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The apostle’s “team” of co-workers

November 18, 2023

Daily Scripture

Acts 15:36-41, Galatians 2:1-3, Acts 16:1-5, 18:1-5, 28:14-15

Acts 15
36 Some time later, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all the brothers and sisters in every city where we preached the Lord’s word. Let’s see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. 38 Paul insisted that they shouldn’t take him along, since he had deserted them in Pamphylia and hadn’t continued with them in their work. 39 Their argument became so intense that they went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. 40 Paul chose Silas and left, entrusted by the brothers and sisters to the Lord’s grace. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Galatians 2
1 Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, and I took Titus along also. 2 I went there because of a revelation, and I laid out the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles for them. But I did it privately with the influential leaders to make sure that I wouldn’t be working or that I hadn’t worked for nothing. 3 However, not even Titus, who was with me and who was a Greek, was required to be circumcised.

Acts 16
1 Paul reached Derbe, and then Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy. He was the son of a believing Jewish woman and a Greek father. 2 The brothers and sisters in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take Timothy with him, so he circumcised him. This was because of the Jews who lived in those areas, for they all knew Timothy’s father was Greek. 4 As Paul and his companions traveled through the cities, they instructed Gentile believers to keep the regulations put in place by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and every day their numbers flourished.

Acts 18
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus. He had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul visited with them. 3 Because they practiced the same trade, he stayed and worked with them. They all worked with leather. 4 Every Sabbath he interacted with people in the synagogue, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks. 5 Once Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself fully to the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

Acts 28
14 There we found brothers and sisters who urged us to stay with them for a week. In this way we came to Rome. 15 When the brothers and sisters there heard about us, they came as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and was encouraged.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

We may picture the apostle Paul as a solitary figure. In the Bible passages in today’s GPS, we meet name after name of people who worked closely with Paul. Letters to Timothy and Titus became part of the New Testament. Acts mentioned Silas with Paul multiple times. The end of Paul’s letters (parts we often ignore) further showed his role as a leader of an ever-growing team of Christian leaders. “His epistle to the Christians at Rome, written from Corinth several years earlier, closes with Paul sending greetings to twenty-six people he names and many others that are unnamed. Most of these people appear to have been leaders of the church in Rome…. One thing that stands out in this list is the large number of women.” * When Paul’s life ended (“The earliest church traditions place Paul’s death around A.D. 64 or 65”) ** the Christian movement to which he had devoted himself kept right on growing. The people he had shaped were a major part of his legacy.

  • Through the letters he wrote, Paul continues to shape lives today. Walter Wangerin, a Christian writer, captured that impact: “Paul never ceased speaking…. “O dear ones, you have always obeyed,” Paul’s Voice falls upon us: “Continue then, not only in my presence but so much more in my absence, to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”…. Timothy, do you hear him? Lydia, do you? Talking, talking, as from down the articulate wind:
    Rejoice in the Lord always. Listen, I’ll say it again: Rejoice! Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. Amen. Amen.” *** What parts of Paul’s writings have most shaped you, and those whose faith has meant the most to you?

Dear Jesus, thank you for Paul’s impact on so many lives, during and after his time on earth. Guide me, in whatever sphere you equip and call me to serve, to leave a positive mark on the lives I influence. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lori Trupp

Lori Trupp

Lori Trupp serves as the Lead Director for Learning Centers at all Church of the Resurrection locations. She first shared today's post in 2019.

Dr. Brené Brown is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and researchers. She has devoted her life to studying and writing about human connection. Brené writes, “Connection is why we are here, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” In her research, however, she discovered that so many of us struggle to feel connected.

In fact, in a recent nationwide survey conducted by the health insurer Cigna, half the country reported feeling lonely. According to the survey, 54 percent of respondents said they sometimes or always feel that no one knows them very well. Even more (56 percent) reported sometimes or always feeling like the people they’re surrounded with “are not necessarily with them.” Two-fifths reported a lack of meaningful relationships and companionship; saying they are “isolated from others.”

Lack of connection can have a serious impact on our health. According to former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”

You are probably ready for some good news at this point! Study after study has shown that people who are involved in a faith community are less lonely, healthier, and live longer than those who don’t. In our faith community, we can find connection by attending worship, by volunteering, by taking classes during the week, by attending support groups especially on Recovery Thursdays, by participating in family activities, by serving in our worship services or in Sunday school classes with our children and youth, and so much more. There are so many ways to connect here at Church of the Resurrection! If you are looking for a team you’ve got one, right here at church.

To find ways to connect, click here. Your teammates can’t wait to welcome you!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Hamilton, Adam, The Call: The Life and Message of the Apostle Paul (p. 202). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
** Hamilton, Adam, The Call: The Life and Message of the Apostle Paul (p. 209). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
*** Walter Wangerin, Paul: A Novel, p. 504.