The book of Acts dynamically chronicles the birth of the church. In Antioch, Acts tells us, when believing Gentiles gathered together, Christ followers took on a new name: Christians (Acts 11:26). Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, sprang up everywhere, from synagogues in Jerusalem to lavish cities like Corinth. The growth spread so far, the church in Antioch commissioned missionaries to care for new Christians all over the region (13:1–3).
Paul and Barnabas tirelessly nurtured churches all over Asia Minor, yet they faithfully checked in with Antioch to give a “Senders’ Report”:
When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done…and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. (14:27 NASB)
Why did Paul and Barnabas do this?
Because Antioch’s support made them co-labourers in the mission. Without Antioch, Paul and Barnabas would never have discipled so many people or founded so many churches.
Because when the church of Antioch heard about the work God was doing, they were encouraged. Believers in Antioch endured intense persecution (14:22) and even harassment from other believers (15:24). Hearing Paul and Barnabas recount story after story of God’s love, grace, deliverance, and guidance re-centred and reassured the band of believers.
January provides an excellent opportunity for us to give you a “Senders’ Report”—to share testimonies of God’s work so you can be encouraged as a co-labourer in our mission. Here are some doors of faith the Lord has opened recently.
“It's amazing how God times things! Often I'd listen to the broadcast and realize this is just what I need to get through this challenge!”
“I had an old radio and was flipping through the channels and there he was. Chuck Swindoll. I listened the next day at about the same time so I could know for sure it was the same Chuck Swindoll whose book I had just read (Standing Alone). He's my guy.”
“I love the life-changing truths that guide me throughout the day.”
“Like the grandfatherly advice I yearned for as a child, his sermons challenged me to understand that ‘God cannot bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply’, that we are not exempt from trials and testing, that we are not God's sheltered people, but His chosen vessels and that God is faithful to His promises to be with us through the fire.”
“The book that has made the most impact on me was The Grace Awakening and really spoke to me at the time in my life when I really needed to see God's grace more clearly.”
“My husband can't read anymore because of his poor eyesight, so listening to Bible teaching from Chuck is a lifeline for him.”
“Every day that I read the Daily Devotional and hear the broadcast, I am always receiving perspective. Sometimes I wonder why the devotional that day matches exactly what I am facing and speaks to my specific situation... I mean, I know why…but it's wonderful perspective.”
“I've never heard a message I couldn't apply to my life.”