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Paul’s Satellite Church

You may not realize this but the Apostle Paul established one of the first satellite churches recorded in scripture. God put him in contact with Priscilla and Aquila while in Corinth and he even stayed in their home. The connection that was made there included Paul being a tent maker and Priscilla and Aquila being tent makers. They made a true “ministry connection” as recorded in Acts 18 After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. 4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. Since the two believers were exiled from Rome, we know they had a residence in Rome and I’m sure they were eager to see the gospel come to Rome in the form of a new church. Paul, being a Roman citizen knew of the great need for the gospel in the city that was considered the epicenter of the world at that time. This scripture tells of Paul’s roman citizenship. Acts 22:27 The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.”

Put together three believers like Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla and see what happens. A new church start in a pivotal location, not only for Italy, but for the world and the rest is church history exposed. Paul wanted to go to Rome, but had not gotten to at that point, so God used his relationship with Priscilla and Aquila so that the work would be established without him present. Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Of course, Paul does eventually get to go to Rome, but it is while being under arrest by a centurion called Augustan. They set out on a ship for Rome with Paul being a prisoner of Augustan. But even while sailing Paul encountered problem after problem, including being shipwrecked. In fact, they were so desperate while on the sea that they threw the ship’s tackle overboard and knowing that their end was at hand they lost all hope of being saved. But, then Paul stood up in their midst and said in Acts 27, “Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on a certain island.”

You’ve got to love Paul. He never quit believing in God, even in the midst of a storm, and in the midst of great fear and doubt by all around him. Of course, they shipwrecked, but made it to land. The centurion’s plan was to kill the prisoners to keep them from escaping, but changed his mind so he could bring Paul safely through to land. God was bringing His satellite down to earth and that satellite’s name was Paul. By the way, Paul got bit by a viper and just shook the snake off his hand and went on. The Holy Spirit was all over and around this man and God was faithful to use him even after the shipwreck to heal the father of a man by the name of Publius. Paul’s impact on the whole community there prompted them to give them supplies so they could finish their journey. Paul got to Rome, even though he was imprisoned the satellite church came to him and he taught them in person. And so he stayed for two full years and he continued preaching the kingdom of God with all openness, unhindered in any way.

The church in Rome was established without Paul being there in person and the believers who started the church were faithful to follow Paul’s instructions and build a strong fellowship. God used the unusual to make it very usual. God used the unexpected to make it very expected. God worked outside the box to build a great fellowship and He is no different today. To be the church and proclaim the gospel in the world we live in today will call all of us to be more open minded and creative about how to do it. Traditional norms will not work anymore, because hearts that are intent on proclaiming the message of Jesus will not let the norms stop them from getting that message out.

The question is “Are you open minded to God doing a new thing? Or are you holding on to the familiarity of past ministry comfort zones to do ministry? We must think outside the box when doing God’s Work and the fire in our hearts will compel us to do anything to make it possible for the Spirit of God to move in our lives. Paul was willing to let others start the church and he encouraged them by long distance until being brought there as a prisoner. What ministry are you dreaming of and what is the stimulus for doing that ministry? If it is to share the gospel at all costs, then God will make a way, but it may be a little different than you planned. Stay open to God doing a new thing. Do you believe God is able to do a new thing? Then you are ready to receive this scripture from Isaiah 43 “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. We are living in a dry desert. It is time to let the rivers of revival get beyond our thinking and let God’s awesome way of doing things take over. Are you ready?

I am!!

The Pilgrimage continues….

David Warren

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