Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

future exitDisclaimer/Attribution: I’m stealing this story from my pastor (www.northpointonline.tv) who shared it at a #thx meeting last week. The imagery is great and I hope he won’t mind. Trinity hardliners, give me a break, it’s just a story.

Jesus is risen and in heaven with the Father. He has ministered, died, arisen and commissioned his disciples.

Father (thoughtfully): Son, I’m not sure about the guys you picked as disciples. Of the twelve, one was a traitor and the rest are hiding in Jerusalem thinking and praying about a Master Plan to get to the “ends of the earth.”

Jesus: They’ll get to it. They’re good guys. They’re thinking about it right now.

Father: I know, but look at the Gentiles. You need someone who is a doer, not a thinker.

Jesus: Who did you have in mind?

Father (pointing): Look at this pharisee, Saul. No half-measures with him!

Jesus: Yeah, but he HATES the Good News.

Father: Yeah, but look how WELL he does it!

Jesus: Hmm. Let me talk to him. Think I should put on the skin or just do light?

Father: Light’ll work. The skin thing is rough, plus, Saul is looking for us, he’s just blind–kind of a pharisee thing, right?

Jesus descends again to earth on a road on the outskirts of Damascus. He’s all lit up.

Saul (to his servants): Is the sun getting brighter or is it getting hotter? I should have brought my shades.

Men traveling with Saul (looking at him): Say, what?

Saul (shielding his eyes): Holy smoke! What’s going on here!

Men (hearing a voice, looking around): Do you hear murmuring?!

Jesus (beaming): Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Saul (blinded by the light): Who are you?!

Jesus: I’m Jesus, the one you are persecuting. You are like an ox kicking at a farmer’s prod–it’s stubborn and pointless.

Saul (trembling and astonished): Lord, what do You want me to do?

Jesus: Time for you to join my team. Go to Damascus and you’ll be told what to do.

Jesus goes back to heaven.

The men with Saul are speechless–they heard Jesus but saw no one. Saul stood up, but he was still blind. His friends took him to Damascus and for three days he was without sight. He neither ate nor drank. Later, through Ananias, the Spirit opened his eyes and started instructed him. Eventually, Saul ended up in Jerusalem. With Barnabas’ help he met with the Disciples to talk.

Paul: Guys, the Spirit is doing some amazing things among Gentiles.

Peter: Yes, of course. Jesus said we needed to make disciples and preach to the “ends of the earth.” We’re in Phase I of our Master Plan–praying and a pledge drive.

John (sliding a pledge card across the table to Saul): Yes, Phase I is well on its way, but I suppose we could meet. Check your calendars–how about next Wednesday after prayer meeting?

Saul (looking at Barnabas; scratching his chest): No need for a meet–no big deal. How does this sound: You guys concentrate on the Master Plan in Jerusalem and I–maybe with Barnabas–we’ll take the rest of the Empire. How ’bout that?

Matthew (looking thoughtfully): Hmmm. We do Jerusalem and you take the rest of the Roman Empire?

Peter (looking at Matthew): Seriously? That doesn’t sound right. Anybody have a map?

Matthew (brightening): I get it. We do Jews and you do Gentiles!

Peter (brows furrowed): Hang on. This reminds me of that dream I had…Spirit’s been talking about Gentiles to me. It’s part of Phase III. Right, John?

John: Yes.

Peter: The dream involved a big hat–or sheet–full of…

Saul: Seriously. Barney and I are headed for Antioch tomorrow. We have tent-making workshops scheduled from here to Greece and back that’ll keep us busy for a few years. We’ll preach as we go.

Everyone begins talking.

Peter (hold up his hands): Yo! Hey! (The group quiets) Everyone who’s okay with Paul and Barnabas preaching to Gentiles while they make tents, raise your hand.

Everyone raises their hands.

Peter: Good luck, guys. If you ever make it to Rome, let me know and I’ll come, too! (To the others,) You know, we could learn something here–I think maybe Phase IV needs to be spreading the Good News beyond the city limits.

In heaven:

Jesus (to the Father): Paul’s the real deal. I’m going to let him write half the New Testament.

Tr8: Be a doer. Make the Good News the front page of your life.

 

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John Mark made smores. They’re a day’s journey from Lystra. Sitting by the fire, Paul licks the marshmallow and chocolate from his fingers. Barnabas watches the sun slip below the horizon while John Mark pulls out the bedrolls.

“Hey, Hermes, you look a little stoned.”

“Shut up, Zeus.”

“Seriously, how’s it going? The eye looks better already. Did you heal yourself?”

“Not funny. You wanna explain to me how you walk away from “THE GODS ARE AMONG US” and I get stoned?”

“Squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Silence.

Gentle sobbing.

“Reminds me of Stephen….”

Silence.

“You know, Paul, what I admired in Stephen is what I like about you. You are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. You preach it like it’s the power of God to bring salvation.”

“Well, that’s what I believe.”

“Stephen did, too. I remember Jesus said, ‘Blessed are you when you’re persecuted for my name’s sake.’ Stephen once said to me, ‘For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.'”

“That sounds like Stephen. Hang on a second, let me get a pencil. I’m gonna wanna remember this.”

“We’re on a mission of life or death, Paul. Since all have sinned…”

“…and fall short of God’s glory…”

“…we HAVE to tell everyone that if they’ll confess Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts God raised him from the dead…”

“…they’ll be saved!”

“Exactly! Paul, if God is for us, who can be against us? Aren’t we more than conquerors in Christ?”

Silence. Nothing but embers left in the fire pit. The stars glow in the night.

“Barnabas.”

“Yeah, Paul.”

“Thanks for everything — after Stephen, after Damascus, bringing me to Antioch, this mission — you’ve helped me realize all things are possible in Christ.”

“My pleasure, Paul.”

Tr8: Mentor. Find one. Be one. This is a team endeavor.