We finally got around to putting Kevin's youth retreat pictures on the computer, plus we were blessed with a good internet connection this weekend so I was able to upload them.
The view of the shoreline has unquestionably changed since the day that the elders of the Ephesian church accompanied Paul to his ship at nearby Miletus to bid him farewell on his journey to Rome (Acts 20:17-38).
Some things, however, never change. God has been gracious to keep the sun rising and setting over the water for thousands of years.
Another thing that hasn't changed since Paul and John preached the Gospel in Ephesus is the nature of God, man and the Gospel itself. Sometimes I deceive myself into thinking that it's harder for us than it was for the early church. Unlike the Apostles, the people we are trying to reach have been exposed to Christianity, and it has been mostly negative. Aside from medieval history and the Crusades, they have been taught distortions of Christian doctrine. For example, they think we believe that Jesus was conceived as a result of a physical union between God and Mary.
Whenever I read Paul's letter to the Corinthians, however, I am reminded that things really haven't changed that much after all. "But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles, foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Every generation and every culture presents challenges because the word of the cross will always be a stumbling block to human pride, foolishness to human wisdom.
Please pray that we will live up to Paul's own description of his ministry in 1 Corinthians 2:2-5.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.