All throughout the book of Acts, but specifically in chapter 13, we read about the disciples preaching the good news. They were doing something different. Something countercultural. What can we do like that? Personally, I am inspired by that. Otentimes we think that, in order to make an impact—to make a difference–we have to be involved in something already set up; something with credibility. But that’s not the example we get from the disciples. It seems that, in many ways, they were just “winging it”, depending on the Holy Spirit to guide them, give them the words they needed at the right time. Sure, when they shared the message of Jesus, they generally went to the local synagogue, which had a set pattern, or an “order of service” if you will. But othertimes they preached in the local city center. In Acts 13:48 we read “And when the Gentiles heard this [the Good News], they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord.” However, we then hear from the “leaders”; those who had “credibility” both spiritually and in terms of material possessions. 13:50 says “But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirring up persecution against Paul and Barnabas , drove them out of the their district.”
How would you have reacted in the disciples’ shoes (or perhaps I should say sandals)? At first, perhaps, indignant. But maybe later you might think to yourself “well, maybe there’s something to that? Am I doing the right thing?” We see these giants of the faith, Paul and Barnabas and think to ourselves “of course, I would’ve acted like that because they were in the Holy Spirit and leading people to faith!” How many times have you been “in the Spirit” i.e. had a great idea that is robust in its creativity and vision? And then when you’ve implemented it (or not—how many times has that happened) you get rebuffed with a “well that was stupid”—maybe you said it to yourself–and then pulled away and packed that idea in a box? Maybe you said “it’s just too hard” or not “realistic”. Rather than “shaking the dust” from your feet and being “filled with joy” as the disciples were (vv 51-52) our ideas get covered with dust and we are filled with dismay. That’s exactly where Satan wants to keep you. Separate from those who would encourage you to follow your dreams (read inspiration from the Holy Spirit) and take risks. But we must take courage, take that first step. The rest will be easy, because we’ll be in the will of God and he’ll walk with us (read Footprints in the Sand to be reminded of that).
What things come “easy” to you? That’s probably where your giftedness lies. That is where God wants you to be. “But what about making money? I can’t live on dreams alone!” God provides. Trust that. And remember: just because you aren’t seeing results doesn’t mean you’re not in God’s will. Look at the disciples. Apart from a couple instances, the number of people that came to Christ after each preaching was small. In his letters, Paul was writing to fledgling church plants, not booming mega-churches. How many of those massive conversions we read about (Acts 2:41 and 13:44 and 48) actually stayed with the faith? Probably not that many. But the disciples were undaunted. They knew it was a grassroots movement. I believe we are in a time where these kinds of movements are easier than ever to grow. Social media platforms are fertile grounds for grassroots movements. But there will be pushback. Whenever we go outside of the norm, there will be persecution in some way, shape or form. Perhaps not like what the disciples experienced, but even small things can kill our vision. But we have to be ready and available to respond to God’s call in our life. Let the Holy Spirit inspire you and then go develop it. Find what you’re passionate about, what you can be “all in ” about and go for it. When u step out in faith, God WILL respond.