Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.
In today’s reading (Acts 22) a lot about Paul’s background is explained to us. We learn that he was a Jew, was born in Tarsus of Cilicia (Tarsus is harbor city on the northwest edge of the Mediterranean Sea, it was in the province of Galatia), was raised in Jerusalem, trained under Gamaliel (Gamaliel was the Pharisee that persuaded the Jews by saying that if the Christian movement was from God then they would not be able to stop it), he was a Pharisee and was very zealous, he persecuted followers of the Way to their death, he threw men and women in prison, and he is a Roman citizen by birth. We also are reminded of Paul’s conversion story in the discourse he delivers to the people.
Paul’s life brought him many experiences. Having been born in a Greek speaking, Greek living culture, he knew and understood Gentiles. Having lived and studied in Jerusalem, he knew Jews. Having persecuted Christians, he knew the hate that drove Jews when their persecution erupted. Having been born to parents with Roman citizenship, his life was saved many times. God took all of these things and used them to turn the world upside down.
So what is your story? What are the experiences in life that you have gone through? How can you use them to help bring people far from God into a relationship with him? Maybe your experinces would not call you to go very far from home like it did Paul. Maybe your experiences would not drive you to have to give a defense for your life like it did Paul. But maybe your experiences could help you reach that pregnant teenage girl living next door. Maybe your experiences could help that co-worker who goes homes each night and drowns their sorrows in the bottle. Maybe your experienes could help that friend who has just been laid-off from their job. I do not know what your experiences are, but you and God do, and he might just have a plan for how to use them for his purposes.