Showing posts from February, 2015

Missionary Letters

We're still studying Acts in our Coffee Break group, but this week we take a short diversion to see what Paul wrote to those communities he'd so recently been thrown out of. (18) A Letter to a New Church Paul spent 18 months in Corinth before finishing his second missionary journey. He’d recently passed through Thessalonica, leaving Jason in charge of a fledgling Christian community, after Jews caused trouble there (Acts 17:5-9) . Berean Jews, living off the beaten track, seemed more willing to listen, but Thessalonian trouble-makers followed there too, so Paul sailed to Athens, asking Silas and Timothy to follow him. While in Athens, Paul sent Silas and Timothy back to Thessalonica (Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3). They rejoined him in Corinth, and stayed 18 months (Read Acts 18:5,9-11). A letter from good friends 1.        Who is writing to the Thessalonians, and who is the letter written to? Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1. Somehow I’d always assumed the letter was just from

When Missionaries Meet With The Unknown God

I love Paul's sermon in Athens. I love how he didn't criticize, didn't mock, and didn't ignore other people's beliefs, but built on what was good to offer something more. In our hyper-critical religious world, perhaps we have something to learn from him. Anyway, our little group will be studying the second half of Paul's second journey this week, and it starts in Athens. (17) The Unknown God Paul set out on a missionary journey to revisit old friends and maybe extend the church’s influence further in Galatia. He ends up in Greece, the cultural center of the universe. If he were trying to change the world, it would be a logical destination. But it was God’s choice of destination, not Paul’s. Have we ever felt we were following God’s plan, only to find he sends us somewhere else entirely? Philosophy and Reason 1.        Read Acts 17:16 . Greece was renowned for many things, but what provokes Paul? What provokes us when we look at our cities? What ar

When Missionary Journeys Split

James has written to the ex-pat Jews. Paul has written to the Galatians. And both have reminded their readers that just saying you have faith is not enough. Faith proves itself, not with words, and not with ritual, but with changed lives lived for Christ. But now, Paul's on his way to change some more lives as he starts his second Missionary Journey, heading back to places visited before. Here's our next study ready for next week's Coffee Break. (16) A Tale of Two Missions Paul traveled with Barnabas on his first missionary journey through Asia (Galatia). The church spread among Jewish synagogues and Gentile believers. As Paul gained in popularity, synagogues of the Way attracted followers and donations, and other Jewish leaders began to foment opposition. Meanwhile observant Christian Jews began to complain that Paul wasn’t making real converts since the Gentiles weren’t being circumcised. Opposition grew from without and within the Christian community, and eventually