A Strategic Act of an Apostle

by Dr. Craig von Buseck

Luke, the writer of Acts, shows us an amazing transformation in the life of Saul of Tarsus. This metamorphosis takes place in one single chapter – Acts 13 – though the preparation for it happened over many years.

Verse 2: While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Verse 9: But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him…

Verse 43: And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas…

In ancient times, the most prominent person was named first in all literature. The chapter begins with the introduction of Barnabas and Saul. By the end of the chapter, not only was Paul named first, but also his name had changed.

We see in Scripture that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5) and Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 35:10). But nowhere do we see an explicit statement that God changed Saul’s name to Paul.

So why was his name changed at the same time that he emerged as the preeminent apostle to the Gentiles?

I believe that Saul himself changed his name from the Jewish name “Saul” to the Gentile name “Paul.”

The reason was two-fold:

  1. For the purpose of building a bridge of communication and trust with the people God had assigned to him to reach, the Gentiles.
  2. Saul so identified with his calling that he went so far as to change his name.

Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul makes the famous declaration: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). In this significant step of changing his name from Jewish to Gentile, he is signaling his commitment to his calling – but also to those he is called to reach.

As you ponder this significant act of an apostle, I encourage you to prayerfully consider your calling and what you have done – or are willing to do – to “become all things to all…” that you might save some.

 

Craig von Buseck

Dr. Craig von Buseck

I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck

I Am Cyrus by Dr. Craig von Buseck

Dr. Craig von Buseck is manager of digital content for Inspiration.org. His most recent book is I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel from Iron Stream Media. To order, visit IAmCyrusBook.com. Learn more at vonbuseck.com and inspiration.org.

 

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On my birthday, as my newest book, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience released, I pondered “What is joy, really?”  As I look back, seems God had me on a learning trajectory to find then live out joy.

As a child, first born daughter of an alcoholic dad, I was naturally joyful but our home situation was chaotic and unpredictable so when things got volatile due to my dad’s anger or his own depression, I retreated and became a sullen, sometimes, pouty and often emotionally teary-eyed little girl. But God had something greater, something better for me and He also has something better for you, too!: JOY!

Recently, I gave a speech for my Joy Jubilee birthday bash, and I shared a few things I have learned about joy—for the next few weeks, I will share them with you too—in bite-sized nuggets.

Joy is Relationship

The book of Philippians is often tagged the book of JOY, and the first chapter of Philippians is all about RELATIONSHIP:

I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, . . . 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart (Phil 1:3-7)

This thread of relationship continues through out the book, like in this verse from Phil 4:1 where Paul calls the believers at Philippi his JOY!:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (Phil 4:1)

Today, apply these relationship verses by:

Thanking God and praying for those you love—those who bring you joy.

Tell those you love HOW they bring you JOY and thank them.

I want to personally invite you to be a part of my FREE online bible study on Discovering Joy in Philippians:A Creative Bible Study Experience  Using Facebook Live I will teach and you can share and comment on our JOURNEY of JOY. It begins Sept 18 and runs 12 weeks. Register today.

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 48 books, and her newest, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience is co authored with Bible teacher, JeanE Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher, is available in most Christian bookstores and online stores. (Harvest House) For many “extras”: audios, blogs, video tutorials, a leader’s guide, go to https://www.discoveringthebibleseries.com/the-books/discovering-joy-in-philippians/

Speaking of relationships: More than 30 influential Christian leaders have endorsed Discovering Joy!

There is no joy without Jesus! Only happiness that depends on happenings. Knowing Christ brings Joy. This is what our distraught world needs. Read Discovering Joy in Philippians, a new creative Bible study experience.

Jill Briscoe, author and international speaker
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