“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. they have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” (Ps. 115: 4-8)
In Ephesus in Acts 19, we are introduced to a mob scene that gives us an appropriate Biblical example of the intersection of idolatry and marketplace. Paul roused a bunch of silversmiths by preaching against their patron god Artemis. Demetrius, a silversmith, accused Paul by saying, “Not only at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people” (Acts 19:25). Their business was dwindling because of the impact of the Gospel in the area. People were turning from idolatry and trusting in Christ.
Raised the son of a pastor, this Tentmaker was always surrounded by ministry opportunities. He never felt called to the pastorate, however. Instead, he realized early on that his involvement in ministry would take a different track.
“Growing up, I watched certain men and how they acted in the churches, and the things that they did for my family,” he said. “That spurred something in me as a kid.”
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed” (I Cor. 15:10-11).
As mentioned in an earlier installment, Paul’s model was to enter the marketplace to reach the masses working there and work among them. As he was in the marketplace, he would evangelize and the new converts moving through the marketplaces from all over would take the Gospel into their own towns where it would multiply. The churches were populated with those that worked in the marketplace and preached the Gospel in their own tongue.
As a long-time insurance executive – This Tentmaker worked in the industry for over 18 years – He has extensive business experience. Since his adulthood conversion to Christianity, however, he also has a strong desire to share the Gospel. Working with as a Tentmaker allows him the opportunity to do both.
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people” (Acts 18:9).
After Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth with a donation from Macedonia, they provided encouragement for Paul to preach the Word of God more intensely. Consequently, Paul was expelled from the Corinthian temple in a passionate outburst that was in response to his preaching, and he moved his ministry next door where he witnessed some notable conversions. Previous to Corinth, Paul experienced several disappointments—a stoning in Lystra; abandonment of John Mark; imprisonment in Phillipi; mocked by the Aeropagus. It would be only natural to wonder or consider if God was moving him from Corinth. However, the Lord in a vision encouraged Paul to continue in Corinth because the Lord has many in this city who are His people. As a result of this vision, Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months. Then upon leaving Corinth, Paul traveled to Ephesus. Then he left Priscilla and Aquila and traveled through Caesarea and Antioch.
Growing up in South Carolina, She never imagined she’d spend her adulthood living overseas. “I thought I would stay in Charleston and live there forever, to be honest,” she said. “I thought we’d have kids there. It’s been so funny how God just had different plans that I never dreamed of.” Those plans included following her husband as he pursued professional opportunities in South Africa and, more recently, Canada. A stay at home mom of three sons (ages 7, 5, and 2), She is involved in small groups and ladies Bible studies and assists with children’s Sunday school classes at her church in Calgary. She’s also found herself engaged in another type of service – one much closer to home.
Modern day missions were undoubtedly derived from our study of Acts. While the biblical Acts describes the formation of the early church from Pentecost to the end of Paul’s public ministry, the author, Luke, also portrays constant action—motion. Whether it was a natural zeal of new converts or the force of persecution, the early church expanded at a rapid rate. The early believers were aggressive in pushing the Gospel out into their communities and unreached areas. There is no doubt that God has put us on this earth to expand His kingdom. And as we follow Luke’s narrative in Acts, we think of many symbols—the fish, cross, maybe a man kneeling, or even sandals; however, should there be at least one more? Acts is a book of motion, change, and even adventure. The tent represents all of these ideas, but it also represents the conduit to which Paul was able to travel, meet people, pay for his needs, and stay in cities. This is what the tent has come to symbolize in my mind—the constant natural, Holy Spirit-inspired desire to advance God’s kingdom. The tent provided a trade to Paul, which he used to carry him into far-off lands. Paul was a tentmaker by trade and a missionary through passion.
Below is a testimony from a group that is working with a Tentmaker in Poland. The Tentmaker is the Camp Director (6/29/2011)
Second Onsite Update from the CampsAbroad team of Matt, Kelly & Gabe Collier in Poland:
We just finished up our camp day and the kids are settling into bed. Several more were saved tonight. Praise the Lord! Matt preached on the two roads. The Lord is helping him keep the messages really simple. We are so thankful for the help He is giving with the language and cultural barriers!
We had a really special treat today. After the morning game we drove with the camp director to a nearby lake and castle to check on doing one of the activities with the campers in the afternoon. We got to go inside the castle – it was the run through tour since we had to make it back before lunch. The castle was built in 1325 and was so cool – but a little too far to take everyone. They took the boys to another nearby castle this afternoon and I think we’ll take the girls on Thursday. Little did I know that Poland has the most castles of any country in Europe. They are like McDonalds in the US…one in every town just about! =) Gabe is going to have great dreams tonight!!
Thanks for praying with us. You are sharing in the fruit of several junior boys: Daniel, Jacob, Matthew, and another one I can’t remember his name. Most of these kids are from really rough homes and backgrounds and have grown up in a Catholic saturated culture that is set directly against the Gospel. One boy, Jacob, trusted Christ last night. He asked his counselor when he could get up to read his Bible (we were enforcing a time that they had to physically stay in bed, hoping to avoid the whole 5 am bouncing off the wall scene from Tuesday morning). He was told that he had to stay in bed until 6:30. He said, “Oh, good! I will have a whole hour to read my Bible because I get up early!” Sure enough, at 5:30 this morning he was awake in bed reading his Bible.
We are excited about how God is working. Thank you for praying with us and for us.