When we live in a bubble we become focussed on our own needs and experiences and lose sight of the wider world.
It would be easy - very easy - for a Western rationalist to dismiss all of this. I'm a biologist, I know what causes diseases!
One of the reasons why I'll never be a good personal evangelist...
Mission is about proclaiming the reality of the cross in word and deed; but more than that, it is lived out in the shadow of the cross.
There are a number of conclusions that you can draw from these incidents; but the idea that the Holy Spirit always guides in a clear and unambiguous fashion is not one of them!
We love to sing about how big and powerful God is, but when it comes to practical issues we, all too often, limit God's ability to do things. We make ourselves, our choices and our abilities the centre of the universe. On balance; that's a mistake!
Some thoughts on why Barnabas made two trips to Cyprus.
This may just be the most profound passage in the Bible on the subject of mission.
As Christians on mission, we are faced with a choice. We can either play down the message of the cross and make it less offensive or we can go the uncomfortable route of talking about judgement and forgiveness.
If you believe that you have a call to be a missionary, you have to ask yourself whether or not you are willing to deny yourself and to take up your cross daily. If not, you'd better stay at home. But be aware, the same standard is demanded of disciples wherever they find themselves.