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Thinking Out Loud

Our life group hit on Acts 8 last night, but I wasn’t there. Heading for the beach. Getting some of the R&R everyone says humans need from time to time. Looking forward to a little crab. Crabs probably looking a little less forward to it. We always enjoy the porpoises skimming along, aware of us, but not close enough to touch.

But, I digress. I was thinking, as I said, about the life group and how much I would be missing by not being there. So, I pretended I was going to be there and zeroed in on Acts 8.

Here’s one thing that struck me. After Stephen’s martyrdom, this huge persecution breaks out, and the Christians in Jerusalem have to beat feet. I talked about this last week. But I was struck that Philip heads to Samaria. It doesn’t say whether he opted to go there on his own in the confusion or whether all the apostles and the elders got together and directed people to various places. But Samaria. Tough mission field, what with all the hatred between Jews and Samaritans. But Philip sees this revival break out. Was wondering whether he tapped into what could have been a growing number of believers there from Jesus’ time with the Samaritan woman at the well. Dunno. Just thinking out loud.

And it made me wonder.

Why Samaria? Why Philip? Why does Philip have only one “L”?

And it made me remember.

Jesus had commanded His followers to preach in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and everywhere else. So, to be obedient, someone had to go to Samaria.

Philip was a Jew, alright, and the Samaritans would have viewed him with suspicion. However, he was not a Jew from Palestine, where the greatest animosity towards the Samaritans existed. As a Jew from outside Palestine, could he have bridged the gap easier because he would have had fewer barriers to climb over. Dunno if that’s the case. Just thinking out loud.

Philip was already a bridge builder, a peacemaker. He was one of the seven overseers chosen back in Acts 6 to resolve disputes between Palestinian Jews and Jews who had come from outside Palestine. A good guy with proven skills who lived the life and had success in crossing cultural lines.

Philip went in the power of the Holy Spirit. Things happened that awed folks. And, he preached Christ and the kingdom of God.

And it made me convicted.

Am I faithful every day in sharing the good news in one of the locations Jesus commanded: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, everywhere else?

Am I building bridges? Making connections?

Are there people out there that I may be the absolutely best person in the whole world to share the gospel with because of my upbringing, life experiences, life’s disasters, training, whatever? If not me, then who?

Is there a power of the Holy Spirit operating in my life sufficient to cause people to ask “What is the deal with you, man?” (Or, in Bible parlance “What is the reason for the hope that is in you?”)

Am I really proclaiming Christ and the kingdom, or am I proclaiming something else that sounds good, but isn’t, in the end, Christ?

And it made me determined.

I’m coming back in a few days with answers to the questions.

Feel free to join me, or, like the porpoises, sail on by without being touched.

Dwaine Darrah
McLean Campus Pastor

 

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