ministry. That isn’t always the case with all believers. God calls some to be teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, and in general ‘workers’ in the world. God calls people from every occupation and country to be witnesses.
God empowers every person with power from the Spirit of Truth.
For the first half of my adult life I was a pastor’s wife. We served in several towns and places. I thought that was the way it would always “be”.
Then one day, everything changed…
Suddenly I found myself in unchartered territory. I was no longer a pastor’s wife. I had a job, but the ministry was gone.
I thought it was gone forever. I grieved terribly.
I was confused.
I was afraid.
I didn’t know what God was doing. I wondered, ‘Is God done with me?’
I also wondered if I did something to cause the change. For a while I was wandering in the wilderness. I couldn’t imagine finding a new church because I’d never been on my own before. We had been “called” to a church. God sent us there.
Then a friend of mine from work invited me to go to her church. It was a very large church and after I thought about it a while I thought it would be okay because I could go there and hide.
See, I had a vision about Humpty Dumpty. In the vision I was sitting on a broken wall (a rubble of bricks) and I was so broken I couldn’t see how I could ever be healed. I really thought that’s how the rest of my life would BE. I didn’t believe that all the King’s horses and men could put me together again.
Going to church at that time was much more difficult than I thought it would be. When I went to church I sat and cried the whole time. I didn’t speak to others much because I was so broken.
Then someone told me about a Healing Prayer Service. I started going and I sat in the back and cried. I didn’t know it at the time but people were praying for me as I sat there.
Eventually, I was able to go and sit there without crying. Ever so gradually I was able to breathe again.
Then, I started praying for others who were crying. Soon, I met someone who invited me to join the team of prayers.
Then, down the road I was asked to be Director of that service.
Next…I don’t remember how God did it, but I heard about a place where I could go sit with a Spiritual Director. Month after month I went to see Him. He helped me immensely!
For several years I went to sit with him month after month.
At some point, God started talking to me (whispering) about going to Seminary. I thought it was a crazy idea. I was 54 years old and I had a full time job. I was Director of a ministry at my church. How could I afford it, and how could I have the time to go back to school? My undergraduate degree was in Speech Communication so how would that fit in?
I’ll tell you how…
God called me. God sent me. God showed me the way.
It wasn’t easy, but when I was sixty years old I graduated with Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
It was one of the greatest journeys of my life!
And so I learned that was the case. The King’s horses and men could not put me together again, but God could! Only God could heal me.
And God placed His hand on me and called me a second time.
God’s plan for the early church didn’t look anything like they expected it to look, no more than what I thought my life would BE like.
After Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) the disciples were persecuted and like Stephen they suffered. Some died.
Acts 8:1b tells us, “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
And because they were persecuted they scattered and they took the message of the Gospel of Jesus with them throughout the world.
Some disciples went one way and some went another way. Everywhere they went, they took the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection with them.
And that was exactly God’s plan. And it WAS a crazy journey of love.
Spiritual Practice: God’s Plan
What is God’s plan for YOUR crazy journey with God?
In God, Deborah