4.7.2014

Day 3 in the Holy Land – Might We Dare to be a Little More Uncommon

I have to admit when our guide pulled over to the side of the road at this unmarked, unremarkable looking place, I was underwhelmed. We filed out of the bus with a vague sense we were studying something in the eighth chapter of Acts.

There were no signs.

No other tourists.

Our teacher walked to a place covered with brush and pointed to a rocky path. We gingerly made our way behind him and soon came upon a road:

Day 3 in the Holy Land with Lysa TerKeurst

We walked down the road with our teacher pointing out for us to notice how the road was perfectly designed with the wheels of chariots in mind. The spaces between the gently descending, shallow stairs allowed for the wheels to catch and bump with the least amount of discomfort to the passengers.

Day 3 in the Holy Land with Lysa TerKeurst

With great enthusiasm the teacher said, “This road is where a man learned of Christ and received the good news!” We walked a little further and saw this:

Day 3 in the Holy Land with Lysa TerKeurst

“This place of water is where this man was baptized shortly afterward and went away rejoicing. We should rejoice! We should rejoice!”

And then we opened the Scriptures to Acts 8:26-39, the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Can I admit something to you that I’m not very proud of? Even after reading the Scriptures I wondered why our teacher picked this spot. We had so little time in the Holy Land and we all wanted to see so much. I felt like there were much bigger events that had taken place in much more well-known places. Shouldn’t we focus on those?

Why this place? Why this story?

And then as quickly as we arrived, our teacher whisked us back on the bus with one final statement, “Individuals matter.

Those two words have lingered in my thoughts and have honestly made this underwhelming stop one of my favorites to look back on.

This morning I opened Acts 8 again and re-read it. Here are three things from this Scripture that I want to let have their way with my heart and mind this week:

1. Go near.

Verse 29, “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’”

This Ethiopian Eunuch wasn’t like Philip. He wasn’t in his inner circle, comfort zone, or part of his immediate sphere of influence. And yet, the Spirit instructed Philip to go close.

God help us. We must break out of the boxes of our normality and dare to go close to those we don’t understand. We must not use words like, “those people” with pointed fingers and hard hearts and spiritually superior attitudes.

By going close, we see things we need to see. We hear things we need to hear. And our hearts become tender in the way we must be tender.

By going close, we might actually dare to let love guide our approach.

2. Gain understanding.

Verse 30, “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.”

He ran. This took effort, energy, and intentionality. Then, instead of wielding God’s Word like a weapon and haphazardly throwing Truth at this man, he first listened.

Then based on what he heard, he asked this eunuch if he understood what he was reading. Philip discerned a felt need the man had and sought to meet that need. Philip let the man’s agenda come before his own.

God help us. Instead of running alongside people seeking to understand them, we sometimes have tendencies to run them over with our agendas and perceptions and points of view. We must seek to be discerning, not demanding.

3. Garner the right to share.

Verse 31, “…So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”

Philip earned the right to be heard and then was invited to share. Once he dared to go near and gain understanding then he garnered the right to share. Verse 35 goes on to reveal that Philip began where this man was and “told him the good news about Jesus.”

God help us. We must go to people. Listen to people. Start where they are, not where we want them to be. And from their point of need, lovingly share the good news.

And might I share one more thing I love that Philip did? I didn’t make it point #4 because for the life of me I couldn’t think of a “G” word to title it and I get all worked up with inconsistent word wielding. It’s an issue. Kind of like when a sock has that annoying seam across the toe and it just doesn’t sit well across your foot all day. You know what I mean? So, no point 4. But don’t miss this…

Philip continued to travel down the road with this man for a bit. Verses 36-39 reveal, “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water… Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” And the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.

Looking back, I’m so thankful our teacher took the time to bring us to this place. Remember, there were no signs and there were no tourists.

This was an uncommon stop in the Holy Land.

Uncommon.

Might we all dare to be a little more uncommon, more often.

Comments

  1. says

    Lisa, this sums up how I believe the Lord is leading me to approach His precious people brought into my life. “My Way” of bringing the Good News wherever possible is more like Philip’s way. God gives me the grace to do that but I find that other’s judge me and criticize this way as being “luke warm” or not “bold” enough. But, I know that when I see a person starting to “listen” because they want to hear, not because I am shouting, but because of the whisper in God’s words of love touching their hearts, using my approach. God uses the most weak and broken to love His weak and broken and baffle the haughty and righteous. I can’t thank you enough for your years of encouragement. And it is only in heaven will you learn how far reaching your gifts and talents have traveled. I got some stories if you are interested:o) Blessings and peace and safe travels.

    • says

      ♥ my incredible husband, Ron Smith. He and I can choose to allow our feelings to stand in the way of what we’d like to accomplish in life. Then again, we can ask God to help… us allow His spirit to rule what we’re doing, rather than having our feelings get in the way of what His powerful Spirit has to teach us always. Our ♥ is like God’s light of love shining down upon us always. “We are more than just a sum total of our feelings. We are children of God made to walk in truth.

      Oh Lord, help me to know this today and every day. Help me to process my feelings with the protective covering of Your absolute truth.~”Lysa TerKeurst
      What a wonderful thought on this Monday night! Now, I can relax for the remainder of the evening and night. Attempting to do laundry with minimal help is so exhausting for me and my incredible husband. Nonetheless, I know that we’re more than conquerers over whatever may come in our path hroughout life. “I have to admit when our guide pulled over to the side of the road at this unmarked, unremarkable looking place, I was underwhelmed. We filed out of the bus with a vague sense we were studying something in the chapter of Acts.

      There were no signs.

      No other tourists.

      Our teacher walked to a place covered with brush and pointed to a rocky path. We gingerly made our way behind him and soon came upon a road:

      We walked down the road with our teacher pointing out for us to notice how the road was perfectly designed with the wheels of chariots in mind. The spaces between the gently descending, shallow stairs allowed for the wheels to catch and bump with the least amount of discomfort to the passengers.

      With great enthusiasm the teacher said, “This road is where a man learned of Christ and received the good news!” We walked a little further and saw this:

      “This place of water is where this man was baptized shortly afterward and went away rejoicing. We should rejoice! We should rejoice!”

      And then we opened the Scriptures to Acts 8:26-39, the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch.

      Can I admit something to you that I’m not very proud of? Even after reading the Scriptures I wondered why our teacher picked this spot. We had so little time in the Holy Land and we all wanted to see so much. I felt like there were much bigger events that had taken place in much more well-known places. Shouldn’t we focus on those?

      Why this place? Why this story?

      And then as quickly as we arrived, our teacher whisked us back on the bus with one final statement, “Individuals matter.”

      Those two words have lingered in my thoughts and have honestly made this underwhelming stop one of my favorites to look back on.

      This morning I opened Acts 8 again and re-read it. Here are three things from this Scripture that I want to let have their way with my heart and mind this week:

      1. Go near.

      Verse 29, “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’”

      This Ethiopian Eunuch wasn’t like Philip. He wasn’t in his inner circle, comfort zone, or part of his immediate sphere of influence. And yet, the Spirit instructed Philip to go close.

      God help us. We must break out of the boxes of our normality and dare to go close to those we don’t understand. We must not use words like, “those people” with pointed fingers and hard hearts and spiritually superior attitudes.

      By going close, we see things we need to see. We hear things we need to hear. And our hearts become tender in the way we must be tender.

      By going close, we might actually dare to let love guide our approach.

      2. Gain understanding.

      Verse 30, “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.”

      He ran. This took effort, energy, and intentionality. Then, instead of wielding God’s Word like a weapon and haphazardly throwing Truth at this man, he first listened.

      Then based on what he heard, he asked this eunuch if he understood what he was reading. Philip discerned a felt need the man had and sought to meet that need. Philip let the man’s agenda come before his own.

      God help us. Instead of running alongside people seeking to understand them, we sometimes have tendencies to run them over with our agendas and perceptions and points of view. We must seek to be discerning, not demanding.

      3. Garner the right to share.

      Verse 31, “…So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”

      Philip earned the right to be heard and then was invited to share. Once he dared to go near and gain understanding then he garnered the right to share. Verse 35 goes on to reveal that Philip began where this man was and “told him the good news about Jesus.”

      God help us. We must go to people. Listen to people. Start where they are, not where we want them to be. And from their point of need, lovingly share the good news.

      And might I share one more thing I love that Philip did? I didn’t make it point #4 because for the life of me I couldn’t think of a “G” word to title it and I get all worked up with inconsistent word wielding. It’s an issue. Kind of like when a sock has that annoying seam across the toe and it just doesn’t sit well across your foot all day. You know what I mean? So, no point 4. But don’t miss this…

      Philip continued to travel down the road with this man for a bit. Verses 36-39 reveal, “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water… Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” And the eunuch went on his way rejoicing.

      Looking back, I’m so thankful our teacher took the time to bring us to this place. Remember, there were no signs and there were no tourists.

      This was an uncommon stop in the Holy Land.

      Uncommon.

      Might we all dare to be a little more uncommon, more often.”~http://lysaterkeurst.com/…/day-3-in-the-holy-land…/ Unfortunately, there are times when we don’t want to dream of what it may be like in other places on this earth. God walked so many different places in His reign many years ago. I think it’d be incredible to walk in the footsteps of Jesus to follow in the goings-on of His ministry. I ♥ dreaming of what it may be like to be with God some day.See More

    • says

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts Janel. Being a listener is such a beautiful quality to develop.Thank you for your sweet, sweet encouragement!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for this Lysa! I love this post as it speaks to something I’ve had on my heart for a few years now: as Christians, we can’t afford to be common, to blend in. We need to let the world know about this beautiful love, this beautiful sacrifice that our Savior has blessed us with! And individuals do matter! That is something that we so often forget. Thank you once again!

    • says

      Yes, individuals matter so much. This seems to be an important theme I keep learning more and more about. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

  3. says

    I love this- as always Lysa. (spelled correctly indeed!) I love how you teach us such important and quite critical habits we must explore and practice in faith sharing. I also love so many things about this story- 1. that the man Philip approached wasn’t interrogated about his past or his history at all, and Philip didn’t question his moral values and life circumstance… he simply did what every Christian ought to do…

    Basic really. But then all our human-ness gets in the way. The judgment, the projected needs, the tunnel vision, the incessant pushing, the bold confrontations, and all the rejection or abandonment that sometimes follows soon after leading someone to Christ.

    I don’t see any of that in this story.

    I see approaching with desire, understanding, humble teaching, tender leading, supportive partnering, and ultimately, celebrating in Him. I can only hope that the story would continue to have Philip remain friends with that man and disciple him as needed…continuing to love him as Christ would.

    Such a lovely example for us all.

    Oh, and as for your fourth G?

    Perhaps Giving of Grace …

    Philip sealed His Grace with baptism, and perhaps continued to give more of His Grace to many in need.

  4. says

    What great encouragement for all of us to get outside of our churches and our comfy social circles and to take God’s message to uncomfortable places.

    I love how repeatedly God uses what seems ordinary and unremarkable and transforms it into something extraordinary!

    May God’s message through you resonate in our hearts and stay with us, just as this tour stop has stayed with you!

  5. Yudit says

    Lisa, thanks for passing on this lesson you learned. When we’re open and willing to learn, the Holy Spirit will reveal those hidden treasures of God’s word. I’ve been in the Holy Land a couple of times and I never heard or been in this place. This is really an awesome experience. Thanks again for sharing with us.

    • says

      Hidden treasures… that’s what I feel my trip did for me most of all… helped me see so many treasures I’d missed before. God’s word feels so very alive to me now that I can picture the way things looked. Thank you for your encouragement.

  6. says

    What a wonderful post! Thank you, Lysa! I’m so grateful that we do matter, as individuals, to God. And I love that you pointed out that Philip had earned the right to share because he had helped him in his need. Isn’t that just like Jesus would do?

  7. says

    So good. Walking in the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit will take us to out-of-the-way places. And then we get to see Jesus do His amazing redemptive work!!

    I’m still waiting to get ‘beamed up’ like Phillip. 🙂

  8. BB says

    Lysa, I am enjoying your insights and thoughts along with the ties to the holy land! Do you know where this was? I am familiar with the holy land and you are right – this is off the beaten path – but SO worth the trip!

    • says

      Hmmm…. I so wish I could direct you. I am honestly clueless. I do remember that day we were driving near Jerusalem and also visited the valley of Ella.

  9. says

    Lysa, I was in the Holy Land in 1995. So many sweet memories. I love your lesson and today I will be more alert and will go through my day rejoicing in the one that gives us grace. Blessings Diana

  10. Kim Pittman says

    Oh this was a good one!!! I love the story of Philip and the Eunuch, every time I’ve read it, my imagination takes me there, and you gave me real pictures, YAY!! So glad your teacher took you there too. And your “word wielding” paragraph cracked me UP 🙂

    There is a missionary, Naphtaly, that began Gethsemane Gardens Christian Center in Kenya that came to our church last year, he told his testimony of how he was able to leave his place of poverty and attend university in the UK (I think it was the UK). an older woman there told him the good news of Jesus, and he became saved, and took that saving grace home with him to Kenya and oh so many lives have changed. I love to think of that older woman talking to Naphtaly like Philip talked to the eunuch. She had no idea the ripple affect of telling this young man the news of Jesus, but WOW what a ripple affect it was! Same with Philip, he obeyed the spirit and talked with this man and had no idea what the end result would be.

    Thanks for a BEAUTIFUL post Lysa!!

  11. says

    Wonderful thoughts, Lysa! Just today, a lady I knew would need a lot of help asked me to meet with her to help her work through some tough issues. It’s not someone I know or anything. And honestly my first thoughts were, “I’m so tired. I should just tell her to come to my class instead. She’ll learn all the same stuff.” But the Holy Spirit whispered to me to meet with her. I finally worked up the courage to submit to His direction. I am glad now… because, as you said, individuals matter. Who knows but what it may be another divine appointment? I pray God will give me more of His heart for people, so I won’t even hesitate in the future.

  12. Jan says

    Lysa, don’t worry about the ‘G’, be uncommon. 🙂 I never would have noticed they all started with a G. I only did cause you said something.
    I’m loving your blogging about your trip. Thanks so much for sharing!!! I told the gals in my Bible study to following these they are so good. Blessings my friend!!

  13. Lisa says

    “As they traveled along the road” so resonates in my heart. How often do we “get them saved” and run off to our next convert project? Or invite someone to church and not continue to “travel the road” with them? Lord let me be sensitive to those needing to travel the road together.

  14. Sharon says

    Individuals do indeed matter – sometimes the effect isn’t seen until much later. Being a eunuch the man belonged to a house of nobility at the very least. Having this position allowed him to have the influence in Ethiopia that resulted in that country being predominantly Christian, unlike all their Muslim neighbors. We never know how we impact people’s lives and the ripple effect that follows.

  15. Jody says

    Thank you Lysa. Last night, I took our 3 girls out for pizza…which we never do. When we get pizza we pick it up. When we stepped into that tiny crowded noisy pub there was the woman and her two-year old that we’re first time visitors in our church this past Sunday. She was standing in the doorway waiting… I introduced myself and asked her name and asked her to join us. Here in my tiny little mind I was thinking I could be an example of Christ. Instead, she taught me about Him. This was her first time to America. She lives in a crowded Chinese city and she and her family are looking to move to our town. She was gentle and kind. Her limited English vocabulary was endearing. At the end of our meal (she ordered American noodles and sausage or as we call it spaghetti and meatballs) she said she is looking to buy a home and when it is polished she would like to have us over for dinner. She carried a small notebook and wrote down my name and our daughter’s names. She asked, when will I see you again? Tonight is bible study. I am so excited about my new friend, Veronica. She is going to teach me Kung foo but not Kung foo as we know it. I think I am going to learn much more from her than martial arts! Individuals matter and our Great big God shows up in the tiny unexpected places.

    • CD says

      Wow. Thank you for your teaching. My abbreviated version as follows:
      1. Go near those who may not hear, place myself in the world
      2. Gain understanding by listening more and talking less
      3. Garner the right to share by gaining trust, this takes time
      4. Go along by walking with them and establishing a relationship where Christ can be shared

  16. Debora says

    Thank you for this word! It is so easy to want people to be where we are and not meet them where they are. I know God will continue using Acts and your words to help me be about His business better and to be a better listener.

  17. Nealette Zimmerman says

    #4 should be “Go along” – we can’t just hit ’em and run. We need to walk with them, be there for help and support.

  18. Jamey says

    Hey Lysa!
    I have a prayer request. My dad has been to Elevation with us once, maybe twice. He’s a Christian and he like it but he just doesn’t go. Please pray that this Easter weekend he will attend with us to one of the services. He said maybe so I believe there is still hope! Thank you:) – Jamey

  19. Kelly Evans says

    Lysa this really touched me this morning. Thank you for your ministry.
    I would also like to ask for the link to your full 31 personalized Bible verses that you use to bless people in your life? I would really appreciate it.

    Many thanks for all you do.

  20. Anne says

    Lysa,

    I am a young newlywed and a full time nanny for 3 children ( all under 2!) I had a very difficult time adjusting to my new roles as wife and caretaker. Your ministry has blessed my life so richly and I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your booked “Unglued” spoke to my heart and allowed me to grasp concepts that I had been struggling with and see them in a brand new light. Your bring me daily encouragement and I thank you again for all that you do!

  21. Gabby says

    This absolutely blessed my heart. I am in discipleship and we are going through the book of Acts and I just read through chapter 8 on Monday and to be able to see your pictures of what i just read is amazing! Thank you for sharing and for encouraging me daily with your words given to you by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your obedience to the Father and for being so transparent and bold and for you willingness to be used by God to bring Him glory!

  22. Connie says

    I love reading your posts. You give me great encouragement every day along with your friends from Proverbs 31 ministries. Thank you!
    I’m a fairly new Christian & I’ve been learning so much. Last year was the first year that I realized what Jesus really did for me. So amazing! I’m so grateful to Jesus & the grace of mercy from God.
    Thanks for the reminder that we need to be unified in Christ.

  23. christina says

    Lysa you have truly opened eyes too many may not understand ..that all the Holy Bible is repeated in time ..too appreciate…’The History Of Jesus ” …a thousands words can explain a picture , and all through the Holy Word Of God And His Son contributed ….so many who shared in Jesus birth and death. All now God Ask us back is the same loyalty …Love …all commands and principles…His Son has shown us the day of His Birth was will worth to have ever Lasting life with God and Son …give us the love back too Jesus.