Paul’s First Missionary Journey
4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.
9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.
12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord. Acts 13:4-12 NLT
Okay this was Paul's first missionary journey. I love it because this is where it is first mentioned that Saul, was sometimes known as Paul. If you start reading in verse nine you get to see Paul truly minister what he knew! Before Saul served God he was traveling on the road to Damascus to torture and kill the Christians. The word says that a bright light blinded Saul and that is how God got his attention, it was a pivotal moment for him. It was when he was blinded for three days that he was desperate and prayed to God for help. If you want to read the story it can be found in Acts 9. So fast forward to Acts 13 and now Paul is on his first missionary trip to tell others about Christ. So how did Paul minister? Paul shared what he knew that worked for him! He basically prayed or used the authority of the Lord. to make this man BLIND!
Let's shift gears for a moment. Let's say that I am struggling with my weight and someone really heavy tries to sell me this amazing weight loss program but they are still heavy, why would I want to invest in that program? However if someone who used to be heavy, and lost weight with this amazing program then shares with me her before and after pictures, wouldn't I be more inclined to invest in the program for myself? Same thing with our walk with Jesus. We need to experience it for ourselves and then share what we have learned!
Paul ministered what he knew and what he had been through. Isn't this how we should minister? When we spend time with God, in word and prayer, He teaches us in how we can apply his word to our lives. It is what we have learned through those experiences that we can share with others because we have lived it out for ourselves! When we spend more time reading books and listening to sermons about other's experiences (not that it isn't good to read books or listen to other pastors) than we do reading the word, we are regurgitating someone else's stories. When I read stories on Facebook about "someone's neighbor's cousin" how do I know if it is true? When all we have to share is other people's testimonies it does not have the same effect, because we haven't experienced it for ourselves firsthand. When we spend time with the Lord we are developing our own relationship with him. When we live out our own encounters with God first, then we can effectively share what we have learned with others!
Praying that you live life first hand!