"Samaria comes Alive"
Today's reading: Acts 8:4-8 (NIV) 4Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.
I am so glad that the preachers did not give up when the people were scattered into Judea and Samaria. I can not imagine what might have happened to the gospel message and Christian faith as we know it today.
My faith is largely affected by my own past experiences. I recall the years in high school when I first became interested in God. I starting taking bible study at a local Episcopal church and eventually joined that church my senior year. That was my very first faith step taken by my own choice.
Later in my adulthood is when my heart opened wide to the Lord and I began my spiritual journey with Christ. When God’s word is preached and taught, amazing things happen. Verse 6 is evidence of this for sure. But why Samaria, not the place one would think these new Christians would have traveled to, since Jews and Samaritans hadn’t mixed well. That is preciously where God wanted them to travel in order to share the message of the resurrection with those that had not yet believed.
Each time I take a step to share about the love Jesus has provided for me, I know that God is providing my courage (miraculous sign vs 6). If the conversation continues and someone asks me more, or I sense they are seeking (paying close attention vs. 6), I dig a little more and share a deeper personally and ask questions of them. At times like these I am very close to God, He draws me into Him.
When joy is present in one’s life greater things are yet to come (from a familiar contemporary song). As the spirit of God fills the hearts of the congregation ministry is done by more and more. Crowds begin to come to hear about this joy. Our pastors preach the gospel and reveal how others too can receive the joy.
The kingdom of Samaria came alive with belief as Philip shared in his ministry. The church is alive today because of the ministry of many over the generations, because God wants every last individual to have the opportunity to hear the Good News! Won’t you share it?
Aldersgate Church, Nixa, MO.