Monday, February 17, 2014

Paul in Philippi - Part 2 - 56 photos to explain the first church formed in Europe

Traditional site of where Paul and Silas stayed in prison
Philippi - a city largely made up or retired Roman soldiers: it was not the place you might think would be the first church would be formed in Europe.

But then, visions and dreams and women at a prayer meeting beside a swift flowing brook aren't the normal combination of events for church planting, either. 56 photos and commentary here

Lydia may have sold her purple cloth in this market place
Add in a wealthy merchant woman who was dealing in purple cloth, and you have a home that would be open to traveling evangelists.

 However, given that Lydia was probably fairly aggressive in her speech and her sales approach in a city full of tough, battle-hardened retirees from the military, and the prospects for a peaceful, loving and joyful church might not have made it onto your number one spot for "10 Most Likely Cities for Beginning a Church".

Remains of an Ancient building in Philippi
Then, there was that pesky young woman who had the unusual ability to tell people's fortune, not to mention a free night in the city jail and the whips used on the evangelists backs.

That should have been enough to stop anyone from singing for joy at midnight. Can't you hear the cat-calls - "You guys in Cell 3! Please keep quiet. For heaven's sake, we're trying to sleep!" (Maybe mixed in with a few Greek swear words, too.)

Then came the earthquake and the Roman jailor and his whole house hold are saved, (1) in the sense of their relationship with the Almighty; and (2) in the sense that none of the prisoners got away, so "Daddy's not going to lose his head".

A very unusual beginning, and a very unusual continuation of the story - "Again - and again - I say rejoice." Paul certainly had a different approach to being joyful in the midst of difficult circumstances. "Oh, yes, just to remind you, keep rejoicing.

There's a good news story in the midst of a lot of hardship.


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