Takeaway Verse: Acts 11:21
The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.
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.
Today’s episode is called, “”They Were Scattered, and it Mattered”. Before we dive into the last part of Acts, chapter 11, join me in a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much, in the name of Jesus, that you are with us. We feel your presence. We feel the calm that comes over us when we open up our Bibles. Would you close all the windows in our minds, all the worries. Lord, you’re the Lord of today and tomorrow and the next day. So we give you these next few minutes, and my friend and I, we just give you our lives too. In this moment, please open our eyes and ears and hearts to what you would have us to see and hear and understand from your word today. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
I’m so glad you’re here. I just want you to know that. And man, I do feel better after we sit down and read God’s word together, it does change things. So let’s see what Luke, the doctor and the reporter wrote down for us to learn today. Acts chapter 11. We’re gonna pick it up in verse 19. “Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cypress, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus.” Here is our takeaway verse today, verse 21. “The power of the Lord was with them. And a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year teaching, large crowds of people.” This is a really interesting fact: “It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians. During this time, some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius. So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul, to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.”
These believers in the early church, the first Christians, they really understood how to take care of each other. Didn’t they? And they had to be afraid. You remember just a few episodes ago, we learned about Stephen, another man, like Barnabas full of faith, full of the Holy Spirit and he was martyred, stoned to death because of his faith. And early in what we just read today in Acts chapter 11, we learned that the believers were scattered after he was persecuted, and they went to all these places. But they were scattered, and it mattered.
It reminds me of the time our family moved from North Carolina to Virginia. And I had no idea that it would, might be the last time I would ever live in the same zip code as my parents and my sister, my brother-in-law my grandmother. It was hard because we are a close knit, Italian family. And so, we were moving four hours away. And it was, it was really, it was a sad time. My kids were really unhappy about it. My daughter was in high school, my son was in middle school, so these were tough ages to move. And so my mom kind of made up a funny thing. And instead of saying that we were moving to Lynchburg, Virginia, she said we were moving to Grinch-burg Virginia. And we, we would laugh about it, but it’s funny, my kids made some of their very best friends in life in Grinch-burg, and it wasn’t too long after we moved that they stopped calling it that. Our family was scattered, and it mattered too. I believe with all my heart, that God called me to that radio station in Virginia to spread his word for three years with a very dear friend, my partner, Michael, who was on the morning show with me at the time.
God has a plan. If you feel like you have been scattered, pulled away from people you love, or from a job you love, or if something else is going on in your life, there’s a reason. God uses it all. Yes, the believers were afraid, and they scattered after Stephen was martyred, but there was a reason. And it was because of what we just read, that large crowds of people heard the good news that Jesus died for them, and they were saved. They believed. Isn’t that incredible? So if you have been scattered, there’s a reason. It will matter. You might not know the reason yet; you might not know until you cross over into glory. But if you’ve been scattered it’s because something matters to God. All right. Until next time, remember, you are really loved.
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 onpurposely.com.