Weekly Lent Devotional: Week 2

Acts 8:26-40, NLT
26 As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.”27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
33He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

When I think of evangelism, I think of Philip. Philip of Acts 8, of the wilderness road. Philip, who rode in a chariot with an open-hearted court official from Ethiopia.

As I imagine that story playing out, Philip was a reluctant apostle, resentful that he had been sent by the Spirit to a wilderness road after all his success in Samaria, where he had preached and healed and did miracles, and led the whole city to faith. And when prompted by the Spirit to approach an unlikely chariot on that road, I imagine him frustrated, even petulant, muttering under his breath his only quotation in all of scripture, perhaps the very essence of how many Presbyterians practice evangelism, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

Intentional, authentic evangelism isn’t just about what we do, but also what is done for and to and through and despite us. It’s Philip the brilliant apostle flung by the Spirit to the margins and into an encounter with someone who has no future (literally and figuratively) who disciples him by inviting Philip to witness and participate in a remarkable journey of faith.

In Transforming Mission, David Bosch writes, “God is a fountain of sending love,” inviting us “to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people.” Intentional, authentic evangelism is our (re)discovery that living and sharing the good news is always an uncovering of an already-present, already-sovereign "I-Will-Be-There-Howsoever-I-Will-Be-There" God. God loves us and sends us out and invites us into what God is already doing.

• Have you ever intentionally shared the good news of God’s love with someone? What was it like?
• Has someone unexpected ever shared God’s good news with you? How did you receive it?
• Tell someone in your life what you believe is so good about God.

Rev. Katie Day
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church

Slow Cooker Chicken Wild Rice Soup

• 1 cup uncooked wild rice
• 1 pound chicken breasts
• 1 cup chopped white onion
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/2 cup chopped carrot
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
• 1/2 cup butter
• 3/4 cup flour
• 2 cups whole milk
• a few tablespoons white wine (optional)
• up to 2 cups additional milk or water

1. Rinse the wild rice. Place the uncooked wild rice, raw chicken, mirepoix (onion, celery, & carrot), chicken broth, and poultry seasoning in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. The chicken should be cooked through and the rice should be soft. There will be extra liquid in the crockpot; do not drain.
2. Remove the chicken breasts from the crockpot and allow to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot.
3. When rice and chicken are done cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and let the mixture bubble for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the whole milk until a thick, creamy mixture forms. Stir in the wine.
4. Add this to the rice and chicken in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add extra water or milk to adjust the consistency as you like it. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Source: pinchofyum.com

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