Mark 1:35  Berea Project
Three Ways to Change a Life (Including Your Own)

As we wait for social distancing restrictions to ease, we should not waste the days until they do.  God knew about this pandemic before it began and He intends to redeem it for his glory and our good. If you’ll ask, he will lead you into ways of serving him and others that were not available to you before the outbreak.

One of the fears we all face every day is that our lives won’t count for something significant. None of us wants to leave the world the way we found it. Each of us has a God-given desire to make a difference that matters.   As I was reading Acts 20 recently, I found it to be a powerful model for maximizing our impact in these challenging days. Consider three principles...

1. Look for those God intends you to influence.
Our chapter finds Paul returning to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey.  Verse 4 states: “Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him.”  Six others are then named, but Sopater is at the head of the list.  Remember Paul’s earlier ministry in Berea, where “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  Now his ministry in Berea would bear fruit all the way to Jerusalem.   Look for someone God intends you to influence today, knowing that his plans for them may far exceed your own.

2. Speak as God speaks to you.
Their group continued to Troas (on the western coast of modern-day Turkey), where Paul gathered the believers in the area and “conversed with them a long while” (v. 11). However, Luke was not inspired to record any of the apostle’s words.  Not everything Paul or Jesus said was recorded.  (cf. John 21:25). The Spirit led the early Christians to serve in ways that were effective in their time and place. That’s why Paul cited Greek philosophers when speaking to Greek philosophers (Acts 17:28) and messianic prophecies when speaking to Jewish audiences (cf. Acts 13:32–41).   The same Holy Spirit will guide you in influencing someone today, if you will follow his leading.

3. Make time to be alone with your Lord.
Paul’s ministry involved “teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20–21). But before he continued to serve Jesus in public, he made time to meet with him in private. Acts 20:13 states that Paul’s group sailed for Assos without him, “for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land.” If he had planned to do evangelism and church planting along the way, he would likely have kept his team with him. This was a trip of twenty miles, which the apostle apparently walked alone. Like Paul, Jesus spent significant time alone with his Father (cf. Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12–13). To serve God in public, we must be with God in private. To influence others today, we must first be influenced by our Lord.

What “Readiness for God” means...
Your life can impact a life today. Look for someone you are to influence, then speak as God leads you after he has spoken first to you. And know that he will use you in ways you could not imagine being used.   Oswald Chambers noted: “Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the greatest big thing - It makes no difference. We have no choice in what we want to do; whatever God’s program may be, we are there, ready. When any duty presents itself we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard his Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with all the alertness of our love for him.”

How alert is your love for your Father today?

Dr.Jim Denison



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