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good morning friends how you doing today my name is alex I’m one of the pastors here if you’re visiting we’re super glad you’re visiting and we hope you get to say hi uh later we’re in a series on acts I’m going to read a passage in a second this week was an interesting week for the walton family because we ended up with a child in er and if you’re thinking hey wait these are the notes from last week because that happened last week which it did it happened again this week so we were like wow there’s some kind of like thing going on with the house or something gets turned against us for looking after it less well than the former owners did because just that’s how we roll um and and unfortunately the good news is we now no longer have any children left to get sick like they’re all being sick and hopefully now that means that’s the end of it the er visits are done we’ve had three in like the last two months um so I could do it no more

thank you uh so we’re in the series on acts this is chapter six when do we read it you might say why pick this passage on the surface it seems like a really kind of boring administrative passage it’s not one that jumps out at the page here we go in those days when the number of disciples was increasing the hellenistic jews I’ll explain that in a little while among them complained against the hebraic jews I’ll explain that in a little while because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food so the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said it would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables brothers and sisters choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom we will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word this propo please the whole group they chose stephen a

man full of faith in the holy spirit also philip prochorus nikana timon peremanus and nicholas from antioch convert to judaism they presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid their hands on them so the word of God spread the number of disciples in jerusalem increased rapidly and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith let us pray together God as we open this passage may you speak to your people well on all sorts of different points in a journey some of us would say you are a mystery and we’re not even sure what it looks like to walk with you some of us would say you are still a mystery even though we’re trying to walk with you wherever we are on that journey God would you nudge us along would you speak to us as a community those that call south home as individuals would we have the bravery to say God speak even when that might be painful and ask difficult things of us so as we wrestle with

this text speak to us oh man okay so in a book a series on this book called acts acts is written by a guy called luke very intelligent guy probably a doctor of some kind he has researched the story of Jesus very closely and he’s written a book that he called luke or at least we call luke he probably didn’t call it luke that’s nowhere in the text this book luke could be called luke part one and then we have acts which could reasonably be called luke part two the first is what Jesus did the second is what his followers did but those followers would say they only do what they do and acts is full of miraculous spectacular supernatural events they only do what they do because it is a partnership God and man this isn’t about them doing the things this is about them doing the things that God inspires them to do it is a partnership and so we’ve wrestled with some parts of these texts last week we read a passage in acts chapter 4 that seems

positively idyllic so I asked you as a community or as individuals what do you think of when you hear the word idyllic maybe it’s pictures like this from the amalfi coast this place that I’ve longed to go to for years maybe it’s a place maybe it’s like this house of elrond half elven in the lord of the rings a house that was said to be good whether you liked reading or telling stories or just sitting in the eating or maybe a mixture of all three just to be there was restful and peaceful maybe it’s the picture of a community that you’ve either known or still no we see these communities on television that are probably a little bit too idyllic a little bit too good to be true six impossibly good looking people living together in deep friendship it just doesn’t seem real does it and yet that’s the presentation we get on tv all the time these types of things are normal and so wherever you’ve seen that kind of idyllic sort of community this is what we

see in acts chapter four with great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the lord Jesus and God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them think about that for a second wherever you are on the faith journey however you feel about Jesus however you feel about the divine you might say this I would love to live in a place where there were no hungry people I would love to see that kind of provision that itself seems kind of compelling and from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles fee and it was distributed to anyone who had need that is a kind of community that we might say I can get on board with that that feels like that’s how the world should operate surely this community to use a delightful word is delightful it’s this picture of what we would long for a

community to be but last week we wrestled with this question what happens when delightful becomes frightful what happens when there’s that moment of shift think about every sort of horror or thriller movie you may have seen maybe you don’t watch them but maybe you have seen some and think about that moment at the start of jaws that starts with a midnight swim and everything just seems perfect and then there’s the first couple of notes of that sound that we all know now and we know that something is about to happen and the movie turns very dark from that moment it’s also solely the reason my wife won’t go swimming in the ocean just that movie was enough to finish her desire to swim off there’s that moment of switch from this is nice this is innocuous or even perfect idyllic delightful and then there’s the switch in movies to something different and we see the potential for this switch in the passage we looked at last

week in acts chapter five there was this moment of tension in the community in amongst generosity two people appear that are trying to manipulate the community and there’s this moment of supernatural judgment where we read that they dropped dead in the middle of a service or gathering not unlike this and you may say I’m not sure I can believe in those kind of things but the text just takes it and said no this happened doesn’t say it happened all the time doesn’t try and defend the supernaturalness of it just says in this moment this community was at risk and it seems that God stepped in and acted to protect it in acts chapter 5 we see God steps in to protect this new community this community is pure that is pure and beautiful it is protected in this one moment of divine action and we’re left with a question is that how it’s always going to work is it always going to have these moments where a God who is invisible

and mysterious becomes an agent in the world and actively acts to stop something happening or to protect the community we’re left waiting to see and and we’re gonna skip most of chapter five sadly but I’m gonna drop in on just one bit because I think it just highlights what it is to wait to see what God is doing to ask good questions whether you’re a person of faith or a person of no faith whatsoever this is a character called gamaliel who just appears very briefly a pharisee who usually get a bad rep usually presented as somewhat of the bad guys a pharisee named gamaliel is a teacher of the law who was honored by all the people he stood up in the sanhedrin and ordered that the men the apostles that have been arrested these early followers of Jesus be put outside for a little while then he addressed the sanhedrin men of israel consider carefully what you intend to do to these men I advise you leave these men alone let them go

for if their purpose or activity is of human origin it will fail but if it is from God you will not be able to stop these men you will only find yourselves fighting against God thus this moment where a religious leader says I’m just waiting to see he’s hopeful maybe even expectant that God will do a new thing in this first century community hasn’t decided yet but whereas we see some of the other religious leaders have already decided we don’t want change we want everything to stay as it is this guy’s like I want to see and if God is behind it I am ready to jump on board and if he’s not the thing is going to disappear anyway and 2 000 years later this church worldwide is still functioning still there still existing there’s this moment where gamaliel paints this picture of what it is to ask a good question is God in this in this new thing is he working in some way and so now we move to chapter six and we get to ask the question again what

happens when delightful becomes frightful what happens when there’s this potential moment where a community is damaged where it becomes fractured where it’s not what it’s supposed to be will God act supernaturally to protect it again or will something different take place acts chapter 6 verse 1 in those days when the number of disciples was increasing the hellenistic jews among them complained against the hebraic jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food remember we just said this community is a place where everybody has enough nobody goes without and now there are some people that are going without there’s a group called the hellenistic jews a group called the hebraic jews so helpful in understanding this the hebraic jews primarily a group of jewish people that lived in jerusalem that stayed in jerusalem and the surrounding areas they were the locals if you like and then

another group the hellenistic jews that for the most part came from all over the place for those of you that have been traveling this act series for a while you remember maybe back in chapter two it says all of these different people speaking different languages from all over the place have gathered together and there’s this moment where the church grows dramatically by about 3 000 people we’re told people had come from arabia people had come from as far away as rome which was days and days of journey they’d gathered together and had this moment where something spectacular had happened and they’d just stayed that stayed in this community but they are different maybe the best way to understand this idea of diaspora what it is to move away from your own culture and homeland is to think about the beautiful state of colorado just as a survey how many of you guys are natives in the house today how many

natives do we have we got maybe oh man I’m going to say when I was hiring the first service I’m saying that’s like four percent that’s a very accurate number I have no no reason for believing it’s four percent most of you and myself we come from out of state we are not locals to this area so we move to colorado and what happens changes begin to take place just inherent to being in this area suddenly people do ridiculous things like riding two-wheel devices up mountains this is a very bad picture of me at the front in the white shirt you put the slowest guy at the front so you know how to keep pace and so this is me adventuring into the world of mountain biking I I was miserable for the entire time except when we were going downhill which I discovered was less time than we spent going uphill so just in terms of the odds I’m like man the odds are not in my favor in this respect most of it misery occasional moments of joy

but I got through it and and so you move to colorado and you do things like this you suddenly start waking up at five o’clock in the morning and you invite me for breakfast at six o’clock in the morning looking at you tom walker and and and I never want to get breakfast at six o’clock in the morning just so you know uh I like to get breakfast between eight and ten with the emphasis on ten that’s just my clock uh so something changes right as you move to a different place now that’s colorado you’ve moved from maybe a different state in america the change is perhaps significant but perhaps incidental you go back to those places you come from and you annoy your family or friends by telling them about 300 days of sunshine and how beautiful the mountains are in the summer and the winter and the fall and the spring there’s a change but it’s not it’s not life-changing think about what diaspora looks like moving from a different nation

and some of you have done that think about what it is for large numbers of italians to move to america over the past couple of hundred years think about what it is for large numbers of indian populations to move to britain over the last couple of hundred years think about what that looks like and the changes that take place you put into a completely different culture and it begins to change you and and maybe you don’t change in a huge amount but your kids start to change more and their kids change even more to the point that maybe two three generations in you go back and you don’t even speak the same language maybe it’s just a secondary or tertiary language now the old ways the different culture is now almost foreign to you you are shaped as much by the culture you are in as the as much as the culture you are from and think what it is for some of these first century early followers of Jesus that we’ve just read about to leave

jerusalem maybe two three generations of family ago and now to be in a place like rome the center of the world right now this place that’s culturally just miles ahead of jerusalem and then what it is to come back to jerusalem there’s potential that there is huge difference now and yet for these group labeled the hebraic jews well to them they are the faithful they’re the ones that stayed they didn’t leave with everybody else they stayed in the home homeland even when things were bad they stayed and so this is the tension that we’re reading about this is entirely now about ethnicity this is two groups of people that don’t see eye to eye they have the same religion they have made the same move to follow Jesus but in so many ways they are now so so different and we see what it is for one group that has power that is in its own locale its own safe space they are the the ones in residence to mistreat this whole group that sits on the

fringes this conversation is entirely about power entirely about ethnicity and yet in amongst this a group of Jesus followers are those brave enough to remain whilst also speaking truth to a community falling short of the way of Jesus these early followers of Jesus have seen how he lives in the world they have seen how he treats those on the margins and they are willing to say this isn’t how it’s supposed to work friends Jesus was incredible in providing space for those that didn’t belong that didn’t fit in pulling them into the center and this group of people are brave enough to stand up and say this isn’t operating the way that Jesus would have it operate this group that does not have power speaks this truth to those that do have power what I love about them specifically is this word remain would they be entitled to just leave absolutely would they be titled to say the people that what you’re supposed to be caring for the widows

the orphans when they’re in our group you don’t care about them when they’re in your group you care we’re done this thing clearly isn’t what it was professed to be this is falling short of who Jesus was and and there’s every potential that they say no we’re out but they remain they are willing to fight for this community they believe in this community but a huge risk to themselves they stand up and say this community is not functioning as it’s supposed to function and maybe you’ve experienced that at some point in your in your life maybe you’re a church person who has been hurt by a church community and it still resonates somewhere in the back it still gives you those moments of wow that was painful definitely wasn’t all it was supposed to be and maybe you tried to speak up tried to voice the need tried to voice the way that the community was failing and you weren’t listened to maybe you’ve done it in a group of friends

maybe you’ve done it in a family maybe you’ve experienced what it is to be in a community and say this isn’t functioning as a real community is supposed to function and that’s difficult when it’s family and friends but it’s potentially even more heartbreaking when it’s a church because in a church it feels like we should all be on the same page right this thing is supposed to operate different this thing is supposed to reflect who Jesus was and we see Jesus as though that the one who brings in the outsider who protects the vulnerable and what is it to be in a church community and say I didn’t see that happen all I saw was brokenness all I saw was damage and yet at the same time look at the next passage it’s fascinating right so the 12 gathered all the disciples together the truth is these people leading the community it seems weren’t even aware

of it they didn’t even know they designed this thing or helped design this thing to to be beautiful to be wonderful and how many church leaders have I heard say that we helped create this thing because it was supposed to give life it was supposed to be different it was supposed to not be painful and yet it fell short because we’re human and were broken it seems like for these earliest followers of Jesus the thing was supposed to be functioning and they didn’t know that it wasn’t functioning and it took people to come to them and say this is a thing that we need to fix this is a thing that you need to address seems at the heart these are guys that want this thing to function well and in this moment they’re left with a choice there’s a couple of questions this church has to answer is it in the business of social justice or not now depending

on your political persuasion the word social justice may give you a little bit of I don’t know if I like that word it has different connotations I’m not really interested in the politics of it I’m asking the question from the beginning from its essence was the church interested in caring for those that could not care for themselves was it interested or was it not interesting this is the moment they have to decide that do we pursue these things or do we just let it be what it will be do we just leave people to provide for themselves or is the church an instrument of care and then second question they have to answer is this and if it is who makes that happen who does the stuff is it these 12 guys that we see mentioned here did they make everything work does everything tick around them in essence in the the first century world they are the paid staff they are the ones that are employed they are the ones that are there 40 to 50 to 60 hours a

week and do they make it happen is that how church works best when paid people do things what do you think I don’t know well maybe I do I’m going to change track for a second I’m going to ask you a question that might seem that it’s unrelated but it’s deeply related think about your home life for a second what do you if you’re a homeowner do you choose to outsource what do you take and say I don’t want to do that thing depending on your skill set depending on who you are there’s a whole bunch of different answers I have one friend who was in the first service who very confidently told me my job is to earn as much money as I can so I have to do nothing in the house so I can pay somebody else to do everything and some of you will be like yes I am that person and unashamed about it some of you are so skilled and so knowledgeable you can do everything my father is that person I’m sure he’s somewhere deeply

embarrassed about his son who has no discernible skills in manual labor but he can fix anything he just has that ability where he picked the knowledge up I don’t know because he didn’t even have youtube but somewhere he got that knowledge somewhere he has made this thing work depending on who you are you may say I do some stuff I do know stuff you may dislike what you have outsourced you may love what you have outsourced you may live the dream of my friend who says one day I will do nothing in the house and it will be wonderful if you are looking for advice apparently this is what I’ve been told the first thing you should outsource when you have enough money is your lawn care apparently it’s if you’re not good at it it takes you a long time and you do it very badly and you can pay someone a moderate amount of money to come in and do all of it for you but regardless we make decisions about our home on some kind of

equation I would say we are used to equation based decisions on outsourcing in the home and it looks something like this whether you realize you’re processing it like this or not somewhere you’re asking how long is this going to take and that obviously is determined by how good you are how skilled you are and what kind of task you’re doing so you kind of measure that you say how long will this take me and then you times that by well how much is my time worth what else could I do with this time would that be more valuable could I earn more money could I build my business in that time could I do any of those things and then maybe you ask yourself well what can I afford as well like what makes sense for us financially and all of that as you multiply it up you then divide it by what is my interest in this task do I like doing it do I not like doing it I tried finishing a basement in a house we had in new york and it took me about three

months because I’m terrible I just watched youtube videos to survive and then the basement flooded and the insurance paid to put a brand new basement in which was win-win I felt for everyone except potentially the insurance company we do these sums in our head and say what do we take and what don’t we want to do anymore what do we want somebody else to do and society is set up to push many of us constantly in that direction I was just cleaning out the hot tub that we inherited and I didn’t think it needed needed cleaning and then I looked and it definitely did some of you that looks terrifying too it’s very unclean um definitely mold growing in different places as I watched this youtube video I was constantly told by the person doing the video if you don’t want to do this you can pay us to do it for you they must have said it five or six times if you don’t want to do this someone can do it for you just pay us a fee we’ll

come clean it we will take care of it we are constantly pushed in this direction of outsourcing and that my friends is fine except in a Jesus community outsourcing which works so well in so many arenas of life is toxic in a Jesus community if our model of Jesus center communities we can just pay more people to do stuff then ultimately the thing doesn’t look like the thing it was created to be if this axe community wrestles with this to the point where they say do you know what we’re just gonna take those apostles those first 12 guys who are somewhat paid at this point and they’re just going to do everything and we’re going to do nothing then the thing isn’t what it’s supposed to be I sketched out for you a couple of weeks ago these five things that I think make a Jesus centered community thrive that the community is supposed to be about hospitality who will you invite in it’s supposed to be about that connection piece it’s supposed

to be about solidarity you should be lifting people up I should be helping lift people up it’s supposed to be about mutuality you get to play a part it’s not all done for you it’s not all done for me it’s about humility who can you listen to how can you learn from somebody else and and it’s about generosity what can you bring those five principles all matter in acts and they all matter for south and at any church today and yet there is a tension between principle three and principle five you may not be aware its attention but it’s lurked in the church world for years we have said that generosity giving money is an excuse to not do stuff and you can see this all over the world all over the western world in how our church budgets operate we just say how do we show we’re interested in something well we just give more money to it we have a missions budget and we’ll give more and more stuff an outreach budget and we’ll give more

and more money and yet that can mean that less and less people actually get involved in doing it we say we’ll hire more and more staff and I love our staff and want them all to stay and I also like you to keep paying me if you don’t mind as well but there is this tension between hiring more and more stuff and so there’s less and less room for volunteers to operate and many of you that have been in the church world for a while just think about how that has worked you may have seen the ways that at one point we had a team of volunteers that would clean the toilets after the service and slowly over time you move to a system where you pay people to come in and clean the toilets we constantly learn to outsource what our church does and I’m not saying that that’s all negative but I’m saying it’s definitely a tension to be managed if we get to a point where any of us get to say you know what I give some money to the church so I don’t

need to serve in the church we may be missing out on something yes giving is important and steve just came up I don’t want to negate what he just said about talking about the importance of a giving community and yet giving can’t come at the expense of that mutuality if we learn just to outsource more and more stuff to pay more and more people to do things the cost of us actually been involved I don’t know if this community represents the acts community very well at all let’s see how this community deals with this struggle where something needs to be done and they could just leave it to those early followers of Jesus or they could find a better way so the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said it would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables you could have a discussion about how derogatory that weight on tables feels on one hand in the first century people didn’t love

service you had servants to serve you didn’t do it yourself that could be a somewhat demeaning role and yet on the other hand they had Jesus as a model and Jesus was constantly taking a position of a servant whether it’s derogatory or not it continues brothers and sisters choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom we will turn this responsibility to over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word when given a choice do we the paid people just keep doing more stuff or do we find other ways to get other people involved this community says there is something for more people to do here we are going to pull more people into what God is doing and they pick specific people people known to be the full of the spirit if that language is unfamiliar to you you might say people that are in tune with what God is doing and then people that have this characteristic

wisdom as well so you’re familiar with wisdom you may even be familiar with the greek word wisdom it’s actually one of the fairly well-known ones in the original language it would use the word sophia but sophia comes from this other route that really kind of means clarity you might say that they choose people that see things clearly there are these apostles these first 12 guys that are maybe the visionaries they’re maybe the ones doing the teaching the praying all of those big picture things and and yet they pull in these people that see clearly and to understand how that operates I’d like to show you a picture a picture that will give some of you a little bit of sort of ocd this is my garage it’s chaos I don’t even know what’s going on there there’s cupboards that are just wide open there’s the only thing that I care about clearly is the ski stuff

because that’s well organized at the back but everything else is just a hive a mess there is a white sofa with bikes leaning up against it which doesn’t seem like a recipe for success so there is my garage and then there is other people’s garage there is my garage and my neighbor’s garage there is my garage and maybe your garage there is these two things and one is not like the other thing right they don’t look the same and I just don’t operate in a way that enables me to make my thing look like this thing it just doesn’t work for me and yet some of you do you know where your passports are and you always have jumper cables ready to go and you’re that person that in a parking lot will say oh I can definitely help you and I’m the person that says I would love to help you but my jumper cables I don’t even know where they are and so different skill sets right and yet it seems like these early followers of Jesus pull in people who can do this

to help alongside people who can do this they pull in people who can do this alongside people who can do this they pull in people that help manage the chaos one of the first ministry jobs I ever had I had an assistant who came alongside me and she spoke very very much spoke truth to me truth that I didn’t particularly want to hear she said this to me every time you talk about admin you talk about it in a derogatory way you talk about it as though it doesn’t matter that we could live without it and she said what I think is this you say things like that because you’re not good at it and if it’s important you think you have to be good at it and then she said but the reason that we get to function well is because I do what I do well and that lets you do what you do well and the whole system thrives and it was a painful truth to hear and she was definitely right I mean she was wrong about everything else but she was definitely right about this thing

there was this learning curve of I actually am not designed to do everything because when I do things it looks like this and other people take this and turn it into this some of you are like I’d love to come and clean your garage for you and you can if you want I have no problem with that any volunteers no no takers done it I was really expecting that to work there is a need for more of this and that’s what these seven guys come in and do they find a role to play that the original 12 cannot it seems do they do not have the capacity and perhaps don’t have the skill set anyway it seems that early on this church realized that it worked best when there were lots of people doing lots of different roles and yet we so often push people out onto the peripheries and concentrate everything in just a few people who become increasingly overworked and increasingly overstressed this is also affected by how we work with age and so some of you

would say I don’t know that the church has a role for me anymore because I’m over a certain number perhaps that number is 60 and and yet we’ve kind of adopted this society where we’ve said something in many places like this just at the time where you have the most wisdom the most free time and the most money we’re going to send you off to florida or something like that and you’ll live there or arizona or wherever or go up to a mountain place and stay there just at the time when actually the church needs you the most this church thing has never supposed it’s never ideally been about age it’s always been about having space for everybody to get involved whether they are these people or these people this early church and asking this question are we in the business of social justice says emphatically yes but not just by paying people to take care of it and let me say this one of the things I love about south is the way that

we tap into some of these things to see 40 or so of you at a training on how to help care for afghan refugees just warmed my soul and I’m so grateful for the team and jody dan and others that helped put that together um hannah everybody I mean I could mention names but I just I just ran out of names I there’s so many people involved I loved seeing 200 people here to talk about homelessness this week there is just something about south that says we long to do those things but there is always room for more to get involved and you have gifts that are needed this isn’t about staff this is about community doing it together this proposal pleased the whole group they chose stephen a man full of faith and of the holy spirit and also philip prochorus nikana and timon and paraminus and nicholas of antioch convert to judaism they presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid their hands on them and then there’s

this delightful little connecting word so that just really ties those two clauses together the church grew because it was structured like this it seems like when the church is operating as it should it becomes compelling to the world around it including to this little group here the priests finally this is this moment where these older jewish religious leaders start to jump in on mass they suddenly start to say there is something about this community that makes sense think about it from their perspective for a second this is an old passage in deuteronomy and maybe they grew up reading this if anyone is poor among you for your fellow israelites in any of the towns of the land that the lord your God is giving you do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards them rather be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need generously give to them and do so without a grudging heart then because of this the lord your God will

bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to they may have read or they would have read passages like this and yet every single prophet in the old testament wrestled with the community isn’t what it should be spoke directly to those in parents said you need to fix this so imagine what it felt like for a priest to see a community that said you know what they’re doing it they’re making it happen there are no hungry people and when problems arise they deal with it well for this group of priests this moment was like this is the community we’ve been promised and this is the moment they jump in when the church functions as it should be it was compelling in the first century and I would suggest is still compelling in the 21st century and this works because some chose to wait at tables whether that was demeaning or not they chose to wait at tables and we don’t have time to pick out all the stories that come out of these

seven but there is one story that I’d love to look at just for a little while one character mentioned called philip who begins waiting on a table begins in this position that could be seen as demeaning and then goes on to do this now an angel of the lord said to philip go south to the road the desert road that goes down from jerusalem to gaza so he started out and on his way he met an ethiopian eunuch an important official in charge of all the treasury of the kandaki if you don’t have a definition for eunuch I’m just going to leave you to work google and the internet machine and all those things and and you can get one this man had gone to jerusalem to worship and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of isaiah the prophet this man had gone to jerusalem to worship this man had driven in a chariot hundreds of miles to worship but how had he been received there what had happened when he got there

there’s a passage back in deuteronomy that would have been important to the religious leaders that says this no one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the lord there’s every potential that this man drove hundreds of miles only to be rejected only to be told he didn’t fit only to be told he didn’t belong then philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading isaiah the prophet do you understand what you are reading philip asked how can I he said unless someone explains it to me so he invited philip to come up and sit with him this is the passage of scripture the eunuch was reading he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before it shear as his silence so he did not open his mouth in his humiliation he was deprived of justice who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth the eunuch asked philip tell me please who is the prophet talking about himself

or someone else then philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus what is that good news is it that you go to heaven when you die maybe yes not just that is it that you get to have your sins forgiven yes it is but not just that what is that good news for this eunuch it says that philip starts in isaiah 53 this passage he reads and then starting from there he began to explain all the rest of the scriptures and I would love to believe that in his providence God had him start with isaiah 53 and continue reading because as you start with isaiah 53 you keep reading and you come across this passage in isaiah 56 let no foreigner who has joined himself to the lord say the lord will utterly exclude me from his people and let the eunuch not say I am but a dry tree for this is what the lord says to the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths who choose what pleases me who hold fast to my covenant I will give them

in my house and within my wars a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off I would love to believe that philip in his journey with this man led him to believe that not just he was promised heaven when he died or that he could have his sins forgiven but also that he who was an outsider was included that he was on the margins was brought in close this moment in acts chapter 6 is a moment where the church says are we interested in social justice or not are we interested in those that are on the margins or not or is this just about gathering together and feeling good as we sing songs there is this moment where they wrestle with this question and people like philly who start off waiting on tables end up doing things like this as God moves them philip changes this man’s narrative out of nowhere this man’s life will be different and then there’s this joyful

moment where it says as they traveled along the road they came to some water and the eunuch said look here is water what can stand in the way of me being baptized he jumps into this new community and we are doing a baptism service on november 14th if you would like to be baptized and you haven’t been we would love to baptize you you can contact dan who deals with all things in that manner at dan at he would love to help with the administration of that task because dan is very administrative and he gave orders to stop the chariot then both philip and the eunuch went down into the water and philip baptized him and when 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 this man doesn’t stay there on the desert road he goes back to his communities and this Jesus message begins to spread all over

the place as people like philip wait on tables and become obedient to what God is calling them to do this community spreads because some chose to wait at tables but they didn’t stop there I don’t know where you serve and how you feel called to serve I don’t know if it’s become a point of tension that you don’t feel like it fits anymore I don’t even know what you’re supposed to do but I know if south is your home you’re made to do something you’re made to bring what gifts you have and use them in this community just as I am as this axe community wrestles with this idea of is it just the paid people or is it everybody their definitive answer was oh no this thing is about everybody because it can’t be done by me and staff alone this thing is too big and the moment it becomes outsourced just to us it loses its life it’s no longer the thing that it was made to be wherever you are in that journey of figuring out serving it may be that waiting on

tables doesn’t feel like what you’re made to do eventually and philip went on to do some things that were spectacular and incredible that didn’t look like waiting on tables but who knows what this preparation period looks like I remember the first time I was invited to join a small group being mentored by a pastor and we would gather together every week and every week he would say to me alex make tea for everybody ken doesn’t really work in this culture but in england that’s a big deal that’s like the servant’s job you go and you make the tea and that every week was my task and there were moments where I’m like I feel God you’re calling me to do something else why am I doing this right now somewhere in that act of service God was preparing me for what I was going to do it didn’t start here it started somewhere else I don’t know what you are doing right now or how it feels but I do know that you are made to do

something and there is so much to do so while you are waiting well you are unsure I would suggest this piece of advice while you’re waiting do what waiters do while you’re waiting do what waiters do they serve they serve I would love you to find whatever your place is in south and I believe we’ll be a richer community when we find that together let’s pray God as we uh wrestle with what a healthy community looks like thank you for so many people that play so many different roles in south thank you that this isn’t a church just built on paid people and yet we just like everyone else will wrestle with what do we what do we outsource what is the to do what what do we find paid people to what roles do we find paid people for what roles do we use volunteers for there’s so much in that and there’s so many people that give their time so generously to south so often and I’m so thankful we are that type of community and yet I know

that in a community this size there are those that are like I kind of feel at this point I’m a little bit sad on the sidelines maybe that’s a short season where that’s right but ultimately I feel like I believe I see that you call us to serve you call us to be involved as we wrestle with what our individual role is would you speak and give wisdom amen