Parting Words: An Easter Series


Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8,ESV)

Good-byes are difficult. The good-byes of life: the dorm room, the parting of child from family at the alter of marriage, the distance of a move, the deathbed…many moments in life involve parting words. As we enter into the Easter Season, I want to focus on the good-byes of Jesus and of Paul. What did the Savior of the world want to leave as parting lessons with his disciples–with us? How did Paul part with Timothy? What were his final instructions to the young man he mentored in the faith?

I believe that our good-byes can be strengthened by looking at the good-byes of Jesus and Paul. In the next five weeks leading up to Easter we will delve into:

  • Paul’s last words to Timothy
  • Jesus’ last words to the Apostles
  • Jesus’ parting words in Revelation

I look forward to learning how to say meaningful and lasting parting words in this life so that the hellos of eternity will be all the sweeter. I certainly need these lessons, and I eagerly anticipate learning them alongside you this Easter Season.


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Priscilla and Aquila: Following Their Faithful Steps

P and A Following Their Faithful

On Friday, we learned how Priscilla and Aquila entertained Paul (and thus probably his traveling companion, Luke) and equipped Apollos in the complete knowledge of the gospel. Today we consider how they endangered their lives for the gospel and encouraged the Body of Christ, His church. Finally, we will consider what women of the 21st century can learn from the life of Priscilla.

Endangering Their Lives for the Gospel:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. (Romans 16:3-4)

We are told that Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for the Apostle Paul but the details surrounding the specific event are not made known to us. They considered Paul’s life as more important than their own and his ministry of greater importance for reaching the Gentiles. Moreover, they demonstrated they were committed unto Christ Jesus even unto death.

Priscilla and Aquila followed in the footsteps of Christ Jesus in true love and friendship outlined in John 15:13:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

While their offering was sincere, they would be spared along with Paul to proclaim the gospel message. Additionally, like Paul, they would later give their lives for the salvation message they proclaimed. Tradition has it that Priscilla and Aquila were martyred in Rome. (Exploring Church History, J.P. Eckman, 2002)

Encouraged the Body:

Priscilla and Aquila were transient. They moved multiple times in the Bible. From Pontus to Rome to Corinth and Ephesus then reportedly back to Rome. In city after city, Priscilla and Aquila opened their home to preaching and teaching of the Word. They viewed their home as an extension of ministry; a commodity to be used for living out and sharing the gospel. Priscilla and Aquila grasped the reality that earthly life is temporary and true citizenship is granted beyond death.

What can women learn from the life of this influential woman of the Bible? 

  • She lived a life of ministry. (Mark 10:45)
  • She was an exemplary partner in the ministry with her husband. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
  • She equipped and evangelized. Priscilla was a woman bent on fulfilling the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • She followed the teachings of Paul in that she learned and ministered in line with scriptural mandates. (2 Timothy 2:11-12)

Jesus’ earthly ministry and the teachings of his followers validated women more than any other religion in history. Priscilla’s actions fell in line with the mandates of God and we can follow her lead. We know this because Paul was accustomed to call out women within the church who were outside the mandates of God in his other writings. He does not do this with Priscilla. She is a woman who kept ministerial boundaries in accordance with the scriptural mandates.That is the type of women we need in the church today.

We should strive to become women  and couples who follow in the Christ-centered footsteps of this God-fearing, God-honoring couple.


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Priscilla and Aquila: Models in Marriage and Ministry

priscilla and aquila

Have you ever made a decision in your life which only in retrospect you could say was a turning point? A decision that was setting into motion opportunities for encounters with believers and events that would shape the person you have become?

I believe that we could all answer yes.

Step back almost two-thousand years ago and we encounter a couple whose back-story is  unknown, yet whose choices changed the nations and generations for Christ: Priscilla and Aquila. Famed partners in ministry with Paul and teachers of the well-known preacher, Apollos.

Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned six times in the New Testament. Four of these times Priscilla (Prisca) is listed first:

  • Acts 18:2, 18,26
  • Romans 16:3
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19
  • 2 Timothy 4:19

Some scholars have speculated that either Priscilla was of a higher social status (Aquila possibly a former Jewish slave) or that in some way her ministry was greater than that of Aquila’s. Either way, this continued coupling of their names indicated their unity in marriage.  Five of the six times they are mentioned in the New Testament, their names are separated by the word and alone. This is a peanut butter and jelly pair!

This couple demonstrated that beside every good man there is room for an equally good woman.

Let’s take a closer look at the life and ministry of this influential couple and the woman beside the man in a two-part blog series.

First they are remembered for entertaining Paul.

Like the Apostle Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were tent makers by trade. Most likely, Paul, who had traveled from Athens, met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth while he looked for work. It is possible that Paul heard of their ministry in Corinth prior to meeting them on his journey. (Acts 18:2-3) Paul stayed with them six months (Act 18:11). From Corinth the three set sail for Syria and stopped in Ephesus where Paul left them to minister to the people of Ephesus. Paul was known for traveling with Luke so it is probable that it was more than the three of them that journeyed together. Either way, Paul would travel 1500 miles before he would see them again (Acts 19:18-22)

Secondly, they equipped Apollos. 

Soon after Priscilla and Aquila settled in Ephesus, they visited the temple. They were blessed to hear a young man, eloquent in speech and competent in the Scriptures who preached the baptism of John. Enter Apollos. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandra (NE portion of Egypt), named after Alexander the Great who ruled during the Greek Empire between 356-323 BC.

Apollos was a convert of John’s most likely from the teaching of a disciple of John the Baptist. He continued to look for the Messiah as he preached in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him and took him privately and explained the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:24-28)

Note that they equipped Apollos in a spirit of love (1 Cor. 13), accurately and with the support of the Scriptures, and they set him up for future ministry that was later equated to the level of Paul and Peter. (See 1 Corinthians 1:12)

Priscilla and Aquila both possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul (and their own studies), and this husband and wife team was able to pass on their knowledge to another Christian and build him up in the faith.  Apollos’ message was not inaccurate or insincere; it was simply incomplete. That’s where this iron sharping pair stepped in.

I want to equip myself in such a way that when an Apollos walks into our lives, Ron and I are ready to further his or her understanding of the Scriptures. I hope you will join me for part two on Tuesday.



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Relationships in Heaven

Relationships in Heaven

One of the things I most look forward to in heaven is a restored relationship between man. Here on earth we have striving, jealousy, dissensions, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and a selfish pride that impedes our ability to live in unity with one another despite our best efforts and good intentions.

In heaven we will no longer hold the title or relationship of husband and wife (See Mark 12:18-27, 22:23-32), I am unsure of mother and father, but assuredly we will all be brothers and sisters united by the blood of Christ. To press further the matter of no spouses in heaven, Jesus says that we will be like the angels. As far as my study has taken me, there is no reference to angels procreating in the Bible. In fact, it is unknown if they possess the anatomy to have sexual relations. Earth and this temporary life are the only place where we can join together in marriage and the full consummation of physical oneness.

Marriage is a relationship only enjoyed on this earth and set up to paint a picture of Christ loving His church. The relationship I now enjoy with Ron will be even richer in the life to come as I see him the way that Christ sees him and as we live in perfect holiness together. I can only love him as a wife in this life, but I will love him as the brother he is in Christ in the next.

Heaven will bear the fruit of relationships that are always mutually edifying and pleasing unto God.

I eagerly anticipate the holy communion with God, and my fellowman. Relationships that bring me joy here on earth will only grow richer in the absence of evil and the presence of the deepest desire of my soul…God.

Paul writes of the believers he preached to and encouraged in Thessalonica:

What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

Paul eagerly anticipated heaven and living in the continual presence of the Lord Jesus. Here we see he also deeply desired and enjoyed the relationship he had established with the believers in His ministry.

We can desire Heaven for the ultimate relationship it will bring with God and the fulfillment of perfect relationships with fellow believers: familial, friend, and all of God’s children. People we have ministered with, too, as well as those we have been the recipient of in ministry and friendship will eternally dwell in unity in Heaven.

This brings me such joy to think of the eternity I will experience building upon the richer relationships that began on earth and the promise of rich relationships to come: relationships with saints I haven’t even met yet. Best friends, minus the jealousy of others, are awaiting discovery in heaven! That is a rich reward to anticipate.

Life beyond cannot mean impoverishment, but the enhancement and enrichment of life as we have known it here at its best.~W. Graham Scroggie

Dear friends, it is impossible for me to cover in 500 words what eagerly awaits us in heaven in the area of relationships. I encourage you to study the scriptures and some of the books that abound on the topic of heaven for more information. I hope that today’s post has spurred your thinking and anticipation of the joys that await us in the Celestial City.

Seeking Heaven with You,


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Paul: A Life Transformed


Vacation Bible School (VBS) is more than construction paper, stories, and cookies. VBS is a time to instill in young, pliable hearts the Word of God. A time to equip children with the truth so that they can defend their faith when the tough questions rise within, in their own souls, and without, from the fiery darts of the enemy.

This week I hope to provide table talking points for Lifeway’s VBS curriculum that we are using at Calvary Church in Florida. These will be points that you and your family can discuss around the dinner table, during the ride home, and throughout your day to further impress upon your children the truth of God’s Word.

First up: Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Acts 9.

 Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4) 

It is imperative that we distinguish this is Jesus addressing Paul for two reasons (verse 5). 

First, this is pertinent in the revelation that when a Christ-follower is suffering, Christ Himself suffers too. What is done to the Body of Christ, the church, is done unto Jesus Himself. The Bible clearly tells us that persecution of Christ-followers is to be expected and that we should rejoice in our suffering. Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul, was a persecutor of the early church “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 9:1)

Secondly, it is imperative that we note this is in fact Jesus talking with Paul because he is another eyewitness of the risen Savior. More specifically, an eyewitness by a professing enemy of the gospel following the ascension of Jesus into heaven. (See Acts 26) Paul’s conversion is significant in this fact as he was a primary witness of Jesus. Paul did not come to be a Christ-follower from a secondary retelling of the gospel; rather, he encountered the risen Savior himself.

Why was Saul’s name changed to Paul?

Saul was Hebrew, and Paul, Latin. It was common to have a name in each language and to use the Latin name among Gentiles.*

Because Paul was a missionary to the Gentiles that is one reason for the change in Scriptures from referring to Hebrew, Saul of Tarsus, to the Gentile missionary, post-converted, Paul. This post (click here) explains this point very well.

Further, let us look at the meaning of Paul’s names and the name of the Christian brother, Ananias.

Prideful Saul was a Pharisee of Pharisee’s, perhaps named after the first King of Israel. Saul in Hebrew means “asked for” or “prayed for.” Paul is a Latin name meaning “small” and “humble.”

I find it interesting that the first king which the people of Israel petitioned God for was Saul, the very name of which means “asked  for.” Further that the converted Christian, Paul, would be initially referred to as Saul and then post-conversion as Paul. In name and demeanor Paul bore the humility of Christ after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Ananias’ name means “the Lord is full of grace.” It was in the fullness of God’s grace that he transformed prideful, persecuting Saul into the humble Christ-follower and missionary, Paul. Indeed, God allows all of our hardships in light of his great grace.

I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. (1 Peter 5:12, emphasis mine)

Following Paul’s conversion he was baptized.

“Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; (Acts 9:17-18)

This week your child may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior just like Paul around 2,000 years ago. He or she, like Paul, should follow in believers baptism to signify they now follow, and belong, to God through Christ Jesus. If you have questions about baptism then I encourage you to read this post and then encourage your child to make their conversion public through baptism.

May God bless you and your table conversations! If your child is of preschool age, I would highly recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible (see the link below). Also, if you would like to read more about proof of the resurrection of Jesus, then click on the references below to purchase them from Amazon.




*Adams, A. D. (1996). 4000 questions & answers on the Bible (123). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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