Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
~Acts 13:1, NASB
Remember: If God can take away something you never expected to lose, He can replace it with something you never expected to have.
In 1774 William Cowper penned these immortal words, “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.” As God said to Isaiah the prophet,“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” If you and I were forming an organization to get the gospel to the world, we would probably select highly educated, well refined, financially established and highly successful people to do it. Jesus choose 12 common ordinary men: none were educated, none were wealthy or highly successful and they certainly were not refined.
Take the list above: it begins and ends with familiar names–everyone knows Barnabas the son of encouragement and Saul the big man who became Paul the little man, but the three in the middle are never mentioned again. This does not mean that they were not important; to the contrary, they were vitally important. They were the first IMB Trustees. They made the decision to send Paul and Barnabas on their first Missionary Journey. Simeon and Lucius were most likely from North Africa. Simeon was also referred to as the man with black skin. Manaen was the foster brother to Herod Antipas. Manaen’s father, an Essene prophet had prophesied great things for Herod the Great and most likely Herod the Great brought Manaen to live in the palace as a favor for his father. Herod raised Manaen along side Phillip and Antipas who were both educated in Rome. It could be that Manaen received the same education. Herod the Great was a cruel and vicious man. He executed wives and children. Living in such a household makes one wonder how Manaen became a believer. Some suggest it may have been through the ministry of John the Baptist who was raised by the Essenes.
Manaen’s story may be much like that of Moses who gave up a life of ease among his adopted Egyptian family to identify with the despised Israelites. Somehow, Manaen had become a prophet or teacher in the church at Antioch. He had to be a key leader to have been in on this monumental decision. You wouldn’t think that anyone coming from the court of Herod would become a preacher of the gospel but God does move in mysterious ways. One thing is sure: God is not predictable. He doesn’t do the likely; most often it is the unlikely and He seldom does the same exact thing twice. I’ve never heard of anyone else who was converted in the manner of Paul, have you?
I visited the community of Danville when I was an eight years old. We came to the farm where the silos stand on Targum Road. Louie Williams lived there at the time and mother and daddy brought my brother John there to buy some bantam hens. All I remember is they were not as big as a regular hen. I never dreamed I would live most of my life in this community. Of course, I never dreamed that God would call me to preach or call my son to preach. You can spend money of books of prophecy if you choose but you are wasting money and valuable time. No one knows what God is going to do. I get a chuckle out of all these knuckle heads that made all these predictions. Telling us in detail what God is going to do next; as if the infinite God could fit in their tiny box of brains. I know this: God is at work but I have no idea what He is going to do tomorrow, let alone next year or the next century. I tell you what He did do yesterday, He manifested His awesome presence in our Communion Service and I have thanks Him repeatedly since.
- Last week was a marathon and I prayed for Sunday night to get here with all my responsibilities fulfilled. I was so tired Saturday night that I came in, showered, ate a bit and went to bed. I was almost that tired last night. Now, we have two weeks of VBS…DBC this week and GRACE POINT next week.
- DBC members: You have two Elite workers when it comes to VBS and I hope you appreciate them. Mandy and Shohn do an outstanding job. I little disappointed is some of our workers. One in particular let me down. He told me he would weed eat Saturday and when I looked up he was no where to be found. Catfish came out when a big grin on his face. I said, “Where is ____, he is supposed to be weed eating and trimming? He laughed and said, “He is at ROCK THE SOUTH.“ I said, “I’m going to rock his South.” VBS comes first. My yard didn’t get cut because I was getting ready for VBS. We are going to have to have a come to Jesus meeting and get our priorities in order.