Beyond the Weekend

September 17 | Preparation

September 17, 2021


They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. Acts 18:19

Read: Acts 18:18-23
Acts 18


Paul begins his second missionary journey with the desire to spend time in Ephesus, but God prevents him from entering the area. Nearly two years later, Paul closes this journey with a short stop in Ephesus on his way home to Jerusalem. He begins teaching the Jesus-message in the synagogue, and it’s a setup for what’s coming. One day Paul will return, but he doesn’t know that right now. The Ephesians ask Paul to stay, and he promises to return if God wills it. Paul has a plan but holds it loosely, trusting God with the future. Paul is planting seeds that he will harvest in another season.

As we should, we make plans to prepare for the future. We pour our faith into our children as we pray with them and attend church together in hopes they’ll follow Jesus one day. We prepare for a financial future with disciplined savings and generosity to organizations participating in kingdom work. We prepare for our future influence at work by growing our skills and contributing to the team. Yet, in each plan, we realize so much is out of our control. As James reminds us, we can make plans for tomorrow, but we don’t know what will happen. “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).

As we live with open hands to the Lord, we can prepare for our potential future. We follow what we believe God has called us to do now and trust him with the results. We can trust God is working his purposes in and through us, even if it’s not like we expect or the timing we hope.


Think about areas you are preparing in hopes of a future harvest. On page 13 of your Jesus & The City Journal, list those areas and offer them to God. “God, I give these preparations to you. I desire to follow you, and I trust your timing. Please do your will in and through me. Amen.”


Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.

Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 3.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

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