Daily Devotional by Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks
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Morning by Morning Daily Devotional Thursday, January 24, 2019

Acts 15:32-16:3

32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek
Acts 15:32-16:3
This section of Acts narrates a dispute between Paul and Barnabas, a dispute so great that it causes the two men to go their separate ways in ministry; Paul now teaming up with Silas and Timothy and Barnabas with John Mark.  The disagreement is about the integrity of John Mark to be in ministry - Barnabas wanting to offer grace and another chance.  This is not the first time that Barnabas has offered grace.  In Acts 9 we read that Barnabas alone was willing to take a chance on Paul despite his history of persecuting Christians.  
The disagreement is clearly strong enough to cause the men to part company - but what is striking is the way that Luke, our author, handles the separation.  Luke provides an even narrative, not taking sides or demonizing one man over the other.
Is there something for us to learn here?  I believe so.  Disagreements happen. This is a reality of life and ministry.  But it is the way that we handle these disagreements that provides a witness to the world.  Paul and Barnabas part company, but do not (at least to our knowledge) bring the community into the disagreement.  Indeed, they both find a new team and BOTH continue the mission of the church - to share the gospel of Jesus in all the world. 
Today, I am praying for the unity of the church in the midst of our disagreements.  May God allow us to offer grace to one another in a way that allows the mission of the church to continue in peace.

This Sunday we will receive new members into the church.  If this is a decision you have made, please let Pastor Kandace know, and we will be happy to receive you.

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