This session attempts to scratch the surface on the many ways that the holy spirit enables us to share the good news, from miracles, to dreams, to giving us the words to say. By the end of the session, you will have explored some of the ways the holy spirit inspires and releases our evangelism and will be encouraged to step out in faith. The session also features an interview between Hannah Steele and Justin Welby.
This session is based around Chapter 5 of Hannah Steele’s book Living His Story. A featured passage is below, but you are encouraged to read the whole chapter as the questions often reference the book.
From Chapter 5 of Living His Story
One individual who follows where the Spirit leads is Philip. When persecution broke out we learn that while the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem, many of the early followers of Jesus were scattered but that ‘those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word’ (Acts 8.4). This is one of those examples where God is mysteriously still at work even through a terrible situation or crisis. I was interested to hear at an online event during the lockdown of one girl who had tuned into an online church service. She commented that she didn’t go to church but her brother was involved in the service, and because she was missing him she tuned in to watch. This experience had her interested in the Christian faith, which she then wanted to explore. It is incredible how often God works through extraordinary or difficult situations, or times when our plans go awry, to bring new opportunities.
One of those who found themselves unintentionally scattered to Samaria was Philip, one of the seven who had been chosen to wait upon tables as the church started to grow. The Spirit prompts Philip to go to the desert road to Gaza where he meets the Ethiopian eunuch. Luke tells us that this individual was a person of great influence, ‘a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury’ (Acts 8.27). As Philip is told by the Spirit to travel alongside this man’s chariot he heard him reading out loud (as would have been normal practice) a pas-sage of Scripture from Isaiah. I suppose having a conversation with a stranger on public transport is the modern-day equivalent, although I have to say that in many years of such conversations, I have never met someone who ‘just happened’ to be reading Isaiah 53! Philip finds that the Spirit is at work in him enabling him to explain the Scriptures so that that this Ethiopian Chancellor of the Exchequer can hear and understand the good news of the risen Jesus. In fact the response is so immediate that the Ethiopian eunuch commands the chariot to be stopped so that he can be instantly baptized in a nearby pool of water. We don’t hear of this man again, but Luke tells us that he ‘went on his way rejoicing’ (Acts 8.39) and we presume he then returned to Ethiopia as the first Christian disciple in that great continent of Africa. When we stumble across a chance conversation with someone on the train or the bus, we cannot know the impact our words may have or the seeds sown that will bear fruit in places and locations other than our own. Stories like Philip’s should encourage us to seize every opportunity that comes our way and trust the Spirit to be at work.