Acts 10:1-23a

Today’s devotion is written by Pastor Emily Sterling-Strongman.

Today our Middle School Mission Team left on their mission trip to Hazard, Kentucky. They will be working with the organization Appalachian Service Project to serve low-income people in the Appalachian region. Please pray for their safe travels to and from Kentucky as well as their health and safety while doing their service projects. We look forward to hearing their stories when they return!

The Spirit is at work in Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10. Cornelius is a Gentile God-worshipper living in Caesarea. One day at 3pm he receives a vision from God. In his vision, an angel from God tells him to send messengers to Simon Peter who is staying in Joppa at the time. The messengers are to bring Simon Peter back to Cornelius. Cornelius responds to the vision and sends messengers to Joppa, a city some 40 miles away. Cornelius does not know if Peter will come see him and what will happen if Peter does. Cornelius seeks to be faithful to what God is calling him to do.

The next day at around 12pm, Simon Peter goes onto the roof of the house where is staying so that he can pray. Simon Peter receives a vision from God. After the vision, Simon Peter stays on the roof to reflect upon what God has just showed him. The Spirit interrupts Simon Peter’s reflection and tells him: “Look! Three people are looking for you. Go downstairs. Don’t ask questions; just go with them because I have sent them.” Simon Peter responds to the Spirit’s interruption and meets up with these Gentile visitors. Simon Peter hears what these visitors have to say on behalf of Cornelius. Peter invites them into the house to stay overnight. The next day Peter travels with them some 40 miles back to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius. Peter has no idea who Cornelius is or what may be in store for him at Cornelius’s house. Peter seeks to be obedient to God’s call.

I love it when a plan comes together. I especially love it when different people in different places and at different times are inspired by the same idea and sense God’s calling them to act upon that idea. It is so beautiful when these different people come together to respond to God’s call. That to me is the Spirit at work.

This happened to me this past spring when I had conversations with different women from First Church on different days at different times and in different locations. In all of these conversations, these women (who had not talked with each other – only with me!) expressed a desire for women’s ministry events here at First Church. I sensed that the Spirit was at work among us. And what are we going to do about it?

We have since brought women together for a Women’s Gathering in April. We have our second Women’s Gathering TOMORROW at 4PM in the GATHERING SPACE. (Shameless advertisement for the women’s gathering. Join us if you are able!)

I’m not sure what will happen with women’s ministry here at First Church, but I am watching and listening for the Spirit. I am willing to respond to the Spirit’s call. I hope you will join me in watching for and listening for the Spirit to guide us as a church. May we be so courageous to go where the Spirit leads and do what the Spirit calls us to do.

Have you ever been interrupted by God’s Spirit? What happened? Where did God call you to go or what did God call you to do?

When have you experienced synergy and agreement with other people over the same idea even though you may not know these other people or have discussed this idea together? How was God’s Spirit at work in this collaboration?

Please share your ideas, thoughts, comments, and questions. We want to hear them!

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