Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Paul Gets Stoned at Lystra

Today I was reading my Daily Reading Bible and a section stood out to me. I won't post the entire thing for today's reading, but here's the part I wanted to share, Acts 14. Pay particular attention around verse 19.

Paul and Barnabas at Iconium

14:1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.


I'm amazed when I learn about Paul and what he went through. Could you imagine getting stoned? I mean, we're talking to the point that they thought he was dead! That's crazy. And to think that sometimes I think my life is hard. It's even more impressive after his attack: he simply gets up and continues to move forward. He doesn't complain. He doesn't point fingers. He doesn't even decide to hang low for a while and let it all blow over. I wish I could be this strong. I have definitely let setbacks stop me and compromised my integrity as a result.

For me, it's encouraging to read about Paul's life. To learn about the types of problems he faced and see the way he handled it. I don't have anything deep and insightful. I just wanted to share that I like Paul's approach to hardship. In today's times, this seems particularly relevant.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

7 Habits Review

I recently finished the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. offered a free download of the audiobook on I thought there were some good principles and wanted to share them.
  • Habit 1: Be Proactive - Take responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide you're in charge. So take initiative and action.
  • Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind - Create your own personal mission statement based on principles you create. Set long term goals and measure everything you do against those.
  • Habit 3: Put first things first - Prioritize tasks using a 2x2 matrix with "Urgent" and "Important". Tasks that are important should always come before urgent. We often choose urgent tasks first, but we should choose important first.
  • Habit 4: Think win/win - Always look for mutually beneficial solutions. Find people's needs, not just their symptoms.
  • Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood - Take the time to understand where people are coming from. With people, slow is fast and fast is slow. So slow down and take the time to truly understand them before offering up advice.
  • Habit 6: Synergize - Similar to win/win, this is a way of working in teams. Value differences, use creative collaboration and leverage innovation. 1+1 should be greater than 2.
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the saw - Focus on improving yourself. Watch less TV, read more and write more.
That's them in a nutshell. These are all good habits and I recommend listening to this book. Here's the lifehacker link again.