Monday, April 26, 2010

Acts 11:19-30

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the believers living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Questions to consider:

• Describe the relationship between the churches at Antioch and Jerusalem. How do they naturally aid one another?
• How is our church related to other churches? In what ways does our church show love and concern for churches in other places?
• What specific things does Barnabas do and say to help the new Christians?
• What principles of Christian giving do we discover in today’s passage?

Possibilities for prayer:

The faith of the disciples in this book never ceases to amaze me. After Stephen was stoned to death for his faith, the believers are scattered, but in this they are able to tell even more people about the Good News. God takes something that should be tragic and make all the followers of Jesus fearful and changes it into something that brings more and more people into the Kingdom. Today, let’s pray that God would use difficult circumstances in our own lives to bring about greater good.