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I Have Decided to Share Jesus

Posted on 17 Mar 2024

March 17, 2024

Acts 8:26-40

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


Since December, our church community has been working with the Rev. Paul Nickerson, a church vitality consultant.  There are a lot of ways that a church community can become more vital.  We have chosen “reaching new people” for our first six months of coaching.

For anyone who has ever worked with a consultant, you know that the value of a consultant, is as much from the new information they provide, as it is also that a consultant reminds you of what you already know.  Paul’s newsletter this week was one of those things I know and appreciate being reminded of.  It was about welcoming guests for Easter.

To paraphrase Paul, if you are welcoming guests to your home for Easter dinner, of course, you greet them when they walk in the door.  You make sure they have a space to sit down.  You offer them something to eat or drink.  You make sure they feel comfortable.

Even before your guests show up, though, you make sure they know how to get to the door.  Maybe you sweep the front porch or walkway.  Maybe you put out cheery decorations.  We have two “front doors” at home so I try to make the one we actually use look more inviting and obvious, something I am also trying to do here at church.

Because it just makes sense that we should treat guests the same whether we are welcoming them into our homes or into our church home.  We should greet them at the door – or even the parking lot.  We should make sure they have what they need to be comfortable and connect with God: a bulletin, a hymnal – a large print hymnal, toys or coloring pages, directions to the bathroom.  And there is no denying how welcoming a welcoming smile is.

There are lots of small and yet important things we, as Christians, we as a church community, can do to welcome others to worship and church gatherings.

However, as our consultant reminds us, the most significant thing we can do is invite people, invite them to worship, invite them to church activities, invite them to come and see what Jesus is all about.

That’s what Philip did.  Philip’s invitation to know Jesus is what led to the Ethiopian official being baptized and beginning his new life as a disciple of Jesus.


While sharing and inviting others to know the good news of Jesus Christ is Christ’s call to all of us, there are a lot of steps in between us deciding to follow Jesus and us walking up to a complete stranger and inviting them to follow Jesus.

It’s like going from first learning to cook and to becoming a master chef, or from couch potato to triathelete.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  There are a lot of steps, important steps to take in between.  It’s a journey.

It’s a journey that began with someone else inviting us to follow Jesus.  For some of us, that invitation came when we were children or youth and someone invested lots of caring hours, inviting us to know ‘Jesus loves me this I know’.

Others, like Philip, were adults when someone shared how following Jesus gives us hope when all seems hopeless, that being able to turn our troubles over to a loving God brings us peace in this chaotic world.

The Philip we heard about in today’s Bible passage is not the Philip who was one of the Twelve.  This Philip was one of the Seven.  One of the seven chosen by the church community to care for the needs of others in the Christian community.

Philip was chosen because he was a man of faith, filled with the Holy Spirit, and I can imagine that the spiritual practice of service, of generosity, of caring for others only deepened his faith and enabled him to be very in tune with God’s guidance.

So when God called Philip to share about Jesus, Philip was open.  Philip was ready.  Philip understood what God’s still speaking voice sounded like.  Philip knew why he had decided to follow Jesus.  Philip knew how his life had been changed for the better for following Jesus, and Philip was ready to share his story with others.


Last Monday night at the Vitality Team meeting, we had an absolutely wonderful conversation as we each shared our why’s.  Why Jesus?  Why this church?

And while Donna, Allen, Lisa, Rob, Doug, Chris, and I said it in different ways, our why’s were much the same:  what power there is in knowing that we are loved, that we belong – to God and to this church community; the support we gain from God and this church community; the joy that comes from service and being able to make a difference in our world.

First, Philip was invited into a life with Christ.  Next, his Christian faith journey was nurtured through community, prayer, worship, and service.  And then because he was filled with the Spirit, Philip was very aware when God guided him (with a very strong hand) to the Ethiopian official.

The Spirit doesn’t tell Philip to talk about Jesus or to offer to baptize the official.  The Spirit simply says ‘join him’.  Philip doesn’t know anything about the Ethiopian official.  He doesn’t know that the official is returning home from Jerusalem.  Philip doesn’t know the official is clearly searching for something more, something more than the wealth and power he already has.

However, because Philip seeks to make a connection, Philip learns about the official.  Philip hears the official reading scripture, Isaiah to be exact.  Something has drawn the official to read from the prophet Isaiah.  Words that promise that “a child has been born for us, a son given to us…and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

Words declaring that “those who wait [who hope] for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Words about a God who is faithful, a God who saves, a God who cares for all –even those who are not God’s “chosen people”.

Words that are familiar to Philip, words that allow Philip to connect and to begin a conversation “Do you get it?  Do you understand what you are reading?”

To which the official humbly and openly responds, “How can I understand unless someone guides me?  How can I unless someone shows me?”

And so Philip sits down in the official’s chariot and begins to share with the man the good news about Jesus.  In much the same way that Philip was once invited to follow Jesus, Philip invites this man to know the peace, the love, the joy, the freedom to be found with the God of love we know through Jesus Christ.

There is no doubt that the Ethiopian official’s life is transformed for the better by this conversation.  I imagine that Philip’s life is also changed for the better.  Because in telling his why, Philip nurtures his own faith as well as the official’s.  Philip grows closer to God.

One conversation makes a difference.

The Vitality Team has been invited by our consultant to start a conversation this week, to start a conversation with someone we encounter out and about in our lives, and if the opportunity presents itself, to share part of our story of why Jesus, why this church.

  • I find a lot of support from prayer and depending on God. Can I ask the prayer team at my church to pray for you?
  • I don’t like to eat alone either. I’m glad for all the opportunities my church has to eat with others, like the community lunch next Sunday.
  • You are downsizing, too? My church is having a tag sale.  You can rent a spot for your own tag sale or just drop stuff off for the church to sell.  The proceeds support our ministry which does great things like ……


One conversation.  You never know where one conversation will lead.  You never know where one invitation will lead.  You never know how someone’s life might be forever changed for the better, how your life might be changed for the better because you decided to share Jesus.