My Jerusalem has 18 souls.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells his disciples “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Now, for the disciples, this was the actual geographic location they were in and surrounded by. But for us, this can be a clear illustration of our ministry and outreach for Christ.
“Jerusalem” is the center, or hub, of your ministry. Judea, the next circle, which surrounds Jerusalem, and is the next outreach layer of your ministry. Then comes Samaria, a little bit farther outreach, and then the uttermost part of the earth, a much farther outreach, obviously.
Concentric circles of ministry. All with a common center. “Jerusalem.”
Most of us, I would guess, have a “Jerusalem / Judea” type of ministry. Nothing wrong with that! This is the hub of our outreach, the center, the core, and that is the most important. A wheel without a hub would fall apart. It would have no strength to support the outer rims. The weight of all outward motion is still dependent on the integrity of the hub. So, this core-hub, your Jerusalem, is foundational. It is the support of all other circles built upon it. Judea is built upon Jerusalem. Samaria is built upon Judea, which is built upon Jerusalem. The uttermost part of the earth is built upon Samaria, which is built upon Judea, which is built upon Jerusalem. You get it.
The vast majority of believers, as I said, probably have a Jerusalem / Judea outreach. This is to your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your local church and community. This is the most important outreach you have, and exactly why God put you where you are! To shine the light of Jesus to those you come into contact with on a daily or regular basis. You may think your “simple life” and circle or two, are not very important in the big scheme of things. But they are! They are the MOST important because they are the core ministry God has given you.
Be that salt & light the Bible talks about! Right where you are! It spreads and grows. Just like a pebble dropped into the water sends those ever larger concentric circles outward, you too cause a ripple effect in your outreach when you live for Christ in your immediate circles. It is a “God Thing!” You don’t even know who’s going to be effected by it, but God does!
Where you are, is exactly where God has you at this moment, to accomplish His purpose, if you are yielded to Him & faithfully serving Him in that place where He has you. When yielded in God’s hands, our “pebble” life has the potential to reach out as far as God chooses it to. And THAT is awesomely amazing.
I read a verse the other day in my morning devotions that struck me. I never noticed it before, or the power of the “pebble moment” in this verse. It was only evident when you read the end of the chapter.
The verse was Acts 15:34. “Notwithstanding, it pleased Silas to abide there still.” WOW! That pebble of a moment set off so many concentric circles of outreach.
Silas had come to Antioch with another man, Judas. They had been sent by James the leader of the Jerusalem Church (and the Lord’s half brother) to back up what the council at Jerusalem had decided concerning the gentiles, and the missionary ministry of Paul and Barnabas. They did this successfully and the new church rejoiced. Judas went back home. But, “notwithstanding, it pleased Silas to abide there still.”
Why? We are not told what his reasons were. I would venture that Silas himself didn’t have any specific reason except he liked it there in Antioch. (and the Holy Spirit must have led him to stay!) But he had no knowledge or understanding of what new and broadening concentric circles God was going to bring from his pebble! That isn’t revealed until the final 2 verses in the chapter!
Time passes; we are not told how much time, but Silas abides. Serving God faithfully in the Church at Antioch. Encouraging and exhorting. Using his gifts for the Lord’s service.
The final 6 verses in chapter 15 tell us of the dispute between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark, as they plan to begin their second missionary journey. A dispute so strong, that they can’t come to agreement over it, and they split. A split, with a bigger Godly plan behind it. Barnabas goes on his own missionary journey, taking his nephew John Mark.
Paul chooses Silas. And the rest is church history!
Silas didn’t know the future; his future, in verse 34. But God did. Silas was just being faithful and abiding where God told him to. In his “Jerusalem /Judea,” maybe even “Samaria” ministry, but God wanted the uttermost part of the earth from Silas’ pebble.
What about my pebble? My 18 souls. This is my family. My husband, my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. 18. My Jerusalem. This is the ministry that God has given me that means the absolute most to me. They are my core, my hub, the center of my world, after Jesus, of course, and really because of Jesus. They are the most important thing on earth to me. 18 souls that I care the most for, passionately cry over, anguish in prayer over, fast over, “mother-bear” over. These 18 souls are the reason I cling to so many of God’s promises, and search out God’s promises to cling to. I have a God-given ministry on Earth, and that is these 18 souls.
This is even what has moved me to begin blogging. I want God to extend my outreach, perhaps to Samaria, perhaps to the uttermost part of the earth. But, Jerusalem is still at the center of why I do what I do.
I believe God revealed this to me the other day as I was in my prayer closet, praying through my prayer notebook, over these 18 souls. The truth that, even in this new endeavor / ministry of blogging; it is still chiefly about my Jerusalem. I want to reach them, bigger and deeper, for Jesus. I am pouring out my passion and my legacy as a written voice to those 18 souls. They may not even read it. I hope they do! Some of them aren’t even old enough to read yet, but, it will be there. It will be recorded. I LOVE my Savior and I want Him to be their Savior too, for the ones who haven’t accepted Him yet. I want Him to be their PASSION too, for the ones who have. I want to leave a legacy of Love for the Savior, that one day they will leave as a legacy to their “Jerusalems.”
If that message, that pebble, causes a ripple that reaches beyond my Jerusalem; to Judea, to Samaria, or to the uttermost part of the Earth, it will be because God allowed it. I will be happy! Excited and very happy! Because I do want to be used, as far as God’s ripples will take me. I will thank Him and praise Him for that. To God be all the Glory!
But, I’m still centering on just being yielded & faithful, and reaching the 18 souls of my Jerusalem for Jesus.
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