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Weekly Lift

#107. Starting out

Bruce Stanley

June 20, 2022

Starting out

I was meeting a friend for lunch at his home. I had never been to his place before. The directions were complicated. They didn't make sense. But I followed them and eventually, I arrived. Once I was there, looking back, all the directions made sense. But it required a lot of trust to keep going in a direction I had never been before to get to a place I had never been.

In Acts 8, Philip has an angel appear to him and direct him to a desert road. I can't imagine what Philip was thinking at the time, being directed to the middle of a desert road. All we're told is that he listened to the angel and just started out. And then he met someone:

Acts 8:27-40

26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.31“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,so he did not open his mouth.33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.Who can speak of his descendants?For his life was taken from the earth.”34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] 38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Three amazing things happened here:

1. Philip listened to the Spirit, even though he had no idea why he was being led out to the desert.

2. He offered the man help, listened to him, and answered with the good news

3. He baptised the man when he put his faith in Jesus.

None of these things seems very extraordinary. Philip is just a person following God's direction. Listening to God, and responding. God is actually the one doing all the work.

1. God led him to the desert.

2. God worked in the Ethiopian's heart to understand the gospel

3. God welcomed him into the kingdom.

When we talk to God, listen to God, and follow God, we enable HIM to do extraordinary work through US. God uses ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things in this world.

Will we speak to him? Listen to him? Follow him?

Are we prepared to just "start out"?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing us to do your extraordinary work in this world. Please help me to speak to you listen to you and follow you each day. May you lead me to an opportunity today to do your work, no matter how small that work may seem to me. Help me to trust your direction in life, and just "start out" in trust, even when it seems unusual or unexpected.

Amen.

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