5 Lessons From An Amazing Mother

There is a Pentecostal Christian woman that we first meet in the Book of Acts, and then we see her name scattered throughout Paul’s letters. She may be the most prominent woman among all of the Apostle Paul’s companions and probably is responsible for spreading the Gospel more and farther than any other woman recorded in the Bible. 

Scripture doesn’t tell us if she had children of her own but she is certainly the spiritual mother of more Christians than we will ever be able to count!

Prisca is her birth name. She is a Jew, and most likely a freeborn Roman (just as Paul was). She is from the prominent Acilius family, so combined with Prisca her name is called Priscilla. She married Aquila and they both worked as leather makers (also known as tentmakers). 

Let’s take a look at Priscilla’s travel itinerary—

Pricilla left Rome because of Emperor Claudius’ decree in 49 AD and traveled to Corinth, where she met Paul (Acts 18:1-3, 11, 18-19). 

After spending almost 2 years with Paul in Corinth, they traveled to Ephesus with Paul, where she met and mentored Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). Apollos became a trusted friend to Paul; in fact, Paul calls him a synergos (where we get our English word for synergy). In other words, Paul thought his ministry was more effective because of his partnership with Apollos, but that is all thanks to Priscilla’s involvement! 

Priscilla returned to Rome sometime after Claudius’ death in 54 AD. She probably returned home to prepare the way for Paul’s visit there (Romans 1:10-11; 15:23-24; 16:3). 

And at some point she returned to Ephesus, probably to help Timothy as he pastored the church there (2 Timothy 4:19). 

Here are 5 lessons we can learn from Priscilla’s life—

  1. Be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is what she taught to others, so it is undoubtedly how she lived as well. 
  1. Use the gifting God has given you. Except for one place, Priscilla is always listed first ahead of her husband. This is unprecedented anywhere else in the New Testament. That tells us that despite what the Greco-roman culture tried to enforce, Priscilla was the predominant teacher/preacher in her family.
  1. Work hard. Priscilla had to be fairly well-to-do to be able to travel to at least three major cities and to host churches in her home, and yet we see her working with her hands to provide for her family and for the church. 
  1. Be bold. Jesus said the baptism in the Holy Spirit would give us boldness, and Priscilla demonstrated that powerfully (Romans 16:4). 
  1. Be synergistic. Paul also called Priscilla a synergos. Paul used this word sparingly for people who had put everything on the line for the sake of the Gospel. He used synergos for people like Apollos, Timothy, Titus, and Luke. Priscilla is the only woman who gets this invaluable term.  

We don’t know if Priscilla was a biological mom, but she was definitely a spiritual mom. She was empowered by the Holy Spirit, and probably is responsible for spreading the Gospel more than any other woman recorded in the Bible. You can follow in her footsteps! 

Join me next Sunday as we continue to learn about the power for Pentecost that is still available to all Christians today. 

Hyper-Mega Dynamite

Ephesians 1-19One of my favorite scenes in the movie Elf is when Buddy is discovering all the amazing human things in New York City. In a public restroom he stands up on the toilet in his stall to shout to the person occupying the stall next to him, “Have you seen these toilets? They’re ginormous!” It was so amazing to him that gigantic wouldn’t cut it, and neither would enormous, so he combined them together … it’s ginormous!!

When I read Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Ephesus (see Ephesians 1:17-23), I get the sense that even the well-educated apostle was having difficulty finding enough adjectives to describe the amazing inheritance we have in Christ. He mentions things like…

  • Out-of-this-world wisdom,
  • divine revelation,
  • deep and intimate knowledge of God,
  • a flooding of heavenly light,
  • supernatural hope, and
  • an overflowing, incalculable, inestimable, eternally-compounding inheritance!

But then he comes to God’s power and his vocabulary almost fails him. Like Buddy the elf, he starts putting words together to try to convey the vast majesty of this power.

Most Bible translations say something like incomparably great power. But when you look at the Greek you see prefixes like hyper! and mega! and you realize that Paul is saying it’s so beyond gigantic or enormous … it’s ginormous!! 

The word for power is “dynamis,” and many people have said that God’s power is like dynamite. But they have it exactly backwards! Dynamite has only been around for 200 years. When dynamite was created it was named after Christians who were living in the hyper-mega, ginormous, dynamic power of Jesus Christ. Christians’ power wasn’t named after dynamite; dynamite was named after empowered Christians!

This is the power in which Christians can live everyday in every way! This is the power God has for you! If you’re living in anything less than hyper-mega dynamite power, perhaps you should pray for yourself the prayer that Paul prayed for us! 

We’ll be continuing our series in Ephesians this coming Sunday, and I’d love for you to join us.

What God Will You Choose?

What God:godMy friend Chuck and I have a sort of shorthand when we talk. We’ve been through so many experiences together, that now just a single word can bring to our minds the fullness of that time, with all of its tears and laughter. Someone listening to one of our conversations might not get the full impact, but we sure do!

It’s the same way when we read one of the Apostle Paul’s letters. He is writing to a church or an individual with whom he had a rich, personal experience. So when he alludes to something, those friends who went through that experience with him recall all of the fullness. When reading the letter to the church at Ephesus, you can experience some of that fullness by reading about Paul’s experience in that city in Acts 19.

In Acts 19 you will meet the followers of Jesus who were already there and see them get baptized in the Holy Spirit … watch Paul teach for three months in the synagogue before the Jewish troublemakers run him out … see Paul lecture for the next three years in the Hall of Tyrannus, so that everyone in that province heard the Word of God … see how God authenticated Paul’s ministry with miracles … experience those who tried to counterfeit what Paul was doing … see many in that city turn from their witchcraft and idol worship … and finally experience the tumult of a near-riot started by the merchants who were losing their income on sales of mythological trinkets because so many were turning to Christ.

With this backdrop, you can then understand why Paul uses such specific language in the opening greeting of his letter to Ephesus (see Ephesians 1:1-3). By doing so he is contrasting the followers of Jesus with the followers of Artemis—

  • Christians for whom God has a specific plan (“by the will of God” [1:1a]; see also 1:4 and 2:10) versus Artemis’ followers who felt like they had no choice (Acts 19:26).
  • Christians who are called saints (set apart for God’s special use) and faithful (trusting Jesus implicitly [1:1b]) versus those followers of Artemis who are self-serving (Acts 19:24, 25).
  • Christians who experience God’s grace and peace (1:2) versus those followers of Artemis who did not even know why they were there (Acts 19:32).

But the most specific language is in Ephesians 1:3—Praise be to THE God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (emphasis added)….

  • Not “a” god, but “THE” God.
  • Not a god that needs to be appeased, but THE loving Father.
  • Not a god that may or may not be able to respond, but OUR Lord Jesus Christ Who overcame death, hell and the grave so that our sins can be forgiven!

The question Paul invites the Ephesians to consider is the same question we must consider:

What God / god will you choose?

We will be continuing our study on the book of Ephesians next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us!

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