I shared our mission trips with brothers and sisters at our church retreat over the long weekend. Here is the first of several bible teaching portions of our sharing. Hope they will be helpful to you.
* Acts 16:6-9 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
* Acts 16:13-14 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
Paul and his companions were on their second missionary journey. They wanted to preach in Phrygia and Galatia (modern Central Turkey), but the Holy spirit forbade them. They then turned north-west to Mysia and Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit that either. So they went west to the coast of the Aegean Sea to Troas, where Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia (modern Greece) calling to help. From a human standpoint it seems that Paul’s mission trip was a failure, as whatever he proposed to do God over-ruled. But Paul was flexible and always followed where the Spirit led.
Paul had his strategy. He knew the best time (Sabbath day) and the place (place of prayer) to meet his prospects. But God has His plan and surprises. In the vision a man of Macedonia appealed for help, but the first convert in Europe was a woman, and the second missionary journey was a great success as the gospel made a breakthrough from Asia into Europe.
1. Man proposes, God disposes. So be flexible. You may think you have the perfect plan, but we know only so little. Do your due diligence but leave room for God to change your direction anytime. He knows best.
2. In your service to God, there will always be frustrations and setbacks, some from the enemy, some from the Lord Himself because He knew better. But a setback is a set-up for a come-back:
* 1 Pet 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
* 1 Jn 3:13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.
3. Always follow the leading of the Spirit:
* Rom 8:14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
* Ga 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.