The Lord’s ways are often mysterious to us and this is no different when it comes to mission. Think about this: Paul and his missionary team had every intention to go to Asia but were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they came up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bythnia but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7). Yet as a result of a later missionary journey Paul was allowed to go preach and teach in Asia even to the extent that we read, “This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).
In what way did the Holy Spirit forbid Paul and his team in Acts 16? Was there a supernatural revelation such as a voice that told them they could not go? Or perhaps, there was some sense of unity in the Spirit that they all agreed it was not the proper time; or maybe there was some sort of circumstance happening along their route to Asia that made it not the right time and they were seeing that as from the Holy Spirit? The reality is we do not really know and Luke did not think the particulars of the situation were the main point but rather that the Holy Spirit was in complete control of where and when Paul and his team were to go.
Many of you know that last week my church planting team was planning to go into the villages we work in in Northern Mexico but due to a sharp and “sudden” growth in violence the national believers in our villages told us not to come that week. Was this the Holy Spirit preventing us to go by using His people to give us sound direction? Perhaps and we thank the Lord for the way He uses His people to help direct us.
However, after a week has gone by and now both us and them have a better understanding of the situation and the wisest game plan to go forth we will return to Village CO today through Thursday. We will be focusing most of our time working with the members of our church plant there teaching them how to understand the Bible for themselves. We will be working with them each night at 5 pm. We will also spend time visiting them and others throughout the days strengthening and encouraging believers as well as building relationships and sharing the gospel with unbelievers.
Please pray for:
- God to be exceeedingly pleased and glorified in all we do
- The believers to come eagerly to learn and understand how to study the Bible on their own
- New believers added to the Kingdom of God
- Boldness to proclaim the gospel with love
- The Lord’s protection as we travel and minister in the village