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March 02, 2012

How many of us have launched out to serve the Lord with an expectation of how it’s going to be, and found it’s not like we thought? We get disappointed, we get hurt, we find out how hard it is, and ministry becomes incredibly difficult.

But God is bigger than our expectations. Take a look at the apostle Paul’s missionary launch in Acts 13-14. Here’s the ministry pattern he experienced:

Communication > Opposition > Perseverance > Fruit > Glory to God

Four times we see this pattern play out in just two chapters. And you’ll see it in your ministry life too.

Here’s the thing: if you only communicate, then quit when you experience opposition, you’ll never get to the fruit. You have to persevere. Anybody can quit, anybody can start and stop. Anybody can flare up and fly up—and come crashing down again.

There’s nothing super special about launching out for the Lord. It’s the persevering that shows God is really with you in your message…in your life. And when you persevere through the opposition, through the trial, and start to bear fruit, then you bring the Lord glory.

At the end of the day, we’re just messengers. The work of salvation is a work of God. Only God can save a soul. Only God can redeem a lost person. Only God can get the gospel to someone in a way that impacts their life—and only God can change their heart.

…The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Acts 16:14

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will… Ephesians 1:11

Embrace the model of the apostle Paul, who saw that God was bigger than his false expectations of how easy it would be to serve the Lord. It’s not easy. It’s difficult, and you have to persevere through opposition. But in your perseverance, always keep in mind that God is the One who saves. God is the One who reaches a person’s heart. Just do your best and remain faithful—and trust God to give the fruit and get the glory.


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