Friday, September 10, 2010

Acts 16 -- guidance by bloody noses

In the early part of this chapter, we see Paul floundering around Anatolia, looking for his missing mojo[1]:
Act 16:6 Kutsal Ruh'un, Tanrı sözünü Asya İli'nde yaymalarını engellemesi üzerine Pavlus'la arkadaşları Frikya ve Galatya bölgesinden geçtiler.
Act 16:7 Misya sınırına geldiklerinde Bitinya bölgesine geçmek istediler. Ama İsa'nın Ruhu onlara izin vermedi.
Act 16:8 Bunun üzerine Misya'dan geçip Troas Kenti'ne gittiler.
Act 16:9 O gece Pavlus bir görüm gördü. Önünde Makedonyalı bir adam durmuş, ona yalvarıyordu: "Makedonya'ya geçip bize yardım et" diyordu.
Act 16:10 Pavlus'un gördüğü bu görümden sonra hemen Makedonya'ya gitmenin bir yolunu aradık. Çünkü Tanrı'nın bizi, Müjde'yi oradakilere duyurmaya çağırdığı sonucuna varmıştık.
People who communicate the gospel recognize the spooky, supernatural element to the process. For some reason, it's not a job we can do on our own. When we encounter a receptive ear, we bow before the awesome God who has prepared that heart, and that ear, for what we have to share.

And sometimes, people just don't want to hear. Their hearts are either hardened,[2] or not ready to hear. The evangelist gets the sense that God isn't doing His work on the other end of the process, so it's time to move on. Let's look at a few words:
  • Ama -- But
  • onlara -- to them
  • İsa'nın Ruhu -- The Spirit of Jesus (Turkish has a "belt-and-suspenders" way of dealing with possessives. Both the thing possessing, and the thing possessed, have specific endings.)
  • izin -- license, liberty, freedom
  • vermedi. -- did not give.
Paul's example here is significant for job hunters and anyone else engaged in a frustrating process. He does not sit still and wait for something to happen. He is on the move, seeking to find the place where stuff is happening. And it is because he is on the move, that he receives supernatural guidance.

An old pastor of ours called this "guidance by bloody noses." You bang into a locked door, get a bloody nose, and pick yourself up to charge at another door. Sooner or later, something will "turn up."


[1] Mojo is an idiomatic American word, derived from voodoo, and refers to personal power, elan, virility.

[2] It is possible for a whole people group to do something so heinous that several generations of their descendants experience a judicial hardening of the heart, and tumble into eternal hell. Hitler came to power by popular vote, and had the approval of the German people for most of his programs, and their willingness to look the other way for the rest. Today, the percentage of Germans with active Christian lives is in the single-digit percentiles. The stuff we do changes the lives of our grandchildren.

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