"Listen to the Story" (Guest Speaker Danny Martinez)

What a sweet Sunday morning worship service we had this week! First off, it was sweet for me because I was able to dedicate little Addison Diemer to the Lord on Sunday, and that’s always one of my favorite pastoral duties.  It was, however, not so sweet for Addison, who pretty much screamed through the whole thing.  Problem is, once you’ve picked up a baby to pray over her, it’s not like you can just hand her back to her parents and say, “Hey, your child is just too loud for me to handle.”  So if you see the video, you’ll hear me waiting for a while, then praying just a little bit louder and a little bit shorter than I usually would at a baby dedication...

But the morning was sweet for everyone else because they didn’t have to listen to me much beyond that.  We were able to host our new Conference Superintendent, Danny Martinez, at this Sunday’s service, so Danny shared in our Adult Sunday School class as well as bringing the message in the service itself (and then he was able to have lunch with the Elders and Deacons and our spouses afterwards).  For those of you who don’t know Danny, he was born in Guatemala, but moved to the United States as a child.  After spending his early adult life in the private sector, he felt called into the ministry, serving first as a Youth Pastor in Chicago for a decade, and then as a church planter in California after that.  And in and amongst all of that ministry, he also performed in a heavy metal band -- and yes, I’ve seen the pictures of him from that era.

In the message this week, Danny shared about the meeting between Philip the deacon and the Ethiopian eunuch at the end of Acts 8.  Interestingly, earlier in the chapter, Philip had been instrumental in a great outbreak of the Holy Spirit in Samaria, when people were coming to know the Lord right and left.  But then, in verse 26, God took Philip from out of the middle of that revival and called him to go to the middle of nowhere... a “divine appointment” that gave Philip the opportunity to reach out to this official from Ethiopia who had traveled to Jerusalem to worship God.

We don’t really know what the official’s reaction to worshiping in Jerusalem had been -- I mean, he was reading a scroll of Isaiah, so he’d clearly learned Hebrew and was taking his conversion to Judaism seriously... but he was still a foreigner, and the Jewish Law forbade eunuchs from being able to enter into the Temple itself -- but after Philip took the time to reach out to him and share the Good News that the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the eunuch asked to be baptized, and he went home rejoicing in the Lord.

As Danny argued, in general, changing lives through the Gospel really isn’t that hard to do.  Focus on the needs of people, rather than the spectacle of revival.  Be available wherever God wants you to be.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you.  Don’t just throw truth at people -- keep traveling along the road with them for a while.  Ask the right questions, and then listen for their answers.  And then remain flexible to whatever needs come up to address. 

So where is God leading you today?  To seek a mentor who can hold you accountable and help you to understand God better?  Or to be a mentor for someone else?  A little from column A and a little from column B?

Take a moment to ask God about that today... and then listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.