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Finding A Ministry Start-point

Acts 16:14-15
One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us. (NIVUK)

Wherever Paul travelled, he always tried to find a 'ministry start-point'. The Lord had personally commissioned him to take the gospel to the Gentiles, but Paul's usual approach was to go to the synagogue first, preaching to the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (Romans 1:16). But in Philippi there was no synagogue. Instead, God-seekers met by the Gangites River on the Sabbath; and so Paul told them the truth about Jesus.

One woman who was present, Lydia, listened intently. She was a merchant who traded the famous purple dyed cloth from Thyatira. It must have been a good business because her home in Philippi was big enough for her family and servants: she wanted them also to hear Paul's message. As they did, they were convinced of the truth about Jesus, convicted of their sin, and were baptised.

After the baptism Lydia invited Paul and his team (including Silas, Timothy and Luke), to stay in her home. She wanted to give hospitality in gratitude for the salvation-message the apostle has brought to her. God had welcomed her into His home, so the least she could do was to welcome the gospel messengers into her home. They did not take it for granted, and apparently needed some persuading; but Lydia's heart had been changed and she now wanted to give to the Lord what she could. For Paul, he had no idea at the beginning of the day what the Lord would do; but once he found the ministry start-point, he walked with the Lord in that day's gospel adventure.

The wise Christian will always look for ministry start-points in the everyday events of life. Picking up on conversations about God, hope, life and eternity; declaring that you love Jesus and seeing who wants to respond; connecting your circumstances with the sacrifice of Christ; and there are many more ways to start intentional gospel ministry. Once you have found that start-point, do not back away but share the gospel with people who are interested to know more (www.crosscheck.org.uk might be a useful tool to help you). When people submit themselves to Christ, you will find they want to share what they have received: but never grasp at that, it would be quite wrong.

Father God. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit's guidance in leading Your people to gospel start-points. I am sorry that I am not always intentional about finding the seekers. Please help me to be an intentional gospeller, looking for those start-points from which I can follow Your Holy Spirit's leading as I share the truth about Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams