Church Plant Update
DENNISTOUN BAPTIST CHURCH (FEB 2016)
"And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”
Acts 21:14 (English Standard Version)
Over the past few weeks we've been struck by the example of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts and his impact for the Lord in places like Antioch, Iconium, Phillipi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth and Ephesus. In every moment in Paul's travels he witnesses the saving power of God in the lives of others and at almost every point in that journey he receives some form of persecution from those hostile to the Good News of Jesus Christ. What joy it must have been for Paul to share Jesus with others, to see people transformed in the power of the Holy Spirit, and what joy it must also have been "to be counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name".
In Acts 20:22-23 Paul speaks of the final part of this journey, he explains he is "going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me". This moment captures something of Paul's words to Timothy; 'all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted' . Doing God's will, living a life of surrender, offers the promise of persecution, what a challenge!
I wonder how you would react to the prospect of being persecuted? If God told you to go somewhere and He guaranteed that trials, hardship and persecution would follow, would you go? In my flesh, (much like Paul's friends and companions in this passage) I would find any and every reason not to go. In Acts 21 aware of what it is that Paul would have to face, we read the response of those with him, 'we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.'
And yet Paul is not swayed by their appeal, instead he lovingly rebukes them, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” As I read this account in Acts it is clear that Paul knows what it is to live a life that has truly surrendered to the will of God. Paul is not persuaded by his own flesh or by the opinion of man, rather he is steadfast in putting God first and living for Him.
Pauline and I are deeply thankful for the Apostle's example. We have known something of the difficulty of surrendering to God's will and at the same time we have experienced the joy of stepping forward in faith knowing that God really does have his very best for us. It was a challenge for us to put our much loved East Kilbride house on the market, but we did it fully convinced that this was the will of God for our lives, and praise God it was sold within six days! We are now in a place where we are looking for somewhere to buy in Dennistoun, and again God is calling us to that place of surrender, to trust that He really does have His very best for us!
We want to follow Paul's example as He followed the example of Christ. An example that, (though not always easy), really is the best way to live!
“Let the will of the Lord be done.”
Mark and Pauline
13th March, 2016