In Acts 8:26-40 we read about an interesting series of events. Phillip wakes up one morning with (probably) a day filled with important stuff scheduled. What happens instead is… well life kind of takes over. I am sure you experience these days every once and a while. Nothing goes the way you planned, everything is turned upside down, and as soon as you think you have it under control once again, BAM!, something else happens to change everything again. It can be very frustrating. It is easy to start complaining and cry out “Why me God?” Phillip has a decidedly different reaction. He sees every unexpected turn as a new opportunity to tell others about Jesus. We are not talking about little inconveniences here. Phillip is actually whisked away and forced to travel to other cities! He is put in dangerous situations, told he must travel down wilderness roads (yikes!) Life is literally and figuratively spinning out of control for him. Yet this doesn’t seem to faze him. He seems to rejoice at every unexpected turn and treasure each moment as a new and wondrous opportunity to meet someone who really needs to hear the Good News about Jesus.
It is a great lesson for us today. It feels like our culture teaches us that we must always be in control of our lives, the world around us, and our destinies. It is all up to us. “Life is what we make of it” they always say. There is so much pressure to be successful that it causes us to need to be in constant control and to always have the best and most productive plan possible for ourselves. Then, when the Holy Spirit speaks to us (as the Spirit spoke to Phillip) we are simply unavailable, too focused on ourselves to hear what God is trying to say. Every inconvenience is a tragedy instead of an opportunity. After a time, we become deaf to the Spirit. It is easier to be deaf – that way we can still maintain the illusion that we are in control and that everting is still going according to our plans. The result is that we miss out on the incredibly intimate relationship with God that Phillip had.
One way to reverse this course is to develop the habit that Phillip had. Instead of getting frustrated, complaining, or becoming angry when life interrupts us, take the time to see each new event as an opportunity. An opportunity to be Jesus to a broken world. To serve someone. To demonstrate acceptance and love unexpectedly. To stop and look for someone who might need to hear a little bit of good news. Good News about a God who loves them despite what the world (and most often the church) tells them.
Upcoming Event. Wednesday May 11th we are having a free dinner for our community. As Part of Mental Health Awareness month we are inviting all of our neighbors to a free dinner and a discussion on how mental health illness affects our lives. This a great opportunity to connect someone new to our fellowship – and through us to God! But we need everyone’s help and participation. We need people at Alpine to help get the word out, to give personal invitations to friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members who could benefit from either a discussion like this or from being introduced into our fellowship. Flyers and invitations are available at church. More details to come this Sunday in Church. See you there!
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