When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found himself in Azotus. He traveled through that area, preaching the good news in all the cities until he reached Caesarea. — Acts 8:39-40
A great deal of my Christianity has been based on learning. In school it was studying the Bible, theology, church history, and practical ministry. In the pastorate it was doing administrative stuff, organizing staff and lay leadership, discerning congregational direction with leaders…you get the picture.
All this is good and important, of course. Yet it can just be a fancy way of being in control and avoiding challenge.
Stories can be told with the same theme. Someone in the congregation comes up with a new ministry idea they think is exciting, and the leadership refers it to a committee, where it inevitably meets its end after six months of study. “Death by Committee,” it’s called. It’s always safer to preserve the past than to change the future.
The Book of Acts has a different theme. It’s becoming comfortable with the unknown, and opening yourself to the adventures that can happen. Like Philip. He feels a nudge to go to a deserted highway, where he meets a eunuch with questions, which Philip answers, which leads to the eunuch’s baptism, which leads to Philip being whisked away to start another adventure.
Feeling nudges, taking risks, following hunches: these all interject a good dose of energy into a day. They make us vulnerable, where we have to connect with people we ordinarily wouldn’t connect with. Where we also have to use resources, inner and outer, we ordinarily wouldn’t use.
Acts calls all this the work of the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit wouldn’t have been able to do anything if those early Christians weren’t open to letting things in the present be shaken up real good.