Sunday, June 27, 2004

Who is Your Phillip?

The message at church was about Phillip meeting up with the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40. Dave Gushee did a great job of unpacking the message so as to explain that in the scenerio God had a role (opened opportunities), Philip had a role (saw opportunity and joined God at work), and the Ethiopian had a role (asking spiritual questions which opened the door) in God's Will.

At the end of the message Dave shared about his "Philip". It got me thinking about who my "Philip" is...who it is that shared the gospel with me when I was asking all the right kinds of questions? For Dave it was Randy. Randy was a member of a "Catalyst Team" that traveled to high schools performing drama and sharing the gospel through their art. Dave started asking all the "right" kinds of questions and Randy took the time to answer them all. Once he left town, Dave has never seen or heard about Randy since, but because Randy was willing to share about God, Dave was welcomed into the Kingdom.

My story is different, but the end result is the same. Isn't it for every Christian? Heaven rejoices when just one soul is saved?

Deb is my Philip.

She hates when I give her any sort of credit, that's her humility. There are details to my testimony that you can read about here, but the short of it is that when I had questions, Deb pointed me to answers.

I had come to a point in my life where I was alone, depressed, afraid and really didn't see any hope in a future. I sent a letter off to Deb that shared very personal stuff and I was very nervous about her reply. Why was it I reached out to Deb? Deb was an ex-colleague of mine from my teaching days.

I was the band director and Deb was the phys ed teacher. I had worked there for a good two years before really hooking up with Deb on a Strategic Planning Committee. Then, one school year, we were both assigned lunch duty together. It was during lunch duty that we chatted and got to know each other better. Anyone who knows what teaching is like will understand that it is difficult to carry on conversations at school because students are always around to interrupt...if not that, I'm sure there are food fights to break up and restroom passes to hand out, let alone all the noise!

Our chats were always short and fragmented, but one thing I learned about Deb is that she seemed "spiritually fit". I only learned this because now and then topics would come up that would allow her to share a bit of something about her beliefs and why she believed that way. I really can't recall any specific instance, but the point is, when I needed help, and was asking serious spiritual questions, it was Deb that I knew to turn to. What was interesting is that I hadn't seen Deb in over five years.

So, after five years, I send this "deep" letter to Deb asking for some help and not only did she respond with a letter back, she sent me a bible. In her letter she shared the gospel and some very well-thought out messages that were challenging, and also soothing to my soul. Deb was my "Philip" because she saw an opportunity, she saw God at work in my life, and then responded to the opportunity to join Him.

Deb and I continued to correspond through letters over the next few weeks, and all the while she encouraged me to find a church. This is where I met "Philip II". In my case, I had a few "Philips"! Irma is my "Philip the Second". I met Irma at a church service I attended and Irma reached out to me. She helped answer some spiritual questions and doubts I was having as well.

Irma and I met weekly over tea and coffee so we could chat. We developed a friendship and God used her to draw me even closer to Himself. After a couple of months I finally came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and I work very hard to this day allowing Him to be Lord over my life.

I am so thankful for the "Philips" in my life!

Tell me about your "Philip(s)" in the comment section, or post it on your blog and feel free to link to it in the comment section below. It is always so exciting to hear people's testimonies!

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