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Paul the Babbler | Acts 17:16-28

Julie Lyles Carr is filling in for Erica this week and she’s unpacking some great truth and wisdom from Paul today!

“You may, at times feel confused about the neighborhood that you’re in, or the job that you have, or even the era in which you’re living. But I want you to know today from this passage in the book of Acts, Chapter 17, that God has you exactly where he intends you to be.”

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Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I’m Erica Parkerson. This is the place where we meet up to read half a chapter of God’s Word together and remember how loved we are. Jesus extends an amazing invitation to us in the Bible. He says, come to me and I will give you rest. This is us RSVPing, “YES,” to that invitation. So, take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Hi, I’m Julie Lyles Carr, and this is the Bible for Busy People. Where we in under seven minutes work through the word of God each day. A place of encouragement, a place you might learn something you didn’t know, and a time to just be filled with the word of God and its wisdom and what it means in our everyday lives today.

Now you might notice that, um, I am not Erica. So, Erica has graciously invited me to guest host this week. I am part of the SPIRIT 105.3 and the CRISTA media family. I am the host of the AllMomDoes podcast. And I would love for you to check out the AllMomDoes podcast when you have a chance. I’m so grateful for resources like the Bible for busy people, because let’s face it, we are all going a hundred miles an hour and it takes intention, and it takes things that we can get in quick bites to keep us encouraged and moving ahead with our focus and our eyes on God. So, I really appreciate you being here today. Now, Erica has been taking you through the book of Acts. And I love the book of Acts.

It was written by Luke, and we believe he was a physician. He’s very detail oriented in the way that he writes. He’s very specific in his notation on different things that are happening. He’s very clear about naming names and giving the locations, and I love that because it gives me an opportunity to dig in a little bit further and go, huh, I wanna know more about that person that he’s mentioned. Or that place that he’s brought up. I find it a really fascinating kind of archeological look at early Christianity and the, this group of people, who were beginning to follow Jesus and trying to figure all the stuff out. So, you know, here’s a hats off to Luke for writing the book of Acts. Now Erica’s been taking you through sequentially. I wanted to focus on a passage of scripture today in the book of Acts. I’m gonna jump ahead just a little bit, but it’s one of my favorite passages in scripture. So, I want you to jump ahead just a little bit with me to the book of, to the book of Acts, chapter 17, and we’re gonna start in verse 16.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So, he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace, day by day, with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicuren and stoic philosophers began to dispute with them. Some of them asked, what is this babbler trying to say? Others remarked. He seems to be advocating foreign gods. They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Aerophagias where they said to him, may we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears. And we want to know what they mean. All the Athenians and foreigners who live there, spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Aerophagias and said, men of Athens, I see that in every way, you are very religious. For, as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found altar with this inscription, to an unknown God. Now what you worship is something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man, he made every nation of men. That they should inhabit the whole earth. And he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him. Though, he is not far from each one of us for in him, we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, we are his offspring.

When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. My dad was literally a rocket scientist, and so, we followed the space shuttle program. So, we started out in Alabama at Marshall Space Center, and then we made our way to Pennsylvania, and then out to California, near the dry lakebed out there at Edwards Air Force Base. Ended up over in Washington, DC. And then we made our way to Utah for a period of time because of the Bonneville salt flats. And I can tell you for sure, I questioned every one of those moves. And then in my marriage, after I had said, I never wanna move again, I don’t ever wanna have to go through this again, I don’t wanna put my kids through it… we moved.

And there have been many times because of that, that I’ve thought, where am I supposed to be? Like, what is going on? How come I can’t just seem to get settled and be seated in one place and be able to have these deep roots? I also have wondered at times; did I pick the right career? Did I go to the right college? Am I doing all the things I was supposed to do? Boy, do I even live in the right times? I mean, is this even my era? And when I come back to this place in scripture, I find this assurance, as Paul is giving like his Ted talk to this group in Athens, that these people who were spiritual, but they weren’t exactly sure what to believe in or what it meant.

They were testing out all kinds of new ideas. What is Paul lead with when he talks to them? Does he lead with, this is what sin is? Or does he lead with here are the 10 commandments? Or does he lead with, here is how we’re supposed to evangelize the world? Those are all great things. But for these people who were seeking, who were curious, who wanted to know about Paul and his strange new idea, what he leads with is an assurance to them that God has created them. God has placed them exactly where they’re supposed to be, in the times in which they are supposed to be, and for his own purpose. That they are exactly where they are supposed to be within the pale of history. And I think it speaks to longing in the human heart to know that our creator knows exactly where we are in the timeline of history. And not only does he know exactly where we are in time, he knows the geographic location for where we’re supposed to be. Just brings so much comfort and such a sense of, yes, even if I’m living in a town that doesn’t make sense to me, even if I’m living in times that are confusing or seem hard, God has got me.

He intended for me to be here. He placed me here, specifically, it was a message that those and Athens who were looking for new ideas and new understanding, that’s how Paul let out with them. It’s a message that I often need to hear in my own life. So, yes, you may, at times feel confused about the neighborhood that you’re in, or the job that you have, or even the era in which you’re living. But I want you to know today from this passage in the book of Acts, chapter 17, that God has you exactly where he intends you to be. Absolutely. In the time space continuum, you are, where God has placed you. And that is such an incredible thing to know. Join me again. I’ll be with you tomorrow as we are going through the Bible, the Bible for busy people.

Thanks so much for having me today and be sure and check out the AllMomDoes podcast on the purposely podcast network. I’ll see you next time.

Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for busy people. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find, and live, in God’s purpose for your life. Find more podcasts that will recharge you at

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