WK#12 Here is water...

To listen to the audio version while following along with the text go to:http://hopecwc.blogspot.com





This week I feel the need to unburden myself from a deep and dark secret that I’ve been harboring for years. I am going to violate the Man-Code on this one, so guys I apologize up front. I don’t believe it is a total break from manhood to reveal a silent suffering need to listen to ABBA once in a while. There I said it – it’s out there and there is no taking it back. I’m an ABBA fan - you know from the movie Momma Mia. Their music is like eating Almond Joys – they’re addictive and you can’t eat just one!



What got me convicted to make that revelation is what I was reading in Acts 8:25-40, we know the story as the Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch. (Somehow I didn’t hear the announcer’s voice when I wrote that line). At any rate, Luke writes of a “chance” encounter and we all enjoy “chance encounter” stories don’t we; whether it is in the movies, our favorite historical romance novel or the tale of a missionary.




This story is one of my favorites. Along a lonely and dusty road in the African bush, a man suddenly appears and asks a missionary traveler, “Can you tell me who Jesus is?” This is riveting stuff! It would have been just as fascinating to the first-century Romans or Greeks, because in their view Ethiopians lived literally at the southern edge of the earth. And in just a few short sentences we see the completion of the commission in Acts 1:8: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth. Bam! Done! Call it a wrap and cue the music; this one is in the can!

But wait – there’s more. There is more to the story than just this chance encounter. God plucks Phillip up out of a thriving and successful evangelistic ministry and places him on a lonely dusty road at high noon. No one around and along comes this wagon; then Phillip hears the reading of the prophet Isaiah.

You gotta love this about God. Phillip had to be wondering what he had gotten himself into when he was looking up and down the road and not seeing much more than the heat mirages. God has an even bigger picture of what he wants to accomplish with this “chance” encounter. God doesn’t just want “quantity” he wants “quality” as well especially in the sense of an ethnically diverse body of Christ. You know, it shouldn’t surprise us that God calls our most effective evangelists to go to remote places. With billions still not having heard the gospel in their own language those who are called should be willing and obedient to go immediately, just as Phillip did.

So the Eunuch asks, “How can I” and “Tell me (in my own language).” So Phillip begins right at this passage and tells the Eunuch the good news about Jesus. Phillip, in a few short words, evangelizes the Ethiopian that Jesus, the righteous sufferer, crucified and risen again, has won the victory over sin and death, and now repentance and forgiveness of sins are available in his name. Coming to water the third question is asked, “Here is water.” The simple message of saving grace, repentance and hope results in not only a transformed heart but the full identification with the body of Christ through baptism.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we actually had water available in our services. Luke’s concern in his writing is that all the obstacles that are keeping people from identifying with Christ be removed; age, religious background, race or ethnic origin, physical condition or geographic location. What obstacle would need to be evangelized away in order to see someone baptized?

If you change your mind, I'm the first in line
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down
If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Take a chance on me


If we put it to the test, would you take a chance on Jesus?

Prayer:

O God, let my listening become understanding, and my understanding become faith, and my faith become discipleship, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Some things to be mindful of this week:
  • Thursday April 1st at 7pm we will start our 24-hours of prayer with a Maundy Thursday service.
  • There are slots open for those who wish to participate in the 24-hours of prayer either at home or in the building Thursday night and Friday.
  • Friday April 2nd at 7 pm we will conclude our 24-hours of prayer with a showing of the movie, “St. John in Exile.” I encourage you to join us - it will leave you changed.