Sunday, February 22, 2009

When given the chance....

...God moves. When we are willing to get out the way and come face to face with God's grace and mercy in a humility typically unpracticed it still amazes me what God can do. We had an incredible church service (two actually) today. We had been told not to miss the service that we wouldn't want to hear about it second hand. Man, that was dead on.

Pastor David spoke on the sacraments of the church and how we as a denomination may have missed the mark on some of the basics, one of those being baptism. He used the below scripture to emphasis the point of the power of baptism.

Acts 8:26-50 (New International Version)
Philip and the Ethiopian 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[a]eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, 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.
32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the 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."[b]
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. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"[
c] 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.

We as Nazarenes are not notoriously the most spontaneous worshippers. But this morning in our combined services the pastors baptised 174 people. These were people who had not experienced the power of baptism or had, but did not remember when it happened. Some were children, some were accepting Christ for the first time, some were in the middle of their lives, some were saints of the church, some of us watched from the sanctuary seats...but all of us were changed. Words cannot express the power this service had today, I have tears in my eyes even as a try to describe it.

If your pastor ever says "do not miss this service" to your congregation...Do Not Pass Go...Do Not Collect $200...Be there! (and bring a camera)

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