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Truth and Encouragment

Truth and Encouragment

13 February 2010

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 20-22; Acts 20

Scripture:

17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus for the leaders of the congregation. 18 When they arrived, he said, “You know that from day one of my arrival in Asia I was with you totally— 19 laying my life on the line, serving the Master no matter what, putting up with no end of scheming by Jews who wanted to do me in. 20 I didn’t skimp or trim in any way. Every truth and encouragement that could have made a difference to you, you got. I taught you out in public and I taught you in your homes, 21 urging Jews and Greeks alike to a radical life-change before God and an equally radical trust in our Master Jesus. (Acts 20:17-21 MSG)

After Paul’s two-year stay in Ephesus, he toured the region he had previously evangelized, “…passing from one church to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” Now at Miletus, as he prepared to sail to Syria and travel on to Jerusalem, he called the Ephesian church leaders to come and meet with him before he boarded the ship. He knew that he and they would never meet again in this life and it was a very emotionally charged meeting.

Paul reminded them of his ministry focus in Ephesus. Here are the things Paul did:
• Totally present in the moment, he laid his life on the line for Jesus and the church.
• Patiently put up with constant opposition and danger from the unbelieving Jews.
• Gave input that included both truth to produce life-change and encouragement to give them hope and energy to keep going in the face of challenges.
• Demonstrated consistency in both public ministry and private life.
• Challenged people to radical life-change and radical trust in Jesus.

OK, I don’t know about you, but this gives me plenty to think about. If I met with any group of Christ-followers that I’ve worked with or influenced significantly, could I say that these five things were the core of my ministry? How about you?

Prayer:

Father, I want this! I want to be able to look people in the eye and say I’ve been totally present and laid down my life for them and for Jesus, that I’ve been patient facing challenges, that I’ve told both sides of the story, that I’ve been consistent in public ministry and private life, and that I’ve challenged to radical life-change and radical trust in Jesus. Please help me transform this moment of insight and inspiration into practical and consistent action and behavior. Amen.

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