To the sympathetic reader, the last scene in Acts 15 (vv.36-41) appears to be an event brimming with high personal drama and raw emotions. Certainly language such as “sharp disagreement” (v.39) leads our hearts in that direction. But besides that single phrase, all the other words and phrases in the passage that describe Paul and Barnabas’ parting of ways are calm, thoughtful, dispassionate and strategic. It is impossible for us to know now how much “heat” was actually involved in this serious team breakdown, but the end result should show us that no matter how much there may have been, it didn’t impede their tactical thinking and the God-empowered results that followed. You see, God has always been training his people to approach any important task, not as an “individual conqueror” but as a person with a team (Gen.2:18; Eccl.4:9-12; Pr.27:17; et al.). Paul clearly demonstrated this principle when he hit this impasse. Concluding that if God’s important work was to be done, he wouldn’t simply dump his previous ministry partners Barnabas and John-Mark and proceed on his own, rather he would choose a new team to work with him side-by-side. Silas was picked first, and on their first stop in Derbe and Lystra their “third strand” for the work of ministry was added, the young Timothy. So whether it’s a prayer ministry or a missions endeavor, a Sunday School class or leading a church youth program, don’t go it alone. Build a team. If things change and teams collapse over a reasoned yet “sharp” disagreement, then rebuild. Don’t wallow or live in the past. Get your team together and get going. Our time is running out.
-- Pastor Mike
Mass media and technology are exploding. Popular entertainment relentlessly pushes the envelope. Biomedicine stretches ethical boundaries. Political issues shift with the polls. Christian orthodoxy is questioned on every front. The world in which you live is undergoing a major cultural transformation, one leading to a widespread lack of faith, an increase in moral relativism, and a rejection of absolute truth.
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